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SEC Canine Mascots

Has the SEC "gone to the dogs"? Certainly there are lots of dog mascots in the Southeastern Conference. The Georgia Bulldogs have Uga. The Mississippi State Bulldogs have Bully. Then there's Smokey for the Tennessee Volunteers. They don't put points on the board, and nobody looks at their pass-rushing stats. But they're among the most important players on their teams. They're the canine mascots of the Southeastern Conference. And just as SEC football is the top dog among college sports, so these puppies are the best of show.

Uga, the Once and Future King

He's the most famous mascot in the world of college sports; the star of his own documentary, “Best Damn Dog;” scion of a long distinguished line, each of who went into “the family business,” as another monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, once put it. He's Uga the white English bulldog, living embodiment of the University of Georgia whose abbreviated name he shares. Either Uga himself or one of his entourage - bulldogs all - attends each and every UGA game, both at home and away, and he travels in his own air-conditioned doghouse. Despite his spiked collar, he's said to be a friendly guy with a ready tail-wag and a welcoming bark for all.

The Bulldog Nation awaits his coronation.

Because sadly Uga, though timeless, is not immortal. Uga VII died unexpectedly in November 2009 just before a game against the University of Kentucky. (The Bulldogs lost.) The Seiler family of Savannah - human guardians of the Uga lineage - are said to be looking for his replacement.

Georgia Bulldogs Mascots Uga.
Georgia Bulldogs Mascots Uga.
Thanks to UGArdener at flickr.com for the picture .

Bully For MSU

Mississippi State University's bulldog mascot tradition dates back to 1935 when the institution was still Mississippi State College. Before that it had been Mississippi A&M and the team was called the Aggies, or sometimes the Maroons after the color of their uniforms.

Then Coach Major Ralph Sasse traveled to Memphis, Tennessee to acquire a bulldog puppy, on orders from his team. Perhaps they were hoping to be inspired by the tenacity of the breed, or maybe they were suffering an identity crisis as they morphed from farmers to gridiron warriors. The pup was named Ptolemy, and the Bulldogs immediately defeated archrival Alabama 20-7. Ptolemy's brother, Bully, became the first official team mascot following the most celebrated football game in MSU history when the team beat Army on the fields of West Point. Sadly, the original Bully perished shortly thereafter under the wheels of a bus. A procession stretching half a mile long accompanied his glass coffin to its final rest beneath the 50-yard line. Bully's fighting spirit lives on - and so does his name.

Today's Bully is not a lineal descendent of his namesake. The selection process is a little like the search for the Dalai Lama: you'll know him when you see him at the breeder's.

Mississippi State University Mascot Bully.
Mississippi State University Mascot, "Bully", riding onto the field before the MSU vs. Alabama football game November 5, 2005 in Starkville, Mississippi.
Thanks to Roger Smith at flickr.com for the picture .

Smokey, A Howling Success

The University of Tennessee was suffering from something of an inferiority complex back in 1953. Every football team in the SEC conference had an animal mascot - except the Volunteers. An enterprising fan made a suggestion: how about the Blue Tick Coonhound, native to the state? Ah, but which Blue Tick Coonhound? During halftime at a home game, the candidates were led onto the field.

Reverend Bill Brooks had brought along his prize-winning hound, “Brooks' Blue Smokey.” When the announcer introduced him to the crowd, Smokey threw back his head and howled.

The crowd went wild.

Smokey howled some more.

When the dust settled, the Volunteers had found themselves a new mascot.

The Brooks have continued as the human guardians of the Smokey line ever since.

You can read more about Smokey at University of Tennessee Volunteers Mascot Smokey. Read about all the Southeastern Conference Mascots and the history of SEC School Mascots.

This article was written by Jake McCollough of Pet-Super-Store.com, a place to find products like dog shock collars and garmin astro products.

The costumed Smokey Mascot.
The costumed Smokey Mascot.
Thanks to wikipedia.org for the picture .

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