Southeastern Conference Mascots
by Tim Hartwell
They Sure Bring Out the Animal In Us All
They're animals, I tell ya, animals!
Well, okay, maybe not all of them, but most of em are.
The mascots of the Southeastern Conference (SEC)
A quick list in no particular order, of SEC Team Mascots. Real, live animals denoted by *:
University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Crimson Tide - elephant, Big Al
Mississippi State University (Starkville) Bulldogs - bulldog, Bully*
Auburn University (Auburn, Alabama) War Eagles - tiger, Aubie and War Eagle/aka
University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) Razorbacks - Big Red, Tusk*
Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge) Tigers - Mike*
University of Mississippi (Oxford) Ole Miss Rebels - Col. Reb (banned)
University of Kentucky (Lexington) Wildcats - The Wildcat, Scratch, BlueUniversity of Tennessee (Knoxville) Volunteers - Smokey*
University of South Carolina (Columbia) Gamecocks - Cocky, Sir Big Spur*
Vanderbilt University (Nashville) Commodores - Mr. C
University of Florida (Gainesville) Gators - Albert
University of Georgia (Athens) Bulldogs - Uga*
The University of Arkansas either boasts or has to live down, depending on your point of view, some boarish behavior from some of their live razorback mascots. In 1977, Big Red III (the name “Big Red” is now carried by the costumed human mascot) got loose from an exhibit and went rampaging through the countryside around Eureka Falls, Arkansas. Tore up jack and didn't stop until an angry farmer put a stop to him with a
Most of the “razorbacks” used by the University of Arkansas are actually Russian boars raised in captivity. Physically they resemble wild razorback hogs, but they're (usually, with the exception of Red III) more tractable. Something Ragnar, a true wild hog who put in some time as mascot, made clear. Ragnar was captured by a Leola farmer named Bill Robinson, who deserves recognition for either being one of the bravest men in Arkansas or one of the most foolhardy. Ragnar killed a coyote, a 450 pound domestic pig, as well as being downright hard on the local rattlesnake population, killing seven. Some
LSU's Mike the Tiger is easily the most intimidating of the live mascots, especially in his traditional game day positions. Before the game, Mike sits in his tiger cage in front of
the visitors' locker room where opposing teams have to walk past him to get to their assigned locker area. During the game, Mike's position -- and no one is sure whether to classify it as offense or defense -- is played from behind the opposing bench. Tradition says that LSU will score
a touchdown for each of Mike's mighty roars during the game. Not sure if Mike is scoping out the opponents' game plans, but having a tiger looking over your shoulder, roaring at intervals, can't be conducive to coaching communications! Tiger Stadium is a loud place, especially when Mike raises his voice above the noise of the crowd.
The golden eagle mascot of Auburn, War Eagle, carries a tradition steeped in legend to
the field with him on game day. As the story is told, the War Eagle became part of the University's lore at the first football game played at Auburn against the University of
Georgia back in 1892. His name was Anvre and he was accompanied to the game by a professor who had been a former student. This professor had been the only Confederate survivor of a Civil War battle. Making his way, wounded, across the still
battlefield, he found a young golden eagle, also wounded. He gathered the bird, whom he named “Anvre,” up and nursed him back to health and the eagle became his companion. As the years rolled by, the two became a common sight on the campus.
On game day, the professor and Anvre were in the stands watching as Auburn's team lost ground to the Georgia team. Anvre, now an elderly bird, took flight, circling the field. The Auburn team began to gain back ground as Anvre continued to circle, pushing the Georgia boys back, winning the day. As Auburn celebrated, Anvre shrieked triumphantly and plummeted to the field. Legend
says Anvre bestowed the War Eagle's spirit on Auburn that day.
“Back in the day,” the University of Florida had a live American alligator mascot on campus. In 1911, when the Gator was first officially appointed (having been unofficial mascot since 1845), Florida was the habitat for an estimated million gators, making it an obvious choice; so obvious that there was a controversy when Florida State University laid claim to it as well.
In 1922, news stories record a 4 foot gator accompanying the team to road games, and as late as 1953, a new mascot, 9 and a half foot Ole Poochy made appearances. Probably the worst faux pas of the Gator's history as mascot, though, came in 2003, when he appeared on the cover of the University's football media guide as . . . a
crocodile! Like the frog said, “it ain''t easy, bein' green.”
Read more about SEC Canine Mascots
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