Traditions Week: Top Ten Mascots  

Posted by Frazier

1) Ralphie, Colorado

For over forty years, brave Colorado students have been leading Ralphie on to the field of battle before every game. These guys can weigh as much as a ton, and would have no problem hauling their handlers all over the field. The current Ralphie weighs in at a lean 1,300 pounds and has been clocked going 25 mph. The beloved Buffalo (or, American Bison) is known for knocking over handlers, intimidating the hell out of other teams, and basically doing whatever the hell he likes. He's also a beloved part of the Colorado community, doing charity events, and being used as a way to greet incoming students. But Ralphie lives for game day. The deciding factor for placing Ralphie on the top of this list, above Bevo and others, is the ferocity with which Ralphie enters the stage. It's controlled chaos when Ralphie is let loose before games, but there isn't anything a whole lot more inspiring than being led onto the field by the biggest, meanest beast in the stadium.

2) Bevo, Texas

Bevo has been kicking ass in Austin for over ninety years. It was in 1916 that the first Bevo was given to the university as an embodiement of their spirit. As a massive, real texas longhorn a Bevo can weigh as much as a ton, with a horn-span of up to nine feet. Bevo has been a fixture on the sidelines of Texas football games since 1966, and is a revered figure at the university. In 1917 Texas A7M students managed to brand Bevo "13-0" the score of the previous seasons win by the Aggies. In 1920 that Bevo became dinner at a Texas-Texas A&M banquet. They claim that the animal was costing too much money to maintain and was too wild. I secretly suspect that Texas simply refused to tolerate losing!

3) Tiger, Auburn

Yes, Tiger is, in fact, a War Eagle. Auburn is nicknamed the "Tigers" but their battle cry is "War Eagle." So that's that. Tiger is a 25 year old golden eagle who soars into the stadium before home games. The war eagle is as old as football in the south. It was during the 1892 game against Georgia, the first real southern football game, that a great eagle was spotted and inspired the Auburn football team to victory. Legend holds that this eagle died the same day. The current war eagle tradition dates back to 1932. There have been a number of eagles, each of them thrilling the rabid Auburn fans before games. Not only does Tiger serve as an emotional lift-off to game days, but for the rest of the week he goes to schools and community groups spreading messages about conservation and protecting endangered wildlife. Seeing Tiger swoop onto the field brings the crowd to its' feet, and sets the stage for the Tigers to take the field.

4) Uga, Georgia

Ok, so Uga undoubtedly has the least creative name on this list. Still, he's an absolute icon. He's been a fixture at Georgia since 1956, and all Uga's have come from the same line of British Bulldogs owned by the Seiler family. Uga has graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, and was the only mascot ever invited to the Heisman trophy ceremony where he showed up in a tuxedo to accompany Herschel Walker. He's a film star, having appeared in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". Former Uga's are entombed in a mausoleum near the entrance to Sanford Stadium. While Uga generally loves people, he knows his enemies. While it's easier to be terrified of Ralphie or Bevo, Uga has a reputation for going after opposing players. Including famously biting Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker. Uga's the kind of mascot willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win.

5) Brutus, Ohio State

Brutus is the first non-animal mascot to make our list. He's, well, he's not even exactly human either. In fact, he's a buckeye. A nut, literally. So normally he wouldn't seem so intimidating, but Brutus obviously works out. He's been supporting the Buckeyes since 1965, and everyone is familiar with his comically large nut-head, and his incredible enthusiasm for his team. Brutus is one of the most famous mascots in all of sports, and while he isn't allowed to speak (a talking nut would be too weird) he still inspires the Buckeye faithful, and his image adorns everything from t-shirts to souveiner cups to mailboxes all across Ohio.

6) Mike the Tiger, LSU

Mike is the anti-Brutus. In fact, it's hard to get more intimidating than big Mike. He's an actual fucking Tiger. Mike has been the living image of the LSU spirit since 1936, and despite the recent passing of Mike V, you know he'll be there on the sideline when next season kicks off. For games Mike has to be wheeled on to the field in a special cage (the handlers for Ralphie may be crazy, but even they want to part of trying to wrangle a real Tiger on a leash). Still, even behind bars he's an intimidating guy. Off the field, Mike is one of the most pampered captive Tigers in the world. He lives in a brand new, sprawling 15,000 sq. ft. enclosure at the LSU veterinary school, complete with it's own stream and even a waterfall. He is literally adored by millions, and has received millions of dollars in donations going to his habitat and care. Mike also has an incredibly comprehensive website. Finally, Mike knows how to get the fans in Death Valley to really goes crazy. When big Mike roars before a game, especially a night game, the LSU fans go completely insane. Everyone loves Mike.

