Welcome back, everybody. It’s time for your Week 2 ... [checks calendar] bowl season preview! (Where DOES the time go?)
As you may recall, we did this back in Week 1. I’m not going to rehash any of the teams from that post here, because the mascots haven’t changed in the last 3 months and I don’t really have anything new to say about them. As such, bowl games involving those teams will not be part of this preview. I realize that in some cases, the opponents of these teams have not yet been discussed, leaving their mascots without a natural home in this post. If only there was a way I could quickly present my half-baked opinions on those mascots without having to do very much work.
- Ralphie (Colorado)
- Bully XXI aka Jak (Mississippi State)
- Lil’ Red (Nebraska)
- Chip (Colorado)
- Lightning (Middle Tennessee)
- Aztec Warrior (San Diego State)
- Rocky the Rocket and Rocksy the Rockette (Toledo)
- Herbie Husker (Nebraska)
- Buster Bronco (Boise State)
- A Different Buster Bronco (Western Michigan)
- Bully (Mississippi State)
- Being hit by a car
- Nittany Lion (Penn State)
Yes, that’ll do. Just to be clear, Ralphie was like 90% of the reason I even bothered with that list. Ralphie is great. Here, watch this dumb sideline reporter try to run with him and get decleated instead:
Great stuff. Now that we have that out of the way, it’s time for some fights to deaths! One new rule relates to sub-.500 teams in bowl games, which I am vehemently against despite generally being in favor of having tons of pointless bowl games. If a team made a bowl game despite finishing the season below .500, that team’s mascot will be forced to fight with one arm/leg/wing/flipper/appendage of my choosing tied behind its back. Other than that, it’s pretty much what you’d expect. Let’s get to it.
NC Central’s mascot is Eddie the Eagle, who looks ready to scrap. On the other side, we have the Grambling tiger, whose name is, uh, The Grambling Tiger (to the best of my googling anyway). The Grambling Tiger is not particularly menacing as humans in tiger costumes go. Also, Eddie has hands. There’s a reason real birds don’t have hands. They’d be unstoppable. Eddie’s got this.
New Mexico has two wolf mascots, Lobo Louie and Lobo Lucy. Lobo Lucy has some stylish hair bows inserted directly into her ear canals. UTSA trots out Rowdy the Roadrunner. Rowdy might stand a chance if New Mexico’s mascot was one coyote and not two wolves.
Another team with two wolves for mascots is Arkansas State, although Howl and Scarlet are red. They are fine. What is not fine is this other mascot called Red that Ark State may or may not currently use. What in God’s name is that thing. I’m struggling to describe what I think it looks like; so far I’m at “What if Doug Funnie was a character on Veggie Tales?” On UCF’s side is Knightro, who is a knight with a sword. Do I think he can kill two wolves and maybe whatever Red is with his foam sword? I do not think that. Ark State wins.
Southern Miss’s golden eagle mascot is named, I shit you not, Seymour d’Campus. The Ragin’ Cajuns have a pepper mascot named Cayenne, who is fire (literally). Cayenne wins, then dishonors his fallen opponent by refusing to go and see any more of the campus.
Every school with a Native American-related nickname seems to have a different approach towards balancing common decency and continued fundraising from alumni who are easily angered over inconsequential changes to athletic traditions. For their part, Central Michigan has chosen to stick with the Chippewas nickname (with the tribe’s blessing) but not have an actual mascot. Everyone involved seems somewhat fine with this arrangement, so whatever, but it still leaves the team without a mascot. The closest thing I found was this Basketball Head Guy, which is certainly not a football mascot and also is barely anything. On the other hand, Tulsa has Captain Cane, which I’m pretty sure is just this generic superhero costume with a Tulsa logo and a weird swirly pattern added to the chest. In spite of his relative lameness, Captain Cane’s lightning bolt sword (what does this have to do with a Golden Hurricane?) easily pops Basketball Head Guy’s basketball head, delivering a hard lesson to Central Michigan: get a new nickname and a cool mascot or you will continue to stand no chance in mascot fight to the death-based bowl previews.
Western Kentucky’s mascot is Big Red, one of the best in the business. Big Red can eat anything - yardage markers, cheerleaders, a statue of himself, you name it. I’m quite certain he could also eat Pouncer and Bouncer, Memphis’s two anthropomorphic tigers. However, there is the small issue of TOM, who is Memphis’s very real Bengal tiger mascot. Live tigers are also skilled at eating things, but less in a “swallow stuff whole with my comically oversized mouth” sense and more in a “tear out your throat and disembowel you and then get around to actually chewing and eating you whenever I feel like it” sense. I guess I’m saying this is a little much for Big Red to handle.
BYU’s mascot is Cosmo the Cougar, who seems to squint a lot. He may need glasses. Wyoming’s version of Pistol Pete and their Li’l Sebastian-like pony mascot Cowboy Joe comprise a formidable 1-2 punch, and by that I mean Pistol Pete quickly puts a cap in Cosmo’s nearsighted ass while Cowboy Joe stands there and does pony stuff.
Representing Idaho, we have Joe the Vandal. I assume he got the position by spray painting the name of his biker gang on a building wall somewhere. Colorado State sports CAM the Ram in both costumed human and live animal form. Additionally, did you know that the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has a mascot? His name is Spuddy Buddy, and as you might expect, he is a big ol’ potato. As you might also expect, he is completely useless in a fight and is eaten by the live ram almost immediately. CAMs the Rams then team up to finish off Joe the Vandal via a series of headbutts.
Eastern Michigan University, aka EMU, uses the Eagle as its mascot. ITS INITIALS ARE LITERALLY THE NAME OF A DIFFERENT BIRD. Sorry. Anyway, here’s Swoop the Eagle. He opposes ODU’s Big Blue, who is the king and was fantastic in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. His eyes also suggest that he is either in an altered state or up way past his bedtime. Swoop the non-emu is honestly a pretty boring mascot, so he can probably put Big Blue right to sleep and then smother him with that pillowy crown on his head.
Louisiana Tech’s live bulldog mascot Tech XXI recently retired and has not yet been replaced, so for this game all they got is a bulldog-costumed human named Champ. Champ’s collar is distractingly large. Navy trots out Bill the Goat in both live and costume form. The decorative tape on live Bill’s horns might cushion some of the blows, but Champ is still going to be plenty uncomfortable. Navy gets a break by catching LA Tech between live bulldog mascots as Champ alone is no match for Bill and Bill.
Ohio is represented by Rufus the Bobcat. Rufus demonstrated himself to be a natural fighter by tackling Brutus Buckeye a few years back. He takes on T-Roy, the Troy Trojan. I would respect him more if they had just gone for it and named him Troy. Anyway, T-Roy looks ... surprised? Confused? High? None of these are good ways to look with Rufus on the prowl. T-Roy’s reflexes are too slow for his sword to even come into play. Rufus takes him down.
Volume 2 coming next week!