Although our allegiances lie with a school that is unfortunately mascot-challenged (that being the University of Illinois), the staff at Grubb Hub has never been afraid to take on the tough issues regarding collegiate mascots. We also have some experience dressing up like barnyard animals ourselves.
So it is in this vein that we dissect the field of this year’s Capital One All-America Mascot Team, offering up some tidbits you may not have known about the costumed characters – and undoubtedly some you already do. We’ll also pick our favorite for the 2010 Capital One National Mascot of the Year.
There are 12 weekly head-to-head match ups. The mascots with the best win/loss records make the playoffs starting November 22, and the final winner will be pronounced Capital One National Mascot of the Year during the Capital One Bowl January 1.
So let’s take a look at this year’s contenders, shall we?
The Bird – U.S. Air Force Academy
As might be expected, The Bird is one intense guy. He’s kind of like that guy you play basketball with that wears a headband and hip checks everyone because he’s way too serious about what was just a friendly pickup game. When asked about competing in the 2010 Mascot Challenge, The Bird exclaimed, “I will live in fame, or go down in flame!”
Then he doused himself in gasoline, lit himself on fire, and jumped out a two-story window. Like I said, this guy is intense.
Goldy Gopher – University of Minnesota
Goldy – a deaf-mute as a result of an unspeakable accident as a child – plans to overcome his handicap, along with a disfiguring overbite, to become the 2010 Capital One Mascot of the Year. Let’s all wish him well. He’s got nothing else.
Smoky – University of Tennessee
Smoky has been howling for the Vols since 1953. Native to Tennessee, this fearless bluetick coonhound loves two things: rooting loudly for his team and having his butt scratched.
Bearcat – University of Cincinnatti
The origins of the “Bearcat” are perplexing in nature, and basically boil down to the use of a really bad pun to create a mascot from an animal that never existed. Yeah, this is the kind of thing you really want representing your institution of higher education. And somehow, Chief Illiniwek is an affront to the pursuit of intellectual endeavors.
Big Red – Western Kentucky University
Unlike the Bearcat, Big Red is probably the most appropriately named mascot and is a distant relative of Grimace. Although surprisingly no relation, he bears a striking resemblance to Gossamer, the giant hair monster from Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Mr. C – Vanderbilt University
Mr. C is touted as “one of the most proper mascots to grace the gridiron.” Wow, a mascot that’s proper. What fun. Basically, he’s just some old, rich white dude. So if you want to vote for your grandpa, be our guest. We’ll pass though.
Monte – University of Montana
Monte, a grizzly bear, is a two-time National Champion Mascot of the Year. He has been described as a “motorcycle riding, break dancing, back flipping, slam dunking, movie making, crowd surfing, goal post smashing, prank pulling superstar that makes the women of Montana swoon.”
Hmm…the women of Montana swoon for a grizzly bear? Either there’s a shortage of available men in Montana, or they’re all extremely hairy. Either way, this reporter would fit right in. Missoula here I come!
Brutus Buckeye – Ohio State University
Brutus Buckeye looks like he stole his face from one of Jim Henson’s reject Muppets. Not to mention his outfit makes him look like he got released from prison in the 1880’s. He is a nut though, so we’ll give him style points for originality; simply because we can’t think of any other team named after a nut.
Testudo – University of Maryland
Testudo is a turtle, and while he may not be the fastest animal on the planet…or the strongest…or the most ferocious…or the, ah forget it. It’s a turtle for crying out loud. Why would you vote for a mascot that can be rendered helpless by flipping him on his back?
Mike the Tiger – Louisiana State University
Finally, here is a mascot we can get behind. Not only is he our prestigious founder and president’s namesake, he is one all around cool mascot. He’s also a real, live Tiger, which means he could pretty much rip the rest of the field to shreds.
Case closed. Go and vote for Mike. It really doesn’t matter who else you vote for week in and week out, just make sure you vote for Mike the Tiger.
Rounding out the rest of the field are just a couple of Joe’s: the University of Idaho’s Joe Vandal and UCLA’s Joe Bruin, along with the University of Oregon Duck (don’t call him Howard), Paydirt Pete from UTEP, Sebastian the Ibis from the University of Miami, and Old Dominion’s Big Blue.