College football mascots are as central to the game as the players themselves! Whether parading the sidelines, running down the middle of the field, or taking photos with families at the tailgate party, the identity of a university runs through its mascot. Sometimes they are actual living creatures, other times they are inanimate items, but either way, college mascots have become deeply rooted in the culture of college football.
1. Louisiana State University:
Mike the Tiger
A live mascot tops our list—a Bengal tiger known as Mike. LSU had installed a 15,000-sq. foot habitat for the big cat, which is where Mike can be found on gamedays, apparently eating the opposing team logos made out of meat. Not to be confused with Tony the Tiger.
2. University of Colorado:
Ralphie the Buffalo
Taking a unique interpretation of the word “mascot”, the University of Colorado features Ralphie, the 1,200-pounds buffalo— yes, a real live buffalo— along with a team of five trained student athletes as “buffalo handlers” to represent the school.
3. Arizona State University:
Sparky the Sun Devil
At every football game, Sparky leads the team out of the Tillman Tunnel while crawling out to mid-field, bringing fiery energy and a devilish grin.
4. University of Oregon:
No, you’re not at Disney, but that is a Donald Duck-esque costume you’re seeing at the University of Oregon’s games. He shoots donuts into the stands of crowds, rides a motorcycle, and heckles opposing fans. Not unlike the mischievous and unusual things his “cousin Donald” might do.
5. Syracuse University:
Otto the Orange
Does anything actually rhyme with “orange?” It doesn’t really have to, because this zesty mascot is full of heart, often leading the crowd in chants or up to one of his goofy antics. Otto has been known to pull a few practical jokes, but his ultimate goal is cheering on the Syracuse Orange to victory.
6. University of South Carolina:
Cocky the Gamecock
Cocky the Gamecock knows how to shake a tail-feather! He’s got his own workout videos and is known for his “Magic Box” entrance on gamedays, which always electrifies the crowd.
7. University of North Carolina:
Good luck to the team playing defense against North Carolina! The school’s idea for using a ram came from the nickname for star Tar Heel fullback Jack Merritt, known as the “Battering Ram.”
8. University of Texas (El Paso):
Paydirt Pete may not be turning heads for his looks, but he serves the University of Texas, El Paso with dignity and pride. Get it? Dig-nity? Pete is fashioned as a prospector wielding a pickax reflecting UTEP’s nickname of the “Miners.”
9. University of Florida:
Albert and Alberta (Gator)
Florida is home to an estimated 1.25 million alligators, but there’s only one that stands on two legs and makes its way to the Gators football games. Well, maybe you’ll find two—Albert and Alberta who claim to be friends and not a couple, but the jury is still out on that one.
10. Western Kentucky University:
We’re not exactly sure what it is, but this plushy, charming blob reminds us of a red cookie monster. Look out for his signature moves: the belly slide and the belly shake.