Monday, June 05, 2006

The Only Analysis that Matters

You know it's the offseason when people are starting up the "my conference is better than yours" rants using whatever form of "analysis" they can mangle to make the evidence fit the already arrived at conclusion (seriously HP, offensive diversity?). Of course, there's the required retorts - both serious [HERE] and not so serious [HERE]. Honestly though, that bickering could go on for ages - similar to the epic arguments in the sandbox we used to have about which Tonka was better.

(the front end loader - alpha male of the sandbox)

Here at Golden Tornado, we have an engineering and mathematics background and prefer empirical evidence which can be carefully examined and compared on a level playing field. Unfortunately, most college football statistics do not bear up under this scrutiny - but I have found one variable which we can use. Mascots. Each school has one, and each one can be rated according to it's strengths and weaknesses on a clear scale of "sucks" or "doesn't suck". When added up by conference, a clear leader should emerge.

Of the BCS conferences, the ACC comes first alphabetically (and first in your programs and hearts) and so we'll cover them right now. Over the next couple of days make sure to check in as we get each conference and then unveil "OMG TEH WINNER" of the best conference in America.

Boston College Eagle

Strengths: The Bald Eagle is an American icon, associated with power, grace and freedom from the constraints of Tom O'Brien's offense. When in doubt, a bird of prey is always a safe bet.

Weakness: Everybody grew up in a town with a high school (or four) named the Eagles. No originality and even worse the mascot was a live Golden Eagle for many years until they kept dying, and suddenly the human mascot became a Bald Eagle. Way to keep that tradition going.

Rating: Sucks

Clemson Tiger

Strengths: It's a tiger, which is scary and stuff. Takes chunks out of Las Vegas performers who attempt to tame it.

Weakness: As with the Eagle ... everybody knew a high school with this mascot, and there's about 35 other colleges with it as well. Seriously, when the school was trying to come up with a name, did they reach into the hat with Lions, Tigers and Eagles on slips of paper and come out with one? I'm pretty sure I could find a second grader to come up with something slightly more interesting. If you are going to do this for a mascot, at least have a live one (LSU and Auburn do this the right way). Oh, and he wears overalls.

Rating: Sucks on the grounds of lack of creativity.

Duke Blue Devil

Strengths: Um, carries a pitchfork?

Weaknesses: Everything. First off, gets it's name from a French Army unit which alone is worthy of a "suck" rating. Adds to the misery with a brutal blue costume with some freakish head that looks like it was stolen from Madame Tussaud's future exihibit featuring Coach K, right down to the giant nose and then multiplies the suck by tacking on a hideous goatee.

Rating: Beyond Suck

Florida State Seminole

Strengths: Rides out onto the field in full regalia and throws a flaming spear into the ground. Seriously, a flaming spear. Also pisses off the political correctness police, which is an added bonus.

Weaknesses: The thomahawk chop is getting pretty lame and played out, but that's not really the mascot's fault (and yes, as a Braves fan I can say that).

Rating: Not even the slightest bit of suck

Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket

Strengths: Original, and with a cool backstory (the original fans in the early years wore yellow jackets to games). Rides around in a pimp car. Won a mascot national championship a couple of years ago.

Weaknesses: Eyeballs have no pupils, which has always kind of freaked me out.

Rating: Best Mascot Ever OMGZ!

Maryland Terrapin

Strengths: Scores high on originality, and "fear the turtle!" is fun to say. Testudo is a cool nickname, bringing to mind images of Roman legions rampaging through Gaul with ruthless efficiency.

Weaknesses: Well, it's a turtle. And frankly, I've never heard of a turtle hurting people - unless you count ancillary damage to cars that run them over.

Rating: Doesn't suck - but only barely. The Romans save it.

Miami Ibis

Strengths: Enormously clever and original. The ibis is the first bird to show back up after a hurricane, leading to a cool story as well. Combined with a very cool abstract logo and color scheme gives "The U" high marks from the marketing department and rappers everywhere. Has been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct during both an Orange and Sugar Bowl, truly fitting with the team.

Weaknesses: Looks a bit like Donald Duck, who most definitely is not an Ibis. Also, Sebastian sounds like the name of a Upper East Side hairdresser ... not the mascot of a national championship team.

Rating: Doesn't Suck

North Carolina Ram

Strengths: Again, it's certainly original (unless you count the Navy Goat, but that's another story) - though there's no good reason for it to be a Ram, and it has nothing to do with the team nickname.

