College is one of the most memorable times in a person’s life, largely due to being surrounded by fresh-thinking, eager students, and a strong camaraderie (and sometimes the lure of cheap beer). Colleges and universities look to capitalize on these feelings by generating school spirit, an abstract concept often summed up and brought out by a college mascot. Some college mascots look intimidating on the field or court, such as the Florida Gators or the Michigan Spartans. And then some don’t. Some are weird, funky, or just plain bizarre college mascots.
In this list, we picked our favorite bizarre and outlandish college mascots from across the United States. Some of them were student jokes which caught on, such as the huge beer keg at Dartmouth known affectionately known as Keggy the Keg. Some were student protests at overly rigid or corrupt university administrations. Some were failed attempts at ferociousness, such as the University of Oregon’s Duck Vader. And some were just brilliantly bizarre – check out #11 or #2 to find particularly good examples of these. From stirring up the crowd to representing their college around the state and country, see if your school made the list of the 25 Most Bizarre and Outlandish College Mascots.
Keggy the Keg
Dartmouth may be an Ivy League school, but that doesn’t stop its students from having some fun. Though the school doesn’t have an official mascot, it’s unofficial representative Keggy the Keg often shows up to sporting events and is embraced by the student body.
The Boll Weevil
Ever hear of a boll weevil? It’s an insect that feeds on cotton buds and flowers and completely decimated U.S. cotton production in the 1920’s. The University of Arkansas at Monticello chose the ravenous beetle with a droopy Squidward nose as its rough-and-tough mascot.
We all known cayenne pepper gives food a kick, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette has elevated the fiery spice to represent its Ragin’ Cajuns. An anthropomorphic cayenne pepper, Cayenne has flame-ridden arms and a rust red complexion.
The Stanford Tree
Wherever the marching band goes, so goes The Stanford Tree. A competition is held annually where students design tree costumes then perform stunts. Whoever takes top spot gets the honor of representing the team for the next year, rickety homemade tree costume and all.
Known for its pot-smoking, laid-back lifestyle, the New College of Florida has one of strangest college mascots on our list – or not. When designing the college, administrators didn’t have a mascot so they left the space blank, represented by empty brackets – [ ] – in the constitution. Almost sixty years later and the mascot has become known as Empty Set or [ ].
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Though their sports teams are known as the Vols (the Volunteers – which could make a list of strange college sports team names), the University of Tennessee is represented by Smokey, a seemingly sleepy dog which makes us wonder how he ever makes it through a game without falling asleep.
A now defunct (or just purposely missing) college mascot, Roboduck – or, Mandrake, as he was officially known – was a part-time mascot for the University of Oregon Ducks. He tried to replace the cuddly Puddles “the Duck” mascot but didn’t catch on since students saw Roboduck (AKA Duck Vader) as too menacing. During his short-lived tenure, the chiseled (have you seen those glutes?) mascot would ride into games on a motorcycle and do a push-up for every point scored.
The Purple Cow
Williams College in Massachusetts elected the Purple Cow as their mascot in 1907, named after a student humor magazine of the same name. The dastardly dairy producer was named Ephelia in 1952.
The rival of Williams College’s Purple Cow, Lord Jeff was the strange mascot at Amherst College. A high-brow, powdered-wig-wearing British politician, the Mascot was denounced by university officials in 2016 and removed from service. Since the real Lord Jeffery Amherst pushed for giving Native Americans smallpox-infected blankets to wipe them out quicker, it’s probably for the best he’s been removed.
Sammy the Banana Slug
Colleges often rally around a representative mascot, though we’re not sure the students at the University of California – Santa Cruz are doing much of that. The lax school’s mascot is a yellow banana slug who’s also pretty relaxed and is a pretty skilled dancer. Though he has glasses and reads a Plato book on the university logo, Sammy the Banana Slug is a bit more cool-looking in person.
A half-elf, half-bat, fully-bizarre mascot, Saint Louis University’s Billiken is a common sight at sporting events. Based off a fad toy from the early 1900’s, the Billiken is supposed to bring good luck as the school’s mascot.
