The #7 Florida Gators from Phil Steele’s Preseason Top 40 rankings are the next victim in mascots we haven’t covered yet that make the list. The gender appeasing dynamic duo of Albert and Alberta welcome our wagon as we tool on down to Gainesville and check out how these Gators chomp. Last year, the Gators were led by one of the greatest college football players to ever live, Tim Tebow (yeah that’s right, we said that). This year, they are without him and are looking to fill the huge void left. Will the emptied spirit of the once very inspired Gator football team be rekindled with the help of these two costumed carnivore’s? Let’s find out.
The Florida Gators started their football run in 1906. Traditionally, Florida has not been known as a football powerhouse, with their main dominance starting in the mid 1990’s and through to today. That said, there is a bit of tradition involved in the name of the team. In 1907, a student organization started called the Bo Gator Club introduced its leader (and future team captain) Neal S. Shorter as Chief Bo Gator. That named helped student Austin Miller and his father Phillip, pick out pennants for the team to use on a road trip in 1908. The Miller’s reasoning was that the team had not mascot and the alligator name was taken, but we’re sure Chief Bo Gator helped subconsciously. Kevin Nealon style.
So the Gator name stuck. The 1950’s were a very plucky decade. In 1957 we saw the introduction of the very first live alligator on the field. Now we’ve seen videos of gator trainers in torn jorts wearing bandanas stuck on their necks stick their heads in some of these animals. But we also see the ones where the alligator clamps down. Think of how they handled back then. Plucky indeed.
Some very smart people realized that a live alligator was not a great idea. At one point a motorized gator terrorized the sidelines. But it wasn’t until 1970 that we saw a costumed mascot by the name of Albert take the field. Being the gender conscious school that Florida is, they introduced the rarely seen female mascot counterpart by the name of Alberta in 1986. Today we see them a chimpin’ (is that a word?) and a chompin’ up and down the sidelines.
So how do these two green giants stack up? Let’s start with Albert. The green furry outfit covers him from head to toe. I guess the officials opted for bagginess instead of tightness. That works okay, as that leaves more room for the massive shirt Albert wear on the field. The familiar long snout and teeth of an alligator are there as well as the beady eyes. To top off Albert, we get a baseball cap. Alberta is pretty much the same thing except she wears a skirt, hair ties, and lipstick.
There’s no big shock to us that these two have not won any mascot awards. The gator presence is there, but the whole deal is bland. We applaud the school for being gender conscious, but please add a little more pizzaz to your mascots to help fire up the crowd. Especially this year. Tim Tebow is gone and the school is rebounding. Yes, Phil Steele ranked this team high, but we don’t see them going winning the conference. All you need to do is take a look at the state of their mascots to find out why. The true spirit is gone.