Color Commentary: Power Ranking the New Big East Mascots

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports


The conference realignment has ushered in a new era of the Big East, in which we say goodbye to some classic rivals and hello to new competitors. Along with the changing of schools comes a changing of team mascots that we’ll be rooting against. Gone are the days of hating on an Irish stereotype or a stupid piece of fruit – instead, we’ll be clashing with new faces in Butler, Creighton, and Xavier. While the basketball games themselves might be settled on the court, I’ve taken it upon myself to settle which team in the new Big East has the best mascot. So sit tight and pop an MHL with me (that’s a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, for you amateur drinkers out there) – it’s time to power rank the new Big East Mascots.

Some ground rules right off the bat:

· We’re not going to go into historical nicknames or mascots at all, because each team has like 5 of them and some of them are kinda racist.

· Each mascot will be judged in 3 Categories, in which they’ll be ranked 1 – 10 (1 being best, 10 being worst) against the other 9 schools in the league.

· First category is Badass-ness. Pretty straight forward: how badass is the mascot? Example: A team named the "T-1000 Terminators" would rank higher than a team named the "Newborn Kittens".

· Second category is Originality. How many other NCAA schools in America have the same mascot? I’ve used THIS PAGE as my sole source of research on this topic, because Wikipedia is always right. Adjectives like "Golden", "Blue", etc. do not count. Example: A team named the "Silver T-1000 Terminators" is not considered original from a team named the "Crimson T-1000 Terminators".

· Third category is the Creepiness of the actual mascot costume that will be running around the court during the game. A good way to judge this is thinking, "If I brought a small child to take a picture with this costumed mascot, would it cry and have nightmares about it?" If the answer is yes, then you’re gonna score low.

· Thanks to Georgetown and St. John’s we have to make a distinction between a team’s "nickname" and its "mascot". For example, Georgetown’s nickname is the Hoyas, but their mascot is a bulldog. For these schools, both their nickname and mascot will be considered in the above categories, and an average of the two will be used to determine their originality.

Now, on to the rankings:

10. Marquette Golden Eagles


Badass-ness Rank: 6 out of 10

Eagles are inherently badass…they’re pretty much direct descendants of velociraptors, except that they can also fly. Awesome. There’s a reason America chose the bald eagle to represent freedom and liberty. You know what America DIDN’T choose though? The GOLDEN Eagle. You know who did? Mexico. The golden eagle is featured on THEIR flag. Sorry Marquette, your lack of patriotism cost you big points on this one.


Figure 1: Nice try, Mexiquette… Marquexico?

Originality Rank: 10 out of 10

There are 76 colleges in America that claim the Eagles as their mascot, making it the most common mascot in the country. Fun Fact: If you add the letters up in "Bald Eagle" (where A=1, B=2, etc.) the answer is also 76! Cool, huh?

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 5 out of 10

Marquette’s Golden Eagle completely reminds me of Sam the Eagle from the Muppets, which is why his rating belongs right in the middle. Muppets have always walked this weird line between being cuddly and terrifying. I think it has something to do with the fact that you never see their legs and that most of them don’t blink. The only Muppet this doesn’t apply to is Miss Piggy, who is instead a combination of sexy and terrifying. Props, Kermit.


Figure 2: Muppets and their real-world counterparts

9. Butler Bulldogs


Badass-ness Rank: 10 out of 10

Next to any purse dog, Bulldogs are the breed that is the biggest disgrace to the canine family. The wild, majestic, prehistoric wolves that were bulldogs’ ancestors would throw themselves off a cliff lemming-style if they could see the squat little pig-beasts that their offspring had evolved into. Trust me – I’ve lived with 2 English bulldogs, and they are the least athletic, intimidating, or hygienic creatures I’ve ever seen. They’ve been bred so that their snouts are short, so they’re always snorting, breathing heavy, or snoring…they can’t walk/run farther than a quarter mile without collapsing and wheezing for 20 minutes…they are top heavy so it’s hard for them to even support their own weight…and they are constantly drooling and farting. Nothing badass or appealing about them in any way. Even when the Butler and Georgetown bulldogs took a picture together, their trainers had to hide behind the chairs because these dogs aren’t competent enough to be trusted to sit on their own, which is without a doubt the easiest trick for a dog to do.


Figure 3: The arrows are pointing to people who wish the school mascot was changed to the "Golden Retrievers".

Originality Rank: 9 out of 10

There are 39 schools in America named the Bulldogs, making it the third most common team name in the country. Why ANY school would choose the name is still beyond me.

