There are a few things in this world which everyone can enjoy. A nice sunset, a good slice of pizza, the MoeCast Podcast, and of course, college mascots. The bloodline of every university in America. Even if you are not a fan of a certain school, their mascot can always crack a smile or stir up a conversation. Objectively, the Duke Dog at James Madison University may be the best mascot in America, with Keggy the Keg at Dartmouth coming in a close second. The Oregon Duck and Nittany Lion are cultural icons, lasting generations and paving the way for many successors to come. Mascots come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from Tigers to Spartans, and even a Tree.
With some inspiration from NCAA Football 2014 and being in the thick of Bowl Season, I have decided to assemble the best college football mascot team the world has ever seen, with strategic and critical thinking poured into every position on this list.
Here is the list, with an emphasis on power and speed with bonus points for the fear factor. Only Division 1 FBS active mascots are included on this list. Sorry, potential Heisman Trophy Winner Duke Dog. Hopefully next year.
Quarterback - Pistol Pete (Oklahoma State)
Pistol Pete would be the perfect gunslinger for the best college mascot football team in the nation. Pete has been around for almost 100 years in the Oklahoma State family, and his combination of size and rocket for an arm would be integral to our squad. Rounding cattle and his portrayed life as a cowboy leads to enough mobility in the pocket to succeed with his big head allowing for him to see over the staunch offensive line. Pete would be lethal in play action with the ability to air it out whenever he feels necessary.
Left Tackle - Cocky the Gamecock (South Carolina)
Chickens are much more intelligent than most of the population thinks. They possess self-control with the ability to anticipate future events. Male gamecocks are extremely aggressive towards their male peers with the strong and willing desire to raise to the top of the pecking order. What more could you want in a left tackle? Cocky the Gamecock has all of that and a good size as well. There could be potential lateral mobility issues with Cocky but nothing that a little blood, sweat, and corn can't fix.
Left Guard - Otto the Orange (Syracuse)
One of the most iconic mascots in all of sports Otto the Orange deserves a spot on the squad wherever that may be. I decided that position to be left guard. With the lack of size at 5'10, Otto counters that with the boost of collagen (a protein that heals wounds), more antioxidants (helping to prevent damage of cells), and benefits for your immune system. Otto is not the meanest guy in the bunch but his added benefits would put our team's offensive line into elite status. "It's not always about the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. -Mark Twain" -L.A. Rice.
Center - Big Al (Alabama)
Big Al would fit seamlessly in with the squad after a history of continued and sustained success at the University of Alabama. Elephants have over 150,000 muscle units in their trunk allowing for Big Al to help Otto the Orange with bigger opponents on the left side. The wisdom gained from Head Coach Nick Saban and the size of Big Al would be his two biggest attributes for us. It is a no-brainer to bring on the biggest land animal in the world with extremely thick skin to lead our offensive line.
Right Guard - Big Red (Western Kentucky)
Do not let Big Red out of Western Kentucky looking like a hashbrown from McDonald's distract you from how good of an asset he will be at right guard. Big Red is meant to embody the spirit of the current student and alumni at the University of Western Kentucky and has won the Universal Cheerleading Association's Key to the Spirit Award 3 separate times. He was also the first mascot inducted into the Capital One Mascot Hall of Fame. The experience and accomplishments by Big Red will bring the necessary expertise to the team in addition to his large size and good technique.
Right Tackle- The Oregon Duck (Oregon)
This is it. The best mascot in college sports. Everything about him. The jersey coloration, the hat, the bandana tied around his neck, the beak. Perfection. The Oregon Duck is not the fleetest of foot but would fit well as our right tackle to round out the strong offensive line. In 1947 a handshake agreement was made between Oregon Athletic Director Leo Harrison and Walt Disney allowing Oregon to use Donald Duck's image as long it was made in good taste. Oregon has gone above and beyond to make this happen. Donald is known for his nice charisma with the ability to snap when irked. His large size and webbed feet allow for strong blocking with lateral movement. The only concern is issues might arise if Donald decides to peck at his opponents.
Tight End- Purdue Pete (Purdue)
Everything about Purdue Pete screams a college tight end. The gloves, his physical presence, showing up in uniform wherever he goes, and the hammer is a nice touch. His hard structured head made out of fiberglass can make it extremely difficult for opposing defenses to take him down. Pete has good hands and permits a large target for Pistol Pete in the middle. The Pete to Pete combo will reak havoc in college football for years to come.
Full Back- Knightro (Central Florida)
University of Central Florida / Nick Levya
In the United States of America, there is an estimated 4.4 million unique names adjusted to our current population. Out of the 4.4 million estimated names, no name comes close to being as cool as "Knightro" for our team's fullback. Knightro is a physical specimen with a helmet that can pave room for our running backs and still have the vision for Knightro to catch passes in the flat. At only 27 years young he is one of the youngest mascots on this list, with a fresh set of legs necessary to lead the punishing rushing attack. The hair flowing out the back of the helmet is also an extremely nice touch for the bruising full back. Knightro!
