The 23 Dumbest Mascots in College Football
College football is home to some of the greatest team mascots anywhere in the world.
These lovable characters have become the personified symbols of our favorite teams, and spend their Saturday afternoons revving up the crowd, engaging in hilarious hijinks, and on occasion, beating the crap out of the other team's mascot.
But for every great sideline hero, there's another mascot that doesn't even come close to measuring up.
From utterly failing to instill any sense of pride or excitement in the fans to getting mocked outright, these epic mascot failures roam the sidelines anonymously at best. At worst, they have become an unneeded distraction, as their mere existence is an exercise in stupidity.
So here, we present to you the 23 dumbest mascots in college football.
Here, we'll list a few mascots that just missed our list, as well as a few that weren't really eligible, since they are mascots for schools with no football programs.
Keggy the Keg—Dartmouth Big Green (it is college, after all)
Sammy the Slug—California-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs
Scrotie—Rhode Island School of Design Nads (get it?)
Dutch—Hope College Flying Dutchman (a Christian college chose the harbinger of death as a sports nickname?)
Cy—Iowa State Cyclones (cardinal birds make us think of tornadoes?)
"Roboduck"—Oregon Ducks (thank goodness this thing is gone!)
The Purple Cow (D3 Williams)
We'll start with a nod to the lower divisions.
The Purple Cow from the Williams College Ephs might actually be the most famous of all Division III football mascots.
Not because Williams College has ever done much in terms of football, but because the mascot head was donned by Lee Corso when ESPN's "College Game Day" went to a Division III game site for the first time ever in 2007.
The Purple Cow later appeared in an ESPN commercial.
But that doesn't excuse this poor excuse for a mascot.
First off, a purple cow? Secondly, even a D3 program should be able to invest in a mascot that looks better than a junior high home ec class project.
The Fighting Okra (D2 Delta State)
Division II football sure has its share of head-scratchers when it comes to football mascots, but Delta State University's Fighting Okra probably takes the top prize.
Technically, Delta State is known as the Statesmen. But since the '80s, a mascot called “The Fighting Okra” has gained popularity with the student body.
It's exactly what it sounds like: a piece of okra with boxing gloves.
Gaylord (FCS Campbell)
The mascot for the Campbell University Fighting Camels is, not surprisingly, a camel.
That in and of itself isn't particularly intimidating. Camels bite and spit, but beyond that, they're not really known for their toughness.
Every now and then, a school tries a little too hard to come up with an ultra-cool mascot.
That appears to be the case at Toledo.
Rocky is incredibly silly looking, and would probably be more at home with his own Saturday morning cartoon series than attempting to rev up the crowd at a Toledo Rockets football game on Saturday night.
Peruna (Southern Methodist)
Think of the word “Mustang” and you think about a big, powerful horse galloping across the plains, snorting and grunting with mighty strides of pure speed.
Take a look at Peruna, the mascot for the SMU Mustangs, and you words like “powerful” and “mighty” and “speed” aren't really the first things that pop into your head.
Taking your children to an SMU game is just as likely to end in “Daddy, I want one!” as it is to end in “Wow, dad, that was awesome.”
As dumb as having a little pony as your mascot is, Peruna has actually accomplished some pretty impressive things over the years, from knocking over Bevo with a swift kick to the midsection to trying to mount Misty at an A&M game, to—our favorite—christening TCU's field turf with a little all-natural fertilizer before the first-ever play on the new surface.
The Tree (Stanford)
We understand that it's probably difficult to come up with a mascot that is representative of a color, but how a silly-looking tree is supposed to remind us of cardinal is inexplicable.
On top of that, the mascot itself is pretty dumb. Basically, it consists of a tree with googly eyes, a goofy smile and red lipstick.
Sam the Minuteman (Massachusetts)
A new mascot making his entrance to the FBS this season is Sam the Minuteman from UMass.
Massachusetts is at least an aptly named team, but Sam looks a little too much like a shady Boston politician.
That slick smile that says “vote for me while I steal this baby's lollipop” is a little too much for us to ignore on this list.
New England may be home to some great sports teams like the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics, but the smug look of superiority on Sam's face doesn't jibe with UMass's relative lack of success—in anything.
Pistol Pete (Oklahoma State)
Pistol Pete may have been a cool mascot when he was first introduced, but it's clear that his days as a modern mascot are well behind him.
It's bad enough that the mascot is an enormous cowboy head on a comparatively puny body, but the head itself looks like it belongs in a goofy animatronics show at Chuck E. Cheese's.
While having one of the largest foreheads of any mascot you will ever see, Aubie looks less like a fearsome tiger and more like a elderly, wisecracking woodland creature.
But all things considered, Aubie probably wouldn't come close to our list of 23 dumbest college football mascots were it not for one little fact.
Aubie is the only college football mascot that refuses to lend its head to ESPN's Lee Corso during "College GameDay!"
Where exactly does that smugness come from? What is so special about Auburn that makes Aubie “too good” for ESPN?
Alabama's Big Al doesn't mind, and let's face it folks: Auburn is no Alabama.
And what is with that head-wobble Aubie seems to suffer from?
Goldy Gopher (Minnesota)
Awww. Look at the cute little gopher!
Football isn't a nice, touchy-feely kind of sport, and when it comes to football, Goldy misses the mark by quite a margin.
While Goldy might be a hit with the kids at Minneapolis-area events, he looks like he'd fit in better on "Barney and Friends" than at an Big Ten football game.
A dopey bear dressed in a 1950's-era college sweater.
What could be less inspiring?
