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A weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John Green discusses 37 rather odd choices for a college mascot including a pickle, a banana slug, and a squirrel.

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Artist acknowledgements for this episode:

Hi, I'm John Green, welcome to my salon! This is mental floss on YouTube and THIS is Trip, the official mascot of Butler University. 
Trip is an example of a perfectly normal, yet fierce animal; the perfect college mascot, unlike the bizarre college mascots you're going to meet today.


01. (0:24) When Dartmouth had replaced their Indian mascot in 2003, the students showed great school spirit and heroically voted for no mascot. But then an unofficial mascot named Keggy the Keg emerged; a humor magazine on campus created a huge Keg mascot which started going to all of the football games. He was eventually banned from attending sporting events, but made his return in 2011.

02. (0:43) Ohio Wesleyan University is home to the Batting Bishops. They've had that mascot since 1925, and apparently the Bishop is the perfect representative of Ohio Wesleyan, because many church bishops have attended the United Methodist school.  Tou know, Protestant bishops, not real bishops.

03. (0:58) On a related note, Wake Forest's sports teams are cheered on by the Demon Deacon.  The origin of this name is still unclear, though some think that it has something to do with Wake Forest originally being a Baptist college.  They started out as the Deacons, but that wasn't intimidating enough, so the school got its "Demon" after a historic football victory over Duke in 1923.  A physical mascot emerged in 1941.  He sometimes rides to games on a motorcycle.

04. (1:22) Monty, the grizzly bear mascot of the University of Montana who wears a colorful bandana, also drives a motorcycle into home games.  I do not think that mascot heads, by the way, count as helmets, but you know, it's Montana.  It's not about safety in Montana, it's about living free or dying!  And sometimes living free and dying.

05. (1:27) Speaking of safety first, the mascot of the Georgia Institute of Technology is a Ford Model-A named Ramblin' Wreck.  In 1914, students started using the name Ramblin' Wreck for the Ford of one of their deans.  In the 1950s, the presence of the car as a mascot became official.  Now, different Fords have been used over the years at many games and it leads the football team out at home games.  It gets along well with the other official mascot of the team, the Yellow jacket.  Really what you want with a mascot (or a mascot combo in the case of Georgia Tech) is to be incredibly terrifying.  And I find nothing scarier than being in an ancient car full of bees.

06. (2:12) Fighting Artichoke is the mascot of Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Arizona.  This one emerged from a tiff between the school and the students in the 1970s.  Students wanted more of a focus on academics, and were disappointed with the administration's choice to build a $1.7 million gym.  Trying to reach peace, the administration allowed the students to choose the mascot, and "the Artichokes" won.  We had a similar vote at my high school in 1993, and a young student named Kevin Tavakoli led the charge to name our school the Fighting Tavakolii.  And they won.

Anyway, although the artichoke name stuck, the color choices of pink and green did not.  The artichoke these days is known as "Artie."

07. (2:50) Similarly, the North Carolina School of the Arts has the Fighting Pickles as their official mascot, despite the school not actually having an athletic program.  This one also came from a student poll on what to name the masco--freakin' democracy is always ruining everything!  This stuff never happens in China.  It's always like, "The Beijing Southern College Workers Striving Together for Further Cooperation."  I feel a little bad, but nobody can watch this in China thanks to the great firewall.

08. (3:13) If nothing is more intimidating to you than a giant cob of corn named Kernel, you should consider attending Concordia College, where the mascot is the Cobbers, which is, of course, missing a tremendous opportunity, because if you love corn, you should be called the Corn Doggers!  The name comes from when one of their rival schools in the 1800s, Hope Academy, used to call those attending Concordia College "corn cobs," poking fun at the rural school.  The school's best-selling t-shirt, by the way, contains the phrase, "Fear the ear."  Speaking of which, though, I sure fear those ears.  I mean, they can hear everything.

09. (03:43) Okra is the unofficial mascot of Delta State in Mississippi, but it's way more popular than the actual mascot, the Statesman.  I mean, the Fighting Okra has appeared on the Food Network, and the Late Show with David Letterman, whereas, the Statesman is only in, like, Congress.  All he can do is tie up his opponents in committee meetings.

10. (4:00) OK, last vegetable mascot, I promise.  Students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette cheer on their Ragin' Cajuns with Cayenne, a giant hot pepper who attends the games.  The school's website explains: A Ragin' Cajun is not a person or an animal, but a feeling that describes a unique way of life.  So, if it's a feeling, allow me to use it in a sentence: "When I think of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, a Ragin' Cajun wells up inside of me."

11. (4:26) I said last vegetable, but I made no promises about plant life.  Stanford Cardinals marching band has a mascot: the Stanford Tree.  And although the school itself has no official mascot, the tree attends all athletic events with the band.  And considering the school's official logo and seal contains a giant tree, it was really only a matter of time before the tree became their mascot.  I say embrace it!

12. (4:47) Since we hear about the Ohio State Buckeyes so much, it's easy to forget that these athletic teams are named after a nut.  The state tree of Ohio is the buckeye--because what is a state without a state tree?--and that's how the school chose its mascot.  The guy you see at the games?  His name is Bruce Buckeye.  By the way, we have no buckeye on the wall of magic, but we do have a buck--that's a male unicorn--and Ron Swanson's eye.