Running Back- Rameses (North Carolina)
The definition of a power running back is Rameses out of the University of North Carolina. At almost 100 years old Rameses has not lost a lick of that power and speed that he possesses. A ram is known for its leadership, determination, courage, and bravery that would lead this backfield and team to greatness. Not only does Rameses possess power and the ability to charge and punish his opponents, but he can charge them at over 20 miles per hour. The squinted eyebrows add even more to the fear factor and he is mobile enough to be a 3 down back with the ultimate trust to power it in at the goal line.
Wide Reciever 1- Brutus Buckeye (Ohio State)
Agility, body control, strength, quickness, soft hands, focus, toughness, and pride. All the traits you want in a number 1 wide receiver. I believe Brutus the Buckeye has all of that. Scratch that. I KNOW Brutus the Buckeye has all these traits. Love him or hate him, Brutus attracts attention and gets the job done. Inducted into the College Mascot Hall of Fame in 2007, Brutus is over 6 feet tall and has a wide wingspan to get up and receive jump balls from Pistol Pete. His breakaway speed in the open field needs some work, but he has all the tangible skills needed to be the guy that can run propper routes and make contested catches.
Wide Reciever 2- Stanford Tree (Stanford)
For the balanced power running attack that our team will have, I value a receiver with immense size like the Stanford Tree. Yeah, it would be easy to put the Stanford Tree on the D-Line, blocking the vision for opposing quarterbacks but I am willing to take on the challenge of developing the Tree into a nice receiver. Mobility and lateral quickness will be an issue because... he's a tree, but he will be the best blocking wide receiver in America. The goal-line fade will be lethal. The only problem is he literally does not have any arms or hands to work with. Questionable decision to put him at wide receiver? Maybe, but if he can grow into his frame, we found a hidden gem.
Defensive End- Hairy Dawg (Georgia)
USA TODAY Sports/ Dale Zanine
The fear factor is through the charts with the Hairy Dawg rushing the quarterback off the edge. Imagine dropping back to pass, scanning through your first and section options before looking to your right and Hairy Dawg is closing in on you. The only options are to panic and throw a Carson Wentz-style interception or drop to the ground before you can be touched like Tom Brady. I also give this mascot respect for the spelling of his name. If it was Hairy "Dog" instead of Hairy "Dawg" I am not sure he would even be considered for this list. Mr. Dawg has closing speed that would make a Chase Young-style impact for the squad. Sure, Bulldogs can be classified as sweet and loving, but we can mold Hairy Dawg into a fighter.
Defensive Tackle- Marco the Bison (Marshall)
Vince Wilfork. B.J. Raji. Daron Payne. Marco the Bison. The cream of the crop of defensive tackles. Marco the Bison has been a staple as the mascot of Marshal and has gone over numerous changes since its origin. After a drastic makeover in 2008 and overwhelming negative criticism that followed, the newest Marco was revealed in 2013 and has been beloved ever since. Bison in the wild can be over 6 feet tall and up to 2,000 pounds, symbolizing strength and freedom. Marco would clog up the middle of the field, shutting down opposing running games and having enough strength to fight through double teams.
Defensive Tackle- Testudo (Maryland)
Similar to Marco the Bison, Testudo will be counted on to clog up the middle, shutting down the running game and providing a lot to handle for opposing offensive lines. The glaring weakness for Testudo would be his speed. Why would I ever want someone on my defense that can only top out at 0.62 mph? Because of his longevity and the knowledge he provides. Tortoises can live for over 150 years and that veteran presence will do wonders for a young and energetic defense. The hard impenetrable shell is also a nice touch.
Defensive End- Victor E. Bull (Buffalo)
Much like the Hairy Dawg, Victor. E Bull will be a punishing presence coming off the edge for this team. Reaching speeds of up to 35 mph our bull will be an unstoppable force for opposing offensive lines. With the big horns and the bullnose ring, Victor. E Bull could not be a better prospect. The name is also one of the best on this list. Victor E. is not only clever, but it is fitting for a bull of his stature. His speed, power, and aggressiveness will be used to our advantage and be one heck of a one-two punch with Hairy Dawg on the opposing side.
Outside Linebacker- Big Red (Arkansas)
It is a necessity for outside linebackers to have the power to take on blockers and attack the run. Not only do they need to have power and speed but an ability to cover tight ends in pass coverage. Boars can travel up to high speeds and have the power to punish the quarterback and running back. Not only do they have these strengths but they communicate extremely well which is very important for the linebacker position. Big Red out of Arkansas is intimidating and powerful and has received comps to Von Miller.
