Mascots are one of the most ridiculous aspects of sports. Kids love them, and you know the guy in the suit did it mainly the get close to the cheerleaders. Sure, it's all fun and games -- until his fuzzy face right in yours trying to get you to stand up and dance in the aisle, and you keep saying no, but this freak won't leave you alone, then your girlfriend starts pushing you to stand up, and then you're getting extra embarrassed, and before you know it you're in a fistfight with Sebastian the Ibis.
And some mascots blow a lot more than others. Some have the most ridiculous names and background stories; others are born out of errors or some totally out of touch convoluted college tradition.
Here are ten of the worst mascots from this year's March Madness NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament -- and our suggestions for new and improved characters.
10. Valparaiso Crusaders
Why Crusaders suck: Geez, angry much? Valpo has to get credit for one thing: In 1942, the school changed its mascot to a Crusader from an Uhlan, a Polish light cavalry unit, because of its proximity to Nazis. Valpo has a serious thing for aggressive imagery. What, the Valpo Head Stomping Doughboys were too American for the Indiana university?
Suggested new mascot: The Sporks
Instead, Valpo should tone down the testosterone and focus on their history as one of the first coed universities in the country. They can adopt a male- and female-friendly mascot like the ultra-utilitarian spork, famous for its ability to handle all things pointy or round.
9. New Mexico State Aggies
Why the Cowboy sucks: For most people, the word Aggie has no meaning besides some sort of vague association with cowboys. Unfortunately, Aggie refers to a college's status as an Agricultural and Technical University, which at some point in the past may have had something to do with Cowboys. But now "Agricultural" has more to do with big businesses like Monsanto.
Suggested new mascot: The Minutemen
To move New Mexico State into modern day imagery, their mascots should reflect some real modern day cowboys, like the gun touting maniacs of the private border-protecting organization Minutemen. You know, the guys who keep us safe from all those "dangerous" incoming illegal immigrants who'll keep streaming into the U.S. until we can finally build that giant border wall.
8. St. Louis Billikens
Why Billikens suck: The what now? A Billiken was a charm doll from 1909, one that happened to look like one of St. Louis' former football coaches. So they took the name. It would be like Duke calling their team the Mickey Mouses because coach Mike Krzyzewski looks like a friggin' rat.
Suggested new mascot: Literally anything else
Almost any mascot could be better than the Billiken. Make it simple and open the dictionary to a random page, slam a finger down on a random word, and that's the new team mascot. Done.
7. Duke Blue Devils
Why the Blue Devils suck: Of course the Duke Blue Devils have to be some sort of obscure reference to a French mountain infantry, the Casseurs Alpins, whose nickname was the Blue Devils. Those damn brainy nerds and their highfalutin' mascot.
Suggested new mascot: The BMW Daddy Bought Me
Let's be honest: Dukies go to Duke to be doctors or lawyers, paid for by their doctor and lawyer parents. Even though a tobacco reference would be more historically appropriate, we know these upper class Bible Belters would be more than happy having their new mascot be a brand new and shiny BMW.
6. Cincinnati Bearcats
Why Bearcats suck: Independently, Bearcats do not suck. A Bearcat is actually pretty cool. But how did this fatty Southeast Asian tree cat become the mascot for a team in Ohio? A really stupid college chant that had to do with a guy named Baehr and the Kentucky Wildcats, that's how.
Suggested new mascot: The Pygmy Shrews
While we're all for cool animal mascots, it's best to get one that isn't from halfway across the world. After looking through a list of native Ohio mammal species, the choice was obvious. Now get out there and kick some ass, Cincinnati Pygmy Shrews.
5. Oklahoma Sooners
Why Sooners suck: Does anyone really want to name themselves after a group of people who skirted rules to rush out early for the land grabs of the late 1800s? What sort of example does it set to students to prop up cheaters?
Suggested new mascot: White Devils
Remember, those Sooners stole that land from Native Americans after President Grover Cleveland passed the Indian Appropriation Act of 1889, so let's keep it real.
4. La Salle Explorers
Why Explorers suck: There are two issues with La Salle's current mascot. First, they received the nickname due to a Philadelphia sportswriter mistaking the school being named after Sieur de La Salle, a French explorer, and not St. Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, educator of poor children. Secondly, the only exploring most people do in college is of the sexual variety, and while that's pretty awesome, it's probably one hell of a distraction on the court.
Suggested new mascot: the Blind Eyes
These days, sexual misconduct isn't the right image for a private Catholic college. Turn away, you pious youths!
3. Ohio State University
Why Buckeyes suck: It's mandatory for anyone living in Miami to hate Ohio State University, particularly because they were on the receiving end of the National Championship that was robbed from the Hurricanes in 2002. But we don't think we're being biased when we say that the Buckeye is still quite possibly the least fearsome mascot for any college sports team. Why not the Ohio State Daffodils or the Ohio State Down Comforters?
Suggested new mascot: The Rounded Corners
In honor of their soft mascot, we'll grant them a new one that poses even less of a threat than before.
2. Syracuse Orange
Why Otto the Orange sucks: New Yorkers have such an unadulterated hard-on for South Florida, even though they all claim the "Big Apple" is the best city on Earth, that they had to go so far as stealing our fruit as their mascot. The school team name has nothing to do with fruit, yet for some reason their mascot is a stupid fruit.
Suggested new mascot: Artie the Apple
How about this, New Yorkers: You keep your apples, and we'll keep our oranges.
1. Georgetown Hoyas
Why Hoyas suck: Duke came close, but Georgetown wins the award for the most snobby sports team name in existence. A Georgetown Hoya, which has absolutely nothing to do with a bulldog, was named for the college chant "Hoya Saxa," a Greek and Latin phrase for "what rocks" that was used in the 1930s to mock other colleges' chants.
Suggested new mascot: the Better Than Yous
Why you gotta hide behind ancient languages, bro? If you're going to be that uppity, you might as well own it.
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