Top 50 Mascots in College Football

Ryne HodkowskiAnalyst IOctober 11, 2011

Top 50 Mascots in College Football

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    Real or fake, mascots have become ubiquitous with the universities they represent.  They perform philanthropic acts, attend charity events, spread goodwill to the rest of the community and of course, lead cheers at sporting events.

    With their acts of anthropomorphism, mascots can usually bring a smile to the gloomiest of people.  Even when behaving badly, as many of them oftentimes do, their antics and histrionics are memorable and legendary. 

    Mascots are the tradition of their universities.  Further, they are a symbolic representation of what attending college means.  Upon graduating from a university, you leave with more than just a degree and a higher IQ.  Rather, you become a lifelong Tiger, Bulldog, Bear or Wildcat, and you wear that association with pride, for the rest of your life.

    Here are the top 50 college football mascots. 

50. Handsome Dan: Yale University

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    Perhaps the reason we have mascots at all.  Handsome Dan is thought to be the first live college mascot in America. 

    Handsome Dan I (pictured) was purchased in 1889 by Yale Lineman Andrew Graves.  Dan would go on to win the Westminster dog show, and had a peculiar habit of being friendly to only Yale students.

    Dan went overseas to Graves' hometown in London, where he passed away.  Graves had him stuffed, and returned to Yale.

    Since then, there have been 16 Dans.  Handsome Dan XVII made his appearance in 2006. 

49. Seymour D'Campus: Southern Mississippi University

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    As mentioned earlier, mascots do more than just lead cheers at sporting events.  They're philanthropists, they encourage people to get involved in campus clubs and activities and they are staples at university awareness events. 

    As his name indicates, this is what Seymour D'Campus (really?) does.  Above, he promotes his favorite book, The Maltese Falcon, even though he himself is an eagle.

    Off the field he's spreading literacy awareness.  On the field, don't mess with him. 

48. Yosef the Mountaineer: Appalachian State University

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    The Mountaineers are 189-76 in 21 seasons under head coach Jerry Moore.  They have won six straight conference championships.  They won three straight national championships from 2005-2007.  And of course, they beat Michigan in 2007.

    You would think that some of these facts would cause Yosef to lighten up and smile.  I guess it is that lack of complacency, that intensity, that drive, that keeps the Mountaineers performing at such a high level.  Here, he fights loneliness, depression and boredom during a Mountaineer offseason. 

47. Stanford Tree: Stanford University

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    It's a tree that dances around.  You can make your own joke about that.

    Don't think that the tree doesn't care about Stanford or knows how to have a good time though.  In 1995, a scuffle was caught on videotape that showed the tree fighting rival Cal's Oski bear (more on this later).

    In 2006, the tree was seen drinking from a flask at a Stanford and Cal basketball game.  When approached and breathalyzed, the tree blew a .154, and was arrested and suspended.

46. Buzz: Georgia Institute of Technology

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    The picture is Buzz with four Georgia state legislators.  That pretty much sums it all up.  Who knows how much power Buzz has if he's hobnobbing and schmoozing with the state lawmakers?

45. Joe Vandal: Idaho University

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    You have to give credit to Joe.  Despite being a vandal, he still does his homework and is able to act in a civilized manner in the library, as this Idaho informational film shows.   

    He even knows how to use microfilm, which has become a lost skill in the 21st century. 

44. Marco the Buffalo: Marshall University

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    In 1859, Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species.  In it, Darwin outlines natural selection, a way of explaining how the fittest species survive, adapt, replicate and advance through the ages.

    We can apply Darwin's work to Marco the Buffalo.  In 1930, Marco was a mere shadow of what he is today.  Now, he can fully operate a laptop, presumably with working Wi-Fi. 

43. Zippy: Akron University

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    Despite Akron falling on hard times recently, Zippy has maintained a perpetual smile about him.  Probably because he has found plenty of Pepsi and Hot Dogs at Akron's Infocision Stadium, which according to his own homepage (yes, he has one, in addition to an e-mail), are his favorite food and beverage.

    Additionally, Zippy likes to travel home to Australia during his vacation time.  Luckily, he is complete with a pouch to carry his passport and other items.  Unfortunately, Zippy might have had recent surgery or something, as his pouch can inexplicably be closed and opened with a zipper.

42. Oski: University of California Berkeley

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    While most mascots dress appropriately for the game by adorning a jersey or shirt showing their school pride, Oski is too cool and hipster.  Instead, he wears a cardigan sweater, which is what I imagine every faculty member from Berkeley wears.

    Don't let Oski's faux-intellectualism fool you though.  He can still pack a punch, especially if it's against a rival tree. 