13. (5:08) Syracuse University sports teams are called the Syracuse Orange.  The mascot, who attends the games is--you guessed it--a giant orange.  It goes by the name Otto.  I say "it" because Otto is gender neutral and wears a blue baseball cap with the word "Syracuse" on it.  By the way, I am juggling.  Just--just with the one orange.  Gyahh!  I'm not even that good at one-orange juggling!

14. (5:28) The Wichita State University Shockers are named after a bunch of wheat.  This made sense in 1904 when the mascot was invented.  Many of the football players used to work in the wheat fields harvesting, which can also be called "shocking."  Their mascot goes by the name WuShock, as in "Wichita University Shock."  By the way, Mark tells me that I have to let go of the orange.  It's a sad day.

15. (5:48) Trinity Christian College in Illinois is actually not sure how the Troll became its mascot.  It may be from the "Tr" in Trinity and the "oll" in College, or maybe the former president of the college's wife was looking to make a mascot with alliteration, hence the Trinity Trolls.  Regardless, the Trinity Trolls are truly the team of YouTube commenters everywhere.

16. (6:07) The Horned Frog is the mascot of Texas Christian University.  A horned frog is a nickname for the Texas Horned Lizard, which is local to the Waco area and was named the state reptile of Texas in 1992, because what is a state without a state reptile?  The mascot that shows up at the game is called Superfrog, which is also what we call the smallest item on our wall of magic.

17. (6:26) Big Red the Hilltopper is the mascot of Western Kentucky University, which perhaps you already know from its appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres show or Deal or No Deal.  Often described as a big, red blob, Big Red was first invented by a student in 1979.  The school itself sits on top of a hill, hence the nickname "hilltopper."

18. (6:44) University of Akron athletic teams were named the Zippers in 1927.  The name came from a particular rubber overshoe, which was manufactured in the area.  In 1953, it was decided that the school needed a mascot, and Zippy the Kangaroo was born out of a student council decision.  Why are these things always put to a vote?!

19. (7:03) Webster University invented its own animal for a mascot.  It's named the Gorlok, after an intersection near the school's original location in Missouri.  The streets Gore and Lockwood Avenues were combined to make Gorlok.  The 'c' in "Lock" was dropped, you know, to give it a Dungeons and Dragons vibe.  A gorlok has the paws of a cheetah, the horns of a buffalo, and the face of a St. Bernard.  Both the name and the visual were created--you guessed it--by students in 1984.

20. (7:30) A eutectic is when solids combine, forming a liquid.  It is also the mascot of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy.  Originally, the mascot was a dinosaur named Rex.  Get it, R-X?  But now, his name is Mortimer "Monty" McPestle.  He's giant, orange, and wears a lab coat.

21. (7:46) The sports teams at Presbyterian College in South Carolina are called the Blue Hose, which came from sports writers who kept referring to the teams by their blue stockings.  The mascot itself is called Scotty the Scotsman, who emerged because Scottish warriors used to wear blue.  He's giant, naturally, and wields a large sword.

22. (8:03) At Grays Harbor College in Washington, the teams are called the Chokers.  I'm gonna quote directly from the school's website on this one.  A choker is quote, "The hook affixed to the heavy steel cable that the choker setter loops around the log and attaches back onto the cable."  Essentially, it is the thing that the logger person uses to move the log.  Charlie the Choker is the mascot, an impressive bodybuilder-type guy with a button nose and a choker in hand.  There's an 8-foot-tall wood-carved statue of him on campus.

Gah, Mark, there are too many good college mascots.  Let's do a few really quickly.

23. (8:35) The Mary Baldwin College Fighting Squirrels.

24. (8:37) The UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs.

25. (8:40) The Whittier College Poets.

26. (08:41) The Youngstown State Penguins.

27. (08:44) The University of Oregon Ducks.

28. (8:46) The University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners.

29. (8:50) The West Virginia University Mountaineers.

30. (8:53) Campbell University Camels.

31. (8:54) The Wabash College Little Giants.

32. (8:56) The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

33. (8:58) The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos.  (Their mascot is named Olé.)

34. (9:02) The St. Louis University Billikens.  Don't ask me what that is, because I have no idea.

35. (9:06) The University of Arkansas at Monticello Boll Weevils.

36. (9:09) The University of Texas at El Paso Miners.  Their mascot is a prospector named Paydirt Pete.

37. (9:15) And finally, I return to the portrait gallery to tell you about the Evergreen State College Geoduck.  A geoduck is a clam that can be found on the west coast of the United States.  The official college website claims, and I am quoting, here, "The appearance of geoduck's large, protruding siphon has led to the belief that the geoduck has the properties of an aphrodisiac."  That's one way to get people excited about your college.

Thanks for watching mental_floss here on YouTube, which is made with the help of all of these nice people.  Every week, we answer one of your mind-blowing questions.  This week's question comes from abanananana, who asks, "Is zero odd or even?"  I dunno, Trip, what do you think?  Trip says that it's definitely even.  There's a bunch of reasons for this, but one of them is that it's divisible by two.  Anyway, yes, even.  Trip is the expert, here.

If you have a mind-blowing question you'd like answered, leave it in comments.  Thanks again to Trip and everyone at Butler University.  As we say in my hometown, don't forget to be awesome.