- Associated Press - Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fuzzy or fierce? Sweet or scary? Goofy or graceful?

How do you like your mascot?

As much a part of college football as tailgating and touchdowns, mascots can rev up the home crowd, intimidate an opponent or just provide a few laughs.

With help from the AP’s college football poll voters, we’ve picked the 12 coolest mascots _ a dandy dozen if you will _ in the country.

1) Ralphie the Buffalo, Colorado. Her (yes, Ralphie is a female) size (1,300) and speed (25 mph) combination would have Ralphie soaring up Mel Kiper’s draft board. Unfortunately for CU fans, many home games in recent seasons have peaked with her entrance.

From the panel: “Nothing says, ‘Look out!’ like a Buffalo on the run, dragging four or five guys with him.” _ Mike DeArmond, The Kansas City Star.

2) Uga, Georgia. Normally, dogs in sweaters are hard to take seriously. This English Bulldog, however, could make a tutu look tough. And by the way, don’t even think about trying to put a tutu on Uga.

From the panel: “Society still mistreats unattractive humans, so it’s nice to see this ugly bulldog with the charming personality get showered with so much love between the hedges.” _ Tom Keegan, Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World.

3) Chief Osceola, Florida State. Many native-American mascots have been fazed out of college sports in a recent years, but with the blessing of the Seminole Tribe the Chief, his Appaloosa horse, Renegade, and his burning spear have endured.

From the panel: “When he puts the flaming spear into the 50-yard line, wow, that can give you some goose bumps.” _ Gillen Garland, WWL-TV in New Orleans.

4) Mike the Tiger, LSU. During warm-ups at Tiger Stadium, Mike’s cage is stationed near the visiting team’s tunnel so opponents have to walk by him to step on to the field. Welcome to Death Valley. Please don’t feed the cat.

From the panel: “Does he smile more than the last two LSU coaches (Nick Saban, Les Miles) combined?” _ Jack Bogaczyk, Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail.

5) War Eagle, Auburn. OK, the mascot is actually Aubie, a student in a fuzzy tiger suit. War Eagle is the battle cry. But there is a War Eagle, a golden eagle that swoops down onto the field before games and puts the kid in the costume to shame.

From the panel: “I’ve seen many things in college football and, in my opinion, few things (if any) produce more chills than Tiger flying around the field before a big night game at Jordan-Hare Stadium.” _ Wes Rucker, Chattanooga Times Free Press.

6) Stanford Tree. You have to respect a mascot this ridiculous _ and irreverent. The costume usually looks as if it came straight from a middle school play, but the Tree has had some very adult issues in recent years. It was once busted for being drunk on the job. The replacement tree later that year was banned from the NCAA basketball tournament for scuffling with security guards.

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