The Only Analysis That Matters - SEC Part #1
Yikes. Don't ever move to NYC from half way across the country under the following circumstances: You don't know anyone in the city to help you, your wife is out of the country and unable to assist, and you have exactly two days between the end of your job in KC and the start of your job in NYC. Trust me on this. Did I mention finding an apartment within walking distance of Columbia that isn't a student dump and/or isn't in the hood? When the first thing every broker says as you approach an apartment is "this area has become quite gentrified in the past couple of years, don't believe what you've heard about it" ... be afraid. Very afraid.
So anyways, I'm back blogging again. Thankfully all the havoc in my personal life happened during the summer, so I didn't really miss anything with my absence from the internet (withdrawl shakes not withstanding). Practice has started, guys are fighting and there's already a debate raging in Tech circles on how well the new offense is going to work and how well Reggie fits with it. My position? It can't be worse, so bring it on. The House Rock Built will have a piece I did for them previewing Tech and answering some offbeat questions about the school - you can check that out for more Tech related football stuff here in the near future.
Most importantly though, here's the long awaited first half of the SEC mascot review ... you wouldn't believe the amount of mail in my inbox about this. Seriously, I can't even comment on EDSBS.com without someone bringing it up. So, without futher ado ... here we go.
Strengths: Well, he's an elephant, and that's pretty cool. Certainly unique as well. "Big Al" is a great name, and while the mascot costume is a bit cutie fruitie - it's also one that's certainly fun and family friendly.
Weaknesses: That trunk is pretty flimsy looking - seriously, it looks like a sock hung over one of those red plastic Solo cups on his face, and overall it's a bit too cute for my tastes
Rating: Doesn't suck
Strengths: I'll let this piece speak for itself, I can't sum it up any better
So um, yeah, Razorbacks are pretty badass. I'm trying to think of another school's mascot who had to be gunned down after leaving a swath of destruction and coming up with nothing.
The live mascot tradition dates back to the 1960s. A number of hogs have proudly represented Arkansas through the years. In addition to their presence on the sidelines, some also gained a reputation for their activities off the field.
Big Red III, for instance, escaped from an animal exhibit near Eureka Springs in the summer of 1977 and ravaged the countryside before an irate farmer gunned him down. And Ragnar, a wild hog captured in south Arkansas by Leola farmer Bill Robinson, killed a coyote, a 450-pound domestic pig and seven rattlesnakes. Ragnar died in 1978 of unknown causes.
Weaknesses: Arkansas can't leave well enough alone, and not only has a family of costumed mascots but also one of those gawdawful inflatable ones.
Rating: Doesn't suck, solely on the strength of the live one. The wretched costumed family (wtf - "pork chop" the kid?) and the even worse inflatable one nearly torpedoed this ranking, but the thought of a big raging pig on the warpath in the Arkansas countryside is too good to be ruined by those.
Strengths: Had his tail ripped off by crazy GT freshman - "RATS on the field!" in his first appearance in Atlanta. While Aubie doesn't have much excitement in the costume or nickname, his antics and routine are pretty cool. Aubie has been nominated for the mascot hall of fame, as a member of the spirit squad he does a very good job.
Weaknesses: Pretty generic tiger costume. When you've got a common "every high school" mascot, you need a sweet costume (or live mascot) to push you over the top. Aubie doesn't bring that. I love Calvin and Hobbes, but I'm not sure I want a crazy kid's imaginary tiger as my mascot.
Rating: There would be no question about this if the eagles were in the rating (one of the best pregames in all of college football). Unfortunately, the school is very clear that the eagles are NOT the mascot ... and thus poor Aubie gets a suck rating.
Strengths: Was the star character in one of the 5 best "This is SportsCenter" ads of all time. Again, much like "Big Al", "Albert" is a unique mascot with a cool name. The costume looks sort of like a giant stuffed animal, but when you are trying to make a costume out of an animal with 18" tall legs you get a bit of a pass if it looks a tiny bit goofy.
Weaknesses: Again, a bit too cutsie for me - and "Alberta"? The whole family of mascots things has to go, this is a trend that is threating college football all over the country and needs to be nipped in the bud.
Rating: Doesn't suck - though this would be clinched if "Albert" showed up to a game wearing a pair of jorts.
Strengths: Man, it kills me to say this but I like Uga. He's got tons of character, he waddles around like he owns the place (which he basically does) and he attacked an Auburn WR who had the audacity to score in his end zone. I'm a sucker for dogs and for live mascots, Uga is both of them.
Weaknesses: Uga is the best they could come up with for a name? Of course, this is Georgia we are talking about - so I guess they had to choose something easy to both remember and spell. Also, Uga has to share time with the horrendous "Hairy Dawg" costume, which should be burned. One of the worst costumes in college athletics. Uga is also responsible for legions of rednecks "barking" at each other in the state of Georgia, which is a crime against humanity.
Rating: Hairy Dawg sucks, sucks, sucks. Uga doesn't.
Strengths: Um, the school logo with the wildcat is cool?
Weaknesses: This costume is straight from the corner costume store generic "wildcat, tiger, bearcat, puma, leopard" rack. This is beyond generic, he doesn't even have a name.
Rating: Sucks. A lot.
Part 2 of the SEC will be later this weekend, and then we'll unveil the best conference in America winner - and it's not like our criteria are any worse than whatever 90% of the writers in sports pages around the country are using right now.