So I have a strict shelter-in-place here in California and it’s making me ponder my place in the universe. After seeing Twitter user @Matttomic’s scale of food mascots he could beat up, from the Gerber Baby to Tony the Tiger shared on Facebook, I started to wonder what Big Ten mascots my 5’1”, fuerte self could beat up. Their actual mascots (not their gameday costume ones because they're all similar in size) and what they would represent if real. For example, Ohio State’s mascot is a nut whereas Michigan State’s would be a buff, sword-wielding person.
Below is my scale: Zuzu’s Scale of Big Ten Mascot Asses She’d Kick/Mascots That Would Kick Her Ass. That’s a working title.
Let’s start from right to left, mascot asses I’d definitely whoop to the ones that will definitely kill me.
Ohio State Buckeyes (Brutus)— Again. This is a nut. Barring the fact that I don’t somehow eat it (they're poisonous), my heel will get the job done.
Nebraska Cornhuskers Lil Red— At first I was inclined to put this leftmost on the scale, but then I looked deep into its terrifying face and said, “No. YOU will not defeat me.” I would bring my all.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (Goldy)— Gophers are quick little burrowers, and the only challenge would be to locate it if there are burrows nearby. On a neutral court, however, it might put up a fight, and they've got some teeth and claws, but this is a rodent, and not even close to the world’s largest. Zuzu, easy.
Maryland Terrapins— A Terrapin, assuming a diamondback terrapin, is a medium brackish water turtle. The females grow larger than the males, so I assume Maryland would do the smart thing and put a lady turtle forward in our match, but it wouldn’t do much. They have a nasty bite, but this is a very puntable turtle.
Iowa Hawkeyes (Herky)— I gave Iowa the benefit of the doubt and ascribed red-tailed hawk proportions to a real life Herky. With this, the fight is challenging as it has the element of sky, great vision, a sharp beak, and talons. I wouldn’t come out completely unscathed, definitely will have some scratches, but all I need is to get my hands on it. It’s a bird.
Wisconsin Badgers (Bucky)— Okay so. American badgers are not in the same family as the cute tea party looking badgers in the UK and Europe. But they are still mustelids, in the weasel, otter, ferret, and wolverine family, but much closer to the wolverine. However, of the two mustelids on this scale, this is the one I’d have an easier time with. The scratches and bite marks would be there for me, but I think my height in general gives me a solid foundation for kicking its ass. Though not “easy.”
Indiana Hoosiers— Apparently Indiana used to have its Hoosier-ness represented by a Buffalo, but not anymore! Assuming the Hoosier I’d fight is an average Indiana resident, I put it solidly in the fair fight category. You know, it’s human, I’m human. I’m fit, not obese, and I have some fighting tricks up my sleeve to make up for any height deficiencies.
Northwestern Wildcats (Willie)— The wildcat has bobcat affinities over mountain lion ones, so assuming it’s somewhere in between there, I would have a pretty hard time tussling with a large feline. Now you have claws and teeth combined with agility and power. Not sure how I’d fair in this one and even if I won, I wouldn’t look pretty after.
Michigan Wolverines— This is the mustelid on the list that would definitely fuck me up. “It has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times larger than itself.” The only reason it’s not more left on my scale is because I still have some height advantage here.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (Herbie)— This is a man. A tall, strong, farm-working man. The only reason he’s lower than the other human mascots is because he has no weapons. But look at those biceps. I’m done for. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Penn State Nittany Lions— So contrary to the African lion imagery that some Penn State fans ascribe to this modern mascot, it is clearly (now) a mountain lion. That said, humans don’t fare well in mountain lion attacks. Pretty sure it would kick my ass. The only reason it’s not higher on the scale is because my unbridled hatred for Penn State would make me put up an incredibly hard fight. And there was that guy who recently strangled a mountain lion when it attacked him (though it turned out to be a hungry juvenile.)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights— This is an armored knight with a sword. If he had his horse I’d be triply screwed. The only reason he’s not higher is because at the last second when he raises his sword to end our fight, I’d reveal my team allegiance hoping he shows some mercy by not chopping.
Michigan State Spartans— A Spartan. Need I say more? Not only is he weaponized, but he’s incredibly buff. Even if I somehow disarm him, a chokehold, or a damn slap and I’d be packing.
Purdue Boilermakers (Pete)— I know you’re probably thinking, sure he has a weapon, but no armor. Why is he this high? Because being beaten up by a hammer is a terrible way to go while looking into Pete’s soulless gaze. His eyes indicate he’d show no mercy and probably doesn’t feel pain.
Illinois Fighting Illini (Chief Illiniwek)— Assuming for now this is still to some degree Illinois’ mascot, the fucking CHIEF would royally kick my ass (and my colonizer descendant (Spain) ass would deserve it, so).
Anyway. Thanks shelter-in-place for helping me answer this important question. I hope you enjoyed it. Want to make your own scale? I’ve included the PDF below where you, in an editor, can cut and move around the mascots. Share it in the comments with your rationale!