Moller: The most bizarre NCAA Division I mascots
Nate Moller | Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Mascots for college sports are like no other in the sense that they can give a team, campus and entire community a distinct identity. Since I was a young boy following college athletics, I was always drawn to the most bizarre names, and to this day I still have a laugh when I hear some of the mascots.
I give these teams kudos for choosing a non-mainstream name, but sometimes I wonder how these names came to be. Based on my criteria, the “bizarreness” of the mascot increased if I didn’t know what the mascot referred to, if there were multiple words in the mascot name that contradicted themselves, or if the mascot seemed very non-intimidating and just random.
Alabama Crimson Tide
It’s one of the most iconic mascots in all of sports, but it is very bizarre in nature at the same time. The name was first adopted after Alabama’s defense put on a dazzling defensive display against Auburn in 1907 and it has stuck to this day.
I guess an Anteater can be intimidating to ants? All I know is that when I’m doing a March Madness bracket for best mascots, UC-Irvine is a consistent Final Four team.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
This mascot is an oxymoron in a sense. A rainbow and warrior just don’t fuse together well into a single mascot. However, it does embody the state of Hawaii well. Although I think picking one or the other would have made more sense.
Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils
The mascot makes sense because the school is near the delta of the largest river in the United State, but it just sounds bizarre. Taken out of context, I would have no idea what a delta devil is.
Presbyterian Blue Hose
Apparently they were called the Blue Stockings at first because of the socks they wore, and over time it was changed to the Blue Hose. Who knew the words “stockings” and “hose” were interchangeable?
Purdue University-Fort Wayne Mastodons
It’s definitely bold to pick an extinct species as a mascot. Although I guess if you are going to pick one, this large, elephant-like creature is a good one to pick. They definitely chose an intimidating mascot, but I still wonder who decided the Mastodon name.
Southern Illinois Salukis
A Saluki is a tall, slender dog with drooping ears and is also known as the royal dog of Egypt. In fact, Southern Illinois chose this bizarre mascot because southern Illinois has been referred to as “Little Egypt” for the past couple hundred years. I will say that this name has a good ring to it too.
This one is bizarre because the school got rid of its former mascot, which was moccasins, for obvious reasons. They changed their names to the Mocs, which isn’t officially short for anything, although their mascot is a mockingbird, so you could could make the leap between the two. Personally, I think they should have just gone with mockingbirds (it is the state bird), rather than sticking with mocs.
Texas Christian Horned Frogs
This one is just a classic. The fact that the Horned Frogs are actually a viable program makes it even funnier. When I think of bizarre mascots, this one usually comes first to mind. I don’t envision a horned frog being too intimidating, but you never know I guess.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Yet another mascot name that seems to be an oxymoron. I will say, though, the alliteration in the name definitely has a nice ring to it. The deacon portrayed most of the time at Wake Forest sporting events looks more like a normal deacon and not too “demon-like.” I guess they had to choose a name that would partially intimidate opponents.
Honorable Mention: Campbell Fighting Camels, Indiana Hoosiers, Indiana State Sycamores, Marshall Thundering Herd, North Florida Ospreys, St. Bonaventure Bonnies, Saint Louis Billikens, Stetson Hatters, Wichita State Shockers.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.