Weaknesses: It's named Ramses. For a school so proud of it's academics, you'd have thought some Morehead Scholar would have been able to come up with something better than this. It's not as bad as Columbia naming their lion mascot "Roar-EE" (honestly, Columbia alumni voted for that - doesn't it make you question the quality of education?), but it's close. Also, the live version is an easy target for having it's horns painted by Duke fans after wins because of it's pacificity (notice nobody paints the LSU Tiger). Totally non-threatening.

Rating: Sucks

North Carolina State Wolf

Strengths: It's a wolf, known to eat small children and terrorize the Siberian countryside. Also can blow a house down from time to time. Considering the rabid and irrational behavior of the fanbase from time to time, it describes them perfectly as they size up the next coach to devour.

Weaknesses: Unable to dispose of Amato the Clown, unfortunately - which brings into question it's true ability to intimidate. There's a female wolf mascot as well, and they appear as a pair from time to time named Mr. and Mrs. Wuf ... which is frankly not a noise that wolves make, and it totally unfrigtening and dorky.

Rating: Sucks. It shouldn't, but the female version and the lame name push it down the ladder.

Virginia Cavalier

Strengths: Unique, nobody else would dare to have some fruity french guy with a sword except the snobs in Charlottesville. Brings back memories of the 1948 classic "The Three Musketeers" with Lana Turner and Gene Kelly which was a staple of our growing up experience (along with "The Longest Day" and Rocky and Bullwinkle shorts).

Weakness: French. Also reminds us of the truly horrible "The Musketeer", which is unfortunate.

Rating: Doesn't suck - mostly because of Lana Turner.

Virginia Tech Hokie (Turkey, Gobbler, or whatever)

Strengths: Not as trashy as the VT fans and associated with "Beamer Ball" which is frightening enough in it's own right.

Weaknesses: If it's a "Hokie" then why does it look like a turkey? Worse, it looks like the cartoon graphic that Fox always has running around the scoreboard during Thanksgiving day games (with the equally bad gobbling sound effect), which is enough to have us running for the nearest carving knife to stab ourselves - WITHOUT even briging up the fact it then brings to mind John Madden and "Turduckens". Also, he hangs out with Hokie Man - who's a complete loser.

Rating: Sucks, not even Beamer can save this one.

Wake Forest Demon Deacon

Strengths: Scores high on originality and it's nice to see a religious school with the term "Demon" in the title. Turning a deacon into a mascot is a pretty tall task (most deacons I know are just average joes like me), but they make the best of it.

Weaknesses: Tie Die t-shirts, staged props and Zombie Nation. I know those are mostly basketball things and aren't really within the mascot's control, but the stink stays with him permanently.

Rating: Sucks, though to be fair that's partly because he participates in such a cheesey fan section.

So where do we stand after reviewing the ACC? We've got 5 "Doesn't Sucks" and 7 "Sucks" for a very poor 58% suck level. I imagine this will do poorly as move through the competition, with the Big East coming up next. Stay tuned for the end result and send your hate mail to "".


Blogger Dawgnoxious said...

Nice work. On your scale, this post doesn't suck.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

Nice, looking forwards to the Big East, especially now that 'Cuse has gone from "Orangemen" to just "Orange"

12:53 PM  
Blogger abacadae said...

a definite knock on Buzz is that he's just got human legs with black tights on. They look completely out of proportion and frighten me every time I see them.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

The "Orange" is getting pounded tonight, trust me.

As for Buzz's legs ... real Yellow Jackets have skinny legs too!

1:07 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

Strong Work. Can't wait for the SEC. Should be loads of fun with such originality: 3 Felines and 2 Dogs.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Er... Michigan doesn't have a mascot. That's probably an abstention. The Big Ten has a lot of unique mascots, but having a massively intimidating nut as the most prominent one probably hurts.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By this measure of rating conferences, the Mid-Majors may finally snag a title.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Hoya Suxa said...

Is there a mascot that takes more of a beating than Otto?

I mean like seriously. Otto got knocked the fuck out by Charley Steiner in an old ESPN commercial.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Paul S. said...

In defense of Maryland's choice of mascots, Snapping Turtles (particularly Aligator Snapping Turtles) are pretty nasty critters and it's not uncommong for them to bite the fingers off of anyone dumb enough to poke around them.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Paul S. said...

