Ranking Colleges by their Best Aspect: Mascots

Madelena Lapinski, Staff Writer

For the seniors committing and the juniors exploring colleges, many factors are considered: cost, dorms, location, programs, diversity and sports. But what is the symbol of everyone’s college experience? The mascot. Considering how comedic, intimidating and unique each are, here are 10 of the best college mascots, starting with number 10. 

Of all the mascots on the list, Dartmouth University took an interesting path with an inanimate mascot, Keggy the Keg. I’m not quite sure how this gained approval, but it does encapsulate part of the college experience. Funny, unique, yet not at all intimidating, Keggy earns a spot on this list, but there’s still something to be desired, leaving him in 10th place. 

In ninth and eighth place are two mascots of a similar nature: University of Texas’ Bevo the Longhorn Steer and University of Colorado’s Ralphi the Buffalo. Not only are they large, intimidating animals, but Bevo and Ralphi live on their college campuses, taking an occasional stroll across the sports fields. Although they might not be the craziest of the mascots, they are intimidating and fun for the student body.  

The least intimidating mascots to make this list are the Banana Slug from University of California: Santa Cruz, and Testudo the Terrapin from our own University of Maryland. Coming in at seventh place, the Banana Slug is easily the least threatening of the other mascots on the list, but I give credit to University of California: Santa Cruz for thinking…outside of the box? Or salt ring. And although my pride for Testudo is strong, I honestly wouldn’t give a turtle many points for uniqueness, intimidation, or comedy, but sixth place is respectable. Much love, though. 

In fourth place, arguably the most frightening of the live mascots on this list, Louisiana States’ Mike the Tiger. Comparatively, a tiger is not a very creative mascot, but it is intimidating, and sort of adorable at the same time, which is a difficult standard to meet. Plus, he’s the only living tiger on a college campus in the US, so Mike is very special. 

Following Mike is a mascot that might resemble his dinner: University of South Carolina’s pride and joy, Cocky the Gamecock. There’s nothing quite like cheering “Go Cocks!” with your friends at the stadium. This mascot is perfectly uncomfortable, bizzare, yet a totally normal…red chicken? Not very intimidating. Personally, Cocky doesn’t necessarily meet the standard for best mascot, but it deserves some recognition for its humor, putting him in third place.. 

Coming in with a tie for second place, the University of Tennessee and University of Georgia have stolen students’ hearts with their less intimidating approach to mascots: dogs. Smokey the Bluetick Hound and Uga the Bulldog immediately made it to the list on account of the fact that they are adorable, living, charming little dogs. Point, blank, period. 

Finally, Sparky the Sun Devil of Arizona State. Originally, I chose this one because I thought it was a lizard- like the thorny devil found in deserts. Yeah, no it’s actually a dust storm. However, my opinion is unchanged. This mascot is a dangerous phenomenon materialized into a thorned creature, which wins points for both uniqueness and intimidation, making it the best mascot on the list.

Now, I’m not saying anyone should choose their college based on its mascot, but I will say this: the only thing keeping me from going to Stanford is the fact that the mascot is a tree…obviously.