Capital One National Mascot Of The Year Race Continues As Big Red Advances To Playoffs

Bowling Green, Ky. — Big Red and five other top vote-getters in this year’s Capital One Mascot of the Year contest have advanced to the playoffs. More than 6 million votes were cast to decide the final six, consisting of North Carolina State’s Mr. Wuf, Maryland’s Testudo, Auburn’s Aubie, Western Kentucky’s Big Red, Tennessee’s Smokey, and Washington State’s Butch T. Cougar. The playoffs take place over the next three weeks, with the winner being announced on January 1, 2007, during the Capital One Bowl.

“It’s been an extremely tight claw-to-paw race so far,” said Steve Schooff at Capital One. “We’re proud of all of our All-Americans, who campaigned and fought all the way up until the end.”

Week One of the Playoffs (Nov. 27-Dec. 4) pits Aubie (#3) against Butch T. Cougar (#6), and Big Red (#4) against Smokey (#5). Mr. Wuf and Testudo each get a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Week 2 (Dec. 4-Dec. 11) pits Mr.Wuf against the Aubie/Butch T. Cougar winner, and Testudo against the Big Red/Smokey winner. The final round (Dec. 11-18) determines who gets the ultimate title.

“With the Capital One National Mascot of the Year title on the line, we’re expecting the claws to come out and the battle to become fierce now that we’re in the playoffs” added Schooff. “Once again the mascot fans have turned out in full force, and we’ve still got almost four weeks to go.”

Last summer, 12 lovable characters were named to the Fifth Annual Capital One All-America Mascot Team, and have been embroiled in a fierce competition to be named Capital One Mascot of the Year. Since Sept. 12, fans have come out in force casting their vote for best beast at www.capitalonebowl.com.

The final regular season standings were: 1) Mr. Wuf (North Carolina State); 2) Testudo (Maryland); 3) Aubie (Auburn); 4) Big Red (WKU); 5) Smokey (Tennessee); 6) Butch T. Cougar (Washington State); 7) Bucky Badger (Wisconsin); 8) Wildcat (Kentucky); 9) The Bird (Air Force); 10) Otto (Syracuse); 11) Buzz (Georgia Tech); 12) Sooner (Oklahoma).

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.

— WKU —