Monday, June 20, 2011


Pictured is "Purdue Pete." (The Buckeye Times/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell)
When it comes to mascots, the Big Ten has some of the most popular in all of collegiate sports.

Ohio State has Brutus Buckeye, Michigan State has Sparty, Wisconsin has Bucky Badger, Purdue has Pete and Penn State has the Nittany Lion. Each of the aforementioned mascots are as much or more recognizable with their respective schools, as the players and coaches who make up the teams. I mean, some Ohio State fans may not know who Rod Smith or Evan Spencer is yet ... but they all know Brutus.

After looking over the roster of Big Ten mascots, one school which certainly stands out amongst the group is the oldest and most historic of them all — Michigan.

Why do the Wolverines stand out, you ask? Because they don't have an actual mascot.

What? How can a school with such traditions as "Hail to the Victors" and "Go Blue" be sans mascot?

Perhaps it's because "wolverines" — the mascot the university uses in name only — are ugly and smelly, something the school doesn't really want reflecting their fine institution? (C'mon, they have Kid Rock on the sideline for most games already.) Maybe it's because X-Men beat them to it? Who knows?

Whatever the reason is for not having a mascot all these years, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said last week that it's definitely an issue with the younger crowd and noted that the school is considering adding one very soon.

"I'm struck by the fact that when opposing teams come to our stadium, and they bring a mascot, all of our young fans are lined up to see if they can get a picture taken with it, whether it's the Penn State Nittany Lion or Sparty. That's a little annoying to me," Brandon told Michigan Today, an online magazine for alumni. "You can't get a picture taken with a Block M. Mascots are really embraced by the youth demographic, and we want to take advantage of that, for all the reasons that are obvious.

"We're interested in doing a mascot," Brandon continued. "But it has to be something that fans love, that children love and everyone else can embrace."

Naturally, I have some suggestions for the new Michigan mascot using the criteria that Brandon has presented — a "Fab Five" if you will (pun intended? Maybe, maybe not!) ...

— An absolute great mascot for what Brandon desires: kids love him, he is already decked in school colors (at least maize anyway) and would be very photogenic.

He also — much like the Michigan defense — possesses a lot of nooks and crannies. And much like the Michigan offense, Bob doesn't make a lot of sense.

It's a perfect fit.

— The female pop star exemplifies everything that is Michigan.

She was born and raised in The Great Lakes State, studied in Ann Arbor, is extremely liberal, lives in a "Big House" and used to be a superstar but is now pretty much irrelevant.

We may have a frontrunner here, folks!

— Ok, so a guy decked in tattoos and sporting a needle may not be what Brandon is looking for to attract children at games, but today's adolescents and young adults will adore him.

And unlike Michigan's two previous coaches — Lloyd Carr and Rich Rodriguez — Eddie has been able to dismantle that team down south fairly efficiently. Isn't that really the goal for the program moving forward?

If it isn't, it very well should be.

— Easy, right? He hates Ohio, also lives in a "Big House" and can't win championships. He also has lots of tattoos ... again, Ohio State's kryptonite.

And last but not least ...

— As the great philosopher Bugs Bunny once said, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Also, stealing Brutus away from OSU would rid the Buckeyes of the goofiest, most embarrassing mascot in history.

Seriously Ohio State? ... A guy with a big, smiley buckeye head as your mascot?

You know, come to think of it, Michigan may have had it right all along.

Go without!