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GARY EDWARDS: Mascots rule | Sports

Bevo, the massive white and brown longhorn steer who serves as the mascot for the University of Texas, was ready to do his part in the 2019 Sugar Bowl held on New Year’s Day.

About an hour before kickoff, he knocked down a barrier and charged little Uga, Georgia’s bulldog mascot.

Uga was quickly pulled away, and Bevo’s handlers got him under control before he could squash his canine counterpart, but the tone was set. The Longhorns were the more aggressive team all day, and Texas came away with a 28-21 upset of the Georgia Bulldogs.

The Clemson Tigers play the Alabama Crimson Tide on Monday night for the national championship. Let’s take a look at how the mascots match up:

Crimson Tide is an unusual nickname, given to the University of Alabama football team by former Birmingham Age-Herald sports editor Hugh Roberts. After the 1907 Iron Bowl game against Auburn was played in a pouring rain, “a sea of red mud” turned Alabama’s white jerseys crimson.

However, Alabama’s actual mascot is costumed elephant named Big Al.

Hugh Roberts of the Atlanta Journal described Alabama Coach Wallace Wade’s 1930 team as the “Red Elephants” after they took the field in a game against Mississippi State. Bear Bryant let a student dress up as Big Al in 1979.

OK, so we’ve got an elephant on one sideline and a tiger on the other. Clemson coach and later school president, Walter Merritt Riggs, brought the Tiger name with him from his alma mater, Auburn, in 1896.

Clemson’s first costumed mascot was the Southern Gentleman, a student dressed in a purple formal suit with top hat and cane. A guy in a purple suit didn’t exactly put fear in opponent’s hearts so in 1973 they came up with “The Tiger”.

As far as I can tell, that’s it for the name. A fairly unimaginative nickname (over 1,354 teams call themselves “Tigers”) lends itself to a fairly unimaginative name for the mascot.

Anyway, the name does not matter. What matters is who would prevail in a battle between the two. Big Al vs. The Tiger.

Those who study such things say a tiger might be able to handle a baby elephant, but it wouldn’t even try to tangle with a big one. There is a video on YouTube of an elephant chasing a tiger but it never seems to catch it.

So there you go, a sign, an omen for Monday night’s game. Will the size of Alabama wear down and catch the speed of Clemson?

I’m not sure. The only thing I know is they both would probably feast on a chicken.

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