I love the NFL. I watch it every Sunday. I don’t watch so much college football. Its part of the peace treaty I have with my wife where I get NFL football, but not college football. So, when Bowl Season arrives, formerly known as Holiday Season, I’m not very familiar with any of the teams. I want to win some money in a bowl pool and I don’t have the patience to weigh a ton of statistics for each team to help me decide who to pick. So, I’ve gone a different route. Mascot Throwdown! For each bowl I have a brief paragraph about the involved mascots and base my pick on who would win a mascot battle. Note: My reasoning is completely arbitrary and sometimes inconstant. Also, I got 99% of my information from Wikipedia and I don’t have a fact checker. All game times eastern.
Eagle Bank Bowl Dec. 20 @ 11 a.m.
Navy Midshipmen +3
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The Navy Midshipmen. Contrary to what Navy would have you believe, a midshipman is in fact, not a goat. A goat, however, is probably more intimidating than an actual midshipman. So, Navy loses a point for having a mascot not related to their actual team name. I am partial to goats and think they are hilarious, so they make up the point.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Demon Deacons were originally the Tigers way back in the 19th century. So, they get a point for changing from an all too common mascot to an obscure one. Wake Forest gets another point for being a religiously affiliated school (Baptist) that uses a heretical themed mascot. Another plus for the Deacons is because, as the legend goes, the school paper’s editor called the football team Demon Deacons because of their devilish play and fighting spirit against the school that became Duke.
The Pick: Demon Deacons -3
New Mexico Bowl Dec. 20 @ 2:30 pm
Fresno State Bulldogs
Colorado State Rams -3
The Fresno State Bulldogs. Fresno State’s Bulldog mascot is named “Timeout.” That doesn’t seem like that would inspire confidence in athletics. Timeouts are usually used to regroup and stall the opposition’s momentum. The mascot looks tough with bared teeth and a spiked collar, but the bulldog is also a very common.
The Colorado State Rams. Colorado State used to be Colorado A&M and used Aggies as a mascot. Lame. For the last sixty years CAM the ram has been the CSU mascot. A ram is not a goat, but its close and that’s a plus in my book. A ram may not strike fear in many people, but it does have some cool horns.
The Pick: Colorado State -3
magicJack St. Petersburg Bowl Dec. 20 @ 4:30 pm
South Florida Bulls -13
The Memphis Tigers. There are a million tiger mascots, and his name, TOM, is an uncool acronym for Tigers Of Memphis. On a positive, TOM is a real, live Bengal tiger with some pretty sweet digs. According to gotigersgo.com he has “two swimming pools, a dedicated water well, a climate controlled den box, a veterinary facility, and multiple redundant security features.” All that will only set you back $600,000. Memphis does have a good cause to fight for this year. TOM II recently lost his bout with cancer and passed away in October. I don’t care what the spread is, when a mascot dies of cancer, you take the points.
The South Florida Bulls. A mascot choosing contest was held in 1962. The favorite was Buccaneers(no NFL Bucs, yet), but someone thought a Florida JC was already the Bucs and the second most popular suggestion was selected. The Golden Brahman. A Brahman is a breed of cattle originally from India. It’s like a Longhorn, but foreign and weird. It was soon discovered the Florida JC was the Pirates and a recount (In Florida!?!?) ensued. In the ‘80s, the mascot was changed to Bulls for marketing reasons. Also negatives for the Bulls, no real live Bull mascot and the bull’s name is Rocky D. Bull. I hate those kinds of names. Lou Seal, I’m looking at you.
The Pick: Memphis +13 (Do it for TOM II!)
Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl Dec. 20 @ 8:00pm
Arizona Wildcats -3
The Brigham Young Cougars. After a few failed attempts at humanely housing live cougars between the 1920’s and 40’s (they tried, which is worth something) the university settled on a costumed student. The cougar was named “Cosmo”, because BYU had just been named a Cosmopolitan school. Since I have no idea what a Cosmopolitan school is, it gets minus points. Cosmo Kramer and Cosmo Cougar are almost close enough to earn some points, almost. I should espouse on an actual cougar, which is pretty fierce and could mess you up. You definitely don’t want to mess with a cougar, that’s just common sense.
