Sports Illustrated: Tennessee’s Smokey is No. 10 best college mascot ever

Orange & White Nation
Smokey X_238990

University of Tennessee mascot Smokey X, a Bluetick Coonhound, watches football action against Kentucky from the sidelines in their NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

ATHENS, Ga. — Sports Illustrated is celebrating college football’s 150th season by ranking the top 10 all-time greatest mascots. Tennessee’s Smokey is No. 10 on its list.

The University of Georgia’s bulldog came in first place in Sports Illustrated’s list.

The magazine includes both real and costumed mascots in this week’s edition. Following Uga is the Duck at the University of Oregon, Mike the tiger at Louisiana State University, Bevo the longhorn bull at the University of Texas and Stanford University’s Tree.

The University of Colorado’s 1,200-pound live buffalo named Ralphie, University of South Carolina’s costumed gamecock named Cocky, Western Kentucky University’s Big Red, Syracuse University’s orange named Otto and University of Tennessee’s bluetick coonhound named Smokey closed the list.

The latest Uga is the 10th iteration of the mascot, which the magazine says has been a staple since 1956.

Tennessee’s Smokey is the 10th. Smokey X and has been the mascot since 2013, according to the University of Tennessee Athletic Department website.

According to UTSports.com, here’s how Smokey became the mascot of the Vols:

“During halftime of a home football game versus Mississippi State in 1953, a contest was held to select the official mascot for the University of Tennessee. The contenders – all hound dogs of different breeds – were brought onto the field.

“The last dog announced was Brooks’ Blue Smokey, who barked when his name was called. The students burst into applause, which only made Smokey howl louder, and the rest is history. Since that time, ten different Smokeys, all raised by the same Knoxville family, have carried on the tradition.”

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