7) Reveille, Texas A&M

Reveille is the friendly looking mascot for the Aggies. She might be a bitch, but students at A&M refer to her as "Miss Rev, ma'am" and she is the highest ranking member of the Corps of Cadets and is a Five Star General on campus. No dog, anywhere, is more honored and revered than Miss Rev. If she is sleeping on a cadet's bed, that cadet is forced to sleep on the floor. Another reason she's adored? Because if Miss Rev is visiting a class, and she barks, then the professor must immediately dismiss the class! She's been inspiring Aggies since 1931, and when a Reveille meets her maker, she is always buried in a full military funeral at Kyle Field. She's actually buried under the north end zone, so she can forever see the Aggies outscore their opponents. Even in death Reveille is pulling for her team. Looking good Miss Rev!

8) Smokey, Tennessee

Smokey is the beloved bluetick hound seen roaming the Vols sidelines during games. He always leads his team out on to the field, running through the famous T. He's been doing it the same way for over fifty years. Smokey's been through a lot in that time. He was listed on the inury report after suffering heat exhaustion in an especially hot game against UCLA. He has been kidnapped by Kentucky fans. Of course when Vandy fans tried to pull the same stunt, they actually stole the wrong hound, presumably because Smokey had outwitted them. Smokey's even been suspended, for biting a tuba player he seemed to have a grudge against. Smokey has even played through injuries before. Prior to the 1998 Fiesta Bowl Smokey wasn't looking so good. He was real sick, and his trainers had to take him to the vet. It turns out he'd eaten a hotel towel, and it was caught in his intestines. However, Smokey turned up the next day to lead the Vols through the T showing no effects of his severe illness. The next day he went under the knife for a pretty major surgery. But there was no way Smokey was missing a bowl game.

9) Otto, Syracuse

Otto doesn't have the longest history, and god knows he's not the most intimidating, but there's something about this mascot that everybody loves. In 1978 Syracuse decided to drop its' offensive Indian mascot, the Saltine Warrior (what a weird name) and find a suitable replacement. Many ideas were tried, and many failed. A gladiator was booed off the field, a dome-character was just laughed at. There was a major battle about being named the official new mascot, even though Otto (then just known as "the Orange") had been around for a couple of years. Finally, when the school had decided to go with a wolf mascot, the students let it be known that they wanted Otto, and no one else. Hence, Otto became the official mascot because he was quite literally a fan favorite. Now Otto is recognized internationally, and has been featured on ESPN ads, and in promotion for the university worldwide. Otto isn't an intimidating guy, but he's just beloved by young and old, students and fans, and people from all over. Syracuse fans feel that maybe he's just a big mushy orange, but he's OUR big mushy orange. Also, Walter just loves Otto.

10) The Rambling Wreck, Georgia Tech

Frazier just loves this mascot, partially because it has a fantastic name, partially because only a school full of engineers would have an actual car as a mascot. The original wreck was a beaten up 1914 model T that finally broke down for good in 1928. After that the Yellow Jackets held "wreck" races for a number of years, before it became obvious that these were too dangerous. Finally, in 1960, the Rambling Wreck was reborn. It is a 1930 Model A Ford. More recently in 1974, the Wreck was redesigned in part by legendary coach Bobby Dodd, giving it its' famous paint job and logos. The Wreck leads the team on to the field before all home games, and use to drive to many nearby away games. Unfortunately, a number of wrecks (literally) prevent the Wreck from doing much traveling these days. Still, the Yellow Jacket faithful go crazy when the Wreck leads the team on to the field, with its' "Give 'em Hell Tech" and "To Hell with Georgia" flags flapping in the wind. First year students are not allowed to touch the Wreck, and anyone who does so will be severely punished by the Reck Club members (there are two spellings for the car, both Wreck and Reck). The Wreck is also famous for being the only mascot to ever be shot by an angry opposing fan. After a 1968 victory over Auburn, an irate Tiger fan pulled out a rifle and shot the radiator. But of course the Wreck kept on chugging along.


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