Fur flies in competition for "Capital One National Mascot of the Year"
By Jeremy M. Simon | Published: October 24, 2006
PRESS RELEASE -- Twelve of the hardest working characters in college sports have been named to the fifth annual Capital One All-America Mascot Team. Over eleven weeks, the wild and woolly all-stars will face off online until six mascots with the best win/loss records remain. Those six, as determined by fan voting, will then compete in on-line playoffs beginning in November, with the winner named "Capital One National Mascot of the Year."
So who are these magnificent mascots? The list is made up of such favorites as Aubie from Auburn University, Wildcat from the University of Kentucky, Big Red from Western Kentucky University, Butch T. Cougar from Washington State University, Buzz from Georgia Tech, The Bird from the Air Force Academy, Sooner from the University of Oklahoma, Smokey from the University of Tennessee, Bucky Badger from the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Wuf from North Carolina State University, Otto from Syracuse University and Testudo from the University of Maryland.
On Sept. 12, fans had the opportunity to cast votes online for their choice of top cat (or bird, dog or other creature) at www.capitalonebowl.com, with the winner set to be announced Jan. 1 during the Capital One Bowl.
The furry challengers were selected from Division I-A and I-AA athletic programs with college football teams, and made the final 12 after being ranked on mascot "musts" including pedigree, fan interaction, and originality. Among the judges were representatives from ESPN and Capital One, as well as mascot expert and historian Dr. Roy Yarbrough.
The Mascot Challenge began in 2002. Each mascot selected for the squad receives $5,000 for its school's mascot program, with the Capital One National Mascot of the Year garnering an additional $5,000 scholarship for it's school's program. This year's mascots will take part in "Fur Factor," a series of gravity defying (and fictitious) challenges.
Capital One explained that the contest was created "to celebrate the unsung heroes of college football," adding, "These die hard, dedicated characters have been cheering on their teams relentlessly through thick and thin, and now is their opportunity to shine."
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