Middle Linebacker- Rocky the Bull (South Florida)
New Day Review
I do not care what he looks like. If your name is Rocky the Bull, you are destined to be a middle linebacker. It's just a bonus that Rocky is absolutely jacked. Brother of Victor E. Bull who is our lead defensive end, we will learn to channel Rocky's aggressiveness and turn him into one of the best linebackers in the country. He can run and should be solid in the past and rushing game. Rocky is also a winner of the Capital One Mascot Challenge in 2013.
Outside Linebacker- Cosmo the Cougar (BYU)
Going all the out west to find our outside linebacker, I could not be more proud to give this title to Cosmo the Cougar at BYU. Cougars represent power and leadership and Cosmo will be one of the more level-headed players on our squad. In late 1997 Cosmo underwent emergency cosmetic surgery which resulted in a reduction in his head size, which allowed more mobility and range of motion. Ever since Cosmo has been known for his daring stunts and he was even labeled by ESPN as "the most athletic mascot in college basketball". I'm confident this athleticism will translate well onto the football field.
Strong Safety- Blue Devil (Duke)
The safety tandem on this defense will be the most feared in college football, lead at strong safety by the Duke Blue Devil. Going into his age 100 season, the Blue Devil is known for leading the strong Duke Men's Basketball Team, but with some training can channel his inner demons to become a ferocious strong safety. Strong safeties need to be fast and his cape let him glide to his opponents. The goatee could use some trimming, but I am a big fan of the tape on his forehead striking even more fear into opponents.
Free Safety- Sparky the Sun Devil (Arizona State)
Sparky the Sun Devil will round out the tandem of the most feared group of safeties in the country. Riddled with controversy and some of the student body wanting to adopt a new mascot, Sparky is the free safety we need. Every team needs the edge that he will provide. At the free safety position, expect plenty of blitz packages with Sparky involved. I chose Sparky at free safety over strong safety because the Duke Blue Devil has a bigger size to cover tight ends when necessary.
Corner Back 1- Aubie the Tiger (Aurburn)
I want my cornerbacks to be able to run with the best wide receiving core in the country. To be versatile enough to be physical at the line of scrimmage with the ability to run stride for stride with fast receivers. Aubie the Tiger is the perfect fit. Although his feet are rather large, the tiger can run at 40 mph and is extremely flexible being a winner of the Cheerleading National Championship 10 times. Being the world's largest cat, Aubie can grow to be 700 pounds and 11 feet tall. I want Aubie to stick at the 200-pound range to be my cornerback, and some major grooming will be done to make sure his sharp teeth don't become a problem.
Corner Back 2- The Bearcat (Cincinnati)
You know I had to put my Cincinnati Bearcat in here somewhere! As I diehard Cincinnati Bearcat fan (first non-power 5 team to make the College Football Playoffs and nobody can take that away from us), I believe the Bearcat is one of the best mascots in the country. So unique, the bearcat is a real animal located in Southeast Asia with a dwindling population. The Cincinnati Bearcat was first created in 1914 when a Cincinnati cartoonist drew a bearcat chasing a wildcat in the newspaper ahead of the University of Cincinnati's football battle against the Kentucky Wildcats. The Bearcat will play cornerback because of his long body and big claws, and the University of Cincinnati is known for having the best defensive back room in the country. Go Bearcats baby.
Kicker- Rocky the Rocket (Toledo)
University of Toledo
I could not be happier to have Rocky the Rocket as our kicker. Not only do I value an accurate and strong kick for kickoffs, but I also want my kicker to be able to lay down the boom. Imagine Rocky shooting down the field flying towards the kick returner after a booming kickoff. Regarding field goals, I would be comfortable with a direct snap fake to Rocky every time and see what he can make happen. If you know anything about me, not many field goals will be kicked and we will go for it almost every time on fourth down. Rocky fits the mold of the team and will be an outstanding kicker.
Punter- Buster Bronco (Boise State)
USA TODAY Sports/ Brian Losness
This team is not going to punt much if we punt at all. I do not want some bland punter that will come in and provide solid play. I want a punter with spunk. Buster Bronco will be an electric factory punting balls for us. Look at the quads! A horse is one of the strongest animals in the world according to its muscle mass, and they can kick their back legs up to 200 mph. If we harness the strength of Buster and he has at least a little bit of accuracy, you better believe he will set numerous records.
Kick/Punt Returner- Flash the Golden Eagle (Kent State)
Bucky's Fifth Quarter
What is the most important thing about a kick and punt returner? Speed, vision, maybe intellect? If you answered none of the above, you are correct. The most important thing about a return man is the nickname. Flash out of Kent State will be the perfect player to round out this team. Golden Eagle's wingspans can be up to 8 feet long and they can fly up to 200 mph. They have 20/5 vision and are vicious hunters. Flash out of Kent State will be a weapon no one will want to kick to.