41. Dubs: University of Washington

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    One of the younger mascots to be included in the list, Dubs is the newest in a long line of Huskies to serve as the UW mascot.

    He has a lot to live up to, but he's accomplished a lot more than most of us do in our first three years of life.  He already has his own "blawg," and takes time out for photo opportunities with graduates in May.

40. Buster Bronco: Boise State University

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    Despite being a bronco, Buster hates walking and even running.  He'd rather take his skateboard, or pull a Van Wilder and ride around in a golf cart with school administrators. 

39. Rameses: University of North Carolina

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    There are two Rameses—the one seen here, and a real-life horned dorset sheep

    What doesn't make sense to me is why they have different-colored horns.  Furthermore, why would they paint the real-life sheep's horns blue, and leave the fake one's gold?  Wouldn't it be more humane to have it flip-flopped?

    Oh well.  Rameses is more known for his appearances at the Dean Dome to support UNC basketball, but as this picture indicates, he's at all the football games too. 

38. Hokie Bird: Virginia Tech

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    So a Hokie doesn't technically exist...big deal. 

    Above, we see that if the Hokie did exist, he would be a good father (although this is the only picture of the two together, so who knows).

    Here, we see that if he existed, he would have a mean streak, as he "sucks" the juice out of the Orangeman.  (I love how the announcer totally ignores it.)

    Virginia Tech was originally known as the "fighting gobblers." (No joke.)  A rudimentary turkey-like thing graced the sidelines through the 1970s, until finally, VT coach and AD Bill Dooley spearheaded a campaign for a new mascot.  The result, was the Hokie Bird, in 1981.

37. Alphie and Wolfie Jr.: University of Nevada Reno

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    These guys are apparently a cousin duo, which is rare in mascothood.

    They certainly look like each other, as one is nearly indecipherable from the other.  That being said, their lineage is unclear. 

    Alphie took over for Wolfie, and Alphie was said to be Wolfie's nephew.  Then, Wolfie Jr. showed up, which means that Alphie and Wolfie Jr. are cousins.  But, it is written in other places that they are brothers.  This is starting to sound like an episode of Jerry Springer.

    Regardless, they are a great duo.  Here, they use their wits and numbers to surround the San Jose State Spartan.

36. Hey Reb!: UNLV

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    Criticism of this mascot arose when people began to think Hey Reb! represented Confederate army colonels.  Over the years, however, steps have been taken to minimize the rebel's association with such an image.  Additionally, as we see here, Hey Reb! clearly has a job as a journalist. 

    Hey Reb! is clearly a trendsetter and ahead of his times.  His name includes a punctuation mark, which has since been copied by Ke$ha.  Also, he was the love interest of Jenn Sterger before Brett Favre was. 

35. Nittany Lion: Penn State University

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    I'm not quite sure what to think of a mountain lion that needs a scarf, and just a scarf, to stay warm.  Either it's cold out or it isn't. 

    Critics of the Lion may say that he only wears the scarf to be fashionable, but, he's been seen without it, like when he has to take a test.  At least we know his clothes are clean

34. Freddie and Frieda Falcon: Bowling Green State University

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    Freddie started off as a loner.  He was introduced in 1950, but Frieda didn't come along until 1966.  Then, she was known as Mrs. Freddie Falcon.  Despite apparently being married, it took Freddie eight years to ask her to homecoming.  Still, so far so good.

    Then, Frieda became a regular at sporting events in 1980...as Freddie's younger sister and sidekick.  Wait, didn't they just go to the dance together, and were even married?  

    Now, they're so famous that they have become trademarks.

33. Monte Bear: University of Montana

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    Monte burst onto the scene in 1993, and immediately made a name for himself.  He is the only two-time winner of Capital One's Mascot Challenge (2002, 2004), a feat even greater when one considers that Monte doesn't represent a FBS university.

    He is definitely a wild child‚whether it is channeling his best Dennis Hopper/Peter Fonda Easy Rider, or jumping off platforms and generally running into things head first, as you can see here

32. Bevo: University of Texas

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    Bevo was originally known as Bo until 1916, when Texas A&M branded the steer "13-0" to represent the score of the game between the two that year.  When you scrunch those numbers together, you can kinda make it look like "Bevo," sort of...so that's what Texas did.

    Bevo is bred to be calm and docile now, so the current Bevo (XIV) just sits in the end zone of all home games.  This wasn't always the case. 

    Bevo III escaped from his cage and was loose on campus for a full two days.  Bevo IV attacked a parked car, and Bevo V broke free and charged the Baylor band. 