The Arizona Wildcats. The university had a real live wild cat (bobcat to the rest of us) as a mascot from 1915 to 1950 and he even had a cool name, Rufus Arizona. Alas, a costumed critter was created and named Wilbur. Making Wilbur even less cool than Rufus Arizona is the fact that he had a girlfriend wildcat named Wilma that he married in 1986. So, what started out as a cool, untamed mascot with a cool name became a "happily" married, dorky named mascot. Not to mention a cougar would totally mess a wild cat up.
The Pick: BYU +3
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Dec. 21 @ 8:15 pm
Southern Miss Golden Eagles +4
The Troy Trojans. At one point, Troy University, which is in Alabama, was known as the “Red Wave,” but by the ‘70s people thought it was too close to Crimson Tide and so Troy became the Trojans. These days Trojans are known for being courageous and skillful warriors. Although, they did fall for the Trojan Horse thing, so that’s not good. Troy’s mascot is named “T-Roy”, which is borderline lame. It should be TeRoy, like LeRoy, only cooler. Trojans are equipped with a cool helmet, armor and a sword in case there’s a throw down, so that could tilt it.
The Southern Miss Golden Eagles. They’ve gone from Tigers to Yellow Jackets to Confederates to Southerners and finally Golden Eagles. Eagles are pretty sweet, swooping on prey and such. I mean, when your classified as a “bird of prey” people are going to know you mean business. How do you turn a cool bird of prey into Foghorn Leghorn? Name him Seymour D’Campus. I won’t even get into what I think his surname should be, but I’ll give you a hint. Southern Miss does not hold classes on Mardi Gras and this is the New Orleans Bowl. Nuff said.
The Pick: TeRoy! -4
San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Dec. 23 @ 8pm
Boise State Broncos
TCU Horned Frogs – 2.5
The Boise State Broncos. The Boise State crowd is apparently too sensible for me to make fun of their mascot. They picked the mascot in 1932 because riding horses was, and probably still is, popular around the university. His name is Buster Bronco, which is cute, but not blatantly retarded. Unfortunately, the Western Michigan mascot is also known as Buster Bronco. I can see having the same type of mascot, but the same name? That should not stand. How would they decide it, Rodeo-style? Could they have a buck-off? Seriously, a bucking bronco is dangerous and if you ride said bucking broncos, you are a man. No doubt.
Texas Christian Horned Frogs. This just in! A Horned Frog is not, in fact, a frog. It’s not even an amphibian! It’s a lizard. That’s minus points for misleading us. I’ll give the points back because I love hearing Yosemite Sam say “Great horny toads!” Also, in addition to the “horns”, as a defensive measure, these creatures can squirt an aimed stream of blood from the corners of its eyes up to five feet. This defensive tactic isn’t very effective against human encroachment and the animal is endangered. That’s a bit of a downer. The mascot’s name is Superfrog, which I like, but I don’t know it’d hold up versus a Bronco.
The Pick: Boise State +2.5
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Dec. 24 @ 8 pm
Notre Dame Fighting Irish +2
The Hawaii Warriors. Formerly known as the Rainbow Warriors until 2000 when the football team, probably tired of rainbow related insults, asked for it to be changed. While the men’s athletics department shortened the mascot to the Warriors, the Rainbow Wahine (or Rainbow Women for us mainlanders) shortened theirs to the Rainbows or just Bows. To make up for the emasculating taunts over the years, the new rainbow-less warrior wasn’t going to take any crap from opponents. In fact, their was a bit of a dust up when, amongst other things, he dropped a Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka elbow on the University of Alabama mascot. Well, what did you expect? He was going to pass around rally leis all game?
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Maybe the most politically incorrect mascot name that no one cares about. Technically, the nickname is Fighting Irish and the mascot is a leprechaun. So, leprechauns are magical and, ironically for this bowl, chill at the end of rainbows. The leprechaun is a type of male faerie, who likes himself some gold. You have to catch him and interrogate him to get it, so brush up on your water boarding before you hit the shamrock fields.
The Pick: Hawaii Warriors -2
Motor City Bowl Dec. 26 @ 8 pm
Central Michigan -6.5
The Florida Atlantic Owls. Not a big , scary owl, a burrowing owl. They are quite popular in the area, so popular they decided to dig up the owl habitat to plant a university on it. In fact, the Audubon Society declared FAU’s land an owl sanctuary so the university couldn’t expand its campus in 1971. On a positive side, the mascot’s name is easy to remember, Owsley the Owl.