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 1 out of 10

Bulldogs may be stupid and unoriginal, but I’ll be darned if Blue the bulldog isn’t the cutest thing around. I’ve never been to a Butler game, but I imagine kids flock to this furry little pup.

8. Providence Friars


Badass-ness Rank: 8 out of 10

Friars have been known to do some badass things, like discover genetics, fight alongside Robin Hood, or inadvertently help two whiny teenagers kill themselves. But for the most part, "badass" is not the first word that comes to mind when you think friar. You instead think of a dude that just chills out in a robe all day while rocking a reverse bowl cut hairdo.


Figure 4: A formal study in the gradual reversal of the bowl cut over the course of 500 years

Originality Rank: 1 out of 10 (tied for first with Xavier)

What??? No other team in the country thought that "The Friars" was a cool thing to call your sports teams??? Color me shocked.

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 10 out of 10

Hands down creepiest mascot, probably for any team in America, pro or college. Straight up nightmare fuel.


Figure 5: The Providence Friar, seen here seconds before eating that baby whole as a sacrifice to some demigod

7. Georgetown Hoyas (Bulldog Mascot)


Badass-ness Rank: 9 out of 10

Luckily, Butler allowed me to get my bulldog rant out of the way, so it frees up some space for me to talk about what a stupid name the "Hoyas" is. It’s hard to exactly explain where the name originates from, but to paraphrase from, some idiot started yelling about stone walls in Greek and Latin, and then everyone at Georgetown decided that was a suitable thing to call their teams. The phrase "dumb as rocks" exists for a reason, Georgetown. However, Hoya scores just higher than Bulldog because at least a stone wall can sit in one place without wheezing.



Originality Rank: 7 out of 10

There are zero other teams named the Hoyas, but 39 Bulldog teams, giving an average of 19.5, which puts Georgetown in 7th place. Fun Fact: the first fun fact I told you was completely false. I hope at least a few of you wasted some time adding that up.

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 2 out of 10

Like Butler’s Bulldog, Jack the Bulldog is downright cuddly and friendly looking. He only gets bumped to second place because he’s the only mascot on this list that is completely naked besides his little beanie.


Figure 6: He’s been streaking at every game and no one’s noticed yet

5. Creighton Blue Jays (tied for 5th with Villanova)


Badass-ness Rank: 7 out of 10

Despite the fact that they are just a tiny little bird, Blue Jays are surprisingly badass. I’m not embarrassed to admit that at the age when most kids dreamed being a professional sports player or astronaut, I wanted to be an ornithologist (a bird scientist) and even joined the Audubon Society. That’s how I know that blue jays can be extremely territorial, bully other smaller birds, but also have no problem attacking larger birds or other predators. I eventually had to quit that lifestyle because too many women were throwing themselves at me due to my extensive knowledge of our feathered friends. So yeah, blue jays can be tough, but it’s still just a tiny little bird.


Figure 7: Certified Ladykiller and leading American Ornithologist named, I kid you not, James Bond

Originality Rank: 3 out of 10

There are only 2 colleges in America named the Blue Jays, but don’t worry, because at least Toronto also thinks it’s cool.

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 6 out of 10

Billy the Bluejay isn’t really creepy, but there’s definitely something off about the permanent expression on his face. I think it’s supposed to look like he’s scowling angrily or intimidatingly, but it kind of looks more along the lines of him scowling because someone used some obscure grammar rule incorrectly. Like he’s some arrogant d-bag who’s gonna go around correcting whoever uses "farther" vs. "further" the wrong way.


"It’s WHOMever….and your last sentence was a fragment."

5. Villanova Wildcats (tied for 5th with Creighton)


Badass-ness Rank: 4 out of 10

If you aren’t actively watching Discovery Channel’s North America, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. End of story. One of the great things about the show is that it has enlightened me to the sheer ruthlessness of wildcats. One segment had one bounding 10 feet at a time to take down seagulls. Even better, though, was a scene in which a wildcat spent 2 hours hunting a gopher, finally killed it, and then started tossing it around for fun. There are few things more brutal than hunting another creature, slaughtering it, and then toying with its corpse like a ragdoll before eating it.

Bobcat Stalks a Pocket Gopher | North America (via DiscoveryNetworks)

Originality Rank: 8 out of 10

Sorry, Nova Nation fans, but we all knew that the Wildcats was not a very original name. There are 27 colleges that share the mascot with us. As much as we hate to admit it, we’re not even the most well-known Wildcats basketball team out there. Womp womp.

