Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Only Analysis That Matters - Part 3

If you want to know what on earth is going on, read [HERE]. We've already covered the ACC [HERE] and the Big East [HERE] - so up today is the Big 10. The Big 10 gave me some problems, because I had to figure out what to do with Michigan and Indiana, two schools without mascots (and if Michigan had a live wolverine on the sideline, the Big 10 would have been the automatic champions). In the end I decided to take the cowards way out and just give them "Incomplete" ratings and calculate the standings without those mascots in consideration. So on to the Big 10.

Illinois Chief Illinwek

Strengths: Terrific costume (love the bare feet) and tradition. Illinois as a state is named after an Indian tribe, and as the flagship university for the state the name and mascot seem to fit.

Weaknesses: Embroiled in a nasty controversy over racial insensitivity, and currently the NCAA has banned Illinois from hosting any postseason events - already forcing the tennis team to travel instead of hosting as it had the right to this year.

Rating: Doesn't suck - I really like the mascot and the NCAA needs to get it's grubby PC nose out of the situation.

Indiana (Nothing)

Strengths: Can't suck if you don't have one

Weaknesses: Complete lack of a mascot?

Rating: Incomplete

Iowa Hawkeye

Strengths: Cool and original mascot (derived from a character in "Last of the Mohicans") with strong history and tradition in the state.

Weaknesses: Absolutely terrible costume. If there's one thing we absolutely do not like, it's mascots that are basically nothing but a big head (Kansas State is the worst offender here, but that's in a couple of days). "Herky the Hawk" is really nothing more than a plastic head and somebody wearing a football/basketball uniform. This always ends up looking dorky, like some mutant bobble head doll.

Rating: Sucks

Michigan (Nothing)

Strengths: A Wolverine would be cool - if they had a mascot.

Weaknesses: Again, not having one?

Rating: Incomplete

Michigan State Spartan

Strengths: Spartans were some tough jokers, and anyone wanting to emmulate them gets my respect. We liked the Rutgers mascot - and Sparty the Spartan is really the grandaddy of that look. One of the most detailed costumes in the college ranks, down to the bulging forearm muscles and straps on the sandles.

Weaknesses: He's named "Sparty". That's lame (naming your mascot an abbreviated or modified version of itself is an automatic weakness in the competition, see: Ramses the ram). Also, Spartans isn't quite to the level of "wildcats, panthers, bulldogs, tigers" in the generic naming race - but I'm pretty sure everyone can name a local school with that nickname as well.

Rating: Doesn't suck, the costume is cool enough to overcome "Sparty" and the fairly commonplace school nickname.

Minnesota Golden Gopher

Strengths: High marks for originality and costume cuteness here, you're not going to mistake it for anyone's elses, that's for sure. Goldy has adorable puffy cheeks you just want to grab and go "goochee-goochee-goo!" like your grandmother used to do.

Weaknesses: Goldy? Come on - that's right there with "Sparty" in the "we really couldn't come up with anything interesting for our mascot's name" competition.

Rating: Doesn't suck - but the name is terrible.

Northwestern Wildcat

Strengths: Has a full body costume, unlike the other "Willie Wildcat" who also wears purple.

Weaknesses: Can't catch Jerry, and if a "wildcat" can't catch a stinking mouse it's far from "wild" and far from intimidating on the field (coincidently, sort of like Northwestern Football).

Rating: Sucks. Not as bad as the other Willie Wildcat, but that's not saying much.

Ohio State Buckeye

Strengths: First off, props are due for actually making a mascot out of a nut in any way, shape or form (the first efforts weren't so good though). Managing to make him look kind of like Bomberman is only an added bonus.

Weaknesses: As with Herky the Hawk, it's just a head and a guy wearing a rugby shirt and sweatpants. That's not going to cut it here, where a bit more overall costume effort is required.

Rating: Sucks - the rule of thumb here is that mascots that are just a head suck. Even if they are nuts.

Penn State Nittany Lion

Strengths: Original name, even if it's just another way to say "panther". Sort of off the direct topic of the mascot itself, the "WE ARE! PENN STATE!" chant that he helps getting everyone into is one of the best in college sports and sends chills down our spines.

Weaknesses: The costume flat out bites. It's from the same rack as the generic bag shaped messes that Pittsburgh, UCONN and others wear. JoePa has donated a ton of his own money to the school for educational purposes and construction, maybe he needs to chip in for a suit that doesn't look like it cost $89.99 on sale at the local variety store.

Rating: Sucks, the costume is lamer than lame and "Nittany Lion" isn't enough to save it.

Purdue Boilermaker

Strengths: He carries around a big hammer, making him one of the very few mascots we wouldn't mess with (and you don't want Tech students messing with a mascot - ask Aubie).

Weaknesses: Of all the Big Ten's "just a head" mascots, Purdue Pete is the worst. A giant plastic gourd with creepy looking eyes and a skinny dude wearing a football uniform does not make a mascot - it makes a freak show.

Rating: Sucks. Stop scaring the kids.

Wisconsin Badger

Strengths: Actually looks like a badger, while still remaining clever and "mascotty". One of our favorite mascots in the country, the badger is epitome of what a college mascot should be. Fun, cute enough that kids love it while still remaining an obvious symbol of the university.

Weaknesses: Bucky? Gah.

Rating: Absolutely no hint of suck to be found here. Feel free to Jump Around in celebration.

Due to the fact that the Big 10 seems to be in love with "just the head" mascots, only 4 of the 9 eligible mascots earn Doesn't Suck rating, giving the Big 10 a 55% suck percentage - currently good for second place behind the Big East but ahead of the ACC. Up next, the Big XII and the largest collection of live mascots in the country, along with a couple of the absolute worst.


Blogger Matt said...