The Central Michigan Chippewas. Central Michigan does not have an actual mascot, just the Chippewa nickname. They also have the backing of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, political correctors take notice. You’d think it’d be easy to top a burrowing owl, but Central Michigan is not giving us much. The Chippewa do have a traditional Sasquatch-like figure named the Wendigo, who was a cannibalistic family devourer. Something to think about, CMU.
The Pick: Florida Atlantic Owls +6.5
Meineke Car Care Bowl Dec. 27 @ 1 pm
West Virginia Mountaineers
North Carolina Tar Heels (Pick)
The West Virginia Mountaineers. A mountaineer is a buckskin clad dude with a coonskin cap who runs around cheering and shooting his rifle in the air. Davey Crockett reincarnated, basically. It’s a little plain, but you get a rifle and can grow a beard and get to hang out with cheerleaders, so it’s not all bad. While in costume, he may not be under the influence of alcohol at any time, which kind of limits the authenticity. What’s a mountaineer without moonshine?
The North Carolina Tar Heels. What’s a Tar Heel? Someone from North Carolina. Yup, that’s it. North Carolina used to be the top tar producing state and people from the state eventually were called Tar Heels. Bo-ring. The UNC mascot, Ramses, is way more exciting. He’s got a cool pharaoh name and painted blue horns. There’s also a costumed human mascot of the same name. If a mountaineer can skin a buck and a raccoon, he probably sheared a sheep while in his squirrel skin diapers.
The Pick: West Virginia
Champs Sports Bowl Dec. 27 @ 4:30 pm
Florida State Seminoles-4.5
The Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin was known as the Badger State because prospectors in the state had to live like badgers in the harsh conditions. The mascot’s name is Buckingham U. Badger, or Bucky Badger for short. The university tried a real live badger at first, but it proved to be too fierce (good sign) and was retired to the zoo. The live badger was replaced by a costumed human and a real live raccoon named Regdab, which is badger spelled backwards. That’s a little confusing. Stick with one animal. Still, I don’t know anyone who wants to go throw down with any Badgers.
The Florida State Seminoles. The Florida State mascot is Chief Osceola, who was a famous Seminole warrior, who often rides Renegade, named for the unconquered renegade spirit of the Seminole people. That’s pretty bad ass. He’s got authentic garb, designed by Seminole women and a big ass spear. I think I’ve seen the spear on fire, which might not be historical, but it does add to the badassedness. It’s tough to beat this mascot. It’s got a live animal, no stupid name and a weapon that sometimes is lit on fire and thrown.
The Pick: Florida State Seminoles -4.5
Emerald Bowl Dec. 27 @ 8pm
California Golden Bears-7
The Miami Hurricanes. Here we have another school with a different mascot than the nickname. Miami’s mascot is Sebastian the Ibis. Why the Ibis? Apparently, the ibis is the last to leave a marsh before a hurricane and the first to return. That makes it leaderly or something. His name, Sebastian, comes from the San Sebastian building that was a dorm and is now apartments. Whatever. I don’t see many Ibis(Ibises? Ibis’? Ibii?) in my neighborhood, but they don’t seem that tough. Another unsettling fact, Sebastian looks more like Howard the duck than an Ibis.
The California Golden Bears. The bear is a pretty good mascot for a mascot throwdown. Cal had live bears as mascots until WWII, so that’s a plus. The Golden Bear mascot since then is Oski the Bear. Oski comes from the “Oski Wow-Wow” yell, which is the Cal spirit yell. Unfortunately, Oski looks the same as he did in 1941. He’s like 1920’s Mickey Mouse or Tracey Ullman Show Simpsons. He’d still maul an Ibis that’s for sure.
The Pick: California Golden Bears -7
Independence Bowl Dec. 28 @ 8:15 pm
Northern Illinois Huskies
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs +1.5
The Northern Illinois Huskies. First, they were the Profs, then Cardinals, then the Evansmen before becoming the Huskies. Now, a Husky is a dog, so that’s a plus. However, the husky is also a very popular mascot choice and NIU’s is named Victor E. Huskie and that is lame. Huskies are very wolf-like in appearance and the Iditarod is no joke. Hmm?
