Ranking the Pac-12 Mascots in a Battle Royale, with Mike Leach’s Insights

With each of his last two starting quarterbacks at Washington State (Gardner Minshew and Luke Falk) set to start for their NFL teams this week, it isn’t surprising that Mike Leach is in the news this week for an answer he gave at a press conference. What is surprising, however, is that the answer going viral had nothing to do with Minshew or Falk; it was about how the Pac-12’s mascots would fare in a fight.

This got us to thinking; how WOULD the Pac-12’s mascots do in a battle royale against one another? Here’s a power ranking from worst to best on each mascot’s chances in the fight, complete with Mike Leach’s quotes on each of them.

12. Stanford Cardinal

“The tree… I imagine that tree is going to get chopped down. Unless we’re going to go with the bird and then someone might get pecked or something, I don’t know.”

Yeah, tree or bird, the Stanford Cardinal is just painfully outmatched here. A tree might be more durable than many of the combatants, but it has no real chance of winning. It’s a tree.

11. Oregon Ducks

“And then the duck. The duck might lose interest and just fly away and get out of there, which may be good advice under the circumstances.”

Fleeing is the duck’s only real option here. With the exception of the beaver and the tree, the duck isn’t going to last longer than 15 seconds against anything in this battle.

10. Oregon State Beavers

Perhaps Benny could build a damn to hide behind?
Perhaps Benny could build a damn to hide behind? | Photo by Allan Hamilton/ Iconsportswire

“The beaver? Well, we’ll see how long that beaver can hold his breath.”

If there is a body of water to hide in, the beaver could delay the inevitable for a bit. But once combat is initiated, it won’t be long for this world.

9. Washington Huskies

“The husky, no chance.”

Sure, Mike Leach had to say this about the Cougars’ hated rivals. But he’s not wrong; while a husky could easily take out a beaver or duck, the rest of the field will just as easily take it out.

8. USC Trojans

“The Trojan, does he have a horse or is he on foot? Does he have a bow and arrow or just his sword?”

The USC Trojan we see at the Coliseum on Saturdays does have a horse named Traveler, but does not have a bow and arrow, so we will go with these criteria. Trojans are built for battle… against other humans. In a battle royale with a bunch of ferocious wild beasts, a Ute with long-range weaponry, and a Sun Devil, this isn’t a favorable matchup.

7. Arizona Wildcats

“I’m going to say the Wildcat’s out.”

It’s interesting that Leach so quickly eliminates the Wildcat when you consider that…

6. Washington State Cougars

Butch will have his work cut out for him in this battle royale
Butch will have his work cut out for him in this battle royale | Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

“Well, Butch will have to be clear-minded and crafty. I mean Butch will find a way, there’s no question. The coug will find a way. Clear-minded and crafty, a combination of stay out of harm’s way and attack when you get your chances or your openings.”

…it’s essentially the same creature as the cougar. These two big cats should be ranked the same, but we’ll give Butch the Cougar the edge due to Leach’s impressive description of him.

5. Utah Utes

“The Ute. Again we’re back to is he on horseback? Does he have a bow and arrow? Did he trade for a rifle? I mean, because if that Ute has a rifle, there’s some definite problems.”

Utes are the Native American tribe that the state of Utah was named after. They traditionally used bow and arrows to hunt and rode on horses, so we will give them these assets; no rifles. Unlike the Trojan, the Ute has a long-range weapon and is a trained hunter. He’s a dark horse contender.

4. UCLA Bruins

“The Bruin is definitely formidable.”

Now we get into the top tier. A massive bear is going to do some serious damage in a battle royale. UCLA may be 0-3 on the season, but the Bruin wouldn’t go winless in this mascot fight.

3. Colorado Buffaloes

“Just as far as a beast alone, a buffalo is going to be pretty hard to tangle with. I mean a buffalo is utterly outstanding.”

Mike Leach is not wrong. Bison (known in America as buffalo) are utterly outstanding creatures, standing over eight feet tall with some weighing over 2000 pounds. No ordinary bear is going to stand a chance.

2. California Golden Bears

A huge, golden version of this guy is going to be tough to beat
A huge, golden version of this guy is going to be tough to beat | Photo by John Milner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

“Another bear up there at Cal.”

But what Leach seems to underestimate is that the Cal bear is a golden bear. According to legend, natives that saw the golden bear described it as the largest bear they had ever seen. As the stuff of legend, golden bears might be able to take on a buffalo, but this would be one heck of a battle.

1. Arizona State Sun Devils

“First of all, what kind of mythical powers does a Sun Devil have? We’ve got to consider that. You know, you’d have to get one of those Harry Potter activists to read up on how you kill a Sun Devil because there’s a lot of outside stuff there.”

Sparky the Sun Devil carries a trident and presumably has super-natural powers as an other-worldly demon. Perhaps a bear or a buffalo could take out a Sun Devil, but until we hear back from the “Harry Potter activists”, we have to list the Sun Devil as the favorite in this Pac-12 battle royale.