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Monday, October 20, 2008

Least Intimidating College Mascots

This is a great article written at It lists the Top 10 'least intimidating college mascots.' I'm shocked that Herbie Husker makes the list at #9. Who doesn't have nightmares about Herbie standing in the dark corner of your closet at night? I am also schocked to know that the 'Cornhuskers' once belonged to the University of Iowa and that Nebraska was once named the 'Man-killing Mastodons' - (which is a prehistoric elephant animal).

"The 10 Least Intimidating Mascots"
By Mad Love on 10/18 at 10:00 AM

By Rachel Ann Moore
Love of Sports Correspondent

In the excitement of athletic competition, most sports teams choose mascots that reflect their “fighting spirit.”

Typically, these representatives are personified by warriors or predatory creatures.

But there are those schools that pick the animals or images that represent a local or regional trait. These symbols are presumed to bring that team good luck and are commonly the cutest, fuzziest and least frightening characters they could find.

It turns out there are a lot more schools than you’d think that have chosen non-threatening mascots. Here are are the Top 10 such schools in Division I.

NCAA’s Most Non-Threatening Mascots

10. Tennessee Volunteers

The actual mascot for the school is Smokey the hound dog, but their athletic teams are mainly referred to by their nickname, the Volunteers. Now give the Vols a little credit; Tennessee became known as “The Volunteer State” in the early 19th century when Andrew Jackson assembled large armies from his home state to fight American Indians, and later the British. Still, you just don’t think “soldier” when you hear the word “volunteer.”

9. Nebraska Cornhuskers

A Cornhusker is one who husks corn (removes husks and leaves). The University of Nebraska was first nicknamed the Hawkeyes, now associated with the University of Iowa. They were also nicknamed the Antelopes, the Old Golden Knights, the Bug eaters and the Man-killing Mastodons (they should’ve stopped there). When Iowa dropped the name Cornhuskers, Nebraska jumped at the opportunity to take it. Whose bright idea was that?

8. Virginia Tech Hokies

If you don’t know what a hokie is, don’t fret; neither does Virginia Tech. As part of a spirit-yell competition, a student (class of 1896) made up the word because it was an attention-grabber. An English professor later found that the word had existed for 50 years previous and was an exclamation like “hooray,” but somehow at the university, it translated into “turkey.” That kid lucked out. What if the word meant “loser?”

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Gophers are the cute, fuzzy creatures I was specifically talking about before. Dress it in a football jersey and it’s even cuter than before.

6. Oregon State Beavers

In all fairness, the school didn’t choose this cuddly creature to be the fighting spirit of its sports teams. Instead, the school adopted the name after one of the university’s leading programs: engineering. And what is a dam-building beaver but a woodland engineer?

5. Maryland Terrapins

A terrapin may not be fuzzy or adorable, but it is definitely not intimidating. If you’re ever up against one, just run - or rather, walk - away. A terrapin is a turtle. It won’t catch you.

4. Oregon Ducks

The mascot costume has black evil-eyebrows sewn on its face, but if you actually think about how much harm a duck can do, it’s not as frightening as the eyebrows suggest. Ducks have neither teeth nor hands, and in Donald’s case, pants.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

If you were wondering what in the world that happy, brown football-shaped head thing is, wonder no more! A buckeye, Ohio’s state tree, is a medium-sized, deciduous that produces nut-like seeds. So, that thing you see walking on the sidelines is a nut.

2. Stanford Cardinal

While we’re on the subject of trees, have you seen the Stanford Tree costume? No doubt, that thing is scary. But take away the bug-eyes and the mouth with red lipstick and all you have is a tree. Stanford has no official mascot, so the students chose the image from the Stanford seal and athletic logo as their fighting spirit symbol.

1. Syracuse Orange

You eat an orange, it doesn’t eat you. Need I say more?