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Tako Tuesdays Bought a Zoo

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It’s a world-class menagerie!

Colorado v Colorado State Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It’s a known fact that the University of Colorado is a wonderful place for many reasons: it’s unfairly beautiful, its 4/20 celebration is unparalleled, but most of all, it has the greatest mascot in the entire expanse of college football: Ralphie the Buffalo.

Kansas State v Colorado Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Look at this majestic fucking creature. Her handlers diligently train for the game day entrance, and she still shakes loose once every few years because SHE’S A LIVE GOD DAMN BUFFALO AND SHE GON’ COOK! Nothing about this is bad for college football, or for humanity as a whole.

Not every school can be as fantastic as Colorado, this is clear. But a step in the right direction is clearly the addition of a live mascot to the game day atmosphere. So let’s take a look at how the PAC-12 teams stack up in this department, on a scale of 1 to Ralphie.


Two other teams in the conference already have live mascots. Neither are as wonderful as Ralphie, but it’s not their fault, because nothing in the world is as wonderful as Ralphie.

Washington - Dubs the “Husky”

Arizona v Washington Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Dubs is a good dog. Fluffy, jovial, likes to play dress up. And have you seen him as a puppy? Goodness, how adorable. Here’s my problem with Dubs, apart from being born into the Washington family, which is not his fault because he is a good dog. According to his official page on gohuskies.com, Dubs is an Alaskan Malamute.

YOU CALL YOURSELVES THE HUSKIES.

THERE’S VERY LITERALLY A DOG BREED CALLED THE HUSKY.

YOU GOT A MALAMUTE INSTEAD.

That’d be like Oregon getting a live mascot, and getting a goose. Fucking ay, Washington, you could at least make hating on you challenging! Ugh. Live Mascot rating (on a scale of 1 to Ralphie): 6.5

USC - Traveler the Horse

Utah State v USC Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Traveler, shown here being ridden by what appears to be Regis Philbin, is quite literally a Trojan horse. That’s excellent. He (she?) is also a white horse named after the one ridden by Confederate general Robert E. Lee. OJ Simpson could not be reached for comment on the matter. Live Mascot rating: 5


The rest of the PAC-12 teams do not have live mascots, which is unfortunate. We’ll just have to imagine them.

The Oregon Ducks

Face facts, Oregon needs a live duck or twelve wandering around Autzen Stadium. We’ve had live duck mascots before; it’s time to bring the tradition back. We could train it to waddle out and pick up the kickoff tee. We could build it a pond back in the landscaping behind the student section. At the spring game they’d have to stop play because mama would take the ducklings out for a stroll across the east endzone. Jim Mora would definitely get shit on during the fourth quarter of a close game. There’s a lot to work with here. Live Mascot potential: a heavily biased 9

The Oregon State Beavers

I’m going to be honest here: going to Reser Stadium to watch Oregon State play football becomes infinitely more appealing if you put a beaver colony behind one of the end zones. You’d have to plant some trees so they could chew on something, and the minuscule chance that a falling tree could block a field goal is worth the price of admission right there. Live Mascot potential: 8.5

The Stanford Cardinal

Colors aren’t living, so it’ll be trees we examine. Trees are pleasant to look at, but really offer no entertainment value whatsoever in the context of a football game, except if you’ve got a beaver colony to go with it. This idea is David Shaw levels of boring. Live Mascot potential: 0

The Arizona Wildcats

I’m having a really hard time getting excited over something that just looks like a slightly-more-athletic house cat. Whether it’s the European wildcat, the African wildcat, or the Asiatic wildcat, they’d probably just stare at you all judgy-like, before murdering a pigeon and taking a nap. Live Mascot potential: 3

The Washington State Cougars

Whether we’re talking about the mountain cat or the middle-aged single lady, Mike Leach is leaving the stadium with scratch marks on his back. Live Mascot potential: 7

The UCLA Bruins

The term “bruin” is commonly used to describe European brown bears. But did you know that when UCLA was first founded, they took the nickname of the Cubs as an homage to their place as the new branch of the University of California and its Golden Bears mascot. Imagining the sight of a dramatic college football entrance being led by a tiny bear cub is just about the cutest thing imaginable. It’d probably stop and do a somersault at the 25 yard line, and grown men would squeal. Live Mascot potential: 8

The California Golden Bears

If a bear cub leading a football team out on the field didn’t get you excited, then a full-grown bear charging and snarling its way out of the tunnel will certainly stir some emotions. Oh man, can you imagine Ralphie’s entrance, but instead of a buffalo it’s a god damn bear?!? People would definitely die, but sacrifices must be made in pursuit of greatness. Live Mascot potential: Full-on Ralphie, plus an added Certain Death bonus

The Arizona State Sun Devils

This is a tricky one; obviously a live hellspawn wearing a shirt he borrowed from Guy Fieri isn’t something we can work with here. The closest we can get is that a sun devil is a name sometimes used to describe a desert whirlwind, aka a dust devil. The only value I can see with this is if we could somehow get it to whirl out T-shirts or Carl’s Jr. coupons. Other than that, there isn’t much fun in weather phenomena. Live mascot potential: 1.5

The Utah Utes

Utah made the decision, in partnership with the Ute tribe of indigenous Americans, to do away with all forms of native costuming and cartoon imagery back in the 1980s. The current Utah mascot (and my favorite costumed mascot other than The Duck) is Swoop, a red-tailed hawk who just loves to RAGE.

Utah v Oregon Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Just look at this nightmare fuel. Were I to ever do cocaine, this is what I assume I would see were I to look in a mirror.

Birds of prey make excellent live mascots, as evidenced below by the mascots from, respectively, Auburn, Air Force, and Temple

Arkansas State v Auburn Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images
NCAA Football: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl-Western Michigan vs Air Force Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports
Army v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

And because of Swoop, Utah could add an actual talon’d raptor to their spirit team and it still wouldn’t be the most dangerous mascot they have.

Mountain West Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
UCLA v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
Mountain West Conference Tournament Day 2: TCU Horned Frogs v Utah Utes Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Live Mascot potential: You know what? Swoop’s probably enough.

What’s the best idea for a yet-to-exist live mascot from the rest of college football? Let us know why it’s Wisconsin, or whatever your wrong answer is, in the comments section.