Artie the Fighting Artichoke
Students standing up for what they believe in is one of the hallmarks of a college education – and that’s what Scottsdale Community College students did in the 1970’s. Angry that university officials were recruiting (read: bribing) athletes with scholarship funds set aside for Native American students, students protested by choosing a ridiculous mascot, Artie the Fighting Artichoke, who has kept on until this day. Compared to the other choices – the Scoundrels or the Rutabagas – he seems like the best option.
Speedy the Geoduck
Evergreen State College, in trying to look fearsome, chose the largest burrowing clam in the world as its mascot. Its Geoduck looks more like a cheap Pokémon with its long, green neck and shiny shell. Whoever dons the mascot costume oddly can’t wear shorts or shoes and has to rally the students to chant his theme song, “Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about, let it all hang out!”
The University of Nebraska – Lincoln may be better recognized by its older mascot, Herbie Husker, but its new, two-decade-old co-mascot hasn’t aged a bit. Known as Lil’ Red, this bizarre university mascot is an inflatable boy that looks more like he wants his cheeks pinched than to drive fear into the minds of his opponents.
Wichita State University describes its mascot, WuShock, as “a big, bad, muscle-bound bundle of wheat.” Based off the name for people who harvest wheat (shockers), WuShock has undergone the knife numerous times as redesign after redesign attempted to make him look more intimidating. Unfortunately for him, in the end, he’s just a bunch of wheat.
One of the most well-recognized mascots in college sports, Brutus Buckeye is an incredibly weird college mascot when you think of it. He’s a nut with legs. Still, this hasn’t stopped him from being admitted into the Mascot Hall of Fame.
The Fighting Pickle
Art colleges aren’t known as being particularly fearsome, but the North Carolina School of the Arts wanted to change that with a Fighting Pickle. A bucktoothed mascot with a Spongebob Squarepants look to him, the Fighting Pickle is popular among students and has been known to bust a move or two.
The Fighting Okra
Continuing the theme of angry, disillusioned produce, we find Delta State University’s Fighting Okra. Okra is lean, mean, and gummy, and that’s what this unofficial mascot is with its boxing gloves and aggressive tendencies. (Their real mascot, the Statesman, isn’t seen as intense enough.)
Probably a relative of Grimace from McDonalds, Western Kentucky’s Big Red mascot has an unhingeable jaw and plump red body that makes him look more like a Red Hot or Hot Tamales candy than a fearsome mascot.
Izzy the Islander
Aloha, baby. Meet Izzy the Islander: the official college mascot of Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi since 2004. A laid-back Tiki man, Izzy is a big improvement from the school’s previous mascot, Tarpie the Tarpon.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison is proudly represented by Buckingham U. Badger, locally known as Bucky Badger. Bucky’s ferociousness hasn’t translated as well from the school’s logo to his costume, but it’s a whole lot better than the live badger UW used in the late 1800’s. The beast was so vicious it often escaped towards the stands.
Charlie the Choker
Grays Harbor College in Aberdeen, Washington, is represented by the buff (or are those fat rolls?) mascot Charlie the Choker. Though some would confuse the shirtless mascot with a rope for something more terrifying, Charlie’s rope is a choker bell, formerly used in the area to transport logs.
Peter the Anteater
Rival schools beware – well, maybe only if you’re a colony of ants. The University of California – Irvine’s mascot is known as Peter the Anteater and can easily demolish an ant hill. He’s also a crowd-pleaser with his likable demeanor and the chant, “Give ’em tongue!”
The most hideous character on our list of weird college mascots is Trinity Christian College’s The Troll. Numerous stories float around for how the mascot came to be, including an acronym for the school and night-time troll sightings near the 123rd Street bridge. In any case, TCC’s mascot looks like the Legend of Zelda and Shrek combined to form a mascot.
If you enjoyed this list, check out 25 Epic Mascot Fails That Are Sure To Make You Laugh.
Though the university administration hasn’t accepted Scrotie, he’s as full-fledged a mascot as any if you ask the student body. Scrotie is the unofficial mascot of the Rhode Island School of Design and is, well, a bit more than just a scrotie. Basically a penis and scrotum costume, Scrotie supports the basketball team, the Balls, and the hockey team, the Nads. When he’s around, students either cheer “When the heat is on, the Balls stick together!” or “Go Nads!” The cheerleaders – due to their support of the Nads – are known as the Jockstraps.