Rolling on through Phil Steele’s Preseason Top 40 standings and reviewing the mascot on the list we’ve yet to check out, we find ourselves at number 15 and Auburn’s Aubie. There’s also a confusing status in the War Eagle we’ll take a look at. The Auburn Tigers are a former national championship team and the mascot has won a couple himself. This year, former Iowa State head coach Gene Chizik looks to take the winning attitude down there to the next level, and Aubie looks to follow suit. This week we find out of Aubie’s suit is up for and try figure out just what the heck War Eagle is.
Auburn established itself in 1856 under a different name. Even though it changed names a couple of times, people from the area affectionately referred to it as Auburn. The name came from a poem by Oliver Goldsmith called, “The Deserted Village.” From that very same poem we get the mascot name Tigers. The Tigers name went all way back to the Civil War era the War Eagle find its roots back there as well. People are confused, including us, about what the War Eagle. Is it the mascot or is it something else?
According to legend, a soldier from Alabama was the only survivor of a Civil War battle and found an injured eagle on the battlefield. The solider was an Auburn grad and went back to campus with his equally healthy counterpart eagle, Arnie. The football program enjoyed its first ever football contest against Georgia in 1892. Arnie broke away from the soldier, circled the stadium during the game, and died on the field afterward. A war cry derived from this story started around 1913. An official-unofficial live eagle started hitting the fields around 1930 and has been there ever since.
Everyone from Auburn swears up and down that the War Eagle is the chant and not the golden eagle on the field. They point to the war cry first before they acknowledge the ominous looking bird. So to help address this confusion, Auburn decided to employ an honest to goodness tiger like mascot. An unofficial version was commissioned in 1979 for the SEC basketball tournament. Over the summer the school held tryouts and the official Aubie made his appearance against Kansas State. Of course the Tigers won that game.
Aubie doesn’t have any serious flaws. The tiger paws are big and fluffy. Aubie wears the football jersey proudly. The head is massive and the tiger print stands out great. The white fluffy hair and whiskers frame head nicely. All in all he’s a pretty solid character. That solid frame earned Aubie a unprecented 6 Universal Cheerleaders Association mascot national championships. He was also among the first mascots to be inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 1996. Yeah, this guy has a ton of bling.
All this to prove that the War Eagle is not the mascot? I guess that’s what we see. Tigers is a kind of run of the mill mascot name and War Eagle just sounds way better when compared to it. Apparently Auburn thinks that the original name should stick instead of swapping it with the War Eagle. Granted, in today’s P.C. society ‘War’ would probably be replaced by ‘Disgruntled.’ That said, you have to give some respect to Auburn for pumping up Aubie with enough talent and trophy bling to make people forget about changing.