Mascot Madness: Big Ten mascots ranked

In a conference littered with entertaining mascots, Bucky is one of the Big Ten's best.

Image By: Nithin Charlly

Being from SEC country, where there are three teams called the Tigers and two called the Bulldogs, I always appreciated the Big Ten’s unique nicknames and mascots. Almost all of the nicknames have some local historical reason and there is no doubt that there is intense pride in your local college’s mascot.

But which mascot (and I’m combining mascot and nicknames in this case, because lots of teams don’t have actual mascots) is the toughest, coolest and best? Well, I’m here to answer that burning question, ranking all of the Big Ten’s 14 mascots.

14. Ohio State Buckeyes

First of all, your mascot is just a nut. That’s it. Second of all, Brutus Buckeye is really ugly. It looks so awkward, which is kinda the point of the cartoon-y mascots, but it’s like really ugly. Also, it got beat up by the Ohio Bobcat mascot a couple years ago which is a picture that I’ll always have on my phone, ready to tweet when Ohio State loses.

13. Iowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes get docked, in part because I have no idea what it’s supposed to be. Is it literally the eye of a hawk? Is it like some farm-related thing? I don’t really know, so that really knocks it down on the list. Herky the Hawkeye is also a terrible name for a mascot. Plus, it shares a name with the lamest Avenger. It’s still a thousand times better than a Buckeye though.

12. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Gophers are not really that threatening. Of all the rodent-related mascots in the Big Ten, they clearly come in last place in terms of intimidation. The toughest gopher was probably the one in “Caddyshack” that Bill Murray tried to blow up, but that gopher was more annoying than threatening. Which makes sense, considering that’s how Minnesota has been to the Badgers (ZING! 12-in-a-row!)

11. Indiana Hoosiers

In case you didn’t know, someone from Indiana is called a Hoosier. That’s how Indiana cleverly gave themselves that mascot. Probably the coolest thing about the Hoosiers is that they sell shirts and other stuff that says “Hoosier Daddy,” which is kinda cool but also kinda weird. Michael Jackson, Kurt Vonnegut, Larry Bird and David Letterman are Hoosiers though, but Vice President Mike Pence is too. Sooooooooooo…….

10. Maryland Terrapins

Maryland’s motto is to “Fear the Turtle.” However, terrapins are a small type of turtle, not a snapping turtle or even a teenage mutant ninja turtle. Therefore, they are not something to fear. The name of the mascot is Testudo, and I don’t know if that’s really cool or really lame. I’ve gone back and forth. In the words of a like 10-year-old video, “I like turtles.”

9. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Of all the colors that Knights could be, I feel like Scarlet is one of the lamer choices. Black Knights would be cool because they’re mysterious and sort of make it seem like there’s doom. Gold Knights are rich and fancy. Like, if you were in “Game of Thrones,” and heard that the Scarlet Knights were coming, you’d be scared, but not that scared. But if the Black Knights were coming from the North, that would be terrifying.

I don’t watch “Game of Thrones” though, so maybe Scarlet Knights would be scarier. Also, Rutgers is bad at most sports, so they lose points.

8. Purdue Boilermakers

This by itself shouldn’t be that threatening. Boilermakers are just trained craftsmen that make steel things. But think about it: Boilermakers have access to flaming torches. They have those cool welding masks. Also, Purdue Pete is scary and I don’t want to look him in the eyes.

7. Nebraska Cornhuskers

When I think of corn, I don’t necessarily think scary. But there is a Stephen King horror movie called “Children of the Corn,” where children ritually murder adults in their town to ensure a successful corn harvest, which helps to color my perception of the Cornhuskers. Also, I think we gotta cut Nebraska some slack. They do have to live in Nebraska, and that’s tough enough.

6. Illinois Fighting Illini

This mascot seems really redundant. This would be like if the Georgia Bulldogs were actually the Georgia Georgians. The key here that makes it scarier is that they put the “Fighting” adjective in front. If it wasn’t for that, they would be way down on this list, but still not as bad as the Buckeyes. Seriously, OSU has a terrible mascot.

5. Northwestern Wildcats

The Wildcats would be a better nickname, possibly even top nickname if it wasn’t for one movie. That movie, ladies and gentlemen, is “High School Musical.” No other wildcats will ever top those wildcats. Take that Northwestern. That’s for denying me from your J-School. Now I’m writing important articles about which mascot is the coolest. Troy Bolton doesn’t support you, so neither will I.

4. Penn State Nittany Lions

Apparently, some guy made up the Nittany Lion nickname in the 1900s as the original fake news story. It’s not actually a real animal, so it gets docked down. It’s cool and unique though, so it gets some extra points.

3. Wisconsin Badgers

The reason why Wisconsin is the Badgers, is because when Wisconsin first became a part of the U.S., immigrants moved here to mine, and they lived in their mines supposedly like Badgers. Badgers can be super vicious like the honey badger, but badgers are also lowkey super cute. The duality of our mascot makes it great.

2. Michigan State Spartans

The Spartans in ancient times were known for being the toughest fighters in Greece, but the best part of Greek society was that women also had a pretty decent role politically, socially and economically compared to most women at the time. Still, their entire society was based on war and violence, so that’s not as awesome. Sparty also looks like he’s on steroids and I definitely wouldn’t want to mess with him.

1 . Michigan Wolverines

Jim Harbaugh fits the model of a Wolverine perfectly. They are so vicious that when someone brought down a wolverine from Alaska for a live mascot event, they soon became so tenacious the handlers stopped bringing them to the stadium. It helps too that Wolverine is such an awesome superhero. That really is what put the Wolverines at the top spot.

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