Butch T. Cougar (Washington State)
Other than yet another dopey animal caricature, we have one overwhelming problem with Butch T. Cougar.
The “T.” in his name actually stands for “The.” No kidding.
That alone is enough for Butch to earn a spot on our “dumbest” list.
What do most people picture when they think about Akron, Ohio?
Kangaroos, of course!
Surprisingly, Akron did not go with some sort of rubber-related mascot. A tire would have at least made sense (at one time, Goodrich, Firestone and Goodyear were all headquartered in Akron).
A dopey Kangaroo, on the other hand, doesn't add anything to the Zips' image.
The Syracuse Orange were once the Orangemen.
When that nickname was created, it's highly doubtful it was in reference to the fruit.
After all, upstate New York isn't exactly know for its lush orange groves.
Yet, Syracuse decided to go with an Orange as the mascot.
Yes, Otto the Orange is a giant fruit with arms and legs, wearing a comically large cap with a silly, cartoonish face covering most of his body.
Not only is Otto virtually ignored by fans of other programs, he's pretty much persona non grata at Syracuse, as well.
Purdue Pete (Purdue)
After years of simply being a head on an uncostumed body, Purdue decided to “upgrade” Purdue Pete a bit, giving him a more complete mascot look with some foam rubber arms and torso.
But Pete's problem wasn't his unfinished look. It was his bewildered look. Neither smiling nor frowning, not scowling or grimacing, Pete walks around Purdue football games pretty much expressionless.
Pete was likely created out of the perceived necessity for a personified mascot. In actuality, Purdue would have been just fine sticking to the Boilermaker Special.
Hokie Bird (Virginia Tech)
If someone could come up with a plausible explanation of what a Hokie actually is, we'd all be much obliged.
Okay, we all know it's a turkey-like bird, and the name comes from an old cheer that began just before the dawn of the 20th century, but the fact remains that Hokie actually has no meaning.
On top of that, a purple turkey isn't exactly an awe-inspiring choice for a mascot.
The Nittany Lion (Penn State)
There's not much explanation needed when describing the utter lameness of this mascot.
Just take a look at it, and you see what can only be described as a half-lion, half-footie-pajama getup with a very poorly constructed and not-at-all-fearsome lion head.
Big Al (Alabama)
There's absolutely nothing wrong with the nickname Crimson Tide.
In fact, it's one of the more unique and well-respected names in the game.
But when you somehow connect the “Crimson Tide” with a lovable cartoon elephant, somebody's wires had to have gotten crossed somewhere.
There are a number of stories about where the elephant came from, but one of the most popular seems to be about a fan yelling out, “Hold your horses, here come the elephants!” as the Crimson Tide prepared to take the field.
If we started creating mascots based on random things said by fans at a game, we'd be in big trouble.
When the University of Louisiana at Lafayette changed its sports teams' nickname from Bulldogs to Ragin' Cajuns, it was a pretty neat idea.
After all, Lafayette is right smack bad in the middle of Cajun country, so it seemed to fit.
Louisiana experimented with a few different mascots before settling on Cayenne. First, there was Mr. Ragin' Cajun, who was followed by the Fabulous Cajun Chicken (we can all see why the university did away with that one).
But rather than come up with something close to an actual Cajun, the folks at Lafayette decided to go with a cayenne pepper.
We get it. Cayenne peppers are a popular ingredient in Cajun recipes, and there's no doubt that the Cajuns know how to cook.
But to embody a pepper as a mascot?
That's just weird.
Shasta (Houston Cougars)
The Cougar has been done, and there are plenty of examples of lame Cougar mascots.
But what gives Shasta a place of shame on our “dumbest” list is the fact that Shasta holds the dubious distinction of being on the receiving end of a beatdown from Oregon's Duck.
It's amazing that Shasta's rather homely-looking girlfriend, Sasha, still hangs around after watching her man/cat get man/duck-handled on national television.
Big Red (Western Kentucky)
Exactly. What the heck is this thing?
For that matter, what the heck is a Hilltopper anyway?
In reality, there were quite a few college and universities that sported nicknames like the Hilltoppers way back in the day. But most of them got rid of that fairly meaningless name about the same time flappers and prohibition went out of style.
You really got to hand it to WKU, though. It seems as if it's going to ride this dead horse until kingdom come.
Still, we come back to Big Red. Apparently, it was designed in the late 1970's to “symbolize the spirit of WKU.”
Okay. How exactly does it do that?
Lil' Red (Nebraska)
Not only does Lil' Red make our list of dumbest mascots, he also ranks pretty high on the creepy and cheap meters.
Really, Nebraska? This thing should have gone away about the same time as running through an inflatable tunnel became uncool—which was just shortly after it became cool.
On top of that, we're not quite sure how a pasty, sappy kid in overalls with a bemused smile and too-happy expression fits in to Cornhuskers football.
A blow-up doll is probably right at home in mom-and-pop restaurant commercials or stores requiring a “21 and over only” sign, but definitely not at a college football game.
Brutus (Ohio State Buckeyes)
The folks in Ohio are going to go nuts over this.
That's pretty understandable, considering their mascot is a nut with a dopey face and dorky little beanie.
If that was your mascot, you'd try to hide your embarrassment with anger, too!
We feel pretty safe about adding Brutus Buckeye to our list of dumbest mascots, considering he's been on just about every similar list ever compiled by someone who doesn't live in Columbus.
There's nothing wrong with having the Buckeye as the nickname, but take a tip from the folks up in Ann Arbor: Sometimes it's better to forgo the whole mascot idea rather than trying and failing miserably.