Adorable College Mascots Vs. Real-World Inspirations

Photos: Getty Images, Wikipedia

Midway through the Ohio State/Wisconsin Badgers game this past weekend, we got to wondering: What the heck does a badger actually look like? Maybe we saw a photograph in elementary school, but the memory’s faded and we’re pretty sure it doesn’t look like chipper Bucky Badger, seen above next to his real-life counterpart. (Although classic fierce Bucky Badger comes closer.)

Which got us thinking: Do any anthropomorphic NCAA mascots resemble the s*** they’re supposed to be? Here’s a completely unscientific examination–a virtual safari, let’s call it–comparing silly costumes with Mother Nature’s renderings.

1. Chip, Colorado’s American buffalo

cubuffaloPhotos: Getty Images, Wikipedia

What’s with the yellow face, Chip?

2. Goldy, Minnesota’s golden gopher

Photos: Getty Images, Wikipedia

Minny took some liberties with the ears…and habitat.

3. Bruiser, Baylor’s bear

baylorPhotos: Getty Images

More ferocious than Baylor’s real bears, Joy and Lady, one of which is enjoying a fresh coconut.

4. Truman, Missouri’s tiger

mizzouPhotos: Getty Images, Wikipedia

A bit too orange and way too chill. The real tiger is clearly about to murder something.

5. The Billiken, Saint Louis’s Billiken!

BillikenPhotos: SLU

Not even the university is sure how it became associated with this mythical good luck charm. But there you see it, clearly lacking a rotund belly. And exposed nipples.

6. Big Al, Alabama’s elephant

bamaPhotos: Getty Images, Wikipedia

We’re guessing (hoping) the tusks were removed for safety, not by ivory poachers on campus.

7. Cayenne, ULL Ragin Cajun’s red pepper

PepperPhotos: BR/chilipeppermadness

Not bad!

8. Albert, Florida’s alligator

UFgatorPhotos: Getty Images

Missing those spiky things and a bit too green.

9. Sparty, Michigan State’s Spartan warrior

MSUPhotos: Getty Images

Nailed it, although Sparty (like the Billiken) could use a little more nipple.

10. Sebastian, Miami’s American white ibis

sebastianPhotos: Getty Images, Wikipedia

It’s hard to design a hurricane costume, so Miami uses the bird that’s supposedly the last to leave before hurricanes and the first to return afterwards. Looks more like a duck.

11. The Stanford Tree, the University’s dancing conifer

stanfordtreePhotos: Getty Images, Wikipedia

Fairly accurate, if you can get past the deranged, “Little Shop of Horrors” face.

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