Mascot Mania, Part One: The Worst College Mascots

With college football reaching its maxim headed into the week of Thanksgiving, I think it’s an appropriate time to ask which schools have the best and worst mascots. My criteria are simple: does it look good, does it make sense, and is it synonymous with the team and university. So without further ado, I present to you the five best and worst college mascots – we begin with the bottom five.


5. Big Red – Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers

It’s big and it’s red and it looks like a severely obese Elmo. I have no idea as to how an amorphous red blob relates to a Hilltopper (for that matter what the heck is a Hilltopper anyway?). The best I can gather is that the red blob comes from the fact that famed basketball coach Edgar Diddle got upset about people taking athletic towels, so to put an end to it, he commissioned red towels for all athletes. The red towel became his trademark and he was rarely spotted roaming the sideline without it. Thus, Big Red came to symbolize, in some form, the importance of the color red to WKU…..what?

4. Goldy Gopher – University of Minnesota Golden  Gophers

All I can think about when I see Goldy Gopher is the gopher from Caddy Shack. However, this gopher is not “alright.” Does the state of Minnesota even have gophers? And how do they not freeze to death in the winter? Have you been to Minnesota in the winter? They have ICE FISHING there for god’s sake! And why are they golden? Last time I checked, gophers are brown, unless the ones in Minnesota are using L’Oreal hair coloring. (Sold at Walgreens for $8.99) Don’t fret Gopher fans, there’s hope for you yet. I will agree to remove you from the list if you officially adopt dramatic gopher as your new mascot.
3. Captain Cane – University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Captain Cane is just turrible, as Charles Barkley would say. Surprisingly, though, this manifestation of Captain Cane is a major upgrade from the former version of the mascot, which looked like an anthropomorphized Bugle (the snack, not the instrument). However, the current version looks like a reject straight out of central casting for Disney/Pixar. What is a Golden Hurricane? The story goes that the football coach wanted to name the team Golden Tornadoes (appropriate, given the team is located in the Dust Bowl and Tornado Alley) but Georgia Tech was using the name at the time, so they settled for Golden Hurricane – see what happens when you settle, kids? You end up looking like a superhero reject.

2. Pistol Pete – New Mexico State University Aggies, Oklahoma State University and University of Wyoming – Cowboys

The tale of Pistol Pete is a bizarre one at best. Not one, not two, but THREE schools share the same name for their mascot. What, no one wanted to take Billy the Kid? Oklahoma State’s version may be the scariest mascot in all of sportsdom – this guy has a look in his eye like he could snap on us at any moment. He’s definitely the type that you avoid walking into the bathroom with at your typical interstate rest area, although the last time we saw Wyoming Pistol Pete he was seen trying to put some moves on President Obama! As for New Mexico State Pistol Pete, he’s still trying to grow his mustache in. I think it’s time for these three to meet up at the OK Corral and settle this thing. Otherwise it’s like three girls showing up to prom in the same dress.

1. The Stanford Tree – Stanford University Cardinal

As if there was ever any doubt about what the worst mascot in all of college sports is. The Stanford Tree was born out of controversy (and perhaps an acid trip) over the adoption of a new nickname and mascot after the university removed its Indian moniker. The Tree is selected by the Tree Selection Committee during Tree Week at Stanford, which resembles something of a cross between Jackass and a reality TV game show. Nevertheless, even Admiral Akbar as the Ole Miss Rebels mascot would have made more sense than this (Probably would have looked better too).

Read Part Two: The Best College Mascots

Jack Whittington I am a third year law school student at the University of Tulsa College of Law. My interests include social media, law, sports, pop culture, politics, and current events. I believe Gen Y'ers better than any generation before us is equipped to tackle the tough challenges facing us in today's world. Twitter: @j2_whittington

View all posts by Jack Whittington

4 Responses to “Mascot Mania, Part One: The Worst College Mascots”

    • Poop

      You are a MORON Im from Minnesota and we’re filled with gophers you disappoint me………..

  1. Billy

    Gophers do something called hibernation during the winter. Poop is correct, you are a moron.

  2. Mickey

    The NMSU version of Pistol Pete is much cooler and not as creepy as the other two. For a while due to the “controversy” of his pistols they changed their mascot to Lasso Larry. All I can say is thank god they changed it back don’t dis NMSU on Pistol Pete he is much cooler and not so stupid looking unlike the Oklahoma Pistol Pete and the Wyoming version. Who would want Billy the Kid anyway he was a murder and not nearly as cool as everyone makes him out to be.


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