A good college mascot intimidates the competition and riles the crowd. Bears, tigers, steers, eagles, and buffaloes are just a few among many viable options. But these colleges have decided to forego the obvious in favor of…well, the following:
The Banana Slug, UCSC
University of California, Santa Cruz’s “shell-less mollusk”—in layman’s terms, a slug commonly found on the redwood forest floor—became the official mascot of UCSC in 1986, after an “overwhelming pro-slug straw vote by students,” which convinced the chancellor to replace the former mascot, a sea lion, with the more beloved slug. A complete and utter downgrade.
The Fighting Okra, Delta State University
Okra is a plant in the mallow family, which flowers and is known for its edible, ridged seedpods. While not immediately obvious as a college mascot, it’s slightly more so when the okra has a face and is wearing boxing gloves. Right? Or not…
The Stanford Tree, Stanford University
Technically the mascot of Stanford’s marching band, the Stanford Tree has become the unofficial—and hilarious—mascot of the university as a whole. While it doesn’t strike fear into the heart of the competition, at least it has googly eyes and giant red lips.
Oski, University of California, Berkeley
Oski is technically a bear, but lacks the proper proportions. He is dopey-looking and wears a dopey college sweater. According to Wikipedia, he also chugs beer through a hole in his right eye…
Otto the Orange, Syracuse
A huge, round fruit with a huge, round nose? And a huge, cartoonish hat? Interesting…
The Nittany Lion, Penn State
Like Oski, the Nittany Lion, in theory, is a good idea. Lions are ferocious. But this lion doesn’t really look like a lion. It looks like a child’s drawing of a lion. Worse still, its body is made of what looks like recycled footie pajamas.
Cayenne, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
If there’s one thing you should take away from this list, it’s that vegetables make rotten mascots. The Ragin’ Cajuns are further proof of that fact. They get a strange anthropomorphic Cayenne pepper, which is even worse than it sounds. Does it even look like a pepper? Or does it look like a giant red man with a terrible haircut?