With football season right around the corner, it’s time to dust off the jerseys and foam fingers and cheer for your top team.

Though to help out with the cheer you have the beloved mascots of each team. These range from a Knight to a Terrapin. Some of these mascots are cute and others are downright creepy.

The history of sports mascots started in the 1800s and nowadays it seems like there is a mascot for everything. Well, the first-ever team mascot wasn’t exactly like the large and in-charge costumed characters that we know today. It was actually just a little boy named Chic who would bring bats to players. The team called him their good luck charm.

Meanwhile one of the most well-known team mascots that spearheaded the idea of a “character” was MLB’s very own Mr. Met. You also had other characters such as Brutus Buckeye and The San Diego Chicken. We now take pride in our mascots as they have become a large part of the community with some even reaching celebrity status.

Now onto the Big Ten, we are taking a look into each team’s mascot. We’ll be ranking which ones are the least horrifying and which ones are the most creative in design.

Which Big Ten mascot is your favorite!? Let us know.

  • 14. Indiana

    Starting off fairly easy in last place is the Indiana Hoosiers, simply because they currently do not have a mascot. The thing is the team used to have a line of mascots from a actually bulldog named OX in the late 50s till the mid-60s then it was a Bison. Eventually, it was a costumed mascot.

    Well, the reception was so bad for what was the ‘Hoosier Pride” that they got rid of the mascot and haven’t touched the idea since. A quick search does show what this mascot looked like and it wasn’t actually that bad. He didn’t look at all friendly, but at least he wasn’t actual nightmare fuel.

  • 13. Michigan

    Next to the plate is Michigan Wolverines who also tried their hand at an animal mascot, but instead of something normal like a dog… They went with a stuffed Wolverine then two live Wolverines.

    For obvious reasons, they quickly stopped using the live Wolverines and now they have nothing. The students have tried to get an official costume approved, however, it has never been given the green light.

  • 12. Illinois

    Last in our lineup of no-shows is the Illinois Fighting Illini however to be fair to them they did have a mascot at one point in time. However, it was deemed offensive back in 2007 and was promptly retired.

    Most recently in 2020, the student body did vote for a new mascot. While the results were shared by the university administrative staff. It did not result in any new mascot. These are the only three teams in the Big Ten to not have a mascot.

  • 11. Ohio State

    Oh lord, it’s come to this… We have our first actual active mascot and it is the stuff of nightmares. The Ohio State Buckeyes mascot Brutus Buckeye as previously mentioned was one of the original mascots and has been with the team since the mid-’60s.

    So they turned the official state tree into a mascot and it couldn’t be more creepy. Everything from the cold eyes to the mouth just gives me the heebie-jeebies. I mean he looks like a bad Scooby Doo villain. Don’t get me wrong I like the concept, it’s unique. I hate the execution.

    Big Ten Championship - Ohio State v Wisconsin

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 02: Brutus Buckeye, the mascot for the Ohio State Buckeyes, performs in the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

  • 10. Purdue

    Next is somehow better than Ohio, but just as weird. It’s The Purdue Boilermakers and Purdue Pete. Of all the “Human” mascots he’s the worst in my opinion. The face looks like a plastic doll with a horror filter over it. It’s strange cause I like how simple the costume is as it’s really just the head, and yet I dislike it. Maybe it’s the fact that his eyes are wide open.

    Purdue v Rutgers

    PISCATAWAY, NJ – OCTOBER 21: Purdue Pete, mascot of Purdue Boilermakers during a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on October 21, 2017 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

  • 9. Iowa

    It doesn’t get much better for the Iowa Hawkeyes, but I’ll take mad over creepy any day. Their mascot Herky The Hawk wakes up mad, goes to work mad, and is probably even mad about being mad.

    Though the history of Herky is certainly interesting compared to the others as he started as just a drawing and his name was left to a state-wide contest. He even was a mascot for the 124th Fighter Squadron. The character was almost pulled, but a transfer student saved the character and started the tradition.

    Since then the costume has gone through a few different transformations. But I don’t hate it, I just wished he wasn’t angry all the time.

    Iowa v Northwestern

    EVANSTON, IL – OCTOBER 17: Herky the Hawk of the Iowa Hawkeyes stands on the sidelines during the game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Iowa Hawkeyes at Ryan Field on October 17, 2015 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

  • 8. Wisconsin

    Bucky Badger for Wisconsin takes the cake as one of the most interesting costumes on the list when I first saw the character. I thought what the heck is that? Then I found out it was a badger and it still didn’t click. Though it’s certainly cuter than the previous entries.

    The character we know today was drawn in the ’40s and has been an icon since. Funny enough the name Badgers wasn’t in total reference to the animal, but to the lead miners that hunkered down in tunnels and burrows. Maybe Purdue should take some notes/ I will say though it’s impressive that anyone could actually see out of this costume. So bonus points to Bucky!

