It’s January 2. The football season is coming to a close. For college basketball, the opening salvos are being fired in conference play. With everyone getting into a college hoops mindset, it’s no wonder that you’ve come to Mid-Major Madness in order to get educated on what you might have missed while you were busy watching one of the two score bowl games that populate our winter schedule each year.
Thankfully, I’ve prepared something to get you primed for the best part of the college basketball season. While other sites might be giving you primers on the state of each league or a recap on the action thus far, I’ve prepared something totally unique for you here. It’s a look at basketball beyond what goes on during each game. It’s a piece that will truly require readers to possess a pensive mood before delving into it.
It’s a ranking of the furriest, the wooliest, the bushiest mascots in the Atlantic 10.
This is an article you didn’t know you needed until now. So relax, take it all in, and use this as proof someone is wrong when they try to say that Lil’ Red is cooler than Bona Wolf (never mind why a Nebraska fan would be arguing with a St. Bonaventure fan; utilize a high suspension of disbelief here, please).
14. Saint Joseph’s Hawk—LEAST HAIRY
It’s very rare that the Saint Joseph’s Hawk, the indefatigable symbol for one of the A-10’s most storied teams, finds itself in the lower half of mascot rankings. Rarer still is for the Hawk to be dead last. Unfortunately, that’s how things must be.
You see, the Hawk is a bird. Birds, unlike mammals, do not have hair. They instead have feathers. Since the Hawk is the only mascot in the A-10 that either does not have hair or is incapable of growing it, it can be nowhere but last.
Rudy, like a professional bodybuilder (I’m not buying that whole “pilot” thing; just look at those guns), is hairless. He might also have no eyes, but that’s another subject for another post (aside: would you read a “ranking the A10 mascots based on their eyes” post?).
Regardless, I’m seeing no hair on this dude’s body. Therefore, Rudy is near the bottom of these rankings. Come on dude — even Sam the Minuteman has sideburns!
12. The Billiken
This thing looks like a big ol’ baby. In fact, a Billiken is actually a small doll, and boy is it creepy. It definitely does not look like something meant to confer luck. However, I’ve researched for a bit, and I’m still not sure if it’s a human or what. Nevertheless, it has a small tuft of hair that must have been styled after taking fashion tips from Cameron Diaz. That tiny, upward-sloping mane allows it to at least rise above Rudy and the hairless Hawk.
11. Sam the Minuteman
In his own right, Sam is pretty cool and unique. However, he just is not fuzzy enough to garner a top spot in this post. The only thing that this mascot, who was clearly modeled after Gaston, has going for him is his decent sideburns and curly eyebrows. You’d think a guy who constantly has to be ready to fight the Redcoats wouldn’t have time to be so clean-shaven.
Alright, his hair isn’t spectacular, but he gets a pass! Unlike Sam, Duke is clearly royalty. One would not expect a man of such nobility to don his face with fur, would they? Absolutely not! However, the hair that Duke does have is tastefully placed under a classy top hat. The man has style, and he probably has some well-coiffed hair beneath that cap.
9. The Patriot
The old George Mason mascot probably would have won this competition. It basically looked like a rejected Avenue Q character. However, they recently decided to move to a human mascot, which does look cool.
No matter how cool he looks, The Patriot isn’t all that hairy. However, he’s certainly hairier than basically every other human mascot in the A10, and Sam the Minuteman should take note of the killer sideburns that he is rocking. Plus, he has some hair peeking out from under the brim of his tricorne, making me believe he has better things to do than go to a barber. That’s a commitment to both this country’s founding and good basketball that I respect.
Did the real George Washington have a wig that engulfed the entire backside of his head? Was he adorned with eyebrows that would cause Andy Rooney to blush?
He does now!
Those giant brows and massive fluff of white hair easily give George the advantage over the other colonial mascots in the A-10 (of which there is an abundance), as the competition is “hairiest” not “most aesthetically pleasing hair.” I’m sure the real George Washington never could have imagined he’d one day be ranked as less hairy than a ram.
7. Rodney the Ram
Okay, this begins a stretch of three closely ranked rams, so bear with me. VCU’s Rodney the Ram has a cool and distinct face, but that’s why I’m ranking it below the others. It almost looks like a Disney character rather than a ram. However, in terms of its hair, it’s basically a toss-up between it and Rhody. But, it’s just not quite as thick as Rhode Island’s mascot, so it must be seventh.
6. Rhody the Ram
Once more, a ram. The only thing separating Rhody from Rodney is how thick his coat looks and how realistic its face is. Since it looks more realistic, I’m more inclined to believe that it’s doing justice to an actual ram. If that’s the case, then it’s as furry as its animal kingdom counterparts. Point to Rhody.
5. Will E. Wildcat
Okay, if you can get past the teeth and that it looks more like the Cowardly Lion than a wildcat, you’ll see that this mascot is basically an enormous, full-body fleece blanket. The only downside to this mascot is that cat hair sheds like crazy, and it is a pain to get out of clothing and furniture. The lesson: never wear black pants around Will E. Wildcat, and carry a lint roller with you just in case.
4. The Explorer
Kenneth Branagh in Wild Wild West — err, I mean, The Explorer — easily has the best and most hair of any human mascot in the A-10. Honestly, I considered making him No. 1. That handlebar mustache is worthy of a spot on Orange County Choppers (is that show even on anymore?), his chin patch is thick, and those eyebrows look like big woolly caterpillars. This mascot is hairy, and it is awesome.
3. Fordham’s Ram
If realism is the standard, then Fordham rises above the other Rams for having a live mascot as well as one with a human inside it. That live mascot rules, and — like most bighorn sheep (I think that’s what it is) — looks pretty gruff at all times. There’s genuine hair on that mascot, folks. Major points to it.
People who are frequent readers of mine or follow my Twitter account know that I love spiders and entomology in general. Perhaps that makes me a bit biased toward Richmond. Who knows?
One thing I do know is that Richmond’s live mascot, Tarrant, is a Greenbottle Blue Tarantula. Many readers must be wondering why an arachnid (not an insect) is so high up on this list. Well, most tarantulas possess urticating hairs, which are tiny hairs akin to a porcupine’s needles. These hairs can be launched at enemies, causing an irritating sensation (this is one reason why you should be careful when handling fuzzy caterpillars or tarantulas. This is a truly fantastic feature that tarantulas are equipped with, and these urticating hairs place them above boring rams and humans any day.
1. Bona Wolf
Once again, if I wanted to do a “Ranking the best A-10 mascot eyes” post, there’d be a perfect candidate for the top spot right here.
However, the Bona Wolf already takes the cake as the hairiest A-10 mascot. This lupine mascot is incredibly furry, and its multicolored hair sprouts from its ears like a windblown old man. Nevertheless, it’s a really cool look, and the fur on the mascot actually looks comfortable — like a blanket — rather than irritating. That’s worth something I guess.
Just thank God that this isn’t St. Bonaventure’s mascot anymore: