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MASCOT FRIENDS: Which mascots should be best friends?

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Which mascots would we most like to see embracing each other in wholesome fellowship and perhaps doing crimes together as buddies?

University of Southern Mississippi, 1985 yearbook. Banner Society illustration.

A common sports internet thing: debating which mascots would defeat each other in combat.

But who wants to see our sweet animal and non-animal friends fighting?

Wouldn’t we rather see them snuggling and sharing snacks?

Here, look at this:

CHINA-LIFESTYLE-LUNAR-NEW YEAR JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images

Pretty good!

Now imagine if we used the vast ranks of our nearly 2,000 college mascots to create partnerships as powerful as Monkey Riding Dog.

Charlotte’s Norm the Niner and WKU’s Big Red, by Alex

I want to pair the 49ers’ and Hilltoppers’ mascots to prove, once and for all, that mascots from polar opposite elevations can coexist. Norm the Niner spends his time in riverbeds, panning for loose nuggets of gold as they flow downstream. It’s not clear if Big Red actually spends much time atop hills — his physique calls his cardiovascular capacity into question — but we can assume that the Hilltoppers’ mascot is at least able to summit some hills.

There’s some risk they won’t get along. Big Red is famously hotheaded, known for a short temper and a propensity to lash out at subordinates. Norm the Niner is obsessively greedy and might swing his pick axe at Red if he senses danger. But let’s see how this goes.

Note: I considered pairing Big Red with the Colorado School of Mines’ Oredigger mascot, but that wouldn’t carry the benefit of making conference foes get along.

Norm the Niner and Big Red Getty.

Mrs. Wuf and Wilma T. Wildcat, by Ryan

College football has several mascots that are outwardly feminized versions of their male counterparts – Alberta the Alligator and Sue E. Pig, for example – but Mrs. Wuf and Wilma appear to be the only two that got married in public ceremonies.

(Incidentally, Temple’s live owl mascot, Stella, got married to her owl mate Sherlock last year. Their wedding was nicer than some human ones I’ve attended, in part because it was officiated by a bald eagle.)

Neither Wilma and Ms. Wuf spent much time as an unmarried mascot. Wuf got about five years before her marriage ceremony at halftime of a Wolfpack basketball game, and Wilma had less than a year before her first appearance and her marriage to Wilbur at a sorority house the Friday before the 1986 Territorial Cup. Mr. Wuf and Wilbur T. Wildcat, by comparison, each spent at least 25 years as bachelor mascots.

Mrs. Wuf and Wilma haven’t been given the time or space to explore their own identities apart from the dual confines of mascothood and marriage. What are their dreams? Their fears? Do they find themselves in the place they envisioned as children? On a fundamental level, who are they?

And if, in seeking out the answers to those questions, Wilma and Mrs. Wuf go on a coast-to-coast spree of bank heists, so be it!

Aubie and Goldie, by Spencer

I need a pair of intelligent, athletic, and wily mascots capable of playing spies. The only mascots up to the challenge of being masters of disguise who are already in fact wearing a disguise? Aubie the Tiger from Auburn, and Goldy the Gopher from Minnesota.

Goldy alone brings a dazzling array of masks, costumes, and camouflages capable of rendering him virtually invisible in any environment.

Nebraska v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Aubie’s variety of alter egos transcends the realm of the human and tiger, even.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 Ole Miss at Auburn Photo by Scott Donaldson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pair the two and you’ve got a pair of plush Kingsmen capable of protecting American interests around the globe, infiltrating volcano lairs with ease, and then disappearing into the night dressed like cartoon sharks. Their skill sets are complementary, too. Aubie lays on the charm to escape dodgy situations.

When that fails, Goldy brings the thunder.

Hobbs and Shaw, but mascots. It’s magical and I want nine installments of it in theaters and on streaming services immediately.

The DePaul Blue Demon and Mount Mary College Blue Angel, by Jason

The only mascots with the power to unite Blue Heaven and Blue Hell.

The rivalry known as the Big Blue Afterlife Brawl

Tennessee itself, by Holly

The University of Tennessee has three (3) mascots, none of which are a squeeze bottle of corn syrup or a homophobic country ham. Life is full of mysteries but not THAT full. They will now be ranked in order of ascending utility in a criminal enterprise, because what is the use of good friends and better dogs, if you do not do crimes together?

THIRD PLACE: PLUSH SMOKEY DOG(S). Appears in various seasonal guises as either a large bipedal bluetick coonhound, a large lady bipedal bluetick coonhound (there are bows), or a small bluetick coonhound (for kids, implying that the larger plush mascots are adults-only, for some unfathomable reasons I dare not plumb). This shapeshifting ability suggests untrustworthiness, while the large foam heads would block peripheral vision in a getaway or shootout scenario. No, leave these dogs on the porch where they belong.

SECOND PLACE: DAVY CROCKETT COSPLAY HUMAN. Willingness to wear buckskin clothing in all manner of unpleasant weather speaks to his strength of character. Already has his own gun. Counterpoint: has already died in an actual shootout.

FIRST PLACE: SMOKEY THE ACTUAL BLUETICK COONHOUND DOG. A superior animal. Unlike some dog mascots, can hold down a job. Owns reasonable foul weather gear. A marked weakness for chocolate pie has been his undoing in the past, but this is Tennessee – corn syrup will get us all in the end.

Southern Miss’ Seymour and Mississippi State’s Bully, by Richard

Seymour and Bully had it right. Let’s grab some cheap lawn chairs, set up shop under the goal posts, and run the clock out on a beautiful fall day watching ball.

I’m not gonna lie to y’all. I’m writing this with general unsettledness during a good ol’ fashioned global pandemic. You might be reading this in five years, when the feeling of this week will have faded. We will very likely have returned to business as usual.

But it is weird to have faith that we will get back to normalcy again, when you think about the work that society must do to get there. Feelings that are so familiar have never seemed so foreign, when you’re in the eye of the storm.

Everybody needs something to cling to during anxiety. You have yours, and I have mine. I’m not so much worried about my own health (a privileged feeling I don’t take for granted) as I am about **gestures wildly to the rest of the planet**.

But through the roller coaster of cancellations, postponements, and unease, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In time, if we can get a handle on this thing, we can all just do what Seymour and Bully are doing here. We can sit and watch without worry.

Southern Miss Library