November 20, 2010; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers mascot Mike the Tiger celebrates following a touchdown against the Mississippi Rebels during the second half at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeat Mississippi 43-36.
The Notre Dame Leprechaun
The mascot for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame fits the culture and spirit of the University. Notre Dame fans thoroughly enjoy their mascot. Here's a look at other beloved mascots — considered the "best" in college football.
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Uga VIII/ Hairy Dawg
Uga is an English bulldog (although the first UGA was a goat) and is certainly the most beloved and well-known mascot in college football. Past Uga mascots have flowers laid on their graves before every home game. The most recent Uga, Uga VIII, unfortunately passed away on February 4, 2011.
Colorado's Ralphie the Buffalo is the most intimidating mascot and the one that inspires the most awe from fans and foes alike. Just before the start of the game and before the second half, a 1,100 to 1,300-pound buffalo leads the team onto the field in a semi-controlled 20-to-25 mile per hour sprint. The animal has handlers who hang on for dear life and try to keep it somewhat contained, and while it could probably tear off and do whatever it wanted if it was inclined to do so, there's never been a problem.
From the nickname to the Hook 'em Horns hand gesture, no symbol is more associated with a team than Bevo the longhorn steer is with Texas. The shape of the Longhorn's head and horns gives rise to the school's hand symbol and saying, Hook 'em Horns. The current Bevo is fourteenth in the line of longhorns that have been the university's mascot.
Looking for a mascot in 1953, the University of Tennessee brought out several dogs onto the field and let the fans pick which one they wanted by cheering loudest for the one they liked the best. Blue Smokey fired out a howl/bark that got the fans fired up, and ever since, a blue tick bloodhound has been the team's sideline symbol.
Traveler, the white horse that appears at all home games with a trojan warrior astride, is the mascot for the University of Southern California Trojans. One of the more famous college mascots, the current horse serving as the USC mascot is Traveler VII. The rider, while often mistaken for Tommy Trojan, is simply designated as a "regal Trojan warrior."
Now, the University of Oklahoma's "mascot" is not a black and white issue. While the Sooner Schooner isn't really a mascot in the traditional sense, it is the football team's symbol and identity. Technically named the school's mascot in 1980, a covered wagon is pulled by two Shetland ponies after every Oklahoma score.
Florida State's mascot truly knows how to make an entrance. Before every home game, Chief Osceola rides into the stadium on a horse, Renegade, and plants a flaming spear at midfield. The entire setup, outfit, and tradition have been approved by the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida.
While live mascots are fantastic, costumed mascots can bring entertainment as well. Originally Wisconsin had a real badger roaming the sidelines on a leash, but the school had to stop the tradition in 1940 after the animal was too wild and mean. A cartoon character, Buckingham U. Badger was created, and the rest is history.
One of college football's most recognizable mascots, the current incarnation of Sparty has represented Michigan State on the sidelines since the fall of 1989. Michigan State's mascot has come a long way since 1909 when a live bear named Brewer's Bruin was on the sideline.
Sebastian the Ibis
Sebastian the Ibis usually leads the Hurricane players onto the football field before games. An ibis is a bird found in the Everglades that's known for its ability to survive hurricanes. Sebastian the Ibis is an ever-present mascot who's always found celebrating under the goalposts after every Miami extra point and field goal.
Mike the Tiger
LSU has two "Mikes". Mike the (live) Tiger is kept in a pen in the back of the stadium before it's rolled out in a cage close to the visitor's locker room where the players have to pass by him on the way to the field. Mike the (costumed) Tiger is the "fan-friendly" version of the mascot that appears on the field during games.
Brutus the Buckeye
The Ohio State University mascot didn't come into existence until 1965, but it's still as identifiable as any mascot in college football. Brutus is a student dressed in Buckeye colors with a headpiece resembling an Ohio Buckeye nut.
Big Al is the costumed mascot for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. According to legend, as Alabama took the field, the sheer size of the players caused the ground to rumble which caused an excited fan to cry out: "Hold you your horses, the elephants are coming!" So started the elephant tradition at Alabama.
The University of Oregon's mascot is definitely recognizable around the college football world. To date, the mascot is the only duck that represents a major college football program. Although the choice of a duck as a mascot might seem relatively benign, The Duck is known for a feisty attitude — and pushups after an Oregon score.