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 4 out of 10

I got mad love for Billy "The Big D" Cat, but much like Billy the Bluejay, his permanent expression is pretty ambiguous. Is he growling? Is he smiling? Is he surprised? Is it all three? All in all, though, Nova’s mascot just looks like some awesome long-lost cousin of the Thundercats…just slightly less anthropomorphic than them, which I think is a good thing.

4. Xavier Musketeers


Badass-ness Rank: 5 out of 10

Every country has their own legendary sword-wielding heroes – England has the knights of the roundtable, Japan has ninjas, Greece has the Spartans, and the USA has jedi knights. France, meanwhile, has musketeers. Inherently a dude swashbuckling his way through life with a sword should be pretty badass, but France really Franced their hardest on this one to mess it up by adding frilly pantaloons, feathered hats, and douchey looking facial hair.


Figure 8: The image speaks for itself.

Originality Rank: 1 out of 10 (tied for first with Providence)

Xavier is the only school with the Musketeers as their mascot…and here I thought there were going to be three schools with that name!

Oh, god…I…I really hate myself for that joke.

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 9 out of 10

If it wasn’t for Providence, Xavier would’ve easily taken the creepiest mascot award for D'Artagnan the Musketeer, who basically looks like an angry pimp that just finished a rail of cocaine off of his own sword. But wait, there’s more! Children were so scared of the Musketeer mascot that in 1985 Xavier introduced a second mascot, the Blue Blob, which basically looks like one of those homeless Sesame Street character knock-offs that try to make you pay money to take a picture with them in Times Square or Hollywood Boulevard. They really worked hard to cover creepy on 2 opposite ends of the spectrum.



3. DePaul Blue Demons


Badass-ness Rank: 2 out of 10

Demons are widely known for their work in the Paranormal Activity movies. Anything that can consistently make people scream in a movie theater gets major badass points. Always found it weird that a Catholic school would name their mascot after their religious institution’s primary rival. DePaul’s website claims that it originated from calling their teams the "D-men" (for DePaul), which is one of the lamest foundations for a name that I can think of. You don’t see Creighton calling themselves the "C-men".



Originality Rank: 4 out of 10

There are 2 schools in America named the Demons, but I kicked in another half of a school because Duke’s Blue Devils are essentially the same thing as a Blue Demon. A total of 2.5 schools puts DePaul in 4th place.

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 8 out of 10

Wait…what? I’m confused. I thought this was supposed to be some terrifying satanic hell-beast, not whatever the hell this is. It looks a lot like Grover from Sesame Street, but if he had facial hair in the style that’s usually worn by people who are required by law to introduce themselves to their neighbors. No thank you.

2. Seton Hall Pirates


Badass-ness Rank: 1 out of 10

OG's of the seven seas. Not much else to say. Hollywood has taught me that these bros pretty much exclusively just sailed around, stole other people’s treasures, fought whoever was in their way, and then ended the day with a casket of rum and some fine-ass wenches. A Pirate’s life for me, indeed.


Figure 9: Reference Material

Originality Rank: 5 out of 10

There ARRR 3 colleges that go by the Pirates, putting them in 5th place.

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 7 out of 10

Seton Hall kinda blew it in the mascot costume department, because they decided to make their pirate’s head match the blue and white head of the logo. All this really accomplishes, however, is making him look like Two-Face from Batman: The Animated Series. Not a good look.


Figure 10: One of these is notoriously horrible; the other is Two-Face.

1. St. John’s Red Storm (Thunderbird Mascot)


Badass-ness Rank: 3 out of 10

A storm can be a pretty badass thing, as anyone who has seen Twister or The Perfect Storm can tell you. In fact, I’m fairly certain that "The Red Storm" refers to "that time of the month" for Mother Nature when she sends her worst rains and winds. St. John’s also gets major points for having their mascot be a Thunderbird, which is basically a Native American Zapdos. You’re damn right that was a Pokemon reference. Deal with it.


Figure 11: Other famous thunderbirds

Originality Rank: 6 out of 10

There are 5 teams named the Storm and 2 named the Thunderbirds, averaging out to 3.5.

Mascot Creepiness Rank: 3 out of 10

St. John’s really came through great when they replaced that stupid horse mascot they had a few years ago. Johnny Thunderbird is pretty much the best way you can pull off a bird costume – he looks sharp and has an awesome Shazam-style thunderbolt on his chest, he looks like he’s smiling despite having a beak, and he doesn’t rely on some stupid gimmick like flapping your wings the entire game.


Figure 12: It’s like Superman and Bizarro

And there you have it. Wait…St. John’s is in FIRST? How the f**k did that happen? Did I black out on MHL’s again??? Where am I??? Why are my pants gone???

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