Lange: The worst mascots in the NCAA
Meghan Lange | Friday, April 28, 2023
Mascots are a very polarizing topic. You either love them or hate them, and some people are even scared of the guys in the big felt suits behind masks. There’s a real diagnosis for this phenomenon: Masklophobia, sometimes referred to as Maskaphobia.
Sports fans, however, are a completely different story. They feel very passionately about their team’s mascot, and even dress up as them. I have seen grown men get into an actual fight of their own, over who would win in a fight: Brutus Buckeye or Sparty Spartan.
Needless to say, these men were both incredibly intoxicated or they would have known they both would lose to the BEST mascot — THE Notre Dame Leprechaun. I’m not at all biased on this topic (LET’S GO IRISH).
Anyway, with my lofty opinions on the topic, I am going to rank the 10 worst NCAA mascots.
10. Cocky the Gamecock — University of South Carolina
Cocky the Gamecock. Do I really need to say it? They could at least get him a shirt that’s his size, you really want Cocky to be in a shirt that’s too big? That won’t work out well. There are so many jokes I can’t make because this is being published, but they deserve every bad joke you can come up with.
9. Demon Deacons — Wake Forest University
So, he’s an “old-time Baptist deacon” who rides a motorcycle? To me, he looks the human incarnation of Mr. Peanut. But, you know, if Mr. Peanut had been through a rough life. I feel like he has stories and wants to sit down with you and tell you all of them in a long and excruciatingly slow way.
8. Otto the Orange — Syracuse University
According to Google it’s an “anthropomorphic orange”. Yet another plant, but hey, at least it’s a real thing, I guess. I think he got off on the wrong exit because, I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember miles and miles of orange groves in New York. I mean I guess New York is called the Big Orange right? Definitely not another fruit that, you know, grows in the state of New York.
7. Blue Devils — Duke University
Another devil on the list and no it’s not because I go to a Catholic school. It’s because you’d think Howie Mandel wouldn’t need another side hustle. Doesn’t he have enough jobs? But I guess the next logical step after being a game show host then judge is being a man in a superhero costume pantomiming as a devil to a bunch of drunk southern college kids.
6. Sparky — Arizona State University
Breaking News: Buzz’s long lost evil twin has been found! Buzz lost his evil twin brother Sparky in the Cheerios factory when they were just little bees playing amongst the conveyer belts. Try to convince me this is not a bee dressed up as an old-timey villain about to twirl his mustache. I dare you.
5. HokieBird — Virginia Tech University
We all know you’re a turkey, so just be a dang turkey. No need to make up a fictional bird. I get it you don’t want to be the “turkeys,” who would? But is being a Hokie better? At least when you were the Fighting Gobblers you were fighting off the enemy — you know scary stuff, “put up your dukes” and all that. The Fighting Gobblers really sent Purdue Pete and Big Red running up those hills.
4. Purdue Pete — Purdue University
At least this thing is a living object. But is it? Pete is just a stand-in because the official mascot of Purdue University is the “Boilermakers”. So really Pete is just a guy in a creepy plastic head, and his job title is the real mascot. Again, a school that doesn’t have a living, breathing mascot. I didn’t know you could have your job description as your mascot, learn something new every day.
3. Big Red — Western Kentucky University
What even is it? It’s not even a thing! It’s like Cookie Monster’s weird red and bigger cousin, who had his college letters tattooed across his chest. Can you say peaked in college? I don’t even know what to compare it too. It’s just a big, red (see what I did there), furry blob with arms and legs. Also, the 2012s called, and they want their painted-on eyebrows back.
2. Stanford Tree — Stanford University
First, which professor hired their kindergartener’s class to make this mascot’s costume? Seriously, Google it, some of the costumes look like they let a group of kindergarteners go through their grandmas’ knitting materials and try — not succeed, but try — to make a pine tree. Also, another plant! Unless you’re freaking Poison Ivy from the Batman comics, plants don’t really strike fear into my heart. I would say do better but that would be repetitive.
1. Brutus Buckeye — The Ohio State University
You had to see that coming, it’s not even a living thing. I don’t understand how an inanimate object can be a school’s mascot, how does a literal nut drive so much pride into a college community? Do they know they’re literally calling themselves nuts? Oh excuse me, THE Nuts?? Come on. Do better.
Honorable mention to the Dartmouth mascot, Big Green who is a literal Keg. They really know their audience.