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. This is a dog eat dog matchup. Oops. I told RT I wouldn’t use any bad puns in my articles. Damn. LTU has two mascots and two nicknames. Champ is the costumed human bulldog and Tech XX is the real live bulldog. XX is Roman numerals, not like Dos Equis, sadly. As for a huskie-bulldog throwdown? Bulldogs were used in bullbaiting and bearbaiting back in the good ol days of the 17th century and were bred specifically for that purpose. Hard-core.
The Pick: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs +1.5
Papajohns.com Bowl Dec. 29 @ 3pm
NC State Wolfpack
Rutgers Scarlet Knights-6.5
The North Carolina State Wolfpack. Why settle for one animal when you could use a whole pack? You see, that’s smart. When a disgruntled, snobby (probably) fan calls your behavior at a football game, “like a wolf pack”, you take that “negative” and you turn it into a positive. I don’t know what exactly constitutes a pack, but for the sake of a mascot throwdown I’ll say six. Six wolves would be a formidable opponent for many, many a foe. Yet, NC State uses only one mascot to represent the pack, Mr. Wuf. Did you know Mr. Wuf is married to Ms. Wuf and has his own myspace page? Now you do.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights. In the early days they were the Queensmen. Yeah, I know. Rutgers used to be Queen’s College, like that makes it any better. After that it was Chanticleer, a rooster from the Canterbury Tales. Finally, the Scarlet Knights was chosen in the ‘50s because people in New Jersey know only people from Delaware want a chicken for a mascot. As for the Scarlet Knight himself, he’s horseless and sword less, but he is fully armored. Now, I’ve seen pictures of a more realistic looking Scarlet Knight on a horse with a sword and probably a shield, but the goofy one in the picture below is the one I’m going with. He’d definitely have no shot versus an entire wolf pack, but Mr. Wuf? Not without a sword. Well, maybe he does have a sword?
The Pick: NC State Wolfpack +6.5
Valero Alamo Bowl Dec. 29 @ 8pm
Missouri Tigers. The tigers were a bunch of armed guards who protected Columbia, MO from Union soldiers and Confederate Guerrillas during the Civil War. Historical anecdotes are always important to good mascots. The university felt so good about historical anecdotes they named their mascot Truman the Tiger after President Harry Truman, Missouri native. Again, the tiger is a popular mascot and they didn’t name the tiger Truman until 1986. 30 years after he left office and almost fifteen after he died. Better late than never, I guess.
The Northwestern Wildcats. Yet another non-exciting mascot matchup. Blah, blah, blah, some guy in the ‘20s said the team looked like wildcats on the field and the women swooned with joy. Frankly, it’d be cooler if they were still the Fighting Methodists. Northwestern also chose the all too safe Willie the Wildcat as its mascot’s name. I thought this school was where all the good journalists went? The Wildcats and Willie the Wildcat? That’s all you’ve got. Kansas State also has a Willie the Wildcat and both schools have purple as a main color. C’mon people! I can’t decide, so I’m taking the points.
The Pick: Northwestern Wildcats +13.5
Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl Dec. 30 @ 4:30pm
Nevada Wolf Pack -1
The Maryland Terrapins. The diamondback terrapin is the state reptile of Maryland. UM’s mascot is named Testudo. That’s a little confusing because testudo is a genus of tortoise, yet a terrapin is a turtle, not a tortoise. Another downer is that we (I) think of Testudo as being a big snapping turtle you don’t want to f with. But upon further review, the diamondback terrapin doesn’t usually grow larger than 7 inches long at maturity. They almost went extinct because they are so tasty.
Nevada Wolfpack. No, I’m sorry. Nevada Wolf Pack. First, there was Wolfie. Wolfie bequeathed the cheering duties to his nephew, Aphie in 1999. In 2007, Alphie was joined on the sidelines by his brother, Wolfie, Jr. I have no idea which one this is, but he could eat a tasty turtle for sure.
The Pick: Nevada Wolf Pack -1
Texas Bowl Dec. 30 @ 8pm
Western Michigan Broncos +3
The Rice Owls. There’s an interesting back story on the naming of the mascot, Sammy the Owl. His canvas form was abducted by Texas A&M hooligans. Rice students hired a P.I. who sent back a coded telegram that he had located “Sammy.” Sammy the Owl went from canvas interpretation to real live owl to costumed student. Sammy the Owl prefers Facebook to myspace. His facial expression doesn’t bode well for the mascot throwdown.
