Great Debate: Ranking the Pac-12 Mascots

Nick and Jack debate their respective rankings and have some fun along the way

Rankings are subjective and sure to draw criticism. Rarely does a sportswriter get to take it and dish it out in a single sitting, but that’s what we do here.

We call it Serious Fun.

Listen in as we debate our respective rankings of the Pac-12 Mascots and have some fun along the way.

Nick’s Mascot Rankings

1. Sparky (ASU)
2. Ralphie (Colorado)
3. Swoop (Utah)
4. Benny Beaver (OSU)
5. Traveler (USC)
6. The Duck (Oregon)
7. Butch T. Cougar (WSU)
8. Harry the Husky (Washington)
9. Joe Bruin (UCLA)
10. Wilbur & Wilma (Arizona)
11. Oski the Bear (Cal)
12. The Tree (Stanford)

Jack’s Questions for Nick

Jack: Sparky usually seems to be polarizing to me. People either love him or hate him (though I’m down the middle). Why so much Sparky love here?

Nick: There’s something about Sparky that’s resonated with me ever since I was a little kid. I wanted to be “The Sun Devil” for one Halloween, even though I was born in Seattle.

ASU’s Sparky |

Going deeper, Sparky feels like the perfect mascot for Arizona State. He’s hot, fun, and cool. Fitting with the school’s spring break-esque culture.

I also probably got a little bias because my Cousin (Big Bro) went to ASU.

Jack: Does the fact that The Duck is basically Donald Duck make you like him more or less?

Oregon’s The Duck | Oregon Athletics

Nick: The fact that you asked this probably makes me like you a little less.

Jack: Who do you think would make a better horror movie villain—Oski or The Tree?

Nick: I feel like this is a solid question Jack, proud of you!

Oski is an absolutely terrifying creature who’d prove a terror in my nightmares.

Look at the picture below and look into his eyes, it’s not a pleasant experience.

Cal’s Oski the Bear | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

As for The Tree, if I saw this thing in my room at night, I’d think my college stoner friends had a little too much free time.

The tree feels more SpongeBob than horror.

Jack: Butch The Cougar looks like a squirrel—true or false?

Nick: Speaking of the tree, did you partake in some before this assignment?

I’m not particularly seeing the squirrel analogy but I can understand where you get some sort of rodent.

WSU’s Butch T. Cougar | WSU Athletics

Butch T. Cougar just has a little flavor to him, a small-town Coug with big Shtick energy.

The answer is “false.”

Jack’s Mascot Rankings

1. Ralphie (Colorado)
2. Dubs (Washington)
3. The Duck (Oregon)
4. Oski the Bear (Cal)
5. Traveler (USC)
6. Sparky (ASU)
7. Joe Bruin (UCLA)
8. Wilbur & Wilma (Arizona)
9. Benny Beaver (OSU)
10. Swoop (Utah)
11. Butch T. Cougar (WSU)
12. The Tree (Stanford)

Nick’s Questions for Jack

Nick: What were your criteria for making this list? For example, I docked teams for having multiple mascots.

Jack: Mine was simply how much I enjoy the mascot or not really anything too scientific.

I guess that goes off of what the mascot is and how I think it’s executed.

UCLA’s Joe Bruin | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

For example, I’m not going to get too excited about one of 100 bear mascots like the UCLA Bruins and animals I’m not that interested like the Utah birds, haha.

Nick: Why do you have the Huskies as No. 2 on your list? Do you feel the Husky is an overused mascot in college sports?

Jack: I love dogs. I love big dogs. I’m a big fan of Dubs. I’m not a big Harry guy so the ranking simply goes off that.

Washington’s Dubs | Dean Rutz/The Seattle Times

I wouldn’t put Husky as an overused mascot. I’m thinking Washington, Northern Illinois, and UConn.

I do think it was funny for decades when Washington was the Huskies but their mascot was a malamute, though.

I would put Wildcats as really the only mascot I think is just too common.

Nick: I was caught a little off guard to see Swoop so low on your list. I feel this is an authentic mascot, what’s your take?

Utah’s Swoops | University of Utah

Jack: I’m not a big bird mascot guy. Kind of scary haha that’s about it.

Nick: We both agree on Ralphie being legit, why do you have him at No. 1?

Jack: I love real-life mascots and Ralphie has always been my favorite.

Colorado’s Ralphie | David Zalubowski/AP

The buffalo is a badass animal for starters and the fact he (though I think Ralphie is always a girl because they’re supposedly less aggressive) runs across the field is a great moment in college football.

You may also be interested in A Game Day in the Life of USC’s Traveler

—More from Jack Follman—