Orange Bowl Jan. 1 @ 5:00pm
Virginia Tech Hokies +2
Cincinnati had a fullback named Baehr and some fan yelled something about the team being Baehr-cats. That’s where it came from. I’m not sure how to react, on one hand it’s better than wildcats, but on the other hand it’s a pretty dumb way to get a nickname. Also, the mascot doesn’t have a name, he/she/it is just, The Bearcat. As far as the mascot throwdown is concerned a half bear half cat could do some damage. It’s no Manbearpig, but nothing really is.
Virginia Tech Hokies. Another “what the hell is that?” mascot. A Hokie is taken from the Old Hokie Spirit Yell. The Hokies are also known as the Fighting Gobblers, which stems from back in the day when it was a military college and the cadets ate so fast they were called gobblers. The actual mascot is Hokie Bird, who is just a giant turkey. You can win all the mascot championships you want, but a turkey versus a half bear half cat? No contest.
The Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats -2
Rose Bowl Jan. 1 @ 5:00pm
Penn State Nittany Lions
USC Trojans -10
Penn State Nittany Lions. The mascot is a combination of nearby Mount Nittany and local Mountain Lions that once roamed where the campus is located. The legend goes that a student made up the Nittany Lion on the spot after being ashamed that Penn State had no mascot when he visited Princeton in the early 20th century. The reasoning behind the mascot was that lions are dignified, courageous, magnificent and allegorically (ooh, big college word) represented the College Spirit of Penn State. Noble reasoning, to be sure. The mascot looks old school, with scarf, but not much else. The mascot's name isn't even creative, just The Nittany Lion? I’m less than impressed.
USC Trojans. USC’s nickname is the Trojans, the mascot is Traveler, a horse. That’s a little confusing because a guy who looks like a Trojan rides Traveler. Florida State lists both its horse and rider as mascot, while USC does not. It’s a shame because an armed warrior would really help USC’s case in the mascot throwdown. Although, I’ve never seen a mountain lion take down a horse, it could be possible. I have been bitten by a horse before and it hurts. I don’t think it’s a horse’s number one method for attack, but it’s still useful and quite surprising when you’re ten years old.
The Pick: USC Trojans -10
Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 @ 8:15pm
Alabama Crimson Tide
Utah Utes +10
Alabama Crimson Tide. The Crimson Tide may be the nickname, but the mascot is Big Al the elephant. A writer in the 30’s described the Alabama football team coming out from halftime as sounding like elephants and that stuck. Big Al didn’t make his debut until 1979, when having a cartoony mascot became en vogue. He’s big, is name’s not totally dumb and he’s an elephant. I don’t know too many things that stop an elephant.
Utah Utes. The Utes are named after the indigenous Native American people. Born in 1996, Swoop is the Red-tailed Hawk mascot of Utah which represents the soaring spirit of the state and school. I like the red-tailed hawk as a mascot. It’s different, it’s a bird of prey, the school had good reasoning behind the name, but hawk v. elephant is a no brainer.
The Pick: Alabama -10
Fiesta Bowl Jan. 5 @ 8:15pm
Ohio State Buckeyes
Texas Longhorns -9.5
Ohio State Buckeyes. The Buckeye is the state tree of Ohio and its fruits are poisonous to cattle and humans. Let me emphasize that, its fruits are poisonous to CATTLE. Of all the matchups the Ohio State could draw for the matchup throwdown, this may be the best one. Brutus the Buckeye is the mascot with a nicely alliterative name. He’s unarmed and is just a big nut head with human body, but it doesn’t matter, he’s, cue BBD, POISON!
Texas Longhorns. Texas has two mascots, Bevo and Hook ‘Em. Bevo is a Texas longhorn steer, the fourteenth in a long line of previous Bevos. A proud lineage that includes charging a SMU cheerleader (male), scattering the Baylor band, running loose on campus for a couple days and throwing down with a parked car. Hook ‘Em on the other end of the scale is pretty tame and probably only created because Bevo can only be “safely” deployed at football games. Bevo has a lot to offer and I would almost have to take him, but Buckeyes are his kryptonite. Although, he would have to eat the buckeye first, thereby destroying the buckeye. I have to believe Bevo would just stop the Buckeye and if he ate it afterwards, oh well.
The Pick: Texas Longhorns -9.5
BCS Championship Game Jan. 8 @ 8:15pm
Florida Gators -3
Oklahoma Sooners. A Sooner, if you didn’t know, was a person who entered the Oklahoma territory before the land was opened for non-native settlement. It’s nice that it’s historically relevant tot the university, but also kind of weird- they have nicknamed themselves after cheaters, or line cutters, essentially. The Sooners mascot is the Sooner Schooner which is an old timey wagon pulled by two white ponies. This is a hard one to gauge for a mascot throwdown. A wagon? Pulled by two ponies? How does that quantify in a mascot throwdown? I guess it’s pretty formidable. If you can’t have an elephant you might as well have a big ass wagon pulled by horses. I’d jump out of the way.
Florida Gators. Florida and gators go hand in hand. Albert E. and Alberta Gator are the human costumed mascots. Apparently, they attend all FU sporting events together and are rarely seen apart, poor guy. Seriously, give the guy a second alone! The gator is a good mascot and also good for a mascot throwdown. On a neutral site though, I’ve got to go with the wagon. It’s close because the gator could spook the ponies causing havoc, but if they didn’t see the gator he’d get flattened.
The Pick: Oklahoma Sooners +3