We know them, we love them.
They are the mascots.
Where would the schools and fans be without them?
They are creative, fun, and exciting, and they each have their own uniqueness.
Also, even a fight breaks out between them every now and then. Which by the way, is hilarious.
So, without further adieu here are the 50 best college football mascots.
NOTE: Not all mascots are from the FBS, we're all encompassed in this one baby!
This will seem odd, but the Stanford Tree sort of looks like it should be a character on The Letter People.
And, yes it's been on many lists of "the worst college mascots" or whatever.
But, that is what makes it so awesome.
Plus, when in doubt, the school could use it as a Christmas tree (just a suggestion).
Although Shasta is no longer used as a live mascot, her legend lives on.
Since 1989 when the university discontinued the use of a live cougar, it has been debated as to whether another one should be used.
Well, all you need to do is look around at all the other live mascots and bringing Shasta back should not be a question.
In any event, Shasta is a great mascot and the way her name came about is even more unique.
Put together from the phrase, "She has to", which won in a contest when the cougar was first seen.
If you say it fast then it sounds perfect.
SCHOOL: South Carolina
How cool would it be if Sir Big Spur was used as the football team's alarm clock in the morning during football camp?
Just like being on the farm, and the rooster crows at the break of dawn. Time to put the pads on baby!
It's just a suggestion, however Spur still attends the games and has also become very popular with the Gamecocks recent success.
Although Chief Illiniwek has since been retired (2007), his spirit and legend remains throughout Illinois University.
Here you see him performing the signature Warrior Yoga pose as part of his routine.
What's interesting here is that although Chief Illiniwek was not based on a real-life Native American, he predated cheerleaders.
Therefore, he performed on his own for the school and its athletic teams.
SCHOOL: Syracuse University
A very recognizable mascot, Otto the Orange has been a popular mascot throughout the world of college athletics.
Although, an Orange isn't really all that intimidating, unless it's all nasty and moldy, but who wants that?
Regardless, it's hard not to like Otto.
See kids, fruit can be fun!
Although it doesn't really make sense, Zippy the Kangaroo is a perfect fit when we think about it.
Originally, Akron was called the Zippers which is the name for a pair of rubber overshoes (not your regular pants or coat zipper).
However, the school committee suggested a kangaroo as the mascot in 1953.
Now, when you think about it, kangaroos are fast and with their leaping ability can zip from point A to point B.
So you see, it does fit. Plus kangaroos are really cool.
To read the full story of Big Al click here, but here it is in a nutshell.
The story goes that a sportswriter covering Alabama in the 1930s overheard an anonymous fan yell, "Here come the elephants!"
Most likely due to the rumbling sound of the Crimson Tide exiting the tunnel and onto the field, the elephant was born.
Big Al then debuted when the Tide played Penn State for the 1979 national championship.
Even though Jonathan is a husky dog, the mascot looks crossed between a white version of the rabbit from Donnie Darko and the Abominable Snowman.
That said, Jonathan looks like an "all white tuxedo" type of cool.
Slick, clean, and not too fancy make for a solid mascot in Connecticut.
Now, if the Huskies can re-capture that BCS magic again in 2011, Jonathan could become a national hit.
Even though they are the Tigers and Aubie the Tiger is the school's official mascot, War Eagle hits it home for Auburn University.
It is the name of the battle cry for the football team, so how does a golden eagle fit into the picture?
Well, it gives visual perspective to the battle cry and is a mythological legend.
There's truth and mystery, which makes for one intriguing mascot.
For the Trojan warrior, the trusty partner in crime has long been a horse (or Trojan horse if you want to be technical).
So, what better to have the live animal represent the USC Trojans football team?
There's obviously a Trojan warrior riding the horse, but in this case the horse is the main attraction.
Traveler is beautiful, healthy and strong, so before the critics ask why use the horse (as opposed to the warrior), first ask why not?
A keg you say?
Well, for anyone that's been a part of the college experience stereotype, a keg pretty much sums it up.
And, even though Keggy the Keg is not the official mascot of Dartmouth, the Big Green have something very unique.
The fact that students of an Ivy league school thought of it, only enhances the amazingness.
Like a few of these other mascots, Judge can be added to the "do not mess with" list.
Let's just hope that Baylor football doesn't get too desperate and give him a scholarship, otherwise a few more W's may head their way.
As for Judge, he is a North American black bear that actually did not earn his name until 1974.
His name derives from the occupation of Baylor University founder Robert Baylor, who served as a judge in the Republic of Texas for 25 years.
SCHOOL: Carnegie Mellon
The only Division III school to make the list, Carnegie Mellon received their mascot in one of the coolest ways ever.
It was donated to them from legendary comedian Bill Cosby.
