Virtually thumbing through the Athlon pre season Top 25 for college football (yes it’s out already), the eyeball rested gently on the the 18th ranked Cincinnati Bearcats. What was a Bearcat? Why was a team from the Big East in the top 25? Did Hannah Barbara have something to do with this? Or maybe it was Al Gore that had a hand in its construction. Why wasn’t the mascot more prominently shown during events? Why am I asking you? Ignoring the lame attempt at a Spaceballs reference, let’s find out all of the answers to the above questions.
Way back in the 1900’s the University of Cincinnati was actually a pretty tough team, but a team with no nickname. They stacked a couple of winning seasons together and in 1914 the Kentucky Wildcats showed up as their first real tough competition. Some industrious cheerleader fellow after halftime, blurted out something about a Cincinnati Baehr-cat (named after their tough fullback Leonard. K “Teddy” Baehr) versus their Wildcat. Like any good mascot naming, Cincinnati won and they gave all the credit to the new and permanent name. When the costumed fella showed up we’re not sure, but this article points to memories of the tyke showing up around the early 1950’s.
The modern day incarnation features the big pawed fella hamming it up and a fanciful way. There’s the athletic gear on top of the black fur with hug feet and somewhat fuzzy hands. The head is enlarged and has some kind of strange grimace slapped across his face. The costume leans more toward the fun side than the fearsome side. More and more the Bearcat seems like a spitting image of Snagglepuss from Hannah Barbera fame. This isn’t scary at all. Heavens to Murgatroyd!
Still what the heck is a bearcat? The tome of all truth and well knowledge being that is Wikipedia tells us that bearcats exist somewhere in Asia. It sleeps alot and eats fruit. Still not so scary. One would figure combing a bear and a cat that you would get something you would want on your side in a fight. It almost seems as if this is a production from super scary fear mongerer Al Gore. He once claimed the existence of the ManBearPig, and know it seems there is another conspiracy taking place, as uncomfortable as it sounds. Whether or not a bearcat truly exists will forever be unknown.
What is known, however, is the Cincinnati Bearcat doesn’t really strike fear in the hearts of its opponents. Where it may have done so in the past, know its boiled down to a comedy routine. This brings up a good point. How much do you want your mascot to be the goofy kind? We’ve seen some instances where the goofiness passes down to a secondary mascot for the kids. For the big time universities, the tough and mean (albeit cartoony) mascots seem to win out. Wouldn’t then the choice of a completely nonthreatening mascot announce to the world that your school is not a big time school?
We answered many questions this week but we are still left with some. That’s alright, we’ll leave the rest of the answers up to you. The Cincinnati Bearcat came from an accident long time ago and carries on the lab like experience to this day. This concoction of mascot chemistry consists of Hannah, Barbara, Al Gore, a male cheerleader, some Asian mammal, and a totally awesome parachute landing. Please don’t be afraid. Just try to enjoy the ride. Exit, stage left!