Top 10 college mascots

Sam Mostow, Advertising & Social Media Editor

College mascots are the crown jewel of a school. As seniors are making decisions about where they’ll spend their next four years, don’t forget about the faces of these colleges: the mascots. There are more than 5,300 colleges in the United States, but here are the top ten mascots of those schools:


10: Bucky Badger (University of Wisconsin)

Bucky Badger does push ups.
Bucky Badger does push ups after the Wisconsin football team scores a touchdown. Bucky used to be a live animal from the local zoo, but eventually evolved into a cartoon mascot. Photo via Stephanie Caine via Wikipedia Commons.

In the 1890s, the University of Wisconsin-Madison football team began using a live badger from the local zoo as its mascot. Now, Bucky Badger remains as one of the country’s oldest mascots at 120 years old.


9: Ralphie (University of Colorado)

Ralphie runs onto the field.
Ralphie runs across the 50-yard line accompanied by his five handlers. Ralphie is one of the only live animal mascots in college sports. Photo via Shannon Szameitat via Wikipedia Commons.

Ralphie is in the minority of live animals in college sports. And it’s a live buffalo! How cool is that?


8: Bevo (Texas)

A bull
Bevo stares into the camera. He is known to have a rowdy temper. Photo via Jim Mikulak via Wikipedia Commons.

Speaking of live animals, Bevo is an actual longhorn. And a rowdy one at that. Before the 2019 Sugar Bowl, Bevo charged at Georgia’s mascot, Bevo, an hour before the game (the footage is linked here. Trust me, you want to see it).


7: Bill the Goat (Navy)

Bill the Goat stands at a football game.
Bill the Goat looks into the camera at a Navy football game. Bill was named and declared a mascot of the Naval Academy in 1845. Photo via Wikipedia Commons.

Bill the Goat may be the most historic mascot. It has been the mascot of the Naval Academy since its founding in 1845, when George Bancroft declared that his favorite animal, the goat, would be the mascot. Bill has been supporting Navy sports and has been a staple in school pranks in the Army-Navy rivalry ever since.


6: Sparty (Michigan State)

Sparty stands and flexes at a football game
Sparty flexes his muscles at a football game. He used to be made out of paper-maché, but has since become more of a cartoon. Photo via Joel Dinda via Flickr.

Created in 1989, Sparty has been a staple at all Michigan State football and basketball games. The original Sparty, created in 1955, was a paper-maché Spartan head. The new Sparty, created in 1982, is a mascot that is “approachable, fierce yet kind, man for all seasons”.


5: Uga (Georgia)

Uga stands with his tongue out at the football stadium
Uga VI stands at a football game with his tongue out. Uga is the only mascot to be buried inside the confines of the football stadium. Photo via Brian E. Ussery via Wikipedia Commons.

Uga is a pure English white bulldog who has served the University of Georgia for the past century. Every dog who has served as Uga has been given a varsity letter. Every Uga is also buried inside the confines of the football stadium, the only mascot in the country.


4: Stanford Tree (Stanford)

The Stanford Tree stands at half court.
The Stanford Tree stands at half court on the sidelines of a Stanford basketball game. The Stanford Tree is the best mascot that is not even a mascot. Photo via Michael Li via Flickr.

The Stanford Tree is the most famous mascot who is technically not a mascot. The Tree is a member of the band as a representative of the city of El Palo Alto, whose tree is the redwood.


3: Otto the Orange (Syracuse)

Otto watches a football game
Otto the Orange watches a Syracuse football game from the sidelines. Otto was incepted in 1872. Photo via Thomson200 via Wikipedia Commons.

The first mascot of Syracuse was created in 1872. A full century later, in 1980, the modern Otto was rolled out. Since then, the furry circular friend has been around Syracuse at all sorts of events.


2: The Oregon Duck (Oregon)

The Oregon Duck stands at a basketball game.
The Oregon Duck fires up the crowd at an Oregon basketball game. Oregon has a mascot similar to Donald Duck due to a handshake agreement with Walt Disney. Photo via Quintin Soloviev via Wikipedia Commons.

No, this is not Donald–although the Oregon Duck does have an abnormal connection to Disney. Oregon’s first athletic director, Leo Harris, had a handshake agreement with Walt Disney to have Disney Productions create designs for an Oregon mascot (similar to Donald) up until Walt Disney’s death in 1966. Plus, look at him!


1: Brutus Buckeye (Ohio State)

Brutus points to the sky.
Brutus Buckeye points to the sky. Brutus, Ohio State’s mascot, was originally founded in 1965. Photo via Brett Bunch via Wikipedia Commons.

Brutus Buckeye is the most famous nut-mascot. Seriously, A buckeye is a nut. Founded in 1965, Brutus was originally made out of paper maché, but eventually evolved. Under Brutus, Ohio State’s football program has won four national championships.