Real-life animal mascots – not those in costumes – are a huge parts of college sports. They act as conduits between fans and teams and stand as physical representations of a schools’ collective spirit. Which are college football’s top 10 FBS live mascots? We examine.
Note: Based on tradition, history, bond with fans and all-around awesomeness
Note #2: Unofficial mascots such as War Eagle are included on this list as we are using “mascot” in the literal definition of the term: “A person or thing that is supposed to bring good luck or that is used to symbolize a particular event or organization”
10. Judge Joy &
Sue Lady (Baylor)
The two bears’ home, officially named the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat, is in the middle of campus. Forget about those pretty coeds walking about campus – this is a real excuse to go to class. How did this come about? The 107th Engineer Battalion from Fort McArthur donated a bear to Baylor in 1917. And you never get rid of the tradition of an awesome bear, especially one that administration agrees to put in the area where most students could potentially come in contact with it. Bonus points for having not just one live bear, but two.
9. Renegade (Florida State)
It doesn’t get much better than when Chief Osceola rides in on Renegade the horse and hurls a flaming spear into the ground at midfield at Doak Campbell Stadium prior to each Florida State home game. The idea was first thought of by Bill Durham, an FSU sophomore in 1962. It was first used by Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles against Oklahoma State in 1978. While most best live mascot lists include USC’s Traveler and not Renegade, we beg to differ.
8. Boomer & Sooner (Oklahoma)
Mascots are for the kids; we know that. And boy do kids love ponies. Oklahoma has two of them, Boomer and Sooner, who pull the “Sooner Schooner” onto the field. The schooner is an old-time covered wagon, which screams Oklahoma just as much as OU football ever has. The two white ponies pull the wagon onto the field before football games to the delight of the partisan home crowd. It’s such a welcomed tradition that some fans were angered when OU introduced two costumed mascot ponies, also named Boomer and Sooner, in 2005. Since when are live ponies not enough?
7. Tusk (Arkansas)
If you are looking for intimidation in your mascot, Tusk certainly brings that to the table. You’ve heard of gross-out comedies? Well, Tusk just grosses everyone out in real life. The Russian boar lives on a rural Arkansas farm and travels to every home game. Weighing in at about 500 pounds, Tusk is big, sloppy and screams Razorback football. After Tusk II died in January 2010, his brother, Tusk III, took over as the school’s official mascot. The boars are one of only a few live lineage mascots in the country. And you thought one fat pig was enough …
6. Mike (LSU)
Who wouldn’t want to have a pet tiger? Since it’s not feasible to keep one as a house pet, LSU fans, alumni and students have rallied around their collective pet, Mike VI, the most recent version of whom was donated from an Indiana sanctuary in 2007. Mike weights over 450 pounds and gets about 100,000 visitors a year, according to the school’s website. But his most important duty is being present amidst the rowdy throngs at LSU home football games in Death Valley. Hmm, a tiger and a bunch of drunks; we hope no one wakes up with Mike in his or her bathroom and an angry Mike Tyson.
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