The NCAA tournament is upon us, and many college basketball fans will be watching teams play they -- most likely -- didn't even know existed.
So instead of being surprised by these teams, 9NEWS wanted to give you a heads up on some somewhat surprising mascots out there.
**Editor's Note: The "opinions" stated in this article are, of course, up for debate. It also only includes schools playing the NCAA men's basketball tournament in 2016**
9. Buffalo Bulls -- Meet Victor E. Bull
Even though the bull rendering of a mascot costume is, most certainly, rather good, we found the name of the mascot borderline annoying. It's rather recent, too, being the result of a 1997 contest. Beyond the bull's name, his history as the mascot for the University at Buffalo is interesting to say the least. He actually replaced two previous mascots. A 175-pound bison head nicknamed, "Boscoe," was given to the students by two alumni in 1934 at the first Homecoming football game in 1934, but that head has mysterious disappeared since then. In 1957, Buffalo acquired its first live mascot -- a 7-month-old black Angus-Irish Dexter bull named, "Buster." However, Buster was a bit ill-tempered, so they replaced him with a long string of Busters.
8. South Dakota State University -- Meet Jack Rabbit
Here comes yet another hilariously contrived naming of a mascot. South Dakota State University's mascot is the jackrabbits, so this name is not exactly creative. Interestingly enough, Jack Rabbit was named in 2010, so we can't even blame history for this one. When researching the history of Jack, we were excited to see Jack had a blog. Unfortunately, that blog hasn't been updated since 2009 ... Not to mention, the mascot himself looks like Bugs Bunny's weird cousin. He also tends to play with his ears to encourage the student section to cheer: http://bit.ly/21xu8jj.
7. University of Maryland -- Meet Testudo
There's only so much you can write when it comes to Testudo -- who in our opinion looks like the creepy fifth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. So let's break it down. His face looks like it would snap off the finger of any loving child. His shell looks like a shield worn at a rural, low-budget Medieval Times. And he looks like he's more interested in HGH than the NCAA. Or should we say TGH? And just so we're clear, Testudo used to be fun-loving and not fear-inspiring. Just a couple of years ago, he looked like this: http://bit.ly/1R6mPdm
6. Purdue University -- Meet Purdue Pete
Guess this is where we get to the disturbing/creepy part of the listicle. Purdue Pete, just we we're clear, is not the "official" mascot of the university, but he certainly is the one who will haunt your dreams the most. Doesn't he kind of remind you Gaston from Disney's Beauty and the Beast mated with former Late Night host Jay Leno? Also that weapon he's wielding looks strangely dangerous to have in sporting events. He was redesigned back in 2011, which -- funny story -- received a rousing boo from students. So the university restored the old design to calm students down.
5. Wichita State University -- Meet WuShock
At no point has WuShock been acceptable. If you're wondering why some mascot with a head that looks eerily like an ear of corn is representing a university whose mascot is the shockers -- let's help you out. His head is supposed to be a shock of wheat. See it now? Yeah, he mostly looks like a frayed highlighter after you tried to understand Dostoyevsky back in high school. We do enjoy his sly smile though.
4. Iowa State University -- Meet Cy
We're not going to dispute whether Cy looks like a cardinal. He does. And an accurate one too -- if cardinals had a wide weird smile. But we are going to ask is -- what on Earth does a cardinal have to do with a cyclone? And we're not alone. It dates back to the 1950s when Iowa State suddenly realized a cyclone would be hard to represent in mascot form. So, since Iowa State's colors are cardinal and gold -- they adopted the cardinal bird as their mascot. But look how scary he was back in the 50s: http://bit.ly/256LVlW!
3. Virginia Tech -- Meet HokieBird
We mostly included HokieBird in this list because its evolution through the years has been stark and haunting: http://bit.ly/256MFY9. Our favorite quote surrounding this mascot has to be straight from the horse's ... or should we say bird's? ... mouth: "The suit is basically a big, fur sauna with very little ventilation. Running around in a non-ventilated carpet for five hours in 90-degree heat is not for the meek," according to former HokieBird mascot Barry Ellenberger. Also, anyone else confused by the HokieBird's waddle?
2. Syracuse University -- Meet Otto
Who wouldn't love a big round orange ball being placed on your upper body and then someone calling you an orange? Believe it or not, Otto the Orange is a major improvement over Syracuse's previous mascot which was borderline racist. Originally, the Syracuse mascot was a Native American character named "The Saltine Warrior" because Syracuse's unofficial nickname is the Salt City. He was named "Big Chief Bill Orange." No joke. He lasted until the late '70s when Native American students petitioned the university to change it. Otto wasn't introduced until 1990.
1. Xavier University -- Meet the Blue Blob
This will forever be the best/worst mascot in college sports. In good news, he was designed in the mid-80s because a cheerleader realized the actual mascot -- the Musketeer -- scared children. Turns out a huge blue furry animal that looks like a reject Muppet was better. Fun facts: his big red tongue is 22 inches long and a hard hat glued inside of the costume actually keeps the mascot's shape. Though the Musketeer still appears at games, the fan favorite has to be the cult-classic Blue Blob. He also made an instant classic appearance in a Sportscenter commercial: http://bit.ly/21xOatY.