Western Michigan Broncos. They’ve been the Broncos since 1939, but Buster Bronco has only been around since 1988. So, we’ve got no mascot history and the mascot has the same name as another university? And, Western Michigan changed to the Broncos because they used to be the Hilltoppers and Western Kentucky was already the Hilltoppers? That makes no sense.
The Pick: Rice Owls -3
Pacific Life Holiday Bowl Dec. 30 @ 8pm
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oregon Ducks +3.5
Oklahoma State Cowboys. I got all excited when I saw that OSU’s mascot’s name was Pistol Pete. Yeah! That was my nickname in college. He’s got a cool hat, some chaps, a bad mustache and most importantly a pistol. Just like I did in college! I love me some mascots with weapons.
Oregon Ducks. The Duck doesn’t really have a name and you may have noticed illustrations of The Duck that look surprisingly like Donald Duck. An AD at Oregon knew Walt Disney and got his okay to use the depiction for its athletics. So, Oregon’s got Nike AND Disney? Dang! Unfortunately, I seem to remember Donald Duck coming up short in most of his fracases and he doesn’t like wearing pants.
The Pick: Oklahoma State Cowboys -3.5
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Dec. 31 @ Noon
Air Force Fighting Falcons+2.5
Houston Cougars. Shasta is the name of the Cougar mascot. It’s a name that’s been passed down since 1947 and has crossed over from real live cougar to the costumed student. Shasta is also Title IX compliant being one of the only female mascots around. I guess if you’re going to have a cougar as a mascot it should be a female. Right, fellas? Rowr. Although, judging by the photo below, Shasta may be going through an identity crisis. It’s still hot.
Air Force Fighting Falcons. The Air Force and a bird of prey mascot go together like PB&J. The mascot was chosen by the first graduating class from the academy in 1959. The Air Force has a real live falcon named Yeti and a costumed cadet known as “The Bird.” I hate ultra cheesy names, but you have to at least try, right? As for the matchup, cats eat birds. I saw it on Looney Tunes.
The Pick: Houston Cougars -2.5
Brut Sun Bowl Dec. 31 @ 2 pm
Oregon State Beavers
Pittsburgh Panthers +3
Oregon State Beavers. According to his myspace page, Mr. Beaver's interests include supporting Beaver Nation and hanging out with his fellow Beavs. He listens to Justin Timberlake, AC/DC, Jay-Z and Johnny Cash. He’s a Libra and has a Ph.D. in Mascot Skills, so that’s Dr. Beaver to you. And ladies, he’s single!!!!
Pitt Panthers. The University of Pittsburgh is very logical. When they decided on the Panther as mascot the following reason were given:
1)The panther was the most powerful animal that roamed western PA
2) It’s a noble animal
3)At the time(1909), no other school used the panther as a mascot
4) It had similar colors to gold and blue
That is exactly the type of dedication all universities should show when selecting a mascot. Strength, Nobility, Unique, Colors, Alliteration or SNUCA. Remember it next time you need to think of a mascot. You can tell they were thinking about being in a mascot matchup throwdown 100 years down the road.
The Pick: Pitt Panthers +3
Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl Dec. 31 @ 3:30pm
Boston College Golden Eaglese
Vanderbilt Commodores +4
Boston College Eagles. Outraged at the university being depicted as a cat in a local newspaper, a reverend wrote the paper suggesting a nobler mascot was needed to represent Boston College. The obvious choice to the reverend was the eagle because it was “symbolic of majesty, power and freedom.” BC tried live eagles at first, but one escaped and the other broke it’s beak trying to escape. Baldwin was born in 1966 and his name is the lame combination of Bald, for Bald Eagle, and win, for win. It’s also a little confusing using a Bald Eagle as a mascot when your nickname is the Golden Eagles.
Vanderbilt Commodores. Cornelius Vanderbilt made his fortune in shipping. What’s a Commodore? Don’t say Lionel Ritchie. It’s a naval rank higher than captain, lower than rear admiral. I’d rather be a Commodore than a rear admiral, that’s for sure. Mr. C’s got a cutlass, a cool hat and some serious mutton chops. There haven’t been too many naval battles in Nashville lately, so he’s probably hard up for some swashbuckling. As much as I like birds of prey, a crazy 19th century dude with a cutlass gets the edge.