According to an article from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review in 2008 by Bill Zlatos, Cosby's favorite dog is a Scottish Terrier and since Carnegie Mellon had never had a live mascot before, they do now.
The dog looks to be a very lovable creature, so add that to the donation from Mr. Cosby and Scottie makes this list every time.
DEBUT: 1960s (Big Jay), 1971 (Baby Jay)
Crossed between the aggressive Blue Jay and the quiet Sparrow Hawk, the Jayhawk is formed.
However, the term technically predates the Civil War as militant abolitionists were given the name "Jayhawkers" for their guerrilla warfare against the pro-slavery "Border Ruffians."
The Jayhawkers acted like both of the aforementioned birds, using stealth/quiet tactics through the night like the sparrow, and then aggressively attacking like a blue Jay.
As for the mascots, the use of Big Jay and Baby Jay can be correlated to a father teaching his son.
Obviously in this case, how to be an awesome mascot.
SCHOOL: Youngstown State
The only school in the country with "Penguins" as their nickname, Youngstown State University is mainly known for the school where Jim Tressel head coached prior to Ohio State.
However, Pete and Penny have gained notoriety throughout the northeast Ohio region as well as other parts of the Midwest.
With that said, literally being one-of-a-kind is creatively autonomous.
SCHOOL: Colorado State
Technically CAM is a bighorn sheep, but still one excellent mascot.
Even CAM's horns are somewhat the same color as Colorado State's secondary color, gold.
And, with ram horns like that, that's one of the last animals you'd want to attack.
With the state of Florida being the home of many alligators, it's so surprise the university took the nickname "Gators."
That said, Albert and Albert also have had two children's books published about them by Mascot Books.
And, Albert was even featured in a "This is SportsCenter" commercial.
SCHOOL: West Virginia
Looks like a combination of the Brawny Man and Paul Bunyan.
Plus, the beard just makes Chuck Norris jealous.
If you were to see a man or a woman anywhere in the world dressed in a buckskin suit while supporting a coonskin hat, the West Virginia Mountaineers should be the first thought.
Okay, or maybe Davey Crockett.
The 2005 national mascot of the year, Herbie Husker epitomizes the the folks of the great plains.
Farm tough, hardworking individuals who put on the blue jeans and work boots each day.
Old-school and hard-nosed citizens, which also takes the personality of head coach Bo Pelini and his Cornhuskers.
SCHOOL: Texas Tech Red Raiders
The mask of Zorro? No.
However, a rider that can either be male or female to represent the Texas Tech athletic programs? Yes.
Also, the Masked Rider became the first mascot in the nation to ride a horse onto the field.
Put yourself in the shoes as a member of the Red Raider football team.
Then charging onto the field by a masked rider and their horse to get the crowd going.
Combine the rider's all black attire and dark horse, with that of the Texas Tech all black uniforms, and you get a reenactment of the villain's arrival in the old West.
SCHOOL: Georgia Tech
What's more smooth than rolling out in a classy ride from 1930 that's painted gold?
Well, not too many mascots that's for sure.
The best part is watching the 1930 Ford Model-A Sport coupe leading the Yellow Jackets onto the field before each home game.
So, do you need a ride to the game?
Since Mike's debut in 1936, there have been six of them and all have lived to be at least 17 years of age.
The great thing here is the original life span of a tiger is only about eight to 10 years.
So, as you can see the university takes amazing care of the animal, which only makes them that much more reputable.
Also, how cool would it be to see a live tiger on site at a football game.
That said, if a freaking LIVE TIGER doesn't intimidate opponents, what does?
The use of a live hog can be traced back to the 1960s for the Razorbacks, however Tusk did not come onto the scene until 2002.
Now, don't be fooled by his size because Russian boars are extremely quick and agile for their size.
Tusk II (same age, but passed in January of 2010) reportedly was able to leap over a four foot fence, despite weighing a beefy 500 pounds.
I'm sure any coach wishes they had a player that had a 48 inch vertical while weighing almost 500 pounds.
But then again, these animals are extremely muscular, even though they do appear to be heavily overweight.
SCHOOL: San Diego State
It's must be pretty cool to play for a team named after the Aztec empire (1325-1521 AD).
Then you have the Aztec Warrior as the official mascot, who is named after the famous emperor, Montezuma.
The attire says it all combined with a sword and shield, so what more could you want in something so overzealously appropriate?
2006 Mascot Hall of Fame Inductee
As cute as Bucky Badger and a real badger may appear to be, the animal is as fierce as they come.
They are known to fight off much bigger animal such as wolves and bears, and the football team practically did just that in defeating Ohio State last season.
Bucky however, is more mischievous since he is usually seen picking pretend fights with students and fellow mascots.
