If we learned anything from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it's that half a sport's appeal is in its mascots. (What? That wasn't the lesson?) Since we can't use Veela and leprechauns (I hear you, Notre Dame, but until your leprechaun can spout a rainbow and make gold, I stand by my decision), instead we have people in costumes running around, some of which occasionally strike a chord by being hilarious. Case in point:
Stanford University. They're the Stanford Cardinal (the color, not the bird), so of course their mascot is a dancing Christmas tree wearing a top hat. The Tree is the unofficial mascot, and a product of the marching band, so it technically doesn't even represent the team. It's also controversial because it keeps getting in trouble for attacking other mascots and/or referees.
University of Idaho. I always hope with all my heart that their mascot (they are the Vandals) will run around spray-painting graffiti and cackling, but alas, I’m always disappointed by what is actually a mustachioed Germanic tribesman not doing any of those things.
Western Kentucky University. Again, there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy between the team name and the mascot. They’re the Hilltoppers (which, let’s face it, would be difficult to glorify in a costume anyway), and they decided to make their mascot an amorphous blob of red fur called Big Red because, well, who says they can't?
University of California, Santa Cruz. The Banana Slugs. The Banana Slugs. What can you say about that? You can’t wax poetic on how vicious or speedy it is. "The Banana Slugs oozed their way to another slow, leisurely victory," reports the newscaster, falling asleep as he says it. You might be thinking that they arrived a little late to the mascot party, where the NCAA was just handing out mascots and UCSC missed out, but it’s worth noting here that the students chose to be the Banana Slugs. In fact, they voted in favor of it over the Sea Lions. So they’re the Slugs, and they’re proud.
Michigan State University. The Spartans are represented by Sparty, and I can personally attest to the fact that the layered skirt in no way detracts from his utter macho manliness. That’s a gladiator’s skirt, dammit! Just look at that disproportionately muscular physique and chiseled jawline!
University of Delaware. The Blue Hens' mascot “YoUDee” has its roots in a long, valiant history involving combat and bravery in the Revolutionary War, but at the end of the day, it’s a blue chicken with a big capital U right smack in the middle of its name.
University of Texas at Austin. The Longhorns are aptly represented by Bevo the actual longhorn steer, who has a lineage akin to kings. It’s not so much the mascot that’s funny as is its illustrious history of breaking free and rampaging all over the place, which tends to happen when you bring a large, unpredictable animal into a football stadium. The most notable of these was when Bevo III made a bid for freedom and ran amok on campus for two days.
Syracuse University. Their mascot is Otto the Orange. He rolls around on the field after touchdowns. Do with this what you will.
Which hilarious mascot is your favorite? For us, it's a toss-up between Otto the Orange and the Stanford Unofficial Dancing Tree.