Mascots are as iconic as football teams themselves, leading the charge as football and basketball teams take the field every season. Mascots bring entertainment and pride for each fanbase that has the luck to have one.
As spring football winds down and the long grind through summer drills begins across Big Ten country, let's have a fun debate: Which B1G team has the best mascot? The inquiry is highly subjective, but I will consider each of the following factors:
1. Actually having more than a nickname: "Mascot" is defined as an object, animal, or person that brings good luck or symbolizes a particular organization, and this is different than "nickname," which is the name we use to refer to these players and teams. A mascot must be a live object, not just a label to make this list (but we will briefly discuss those schools without mascots on the next slide).
2. Uniqueness or Distinctness: Mascots are all over sports, especially at the high school and college level. Therefore, it is better if your team's mascot stands out from a crowd.
3. Embodies the spirit of the university: When at their best, mascots are a reflection of the people making up the community of the university. This helps fans get behind a mascot more than anything else.
4. Fun for fans and opponents: mascots are here to entertain us, and that includes opposing fans as well as fans of the home team. There is a fun factor that makes some mascots more enjoyable to watch than others, and this is the most intangible of the factors I will consider.
That's enough explanation. Everyone else will have their own factors and decisions and I'd love to hear you rank them in the comments. But to start the conversation, here is my list of the best mascots in the Big Ten.