On a side note... you forgot to mention the worst part about Virginia Tech's mascot. The term "Hokie" reffers to a castrated Turkey. Sort of like how castrated bull. Think about it.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cavaliers were actually people who opposed the Roundheads in the English Civil War, and it's alleged that many more Virginians sympathized with the Cavaliers (Royalists) than the Roundheads (Parliament types/Puritans). Say what you will about the English, they sure don't like the French.

Also, to respond to the above, hokie doesn't mean castrated turkey, it's just a nonsense word from a fight song. Though in my heart it will always mean "one who sucks at life."

1:00 PM  
Blogger SmoothJimmyApollo said...

Somewhat against my will, I have been living in South Carolina for a little more than a year. Even by current regional standards, that is an unattractive redhead girl with that hillbilly tiger.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more about your assessment of the "common tiger" the university of clemson. The overalls lack class. You would think at stadium they call death valley, they'd have a live tiger!

7:40 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

When I think of the FSU mascot I think that Jenn Sterger has replaced the Chief in the mind of most guys. I wonder if she would be interested in a EE degree?

4:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work. There actually is an explanation for the ram. Carolina had a player in the 20's that they nicknamed the "ram." The head cheerleader then started bringing a real ram to the games, and it just sort of stuck.

Carolina at least should have gotten props for being the only school in the conference with a real live version of its mascot on the sidelines (excluding of course any random bees that may be flying around on game day, or truly demonic deacons in attendance).

10:35 AM  
Blogger The crunchy one said...

I think Wake Forest should get some credit for having the most original mascot in the ACC. Honestly, what other school has a seemingly paradoxical mascot who also has an awesome costume?

6:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contrary to the dumb myth the term "Hokie" is not a castrated turkey. It's a word made up by a student around 1900 when he came up the school cheer. I guess back then it seemed catchy.

7:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Main Entry: hokie
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: an emasculated turkey

Source: Webster's New Millenniumâ„¢ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.6)

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look a little closer, the Georgia Tech mascot does have pupils. There's definitely a black dot on the clear ball.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Clemson Tiger we got two words for ya Suck it!!! WE kick all your tails!!!!

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you should check your facts before you bash Clemson's mascot. There actually is a story behind it believe it or not. You also left out the fact that Clemson has 2 mascots (The Tiger, and Tiger Cub). You also left out the fact that our mascot beat the snot out of your mascot 2 years ago in death valley. Your rankings are obviously biased towards the schools you like.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you had done your research, you would have known that the Clemson Tiger does not wear overalls. The Tiger Cub, however, does.

Second, you should have also known that Hokie does not mean "castrated turkey."

Third, Wake Forest used to be the Tigers. The "Demon Deacons" name came about when a reporter from Duke referred to "those demon deacons from Wake Forest" in a newspaper column. The name stuck, somehow, despite Wake being a Baptist school.

Finally, the fact that Duke (originally a Methodist school) is the Blue Devils makes even less sense than Wake Forest being the Demon Deacons. One would think that a religious school could do better than having a devil as their mascot. Duke obviously did not shy away from it, as the Blue Devil has horns and carries a pitchfork to complete the gig.

Did you do any research for your rankings, besides finding pictures of the mascots? At Clemson, we would not dare have published something so sloppy and filled with grammatical errors. Unfortunately, Georgia Tech will be judged by your lackluster effort.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have nothing left to say after the above post, except:


7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow every thing is right except for NC STATE....Im WOLFPACK fanatic, and obviously you dont know that Mr. Wuf has won THE NATIONS BEST MASCOT AWARD a couple of times in the last 10 years....There most recent was LST YEAR...So learn your stuff before you blab..Carolina sucks!! GO PACK!!

1:23 PM  
Blogger BCMike said...

Any ranking system that gives props to both the Miami fugly bird--but even more amazingly, the Gay Cowboy Cavalier is entirely without any credibility.

9:19 PM  
Blogger BCMike said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BCMike owns. And how does the yellow jacket mascot qualify as "original"? Georgia Tech has had just about as many mascots (Yellow Jackets, Ramblin' Wreck, Engineers, Blacksmiths, and Golden Tornado) as they scored points in the 2006 ACC championship game. Original, indeed.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Birdzilla said...

The miami ibis is name SABASTIAN just like the funny black and white cat from the JOSIE AND PUSSYCATS cartoon

8:46 AM  

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