Good news: everyone made the top 10 (even Oklahoma State)! Here is a list ranking the Big 12 mascots based on my arbitrary opinion and a brief explanation for the ranking. Here we go…
10. Sooners: I would sooner be just about anything other than a Sooner. Worst mascot in the Big 12, in college sports, and world history.
9. Wildcats: Boooooo! In and of itself, a wildcat is not a horrible mascot. But along with “bulldogs”, wildcats might be the most common mascot in sports. If it had been something more original, like the Swampcats, then Kansas State would be ranked a lot higher.
8. Cowboys: Oklahoma State used to be the Oklahoma A&M Aggies, so they have at least improved since then. Just like the Wildcats above, Cowboys alone could be a decent mascot. However, they are deducted a lot of points due to the fact that they copied their mascot and pretty much everything else from Texas Tech and a combination of other schools.
7. Bears: Again, yawn. Baylor is the oldest continuously operating university in the state of Texas. They had the opportunity to choose literally anything as their mascot…and they chose to be the Bears. Not horrible, but considering the options they had available (Possums, Gunslingers, Moonshiners, etc.), being the Bears is unimpressive.
6. Jayhawks: Kansas’ school colors are very nice, and “Jayhawks” has a nice ring to it. The only problem is that there isn’t actually a bird called a “Jayhawk”, it’s just a term for someone from Kansas. It also sounds a lot like jaywalk, and jaywalking is a crime.
5: Mountaineers: Overall I really like the Mountaineer as a mascot. The coonskin cap reminds me a lot of Davey Crockett. However, it’s a bit of a misfit in a conference dominated by schools from the plains rather than the mountains. That’s what West Virginia gets for being in a conference in which their nearest opponent is 900 miles away.
4. Cyclones: Iowa State’s mascot is solid, though apparently slightly confused. A Cyclone is a large, swirling air mass, not a red bird. And while I sympathize with the fact that it would look stupid for a team to have a literal Cyclone mascot dancing on the sidelines (the Miami Hurricanes also have a bird mascot), they lose a few points due to the lack of consistency.
3. Longhorns: I hate to have Texas ranked this high, but I must admit I appreciate the originality of the mascot (take notes, Kansas State and Oklahoma State) and its cultural fit with the flagship university in the lone star state. The Longhorn is a majestic creature, no matter my dislike towards the university it represents.
2. Horned Frogs: Similar to everything said about Texas above, TCU has a unique mascot that is the state reptile of Texas. I respect the heck out of such a solid mascot, though I would note I could kill one with the bottom of my boot, making it arguably the physically weakest mascot of the Big 12. Still, major props to the Horned Frogs.
1. Red Raiders: This requires little explanation. Whether you imagine a Red Raider to be a Zoro-esque horse rider or a cowboy with a red mustache and a six shooter on each hip, Texas Tech easily has the best mascot in the Big 12, if not all of college athletics. It’s unique, it’s intimidating, and it perfectly fits with the culture and history of the university and the West Texas region. Guns up!
1a. Matadors: Texas Technological College had just as awesome of a mascot way back in the day as the school’s modern day mascot. The Matadors perfectly embodied the school’s Spanish influence with regards to architecture and heritage, and a bull fighter is just plain cool to begin with.