Since Sept. 12, fans have got-out-the-vote for best beast at www.capitalonebowl.com. The top six mascots with the best win-loss records will move on to the on-line playoffs, and with a little under three weeks to go in the regular season, each mascot is trying to claw and paw their way to the top of the standings. Playoff voting begins Nov. 27 and runs through Dec. 18. As the vote tally approaches almost 5 million, North Carolina State’s Mr. Wuf leads the pack, with Georgia Tech’s Buzz, Kentucky’s Wildcat and Wisconsin’s Bucky Badger right on his oversized heels.
This year’s contest features a weekly claw-to-paw face-off among this year’s All-Americans. The standings are as follows: (1) North Carolina State — Mr. Wuf; (2) Georgia Tech — Buzz; (3) Kentucky — Wildcat; (4) Wisconsin — Bucky Badger; (5) Maryland — Testudo; (6) Syracuse — Otto; (7) Air Force — The Bird; (8) Auburn — Aubie; (9) Western Kentucky — Big Red; (10) Washington State — Butch T. Cougar; (11) Tennessee — Smokey; and, (12) Oklahoma — Sooner.
“This year’s race for the Capital One National Mascot of the Year is one of the closest to date,” said Steve Schooff at Capital One. “With just three weeks to go, its time for alumni, students and fans to get-out-the-vote for one of the most important national races that has yet to be decided. Remember, voters are allowed one vote per day so vote early, and vote often!”
The fan vote is the sole determinant of the winner; the people choose. Voting began in September, with 11 weekly match-ups between the All-Americans. The top six mascots with the best win-loss records face off in on-line playoffs in December. The winner will be pronounced Capital One National Mascot of the Year on January 1, 2007 during the Capital One Bowl.
This year’s fuzzy crew was chosen from Division I-A and I-AA athletic programs with college football teams. They made the squad after being ranked on mascot musts such as interaction with fans, originality and pedigree. The panel of judges included mascot guru and historian, Dr. Roy Yarbrough, and representatives from ESPN and Capital One.
Over the past four years, Capital One has helped thrust the spotlight on these unsung champions of the gridiron. Team members star in a national advertising campaign, which this year features the mascots participating in ‘Fur Factor’, a series of gravity defying (and fictitious) competitions. In addition to the bragging rights, each mascot receives $5,000 for its school’s mascot program. The Capital One National Mascot of the Year will receive an additional $5,000 scholarship to help fund its school’s mascot program.