Here’s what you need to know about the top eight contenders for the four spots in the College Football Playoff:
Mississippi State University
Mascot: Now called the Bulldogs. MSU players were formerly known as the Maroons.
Fun Fact: MSU denies that the famous Bugs Bunny phrase, “What a Maroon,” referred to Coach Jackie Sherrill who had his team witness the castration of a bull as a motivational technique.
Florida State University
Mascot: Called the Seminoles. Before each home game a white guy, dressed as a Seminole, thrusts a burning spear into the turf. The Seminole nation has officially sanctioned the University’s use of the name.
Fun Fact: This year, FSU quarterback, Jameis Winston, hosted a crableg banquet for his teammates. For entertainment, Winston recited his original poetry while standing on a table.
University of Oregon
Mascot: Originally known as the Webfoots. The team officially changed the mascot name to the Ducks in the mid-60’s.
Fun Fact: The Duck was first named Puddles but in recent years he’s called Duckie.
University of Alabama
Mascot: Originally called the Crimson White or Thin Red Line. Alabama became the Crimson Tide in 1906 after playing in the Iron Bowl against Auburn in a sea of red mud. The team also has an elephant for a mascot but he hasn’t been seen since the circus passed through town.
Fun Fact: Coach Bear Bryant was accused by The Saturday Evening Post of fixing a 1962 game with Georgia coach Wallie Butts. Insert your own Butts’ joke here.
Texas Christian University
Mascot: Now known as the Horned Frogs, the team was once called “The Lavender Hill Mob” by the press because of the color of their uniforms.
Not So Fun Fact: TCU Coach Jim Pittman collapsed and died on the sidelines of the 1971 game against the Baylor Bears.
Mascot: Known as the Bears. Baylor’s mascot is a live bear called Bruiser.
Fun Fact: In reality, Bruiser is portrayed by two female bears, Joy and Lady. In 2010, the US Department of Agriculture notified Baylor that for the safety of the animals and the fans, the bears could not be paraded on the field. Neither Joy nor Lady could be reached for comment.
Arizona State University
Mascot: ASU was originally founded in 1895 as the Arizona Territorial Normal School and were called the Bulldogs for many years. Now they are known as the Sun Devils.
Fun Fact: ASU Fans jingle their car keys before each kick off. Nobody cares when or how this tradition started.
Ohio State University
Mascot: OSU teams are known as the Buckeyes. The Buckeye is a brushy Ohio tree with a nut toxic to cattle and humans.
Fun Fact: Famous Buckeye coach, Woody Hayes, was fired after punching Clemson guard, Charlie Bauman, when Bauman intercepted an OSU pass and killed the Buckeye’s last chance to win the game.
Raised in the Central Oregon mill town of Prineville beneath deep blue skies and rim rock, I attended the University of Oregon and during my collegiate summers, I worked in a lumber mill and also fought range fires on the Oregon High Desert for the Bureau of Land Management. After graduating from college at the University of Oregon, I swung from being budding hippy to cop work. I’m still wondering about how that came about. I was a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, I obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. I live in Portland, Oregon with my wife, my daughter and a spunky bichon frise named Pumpkin. I’ve had short stories publishing in two Main Street Press anthologies. Harkness is my first novel.
For Greybeards … the EYES Have it!
Want to know a secret about web behavior? Readers don’t like long stretches of sentences in comment posts without any breaks, and most readers don’t even like long paragraphs.
Break it up! After every third sentence in your post…hit “enter” on your keyboard twice if your computer is a PC, or “return” twice if you have a Mac.
This creates natural breaks between scads of sentences, and so many of us thank you for making it easier on our “Greybeard-age” eyes!