    The 99th Rose Bowl Game - Wisconsin v Stanford

    PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 01: Bucky Badger the mascot for the Wisconsin Badgers poses on the field before the Badgers take on the Stanford Cardinal in the 99th Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio on January 1, 2013 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)


  • 7. Nebraska

    Now this is how you do a human almost right. Nebraska Cornhuskers has a smiling mascot Herbie Husker. Though compared to others on this list he isn’t that old. With their first appearance in the mid-’70s.

    Now if it weren’t for the fact that I like the remaining entries more. Herbie is a 10/10 as far as team mascots go. I really don’t have an issue, except that the smile is a bit too wide. But that’s just nitpicking at that point. So good job Nebraska.

    Michigan v Nebraska

    LINCOLN, NE – OCTOBER 27: Herbie Husker celebrates a Nebraska Cornhuskers touchdown against the Michigan Wolverines during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska beat Michigan 23-9. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

  • 6. Penn State

    Getting closer to the top five we have the Penn State Nittany Lions. Though their mascot doesn’t have a special name it’s just the Nittany Lion and the costume is unlike any other on this list. I find it actually kind of funny.

    It just goes to show that you don’t always need a big and elaborate costume. The name and character supposedly came from the nearby Mount Nittany as the team did not have a mascot at the time and came up with it on the spot.

    Penn State’s Mascot is one of the few Big Ten Teams to have their mascot in the Mascot Hall Of Fame. Alongside Ohio State and Wisconsin University and more.

    Penn State v Maryland

    COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND – NOVEMBER 06: The Penn State Nittany Lions mascot crowd surfs during the second half of the game against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium on November 06, 2021 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

  • 5. Northwestern

    Starting off the top five of the Big Ten we have the Northwestern Wildcats and Willie The Wildcat. The origin of the team name came from the press who wrote that even when losing the team looked like wildcats. The name was so popular that it stuck.

    The mascot made its debut when students dressed up like him during a homecoming parade since then Willie has been boosting morale. I’d say Willie is as down the middle as they come. The mascot looks great and is friendly looking. Though there is a level of plainness to the outfit.

    Purdue v Northwestern

    EVANSTON, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 12: Willie the Wildcat, the Northwestern Wildcats mascot, during the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Welsh-Ryan Arena on February 12, 2023 in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

  • 4. Rutgers

    Now for a bit of favoritism, I think Rutgers as well as Michigan State takes a human mascot and does it right. Us with our Scarlett Knight Sir Henry and them with Sparty from Michigan State. The scarlet knight actually took over for another Mascot which at the time was a rooster.

    The knight was picked during a campus-wide selection and has been bringing RU nation pride ever since. The costume is colorful and Henry even can be seen with his sword or axe which is a really cool addition.

    Ohio State v Rutgers

    PISCATAWAY, NJ – SEPTEMBER 30: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights mascot runs onto the field before a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on September 30, 2017 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. Ohio State won 56-0. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

  • 3. Minnesota

    Minnesota’s Golden Gophers by far have one of the best animal mascots. Goldy Gopher. The animal became the icon of the state in the late 1850s. When Goldy was first seen in the 1950’s it was a band member that was randomly selected each year that donned the costume.

    He’s certainly had some changes over his career some better some worse. But I do believe that right now the gopher is second only to one when it comes to animal-themed mascots in the conference.

    Georgia Southern v Minnesota

    MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – SEPTEMBER 14: Goldy, mascot for the Minnesota Gophers drives onto the field before the game between the Minnesota Gophers and the Georgia Southern Eagles at TCF Bank Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Gophers defeated the Eagles 35-32. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

  • 2. Michigan State

    Now onto our number two spot that is held up by Michigan State. I love the way Sparty the Spartan looks really capturing that history warrior vibe. In fact Sparty doesn’t know what leg day is cause you’ll never see him running away from anything.

    Sorry, Henry but in a one-on-one, my money is on Sparty. This mascot’s origin is connected to when the team name switched over from the Aggies to now the Spartans. It really is a hit in all departments cause he doesn’t look scary, his design is creative, and most importantly he built like a truck.

    Eastern Michigan v Michigan State

    EAST LANSING, MI – SEPTEMBER 20: Michigan State Spartans mascott “SPARTY” entertains the fans during the third quarter of the game against Eastern Michigan Eagles at Spartan Stadium on September 20, 2014 in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State defeated Eastern Michigan 73-14. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)


  • 1. Maryland

    In first place are the Maryland Terrapins and their mascot Testudo. They somehow managed to turn a turtle, more specifically a Diamondback Terrapin into a cute and loveable mascot and that takes skill.

    Now while he may not be a Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle, this hero in a half shell became the official mascot in the 1930s after it was suggested that the team name be changed from the Old Liners and the 1933 graduating class gave the school a bronze statue of the Diamonded back Terrapin.

    That’s a pretty awesome origin story. Everything about Testudo just makes sense from his happy expression to the M that was put on his shell.

    Maryland v Texas

    AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 02: The Maryland Terrapins mascot celebrates with fans in the fourth quarter against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)


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