Mascot Monday: Lightning

We’re inching closer and closer to a new college football season and we are counting down the mascots that have yet to be profiled on Mascot Monday, using Phil Steele’s Pre-Season Top 40 Rankings for 2010.  This week we are looking at #32’s Middle Tennessee State’s Blue Raiders and their mascot, Lightning.  He’s kind of this Pegasus looking thing that came from a line of mascots wrapped in some controversy.  The other interesting note from this week’s entrant is just how high a Sun Belt Conference team made it in the rankings.  We’ll get to that and Lighting rocking the stage so let us strike right through this.

Middle Tennessee State’s name came from football player, Charles Sarver, in 1934 for a newspaper contest.  Before that, the team was known as “Normalites,” “Teachers,” and “Pedagogues.”  The Blue Raider moniker was also a send up to former confederate soldier Nathan Bedfort Forrest and his squad of riders.  The only problem with that?  Forrest had ties to he Ku Klux Klan.  To help avoid controversy, the school changed mascot’s to a blue colored hound dog named “Old Blue.”  In preparation for the upgrade to Division 1-A football, the school changed up its image and spat out Lighting, along with a new logo.

Lightning is a Pegasus like horse that sports a bolt across his chest.  Sometimes Lightning wears a cape around his neck and sometimes a pair of wings show up.  Between the two we like the wings.  Depending on how buff he feels, the clothing is either mega tight or mega loose.  We dig the sliver mane shaped into a bolt of lightning.  Lighting’s hair looks to be more like Shag carpet than actual horse hair.  He either needs some product or a long session at the salon to take control of that wild and waggly hair.

Lighting is a wild and waggly character.  Just check out the picture above.  There is a fair amount of surprise that those drumsticks are not on fire.  Rush’s Neil Peart better look out because Lightning is ready to break out the beats faster than The Who’s Keith Moon banging after an all night bender.  Look at his compadre to the right.  Obviously an approving nod and finger point from this guy means that Lightning is well on his way to super mascot stardom.  Either that or he’s giving him a lovable “aw shucks, you mooched all my weed” glare.  Yes, Lighting is as unpredictable and wily as his meteorological counterpart.

So that is Middle Tennessee State’s Lightning.  He is a major upgrade from the blue dog and confederate soldier tribute of old.  The Blue Raiders hit the big time with Division 1-A and will have a strong showing this year, according to Phil Steele.  The only thing left to figure out is how high Middle Tennessee can go.  The program is growing at a meteoric rate so there’s no telling when it will end.  So for now, go ahead dig through your old vinyl record collection and cue up Metallica’s, “Ride the Lightning.”