College sports make people do weird things — including follow teams with some very strange mascots and nicknames. Not every school is as lucky as we are. Of course, some mascots are on the frightening side, while others – like Bucky Badger – are absolutely adorable.
This list, however, is for the mascots that just seem to come out of left field. Without further ado, here are the strangest and most ridiculous mascots (or nicknames) the Nittany Lions will square up against this year.
Akron Zips: In their first game of the season, the Nittany Lions defeated Akron 52-0. But what really is a Zip? The word comes from “zippers,” which are rubber overshoes made by a company in the Ohio area. They were extremely popular throughout 1920s and 1930s. The mascot itself is Zippy the kangaroo, one of only eight female mascots in the United States.
Campbell Fighting Camels: Penn State faces Campbell on Friday to open up regular season play. Fans may be thinking, “What school calls itself the ‘Camels’?” The tradition started with early school patron Zachary Taylor, who mispronounced founder James Campbell’s name. Ever since he pronounced “Campbell” as “camel,” the name stuck.
Ottawa Gee-Gees: Maybe the weirdest-sounding mascot, the Gee-Gees fell to the Nittany Lions on October 1 with a score of 4-3. “Gee-Gee” is technically a slang term for horse, and was created by Mayor Henry Gee in the 1500s. Ottawa may be known more for its professional hockey team, the Senators, but the college definitely has a more interesting mascot.
UT Martin Skyhawks: Russ Rose and company opened up the season with a 3-0 victory against the Skyhawks. Since then, Penn State has flourished en route to a 23-1 record. This school’s mascot is not nearly as peculiar as others, but did warrant some research. UT Martin’s mascot officially become the Skyhawk in 1995, and is home to notable alumni such as legendary Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt, as well.
Fort Wayne Mastodons: We actually went back in time to find this gem, but Penn State took down the Mastodons in three straight sets this past season. The term was first started by geologist students near Angola, Indiana after finding a bone that fits this wooly mammoth-like creature. They are known for beating Indiana in men’s basketball, one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.