College football just wouldn’t be the same without those costumed creatures we all know and love. That’s right; we’re talking about college mascots! Students, alumni, family, friends and fans instantly feel a sense of camaraderie and support for their team whenever its mascot takes the field.
Some college mascots were originally chosen to instill fear in the competition, but these days they’re typically used for branding and merchandising purposes. Even so, college mascots are not without controversy. Debates have risen over the use of Native American names and images in both college and professional sports. One thing’s for sure, though—college mascots can get the crowd cheering like no one else can!
StateUniversity.com has created a collection of our favorite 12 Cool College Mascots. Continue reading for more info and plenty of pictures!
Big Al is a fuzzy gray elephant that represents the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. The costumed Big Al made his debut at the 1979 Sugar Bowl and has been a favorite of Crimson Tide fans ever since. Alabama athletes do not have a logo on their sports uniforms so Big Al often appears on team merchandise.
Big Red—whose nickname is the Fightin’ Razorback— is the costumed male mascot that represents the University of Arkansas. His female counterpart, LadyBack Big Red, often appears beside him at sporting events and their costumed pals named Sue E. and Pork Chop occasionally show up, too!
Aubie the tiger represents Auburn University. He’s been around since 1979 and is one of the most animated college mascots in the country thanks to his grand game entrances. Aubie is definitely “quite a character,” especially since he’s appreciated for dancing with the band. In fact, he’s well-known for his ability to master current dance crazes!
Albert E. Gator and his gal pal Alberta are the official mascots of the University of Florida. Live alligators were used as school mascots on the football field before Albert came along in 1970, and Alberta joined him in 1986. Both Al and Alberta cheer on the Florida Gators football team but they also appear at other events without one another.
Al E. and Alberta Gator
Hairy Dawg is the costumed mascot of the University of Georgia while Uga is the name of the live English bulldog that also appears at all Georgia football games. Hairy Dawg made his first appearance at the 1981 Sugar Bowl, but he wasn’t seen at Georgia’s Sanford Stadium until the Bulldogs’ 1981 victory against the Tennessee Volunteers.
Sebastian the Ibis is the official mascot of the University of Miami Hurricanes. The American white ibis is a bird that is common in South Florida and the current Sebastian costume dates back to the 1980s. Sebastian leads the Miami football team as it enters the stadium and is known for his C-A-N-E-S cheer in which he forms the letters with his body.
Sparty is the costumed mascot of Michigan State University. A muscular warrior/athlete with an oversized head, prominent chin and huge muscular arms, Sparty wears the school colors of green and white. He appears at most Michigan State sporting events, performs with the cheerleaders and even does one-handed pushups.
Herbie Husker is the oldest current mascot of the University of Nebraska—Lincoln Cornhuskers. He was created in 1974 and became the school’s official mascot soon after. Herbie’s had a few makeovers since then, but he currently wears a red cowboy hat, red work shirt, blue jeans and work boots. Herbie and his pal Lil’ Red ride a bicycle-built-for-two prior to the famous Tunnel Walk at Memorial Stadium home games.
Brutus Buckeye serves as the official athletic mascot of The Ohio State University. Brutus wears the Ohio State colors of scarlet and gray and his head resembles a buckeye—the nut of Ohio’s state tree. Brutus has been around since 1965 and makes appearances around the city of Columbus.
Located in Corpus Christi, Texas on Ward Island in Oso Bay, Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi is represented by Izzy the Islander, a costumed mascot that is a caricature of a Polynesian island warrior. Izzy’s head resembles a wooden tiki mask; he even dons a grass skirt and performs the hula. Izzy has been at the center of controversy in recent months while the university considers giving him a “facelift.” Officials want to develop a character that better reflects the image of a South Texas islander, as opposed to a Polynesian one.
Izzy the Islander
Although Bevo the Texas longhorn steer is the official live mascot of the University of Texas at Austin, Hook ‘Em is the school’s costumed mascot. A cartoon version of a longhorn steer, Hook ‘Em is often seen at Texas Longhorns football games and other school athletic events.
The University of South Carolina Gamecocks athletics teams are represented by none other than Cocky, a costumed cartoon version of a gamecock—a fighting rooster. The current version of Cocky made his debut at the 1980 homecoming game.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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