Much like all badgers, Bucky and the Wisconsin Badgers will put up a fight when provoked.
SCHOOL: United States Naval Academy
With as many cliches/word acronyms there are, the Naval Academy has to appreciate that "GOAT" stands for "Greatest of All Time."
Well, the Midshipmen were once a nationally prominent football team year in and year out, they then had some down years, but are thriving as of recent.
And, who was there at their side all along? Bill the Goat.
To date there have been 33 Bill the Goat's, so much like anything important in the Navy, tradition and consistency play an important role as part of that.
SCHOOL: Louisiana Lafayette
There might not be a better nickname for a school than the "Ragin' Cajuns."
Then, to make matters even better, a cayenne pepper as the mascot.
Cayenne is easily one of the most interesting and unique mascots, and the only one that gets a Scoville Rating.
The Scoville Rating is the rating system to determine the spiciness of a pepper, and Cayenne is listed at 30,000 to 50,000 (Hot).
Therefore, if you like spicy food, then you should adopt the Ragin' Cajuns as a likable team.
One of the best things about Cosmo the Cougar has to be the fact that he owns a golf cart.
So, if you ever go golfing around BYU, don't be shocked to see Cosmo tee off.
NOTE: Links are only the first episode of each film.
If you're looking for a well-accomplished mascot, Goldy Gopher is one to mention.
In 2004, 2007, and 2010 he made the Capital One All-American Mascot Team, as well as winning the 2011 UCA National Mascot Championship.
Whenever the next class of inductees are announced for the Mascot Hall of Fame, Goldy definitely deserves a spot.
SCHOOL: William and Mary
Easily one of the most interesting mascots ever created.
With the body of a lion and the head of an eagle, The Griffin is Napoleon Dynamite-esque.
The administrators of William and Mary should be recognized for their abnormal thinking, because this mythological beast is one unique mascot.
And, just like the actor Steve Zahn said in Strange Wilderness, "All it takes is one good idea."
SCHOOL: Southern Methodist
Believe it or not, this pony is one mean animal.
According to an article in the SMU Daily Campus by staff writer Taylor Lack:
"Not only did Peruna try to kick Texas Tech's horse, Misty, but he also brought the University of Texas's Longhorn Bevo to the ground, and he defecated at midfield on rival TCU's new field turf. More notably, Peruna is known for killing the Fordham's mascot by kicking the ram in the head."
If this doesn't tell you how amazing of a mascot Peruna is, I don't know what does.
SCHOOL: Virginia Tech
Despite being one of the younger mascots, Virginia Tech's Hoke Bird has become very recognizable.
As the Hokie Bird, the university has some interesting traditions during football season.
A common one is leading the team out onto the field, but when the football team scores, the bird bench presses the updated score (as opposed to doing push-ups like most mascots).
However, the best tradition has to be the Hokie crowd surfing from the bottom of the student section all the way to the top of the stadium.
Now, doesn't that sound more fun than walking up the steps?
SCHOOL: North Carolina
It's not everyday you see a ram, let alone a ram with powder blue horns.
Whether they paint or dye the horns, adding the school's main color to them makes Rameses fit right in.
However, if those horns naturally grew out powder blue, that would be the coolest thing ever (but I digress).
In any event, Rameses is still very popular and recognizable throughout the country.
Regardless of who you root for, Sam the Minuteman is one of the most likable mascots out there.
Also, he's been featured in a "This is Sportscenter" commercial about Brett Favre and whether Favre was coming out of retirement or not.
With UMass having their nicknames as Minutemen and Minutewomen, Sam is a very suitable mascot to the school.
What most don't know about Ralphie, is that Ralphie is actually a female buffalo.
The reason is because female buffaloes are smaller and not as aggressive, so safety (especially of her handlers) is first priority.
In any event though, Ralphie is still an awesome mascot that deserves the recognition she gets.
Seriously, think about running on the football field next to a live buffalo bison.
Talk about an adrenaline rush!
SCHOOL: Notre Dame
What more appropriate than a Leprechaun to represent the Irish?
Well for one thing, it's to maintain the Irish folklore at the university, while supposedly bringing the magical powers of good luck to the team.
Thus far, it's been somewhat working with the Irish coming off a solid 2010 season.
However, more of those lucky charms will be needed in 2011 if Notre Dame is to regain national prominence.
SCHOOL: United States Military Academy
Although, not the official mascot until 1936, the Army Mules were introduced in 1899 to counter the Navy Goat.
Also, it's very appropriate since mules were used to carry Army gear for many years.
In this case, the Army gave credit where credit is due, so what way to better honor the mules for all their service than as the academy's mascot?
