Good, Bad and Ugly: A Pac-12 Mascot Round-Up

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Good, Bad and Ugly: A Pac-12 Mascot Round-Up

By Casey Overfield

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Mascots are known as representatives for businesses, schools and sports teams. The more outrageous the mascot, the more memorable they are.  

Most schools have at least one mascot, and some even have two — one male mascot and one female mascot, or one “fake” mascot and one that is represented by a live animal. 

The Pac-12 mascots are not unique, but they are interesting, and each has a unique personality. In this article, I will discuss and rank each mascot based on the interactions that I have had with them, whether it is at a game or event.  

Chip the Buffalo: Colorado

I think that Chip is the most lovable and engaging mascot. Let me tell you a story. Last year, I went to Folsom Field to watch Utah take on Colorado. It was cold and snowy and Utah dominated pretty much the entire game. Other than the anticipation of a Pac-12 South title solidifying win, Chip was the best part of the game. I watched him have a snowball fight with Swoop, dress up as a snowman and sled down a little hill. Chip is the huggable version of CU’s live mascot, Ralphie, and that is pretty cool. 

Puddles the Duck: Oregon

Puddles is unanimously one of the most-liked mascots in the conference and maybe even nationwide. I’m not sure if it is because of his friendly demeanor, his huggable looking costume or simply because he is a duck and people like ducks for some reason, but people love Puddles, and he deserves that love. 

The Tree: Stanford

There isn’t a lot to say about this mascot. He’s weird, he’s crazy and he is a perfect representation of Stanford, a school known for prestigious academics and producing professionals in almost every field. For this, the tree gets third place. 

Swoop the Red-Tailed Hawk: Utah

I feel obligated to rank Swoop in my top five. No, he’s not the most fun or engaging mascot, but his modern look is definitely appealing. I like that Swoop leads the football team out on a motorcycle that he drives (a challenge when you take into account the limited visibility allowed with the costume head on), and he changes outfits depending on the sport that he is cheering for. 

Oski the Bear: Berkeley

In my opinion, Oski is one of the most iconic mascots, but not for a good reason. Growing up as a Cal fan, I always liked Oski and thought he was funny, but as I have gotten older, I realize just how creepy this bear is. Oski looks like he can see into your soul or something. He’s like the weird uncle at family reunions that no one wants to talk to. However, despite this, he is still a key part of Pac-12 athletics. 

Benny the Beaver: Oregon State

Benny is a cool mascot. Maybe it is just because he’s a beaver. Maybe it’s because he has a lot of fun at games. Either way, this beaver is one mascot that always makes me smile. 

Joe and Josie the Bruins: UCLA

Okay. Let’s talk about the Bruins. One of two mascot duos in the conference. They are the face of UCLA athletics, but there isn’t anything particularly special about them. I want to take this time to talk about the female mascot. Yes, they are less common than male ones, but it’s almost like schools don’t even try to make them look normal. Josie looks like she is wearing too-large fuzzy pajama pants underneath her childlike cheerleading outfit. Not a great look. And to top it all off, they slap a bow on her just in case it wasn’t clear to everyone that she should be portrayed as female.  

Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat: Arizona

Now, moving onto our second pair of mascots. Wilma and Wilbur are interesting, to say the least. We already talked about how creepy Oski is, but Wilbur is a close second. Wilbur is most easily recognized by his oversized cowboy hat and unflattering smile. There isn’t a lot to say here other than “yikes.”

Harry the Husky: Washington

Have you ever seen a bunch of people in dog costumes walking around? Yeah, Harry looks like he got separated from that group.  Sure, I love dogs as much as the next person, but what I don’t like is dogs that walk around on two legs at games. 

Butch T. Cougar: Washington State

I originally had Butch higher on this list until I began doing my research and I saw pictures of him. As a Utah fan, I am less inclined to like Cougars, and this particular mascot doesn’t make a good case for himself. 

Tommy the Trojan: USC

Tommy is happy — too happy. Half of his face is a smile, which is odd considering the “I’m better than you” vibe that students at this school tend to give off. I get that he is supposed to represent the strong trojans of ancient times, but his body proportions are all over the place and he just looks uncomfortable. When it comes down to it, I almost feel bad for Tommy.

Sparky the Sun Devil: Arizona State 

Sparky falls in 12th place for me simply because I’ve only seen him once. Realistically, Sparky is a little creepy.  There is nothing appealing about a devil waltzing around the football field. And the mustache … it doesn’t help his case. 

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