    To tell you the truth, I kind of like the old Bevos better.

31. Bullet: Oklahoma State University

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    Bullet isn't a one-trick pony (pun intended) who just appears at the beginning of games, and then disappears.  Rather, Bullet runs out onto the field every time the Cowboys score...and he runs as fast as his name indicates. 

    He is welcomed by the PA announcer's call: "Heeeerrrreee comes Bullet!"  

    Bullet has been keeping busy this year, as the Cowboys have been putting up huge numbers.

30. Demon Deacon: Wake Forest University

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    The actual mascot began in 1941, when Jack Baldwin thought that Wake was missing pep on the sidelines.  He wanted to dress like a real deacon...and did, finding an old top hat and long coat.  Through the years, the Deacon has evolved into what you see here.

    The Deacon leads a tradition of "opening the gate" as Wake takes the field.  And I'm just saying, he and Jay Leno have never been seen in the same place at the same time...

29. Aubie: Auburn University

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    This past offseason, Aubie starred in a 10 part mini-series that saw him steal the BCS trophy, and place it around campus, before ultimately being confronted by coach Gene Chizik.

    Yes, 10 parts.  One of the greatest narratives of all time, Roots, is only eight parts.

28. PeeDee the Pirate: East Carolina University

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    Long before the resurgence in pirate popularity, there was PeeDee.  Named for the PeeDee River that runs along the border of North and South Carolina, PeeDee has been roaming sidelines since 1983.

    Pirates have had a long association with the North Carolina coast.  Blackbeard (who PeeDee is modeled after) had his men stationed in Ocracoke, North Carolina for many years.  This gave him a strategic location for attacks up and down the ports of Charleston, South Carolina.

    Blackbeard eventually died in Ocracoke, a short three hours away from Greenville, North Carolina, home of ECU.

27. Smokey: University of Tennessee

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    Two for the price of one.  The real Smokey is bluetick coonhound, and is in its ninth incarnation.  The previous Smokey compiled the best winning percentage of all the Smokeys, going 91-22. 

    In 1991, Smokey III suffered heat exhaustion in a game against UCLA.  As a result, he was listed on the team's injury report the following week.

26. Herbie Husker: University of Nebraska

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    Here is Herbie in 2002.      

    Needless to say, he lost weight, got a face-lift, dyed his hair and might have even sobered up.  Good for him...but he needs to remember what Anne Sophie Swetchine once said: "Our vanity is the constant enemy of our dignity."

25. Chief Osceola and Renegade: Florida State University

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    While many universities are ridding themselves of Native-American imagery and mascots, the Seminoles continue with Chief Osceola and Renegade.  This is thanks to FSU receiving approval from the Seminole Tribe of Florida.  The regalia is designed in part by the tribe.

    Chief Osceola is named after...Osceola, a leader of the Seminole Tribe in the early 19th century.  In 1837, Osceola went to Fort Payton for alleged truce negotiations.  Instead, he was captured by deceit by U.S. General Jesup and imprisoned.  He died of malaria three months later.

    Today, Chief Osceola is best known for riding Renegade out to midfield, and planting a flaming spear in the ground prior to the kickoff. 

24. Pete and Penny Penguin: Youngstown State University

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    Before the immensely popular, heartwarming March of the Penguins, there were Pete and Penny, two emperor penguins that somehow manage to inhabit Youngstown, Ohio.

    Despite global warming, the melting of polar icecaps and the threat of dormancy to penguins in the North Pole, Pete and Penny remain cold in Ohio, evidenced by Pete's scarf and Penny's babushka.

    Youngstown State was immensely successful in the 1990s under head coach Jim Tressel, winning four national championships in nine years. 

    There is no word if either penguin traded scarves for tattoos, or if Tressel subsequently failed to notify administrators.

23. Purdue Pete: Purdue University

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    The nurse must not have sterilized the needles in this picture, or something, because the old Purdue Pete is no more.

    Now, there is a new and "improved" Purdue Pete, which seems bigger and stronger, but carries a smaller sledgehammer, if you want to call it that.   

    I will always remember the old Purdue Pete.

22. Big Red and Sue E.: University of Arkansas

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    Just two of Arkansas' many mascots, Big Red and Sue E. (there is also a baby hog named Pork Chop, and an inflatable hog named Boss Hog).

    Sue E. is one of the more active female mascots, as she regularly interacts with the fans before and during the game. 

21. Sparty: Michigan State University

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    Clearly, Sparty's physique has him situated as the affection of all the women in East Lansing, Michigan and beyond. 

    But as you'll see in this video, he has a soft side too.  He also has morals. 