The Pick: Vanderbilt Commodores +4
Insight Bowl Dec. 31 @ 5:30pm
Minnesota Golden Gophers +10.5
Kansas Jay Hawks. A Jay Hawk is a “mythical” cross between the noisy Blue Jay and quiet Sparrow Hawk. A Kansas militant abolitionist group adopted the name Jayhawkers before the Civil War. When Kansas was admitted to the union as a free state the term became synonymous with Kansans. Wow, I never knew. That’s pretty noble. Why doesn’t Kansas promote that more? I don’t know what kind of powers a Jayhawk would have, besides militant abolishing, and that’s going to hurt in the mascot throwdown.
Minnesota Golden Gophers. I thought Minnesota was just the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Wrong. It’s also the North Star State, The Bread and Butter State, The Wheat State, New England of the West and The Gopher State. There’s not a whole lot to say about Goldy the Gopher, mascot of UM. Goldy was judged to look the LEAST like a gopher amongst other similar rodents, including the chipmunk and beaver. He’s a gopher impostor, he’s unarmed, but at least he’s got an alliterative name. Hawks eat gophers for breakfast in real life and in this matchup.
The Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -10.5
Chick-fil-A Bowl Dec. 31 @ 7:30pm
LSU Fightin' Tigers
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets -3.5
LSU Fightin’Tigers. The Fightin’ Tigers comes from two Louisiana Confederate brigades known for fighting fiercely during the Civil War. Mike the Tiger exists in real live tiger form and as a costumed student. Mike VI is the real live tiger who chills in his $3mm habitat. I wish I was a mascot, sometimes. Mike VI currently weighs in at over 300 lbs. and could reach upwards of 700 lbs., making him the largest Mike the Tiger, ever. Also, in Mike VI's first year as mascot, LSU won the BCS national championship game.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The mascot Buzz may be a wee yellow jacket, but he gets stuff done. His trademark move is the Buzz Flip. He crowd surfs, parachutes and leads the band in the Budweiser song, a beer jingle. Buzz isn’t afraid of capitalism and is available for weddings and birthday parties. No word on his longest keg stand or the most beer bongs he’s done in a night, but he sounds like the life of a party. Unfortunately, Mike the Tiger is a tiger.
The Pick: LSU Fightin’ Tigers -3.5
Outback Bowl Jan. 1 @ 11 am
South Carolina Gamecocks
Iowa Hawkeyes -3
South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina has two mascots, a real live cock (can I say that?) named Big Spur and a costumed student named Cocky. Cocky, the human one, has multiple mascot national championships and was on the Capitol One All-America Mascot Team 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. He’s got pristine mascot credentials, sure, but what are his throwdown credentials? He was bred to fight. He’s probably got some razor blades on him somewhere. I bet he likes the taste of blood. He’s arrogant and his name has phallic undertones providing easy comedy.
Iowa Hawkeyes. The term Hawkeye comes from The Last of the Mohicans and was used to describe the people of Iowa at some point supposedly to honor Chief Black Hawk. Herky the Hawk was named after Hercules. In 1997, Herky got into a brawl with a Minnesota band member and in the ensuing rumble, broke his fiberglass head piece that has since been replaced with Kevlar. Yup, Herky is bulletproof. Tough call in this avian matchup, but I’ll give the edge to the bird of prey versus the cock.
The Pick: Iowa Hawkeys -3
Capital One Bowl Jan 1 @ 1pm
Michigan State Spartans +7.5
Georgia Bulldogs. Chosen for its dignity and ferocity, the bulldog has been the mascot at Georgia since the early 1900’s. Georgia has two mascots, UGA, the real live bulldog and Hairy Dawg, the costumed student. UGA has a literally iced out doghouse to keep him cool on the sidelines during games and tried to bite an opposing player after a touchdown once. Hairy Dawg was created in response to Florida’s new mascot, much like the arms race between Cold War powers.
Michigan State Spartans. MSU used to be an agricultural college and the mascot was the Aggies like every other agricultural school. Is that a requirement or something? They changed their mascot when trying to expand beyond just an agricultural school and originally chose the Michigan Staters before a sports editor picked the better Spartan nickname. Sparty the Spartan has held Best Mascot and Buffest Mascot titles in previous years, including winning Best Mascot in three out of four years. He’s buff and armored, but he’s unarmed, which hurts in a mascot throwdown.
