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BONE ISLAND GRILLHOUSE

The best (and worst) college mascots

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The best (and worst) college mascots

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Lakelife Associate Editor

Thankfully, college football games are back on television. And, best of all, a zillion games can now be viewed from the comfort of our living rooms!

In earlier years, we were lucky to see our favorite college team televised perhaps once or twice a year, a time when teams actually had to have a winning record to be in one of the handful of existing bowls.

The proliferation of televised football, however, provides opportunity to see teams we are not familiar with. And this has me thinking about something a little unusual — the best (and worst) college mascots. I know this silly question is subjective, especially when mascots are continuing to change due to all sorts of political pressure which is still hard for me to understand or to explain.

Nevertheless, I decided to make my own listing and viewed many websites focused on this question about mascots. My results are an unscientific amalgamation of what I consider the best and worst college mascots.

Here’s my list and please feel free to fully disagree, curse or come up with your own listing.

The Worst College Mascots:

The University of Idaho’s Joe Vandal. Can you imagine your team being named the Vandals? They also probably thought about naming their team the Thieves, the Pillagers or the Robbers. Any of those names would work equally as well.

Stanford University used to be known as the Cardinal with its proud program and traditions. The elite institution now has no official mascot with an evergreen “Stanford Tree” serving as the standin. This mascot looks exactly like last year’s worn-out Christmas tree left by the roadside for the city garbage truck.

Sammy the Slug at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Students at this school voted to change their mascot from their Seal Lion mascot in 1996. Hard to believe but, then again, this is California.

Xavier University’s Blue Blob. (You can’t make this stuff up.) The last blob I saw was in a 1950s movie by the same name and, yes, it was scary back then.

Brutus Buckeye, the big-headed character with a red and gray striped shirt from Ohio State University. Oh gosh, and please excuse me . . . I should have said THE Ohio State University (about as pretentious as it gets in naming institutions of higher learning).

The Boll Weevil of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. For heavens sake, don’t even mention the boll weevil here in Lake Country! It brings back nightmares for those of us whose ancestors were cotton farmers. We’ve heard stories.

The Fighting Okra from Delta State University. Think about it: would a pod of okra scare you or your football team?

The Wichita State University Wushock looks like a laughing bundle of wheat. One good tackle and the shocks of wheat go everywhere.

The Best College Mascots:

I am biased and would have to say most of the schools in the ACC and SEC have good mascots except for Ole Miss which now uses Tony the Landshark instead of the Black Bear and, previously, the legendary Colonel Reb. And, yes, the Landshark should be on anyone’s “worst list.”

Florida’s Albert and Alberta Gator. A great-looking chomping couple. Also, Wofford’s Terriers. (If you have ever owned a Jack Russell, you will know what I’m talking about.)

The Ramblin’ Wreck and Buzz the Yellow Jacket at Georgia Tech. Still a lot of tradition with these mascots. If only the school had a coach like Bobby Dodd and a spread offense, then they could recruit.

Oklahoma’s Sooner Schooner and the University of Colorado’s Ralphie. Who doesn’t like to see animals running wild on a football field? Or, Auburn’s War Eagle flying from the top of Jordan-Hare to the bottom of the historic stadium? Sends chills up and down your spine.

South Carolina’s Cocky, a big ole fightin’ rooster. Let’s just leave it there.

Clemson’s Tiger Mascots, prowling at the bottom of Death Valley as the team runs down the stadium’s famous hill -- truly the most exciting 25 seconds in college football.

I could include Florida State University’s Chief Osceola and Louisiana State’s Mike the Tiger, but I really need to stop now.

There are many great mascots across the nation but, well, you already know who tops my poll as the mightiest of them all: that white English bulldog wearing the big ole “G,” always on the sidelines at Sanford Stadium in Athens.

Okay, you can now start disagreeing.