    Sparty won the best mascot national championship at the Universal Cheer Association/Universal Dance Association College Nationals three out of four years. 

    He is a member of the Mascot Hall of Fame.

20. Paydirt Pete: University of Texas El-Paso

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    Another tool-wielding Pete.  Just like Purdue, this one has gone through some reincarnations.  And just like Purdue Pete, Paydirt Pete knows the importance of donating blood. 

    Paydirt Pete started off as an old prospector who loved to smoke cigars.  Since then, Pete has kicked the smoking habit, trimmed down and now carries one of the biggest pickaxes in the world anywhere he goes, even when applying for grad school. 

    The old prospectors and other incarnations are still alive and well, resting in a retirement home. 

19. Mr. and Mrs. Wuf: North Carolina State University

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    It was real nice of the Demon Deacon to wed the two wolves, despite being associated with a rival school.

    Just like Sue E., Mrs. Wuf is very active and can hold her own against the boys.

18. Testudo: University of Maryland

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    It may not make sense why Testudo would need an entire box of paper, until you realize he is a businessman. 

    A real diamondback turtle was subject to many school pranks throughout the years.  UVA kidnapped him, while Johns Hopkins students painted him.  Now, a statue of the original turtle sits on the campus of Maryland, where students are encouraged to rub its nose for luck anytime they pass. 

17. Sebastian: University of Miami

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    Sebastian is an ibis, a bird that is known to be the last to leave before a hurricane hits, and the first to return.  Sebastian is also one of the nation's biggest troublemakers.

    At the famous Orange Bowl of 1984, despite being given strict orders not to, Sebastian stole a fire extinguisher and extinguished it to give the Hurricanes their traditional smoke entrance.

    He was also detained after a stunt gone wrong. 

16. Boomer and Sooner: University of Oklahoma

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    Boomer and Sooner are two white ponies that pull the Sooner Schooner out at every Oklahoma home game (and some road ones). 

    Just like Bullet, the Schooner rides after every OU touchdown, sometimes less successfully than others. 

    An odd incident occurred in the 1985 Orange Bowl against Washington.  OU made a field goal, and per tradition, the Schooner took the field.  Only there had been a penalty on the play against OU, meaning they needed to re-kick.  The Schooner couldn't get off the field, however, as it was stuck in mud caused by days of Miami rain.  As a result, OU was penalized 15 yards for a delay of game.  OU ended up missing the re-try, and lost the game, 28-17.

    Recently, costumed versions have appeared as well. 

15. Traveler: University of Southern California

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    Traveler is a pure white horse that has differed in breeds throughout the ages.  Traveler is always accompanied by Tommy Trojan. 

    He spends most of his time on the field.  He leads Tommy out to midfield to plant the sword in pregames, and circles the coliseum after a touchdown. 

14. Keggy the Keg: Dartmouth University

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    Before anyone accuses me of promoting drinking or alcoholism, realize that Dartmouth's own have encouraged their children to get acquainted with Keggy. 

    Dartmouth was once the Indians, and they abolished the nickname and mascot.  Therefore, they held a contest for a new mascot in 2003.  It came down to a final vote between a moose and "nothing," and the students chose nothing.

    Then, students invented the keg to represent what they believed Dartmouth stood for.  It remains an unofficial mascot of the university. 

    In 2003, Keggy was kidnapped by a fraternity, bound, gagged and given a black eye.  Ransom photos were released.  While Keggy was eventually returned, safe and sound, he has not been seen since 2009.

13. Bucky Badger: University of Wisconsin

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    Bucky is a mainstay of UW-Madison.  So much so that in 1973, assistant attorney general Howard Koop campaigned to replace Bucky with a cow, which he felt was more emblematic of Wisconsin.  This idea was ridiculed and never had a chance of passing.

    Bucky is known for his red and white sweater, and is a member of the Mascot Hall of Fame.

    Oddly, if the new ESPN commercials are accurate, he has a thing for Wilma Wildcat, which is an odd inter-species fetish. 

12. Brutus Buckeye: Ohio State University

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    A staple of mascot lore, it may come as a surprise to many of you that Brutus is ranked so low on my rankings.  The reason behind this is that he’s a nut, both literally and figuratively.

    Literally, his head is a buckeye nut.  The buckeye is a nut that grows on Aesculus Glabra, or the Ohio Buckeye tree, which are of course indigenous to the Ohio region.  Brutus somehow was able to sprout a full body, arms and legs underneath his “head."