The Pick: Georgia Bulldogs -7.5
Konica Minolta Gator Bowl Jan. 1 @1pm
Nebraska Cornhuskers +3
Clemson Tigers. In 1896 some coach came to Clemson from Auburn and because he admired the Princeton Tigers he gave that nickname to Clemson. I hate that. Princeton was the Tigers and he came from Auburn which is also the Tigers and he names Clemson the Tigers? In 1896? There were plenty of other options back then. There was no need to recycle. The Tiger and Tiger Cub are the names of the Clemson mascots. Are there no creative people in the Clemson Athletic Department?
Nebraska Cornhuskers. On the other end of the creative spectrum, the University of Nebraska had a litany of colorful nicknames around the same time the Clemson Tigers were being mascot lazy. The names included: Antelopes, Old Gold Knights, Bugeaters and Mankilling Mastadons. Brilliant, all of them. Herbie the Husker is sort of buff and has a nice cowboy hat, but not much to help him versus a tiger.
The Pick: Clemson Tigers -3
AT&T Cotton Bowl Jan. 2@ 2pm
Ole Miss Rebels
Texas Tech Red Raiders-5.5
Ole Miss Rebels. Colonel Reb was the long time mascot who looked like a 19th century plantation owner and has been locked away since 2003 when the university removed the mascot for being blatantly politically incorrect. He looks like you could find him at Colonel Sanders’ cocktail parties sipping mint juleps. Due to lack of interest, a new mascot was never selected. I smell a DQ.
Texas Tech Red Raiders. Originally called the Matadors, the Red Raiders have two mascots. The Masked Rider is a masked rider who is sort of a Lone Ranger/Zorro combination. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a sword or a gun, but he does ride real horse. Red Raider, who looks suspiciously like Yosemite Sam, has two holsters on his belt, but they are empty. I’ll just say, the Red Raiders are lucky to be matched up against a school with no mascot.
The Pick: Texas Tech Red Raiders -5.5
AutoZone Liberty Bowl Jan 2 @ 5pm
East Carolina Pirates -2
Kentucky Wildcats. The mascot’s name is Scratch. In protest of the Wildcat mascot, I present this excerpt from a Simpsons episode:
Ned: Who are we?
Kids: The Wildcats!
Ned: Who are we gonna beat?
Kids: The Wildcats!
East Carolina Pirates. Here’s a fun fact. Blackbeard (the pirate) resided along the North Carolina coast. A pirate is always good in a matchup throwdown. He’s got a cutlass, cool hat, eye-patch, often bearded and sometimes they get to fire cannons. Pee Dee the Priate is named for the Pee Dee River that housed many pirate encampments.
The Pick: East Carolina Pirates -2
International Bowl Jan. 3 @ Noon
Connecticut Huskies -4
The Buffalo Bulls. Not a typo. The University changed its mascot from the Bison to the Bulls in order to separate itself from professional sports teams of the area in the 1930’s. Victor E. Bull and his sister, Victoria E. Bull, walk the sidelines at “The Bullpen” football stadium. He’s big, blue and has horns. Not much else to say.
Connecticut Huskies. There are two Jonathan the Huskies representing UCONN. The original was a real live Husky and was later teamed with a costumed student, also named Jonathan the Husky. Jonathan was the winning name in a 1934 name the husky contest. Seriously? That was the winner? I’m running on fumes and these bowls keep feeding me unoriginal, stale mascots! Must. Fight. Through. Uninspired mascots.
The Pick: Buffalo Bulls +4
GMAC Bowl Jan 6 @ 8 pm
Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Ball State Cardinals-2.5
Tulsa Golden Hurricane. That’s more like it! Not just a hurricane, a Golden Hurricane. And on top of that, the mascot’s name is Captain Cane! Yes! You want to know what the name of the mascot was before 1994? Huffy!
Ball State Cardinals. Originally known as the Hooserions, somebody finally figured out it was a ridiculous name and chose the cardinals because it looked good on the St. Louis Cardinals(MLB) jersey. The mascot’s name is Charlie Cardinal and that is way too bland when you’re facing CAP-TAIN CANE!!!!
The Pick: Tulsa Golden Hurricane +2.5
Comeback next week for the BCS breakdown.