You're right across the board, especially about Bucky, and I'm glad to see you didn't fall for the 'quirk' in Ohio State's fightin' giant circle.

Are you going to do the mid-majors, too? If you rate Southern Miss, can you do the orginial, cartoony, overweight Seymour, before he was replaced by his crappy, "fiercer" version two years ago? 'Cause pudgy, unibrowed Seymour - despite belonging to a generic mascot species (some alumni from the mid-seventies mascot vote still claim 'Warlords ' actually beat 'Golden Eagles') - totally rocked.

I can help with pictures, if you want.

Also mention somewhere that the live eagle, instituted not all that long after they got rid of the Confederate general mascot named after the founder of the KKK, died of starvation in its cage in the early nineties.


6:23 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Mr. A said...

I have to take issue with your analysis of Purdue Pete. In a world filled with the proverbial big headed bird mascots, Pete brings an American "Can-Do" spirit to West Lafayette, not to mention a really big hammer which reminds me of the hammer on the old Nintendo 64 game Super Smash Brothers (that thing was a lethal weapon.)

And would somebody please tell Michigan St. (and USC for that matter) that their respected Mascots are of Roman Legions, not Spartans and Trojans.

6:28 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Enuff said, none of these can top Jenn Sterger as the symbol of the school. FSU is still #1.

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your position about the Mascots being named after themselves is dead on, with one exception: The Central Florida (Golden Knights) mascot is called KNIGHTRO. Come on, that's pretty cool!

12:39 PM  
Blogger Captain Rustbelt said...

Pretty sure Michigan for a few seasons late 80s or early 90s tried a Wolverine in a costume mascot. Not positive and it could be a terrifying acid flashback...
There was never a Chief Illiniwek and the dance he performs before games and at halftime is a complete farce. So the historical accuracy isn't really there.
I for one glorious Halloween night in '99 was Herky the Hawkeye. The helmet is smelly, somewhat heavy and hot as Hades.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Indiana's new mascot is totally lame.

The Rock.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

go hawks

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Middle Tennessee State. Lightning. Badass.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michigan actually had a live wolverine in a cage on the sidelines a long time ago. It did not last very long, however because it kept trying to bite the hands of its handlers. I think Michigan should get some props for that!

4:42 AM  
Blogger BadgerInBama said...

There is no question that Bucky Badger is the best mascot in all of Division I football! By the way his full first name is Buckingham, which I think adds a little class to his cuteness - sort of like the Badgers themselves. Certainly they are class A operation these days! ...and Wisconsin used to have a live Badger in a cage on their sidelines too, but like the wolverine, he was just too aggressive to keep on the sidelines. ...Sort of like the Badger Defense! GO BADGERS!!!

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the younger generation finds the Purdue Pete mascot scary but as an IU alum from the 70's we never did. I think I was proudest of some of my fraternity brothers the year three of them took it upon themselves to "greet" Purdue Pete when he arrived at the IU stadium one year in the early 70's for the anual Old Oaken Bucket game.

As the Purdue band and Purdue Pete assembled in the vistor's end zone three of our brothers joined them, ripped Purdue Pete's head off, took his sledge hammer and sprinted the length of the field to the delight of the IU faithful who roared in approval. The sledge hammer then found its way into and through Purdue Pete's head before police threw them out of the stadium.

So much for 'scary' Purdue Pete. Perhaps some of the current generation will do their part and again show the children of the state of Indiana that there is absolutely nothing whatsover to Purdue Pete.


12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no question that Bucky T Badger is the best. I grew up on Wisconsin football and as a small girl watched Rufus Ferguson thrill the crowds even though the team lost so many games in a row. Chants then were "Ruf, Ruf, Ruf". We sported bumper stickers that read "The Badgers suck but the Badger Band is #1!" Oh how we Badgers love a party - it doesn't matter how our team does - we can find something to celebrate. As a Wisconsin Alum I was involved in the many seat section rivalries in the late 70's that coined the "O Sucks" chants. Our dorm even rented an airplane that flew the sign that read "O sucks P". We were in Section N. Bucky has always been apart of my life and as a transplanted Wisconsinite - Madisonian, I am a Mainer now but oh so proud to be a Badger.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Orracle said...

Uh, sorry to burst your bubble but the official Purdue mascot is the Boilermaker Special--a locomotive. Pete is just a cheerleader.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be worth noting that Sparty has won the nations top mascot award in 2004, 2005, and 2007 while taking 2nd in 2006 (to iowa state...?)

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is Bucky U Badger

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I laughed when I read the comment about the "classy Badgers." Nothing says class like heckling 50 yr. old mothers and throwing water balloons at them and calling 10 yr old kids "A-hole"... Stay Classy Madison. Damn those people who so rudely went to another school. And, how dare those kids wear the shirts of their parents school.

Mad(-town) props for the wave, but I must say I still don't get the 'o sucks' and 'eat sh#t, F You!' stuff. Seems dumb to me. I guess I just think wearing the same color means we're on the same team?

Back to the topic:

Not sure how you can judge any mascot against any other one. All of them are special to the people that support that team. And they all have stories behind them that are also special to each university. The only mascot that truly sucks is Stanford's. Only because it's a tree and their nickname is a color. I don't get it?

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS. To the blogger:

Ramses is not simply tacking 'ses' to the end of 'Ram.' Ramses was an Egyptian Pharoah, widely considered the greatest of his time. I suggest doing a little research next time before you put down a schools cherished mascot.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i beat up herky and broke his helmet during a 1997 gopher-hawkeye game. it was awesome

10:34 AM  
Anonymous thatsssssssmmmeeeee said...

That's really great.
i liked your post a lot, i like the pic a loooot especially that bunny costume picture and the first pic is so funny

4:58 AM  
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