    Figuratively, Brutus usually celebrates big plays by punching himself in the side of the head repeatedly.  He’s so forceful that the sides of his head compress momentarily before bouncing back out.  Usually this type of behavior lands you in a psych ward. 

11. Goldy Gopher: University of Minnesota

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    Apparently, Goldy can take a punch, as I think this recent news story is true.  Luckily, it didn't affect his two famous front teeth.

    Just like any formidable player or coach, Goldy spent all offseason training

10. Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat: University of Arizona

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    In 1915, "Rufus Arizona" became Arizona's first mascot.  A live wildcat remained to be the main mascot for UofA until 1960, when Wilbur was introduced.

    He had to wait 26 years for Wilma to be introduced.  Once she was, they were immediately wed. 

9. Joe and Josephine Bruin: UCLA

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    Joe Bruin was introduced in the 1960s.  Since then, he and Josephine have been trying to clean up the world, and make it a better place. 

8. Otto the Orange: Syracuse University

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    Otto was orange before tanning beds and spray tans were popular.

    Otto is a bit misshapen, but he uses it to his advantage. 

    At basketball games, he can barely lift his arms or clap them together.  At football games, however, he uses his roundness to do continuous front flips across the field after a Syracuse TD.

    Since his arms are mostly irrelevant, Otto has come up with a training program that focuses on his legs.  Makes sense to me. 

7. Puddles the Duck: University of Oregon

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    Yes, "the Duck," or "the Oregon Duck," is actually named Puddles. 

    The Ducks' popularity has blown up recently, coinciding with the football team's success.

    The Duck started to gain notoriety in 2007, when he really attacked the Houston Cougars mascot, Shasta.  As a result, the Duck was suspended for one game.

    Now he's famous for doing pushups after Oregon touchdowns.  He doesn't go down all the way, as his beak prohibits this.  But since Oregon scores so many points per game, who can blame him?

6. The Leprachaun: University of Notre Dame

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    Yes, I find it ironic that the only actual human-from-head-to-toe mascot on this list represents something that isn't real.  But that's the way things go I guess.

    Leprechaun contestants are put through a rigorous tryout and training process.  Tasks include ND trivia, pushups, leading faux-pep rallies, etc.

    All of it is for good reason too.  The Leprechaun does more than just show up to ND home games.  He leads weekly pep rallies, engages in community service initiatives, travels and acts as an ambassador wherever he goes.

5. Big Al: University of Alabama

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    Elephants became associated with the University of Alabama in 1930, when a sportswriter referred to Alabama's offensive line as elephants.  The name stuck ever since, and when a mascot was needed in the late '70s, along came Big Al.

    He made his debut at the 1979 Sugar Bowl against Penn State, where the Tide won the national championship.

    Earlier we saw Al take it to Seymour D. Campus.  Here, he teaches kids the benefits of reading. 

    If he read all those books in the library, Al could become a polymath, as I hear he has an impeccable memory...

4. Mike the Tiger: Louisiana State University

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    Mike is a bengal tiger that serves as an intimidating force for LSU. 

    One of the better traditions in college football involve Mike.  Every home game, LSU parks Mike's page next to the visitors' locker room/entrance, forcing them to walk by the ferocious animal

    Although PETA has protested the use of Mike, LSU has pointed out that under the habitat they created for him, he lives to be, on average, 17 years old.  That is double the normal life expectancy of eight to 10 years for Bengal tigers.

    Since Mike needs to remain caged and/or out of the public for most of his day, LSU created a mascot-Mike as well.

3. Ralphie: University of Colorado

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    We are currently on the fifth incarnation of Ralphie.  All have been female, and all have weighed over 1,000 pounds.  At top speed, Ralphie can hit 25 mph.

    Ralphie has accompanied the team out before, but other times, she runs by herself prior to the start of games.

    It remains an exhilarating experience every time it is played out—mainly because Ralphie can, and has, broken free. 

2. Al and Alberta: University of Florida

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    The most famous married mascot couple. 

    They have shown off their dance skills, and Albert has shown that he can beat up just about anybody, even those trained to destroy him. 

1. UGA: University of Georgia

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    For those who might debate this ranking, consider the following truisms:

    1) UGA has his own house.  In this economy, that is an accomplishment.

    2) The house is air conditioned.

    3) UGA stays cool by lying on ice, which indicates that he has a freezer or an operational ice maker, the latter of which I don't even have.

    4) He hates Auburn.

    We are currently on UGA IX.  The UGA with the highest winning percentage was UGA VI, who reigned a long time from 1999-2008.

    Every UGA who passes away gets a private funeral in Sanford Stadium.  Then, they are entombed in a shrine next to the other UGAs who have passed before them.