SCHOOL: Central Florida
Such an original and yet creative mascot, Knightro definitely deserves all the recognition he gets.
To compete against Albert/Alberta of Florida, Chief Osceola of Florida State, and Sebastian of Miami, Knightro has earned his stripes, especially for being at a smaller school.
As for the football team, they come off a conference title season, so Knightro could receive even more exposure in 2011.
2008 Mascot Hall of Fame Inductee
To date there have been nine Smokeys, with the first ("Blue Smokey") appeared in 1953 and became the mascot after winning a student poll.
The best part is that Smokey leads the team out onto the field for the games as well.
In that event, you can't help but wonder what the dog is thinking as he leads the Volunteers out of the tunnel.
Despite it's 1964 debut, the Sooner Schooner did not become the school's official mascot until 1980.
With the RUF/NEKS as the drivers, it is pulled by the two ponies Boomer and Sooner.
Such an interesting mascot, the Sooner Schooner is derived from the Conestoga Wagon that was used by Sooners settling in the Oklahoma territory in the late-19th Century.
So what's a Sooner?
People who settled onto land prior to the land actually be open for settlement (kind of like trespassing on unowned property).
SCHOOL: Miami (Fla.)
With the city of Miami practically in hurricane central, the university has made an outstanding connection between it's nickname and mascot.
Obviously, the nickname "Hurricanes" comes from an actual hurricane.
Sebastian the Ibis however, is a taken from the native marsh bird "the Ibis" that is the final sign of wildlife to find shelter before a hurricane.
Then, the first to appear after the hurricane is over.
Yes, this is also an educational piece for those that are interested/curious.
Although he's an unofficial mascot, Vili Fehoko is one angry samoan.
He's intense, emotional, passionate and even more important, a family man.
Fehoko has a wife Linda, and four sons (three of which are currently in college).
And, when his children were younger, they performed along his side at the Hawaii football games.
To learn more about Fehoko, check out this article by Bob Hogue on him and his football family.
The only school that takes the nickname after a train, the Boilermaker Special is one of the coolest mascots to ever exist.
It's primarily to represent the nickname along with the engineering heritage of Purdue, so history and tradition play a big role.
Now, although it may not seem intimidating, picture a freight train at full speed traveling down the tracks.
That would be one awesome train ride.
The year is not exact, but in the '20s a small white duck named "Puddles" began appearing at athletic events.
Even the cartoon character Donald Duck has been tied to the school since former athletic director Leo Harris' connection to Walt Disney.
As for Puddles, popularity has been rising with the success of Oregon.
There even was a "This is Sportscenter" commercial with him.
To learn more though, check out this full story about the duck.
Take one look at Bevo and you see the core of Texas Longhorn football.
The school's uniform derives from his orange and white hair color, while the helmet logo come from the horns; hence the term, "Hook 'em Horns!"
Also, Bevo is one of the most (if not the most) recognized mascot is all of sports.
Being in Texas, where football is practically a religion, it's no secret that this Longhorn Steer has become a part of college football history.
Deservingly so, he is just as important to the University of Texas as he is famous to the sports world.
SCHOOL: Ohio State
2007 Mascot Hall of Fame Inductee
Year in and year out, if there's one thing most Ohio sports fans have going for them are the Ohio State Buckeyes.
That said, Brutus is the mascot that represents the state of Ohio, literally.
In Ohio, the state tree is called a buckeye, and on it hangs the buckeye nut.
As for Brutus, he represents the buckeye nut which is extremely unique since no other school uses the "buckeyes" as a nickname.
SCHOOL: Michigan State
2006 Mascot Hall of Fame Inductee
Despite only being around since 1989, Sparty has been one of the most widely recognized mascots in the sports world.
What's great about him is the look of a Spartan warrior during the medieval times.
Already repping the armour, the addition of a sword and shield would only enhance the appearance.
As King Leonidas said in the movie 300, "This is Sparta!"
SCHOOL: Florida State
In honor of the Florida State nickname, "Seminoles", Chief Osceola has been the school's mascot since 1978.
What's great about Chief Osceola, is that the Seminole tribe in the state of Florida have a close relationship with the university.
To make matters even more organic, the regalia worn by the Chief is authentically designed by women from the Seminole tribe.
That my friends, is a mascot.
Not to mention it would be a really awesome Halloween costume.
Talk about a dog that has the best seat in the house.
Uga's doghouse sits on the sideline to keep an eye on the players during the games.
To date there have been eight Uga's, and one of them (Uga IV) got invited to the 1982 Heisman Trophy presentation, where he was escorted alongside RB Herschal Walker.
Tragically though, Uga VIII passed away in February, so we must patiently await for the next Uga to lead the Georgia Bulldogs.