The Demon Deacon of Wake Forest, Puddles the Duck of Oregon, Uga the Bulldog of Georgia and Otto the Orange of Syracuse are all mascots of major U.S. universities. Mascots represent the spirit and character of their schools at sporting events, parades, meet-and-greets and other events.
Mascots grow out of a school's nickname and tend to be animals. For example, a tiger represents Louisiana State and Texas Southern universities; a wildcat leads cheers at Arizona, Davidson, Kentucky and Villanova; a husky represents both Connecticut and Northeastern. Meanwhile, an anteater serves as a mascot to students at University of California-Irvine. The top mascot in the land, according to Sports Illustrated magazine: Chief Osceola of the Florida State University Seminoles.
Mascots are a relatively new phenomenon at colleges, but the practice dates back at least to the Civil War. At the time, many units kept live animals with them as they planned and fought their battles. One of the more well-known Civil War mascots was Old Abe the Bald Eagle, part of a regimental force from Wisconsin. Legend has it that Old Abe let out a war cry while circling around the enlisted men.
Some other notable mascots include the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Indiana Hoosiers, Boise State Broncos and West Virginia Mountaineers.