When it comes to fandom, sports understanding, and humanity, you don’t have to follow a blue blood program to know a sport. Jeff Nusser does hoops. He does far more (better) than HOTTAKES for the power site he co-founded, the fantastic WSU blog, CougCenter.
And so he’s a fan of a program in change while he watches golden boy, Tony Bennett, dominate the ACC from across the country. Yet we must look forward and in doing such we find Arizona looming on the eve of President’s day (worth noting: growing up in Tucson we got Rodeo Break, not President’s Day. Fact). Cougars versus Cats and Jeff kindly and witfully catches us up on all things crimson and grey.
Months ago, before nary an Ernie Kent game was coached, you seemed less than optimistic surrounding his summer on the recruiting circuit. We’ve now got a little time under our belts, how are you feeling about Ernie the recruiter?
In the inaugural season of the world’s preeminent Pac-12 basketball blog, we saw the First Ever Pac-12 Coaches Death Match. It presented a horrifically hard fought battle that saw Sean “Whooping” Miller walk away the winner. And now we’re pitting the mascots against one another because it’s tournament time, we need to pick things, we need more anthropomorphism.
Here’s what I did. I reached out to friends of the world’s preeminent Pac-12 basketball blog to explain to us why their favorite mascot would win. They did and I’m appreciative. Read on to see how each crushed it. We’ll keep the same seeding and format as the basketball tournament in Vegas. Other than that, there are no rules. It’s a death match.
And now the writers have got the anthropomorphs’ backs. Here we go:
#8 Swoop vs. #9 Dubs
Dubs from Jack Follman of Pacific Takes The Husky mascots used to be fluffy balls of poof that were not even intimidating to a two-year old junior Dawg fan, but Dubs is a different beast. Built for the modern era, Dubs is svelte, speedy, ferocious and regularly outruns the entire Husky football team down the sidelines as the run out of the tunnel at home games on Saturdays. Most importantly though, Dubs is a Husky and huskies take part in a little something called the Iditarod which is a race that is longer than 1,000 miles in the coldest place in the entire country. Obviously Dubs hasn’t taken place in this race, but he has the blood of his hardy ancestors who have ran the race that regularly kills competitors coursing through his veins.
Swoop from Robby Jackson of Utah Scout Swoop, the mascot for the Utah Utes, is not a member of the Ute Indian tribe and as a matter of fact, he doesn’t have anything to do with the Utes. But, he is our mascot and despite how random he may be, we’ve got a soft spot in our hearts for Swoop. Most red-tailed hawks have wings because you know, they’re birds, but Swoop is blessed with enormous arms that would most definitely win many arm wrestling matches against a duck, beaver, sun-devil or a tree. To make up for his lack of wings, Swoop also has red laser beam eyes that burn the logo of the opposition during the halftime at Utah basketball games. Find me a bear, husky, wildcat, cougar, trojan or a buffalo that can withstand the heat of laser hawk eyes and I’ll find you a liar. Though he may look more like a chicken than a hawk, Swoop aint nothing to play with.
#8 Swoop vs. #9 Dubs
#8 Swoop (60%, 154 Votes)
#9 Dubs (40%, 102 Votes)
Total Voters: 256
#5 Chip vs. #12 Traveler
Chip from Ben Burrow of Rumblin Buff
I guess, ostensibly, I’m supposed to be talking about Chip, our Mickey Mouse with horns made available for the kiddies. However, if you’re going to talk University of Colorado athletics, there is only one mascot that matters – the ton of rampaging bison known as Ralphie. Often a source of confusion, let me confirm that Ralphie is, in fact, a female. It’s an important distinction, because, if we were to let a male bison loose, death would ensue; after all, a buffalo is an unstoppable goring machine when pissed off. With the lady involved, we’re only talking serious bodily harm, if you’re lucky. So, come at me with your anthropomorphic plush toys. I got a frickin’ buffalo, and you don’t.
Traveler from Jacob Freedman of Galen Central The best part about Traveler is that he’s less of a mascot, and more of an actual, real-life horse capable of inflicting havoc. There’s no costume, no student inside and if you ask me, a horse is much more powerful than the dogs and cats we see across the Pac-12. He’s also cunning; we’ve all heard the story about the Trojan Horse. Just as he stomps the ground of the Coliseum before every fourth quarter, he would stomp his way all over the other mascots, whether they be animals, trees, or a Ute.
#5 Chip vs. #12 Traveler
#5 Chip (86%, 255 Votes)
#12 Traveler (14%, 41 Votes)
Total Voters: 296
#7 Puddles vs. #10 Benny
Puddles from Matt of Addicted to Quack Ducks are ferocious fighters. They have the ability to fight both on land as well as in water. Their beaks are their main weapons but also a great defense mechanism. To understand Puddle’s manliness and ability to win a fight, first you have to realize he doesn’t wear pants. I mean seriously, you know you’re pretty proud of your manhood if you’re going to go around 24/7 without pants on. And do you really want to start a fight with someone that isn’t wearing pants? Second, there’s only been one other time that another mascot has dared to challenge Puddles. Let’s just say that didn’t end well for him.
Benny from Connor Pelton of Rush the Court
Benny is a beaver, so by definition he is one of the most badass animals in the wild. His versatility cannot be rivaled, from dam building to speed. I also have a feeling that the committee may underseed him, but similar to the NCAA Tournament, that will hurt his opponent more than anybody. Benny is a player and he’ll put up if you try and take his girl. So vote for him, because players gotta play.
#7 Puddles vs. #10 Benny
#7 Puddles (50%, 118 Votes)
#10 Benny (50%, 116 Votes)
Total Voters: 234
#6 The Tree vs. #11 Butch
The Tree from Kevin Danna of Pac-12 Networks and the NBADL
The Tree don’t concern itself with human concerns like mascot deathmatches. Ralphie, Sparky, Oski and such can be as menacing as they want- what the hell are they going to do to a tree? You think Wilbur is going to be able to claw through a 200-year-old redwood, or that Sparky’s pitchfork is going to be able to get it to topple over? Ooh, a fighting duck?! Hell, hawks live in trees. The Tree will take on all 11 other mascots at once and win by not doing a damn thing. So while all the other mascots try to kill each other with assorted sharp objects and body parts, the Tree will roll up a fatty, smoke one of his own kind and win by attrition. The only lumberjacks I see reside in the Big Sky and Southland.
Butch from Michael Preston of Coug Center He looked more badass before his costume change (made in the name of safety) but Butch T. Cougar is still all that embodies WSU. The dude rides an ATV at full blast onto the field before a football game for cripes sake. He has been known to photo bomb even the most carefully planned sorority pose picture and he isn’t shy about acting his age…which we don’t know but we assume he’s in his rambunctious teenage years. More important than any of that is how much he’s beloved by every single WSU fan from ages 3 to 103. He’s one of the best known mascot in the country for a reason: everyone, even visiting fans, want a picture with the gregarious fella with the long tail. Do you see any other Pac-12 mascot pop up on your Facebook feed as often as him? I didn’t think so.