Contrary to what retailers would have us believe, Christmas observance does not start immediately after Halloween.
In between the two holidays is another important tradition: Football. Any guesses about the most important part of football?
Even if you’re not heavily invested in sports, you have to admit that there’s always someone on the field that makes you want to come back for more, whose energy and athleticism brings the crowd to their feet and adds magic to the game.
We’re Talking About the Mascot
The word “mascot” was introduced to our language when the popular French comic operetta La Mascotte was translated for English-speaking audiences. Mascotte basically means “good luck charm,” so naturally sports franchises and fans took an interest.
Practically any object or animal can be a mascot. Many college football teams have live animal mascots, including the Texas longhorn, the LSU tiger, and Colorado’s Ralphie the Buffalo; Auburn, Alabama has a freakin’ eagle.
Wisconsin used to have a live badger on a leash, but gave up the practice in 1940 because apparently badgers are ornery.
Not wanting to come up with a new spirit anim— er, mascot, they decided to put someone in a badger outfit instead. This is the earliest example we could find of the “massive cartoon head” school of mascotting, but the idea clearly took off.
The challenge with creating your anthropomorphic good luck charm is finding a properly representative symbol for your locale.
Some places have this easier than others.
Best of the Worst
Now, we understand that these mascots are intentionally silly, and also that sports fans can be agressively loyal to their teams. The intention here isn’t to degrade or disparage. Really, we just want to ask what the hell were people thinking.
We guess Ohio’s options were limited or something? And that’s why they picked a nut?
There was this famous line about nothing beating the South but the boll weevil. That’s the University of Arkansas’ excuse for this.
The person under there has got to be re-evaluating the life choices that brought them there. We honestly expected better from Stanford.
Otto is an orange. But it has a nose, Syracuse. Why does it have a nose?
Okras are not scary, so Delta State gave him boxing gloves. Because football is all about the punching.
“Big Red” supposedly symbolizes school spirit. “Amorphous and red” is kind of a vague symbol.
We thought wheat only got this angry at people with gluten intolerance. The Wichita Shockers have proved us wrong.
We understand that banana slugs are amazing, Santa Cruz. But at the end of the day, your mascot is still a slug.
We’re leaving out Rhode Island School of Design’s very NSFW mascot, but there was no way we could list ridiculous mascots and not include Evergreen State University’s Speedy the Geoduck.