This week’s Crib Sheet will not leave you blue, in fact it should leave you pretty happy. If you get anything out of this week’s mascot, it’s that it may take almost 100 years for a school to get something right. Utah State’s Big Blue went through many a transformations before landing on the current costumed character we see bouncing down the sidelines today. We’ll learn about how to treat a live animal, and your personal property, along the way. So cheer up, folks, Big Blue’s coming and he’s coming to turn your blues into a warm, happy yellow.
You should figure out by now that most universities across the United States of America established itself in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Utah State is no slouch, as their start was in 1888. They were one of the colleges to take advantage of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, which provided benefits to create at least one college in each state. Football wasn’t far behind as their first season was in 1892. The team’s had mediocre success with a couple of conference championships and bowl appearances, with their most recent being with head coach John L. Smith in 1997.
Utah State are known as the Aggies. In continued tradition of second state schools, Utah State was more agricultural centric and opted to keep the Agriculturalists or ‘Aggies’ nickname. Yet, they still needed a mascot. I’m not sure when or how, but the school decided to paint a white bull blue and call him Big Blue. The officials were concerned that the hooves would beat up the basketball court and the football field. Their solution? Rubber boots! Welp, that failed and Big Blue blew up the courts. The school put the kibosh on the mascot.
It took some time but Big Blue finally made his comeback in 1987, when one of the school’s vice presidents ponied up $750 bucks for a costumed version of Big Blue. The costumed sucked, but the spirit was strong enough to see a new version introduced in 1989. Ever since, we’ve seen Big Blue bounce around the court and get into shenanigans. He even ripped the mustache off of the New Mexica State mascot, Pistol Pete. That ended up in a single game suspension, but it goes to show how much spirit Big Blue has.
Big Blue comes a long way from a live mascot doused in a bucket of blue paint. He sports a full jersey of the sport that’s playing for the day. The paint is replaced by fake fur as Big Blue wears a full body outfit. The head is massive and the features are unique. The horns are big and pointy and the menacing look is a welcomed return to this weekly column. The nose seems flat, however, but the giant ring around it saves some credibility. All in all, not too shabby for the big fella.
So what did we learn kids? Well, you can make plenty of mistakes and then shy away from a celebrated tradition, but you can’t keep the mascot spirit down forever. It took Utah State almost 100 years, but they finally made something enjoyable in the mascot arena. If you have something you’re working toward and have let slip for awhile, go ahead and get right back up on that horse, or in this case bull. You may just not get bucked off this time.