The swamp-dweller's run atop the rankings continues behind a NBA Draft class that included three first-round picks, two second-rounders and one incredibly bad suit. There's more: The Sporting News named Gainesville the "Best College Sports City" and alum Dara Torres, 40, set a U.S. record in the 50 freestyle. None of this should be a real surprise: the summertime is when alligators are at their most active, laying eggs and attacking people. Yes, that even includes ones that wear sweaters.
Brutus Buckeye (Ohio State)
The victim to everything Florida (the latest being a 74-45 beatdown courtesy of the Sunshine State in an AAU national title game), OSU is again looking up at the Gators. But don't fret Brutus, you had the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft (Greg Oden), the No. 4 pick (Mike Conley Jr.) and homegrown LeBron James just inked ex-Buckeye Ted Ginn Jr. to his marketing company. It's enough to give the icon a big head, oh wait, it's too late.
Buster Bronco (Boise State)
Running back Ian Johnson got married, former quarterback Jared Zabransky graces the cover of NCAA Football 2008 and the Broncos enter the season ranked 23rd in the coaches poll. If you're wondering what really drives Buster, when asked by Playboy.com "Do ladies love the Bronco?" he replied "You know what ladies say about horses." Yes, that they're good listeners.
The toughest looking mascot in sports flexed its muscle with one Longhorn going No. 2 in the NBA Draft (Kevin Durant), another (Vince Young) recently threw a punch at a teammate during practice (and with his throwing hand no less), and arguably the most decorated athlete in Texas history (Roger Clemens) stars in the best commercial on TV right now. Considering how bad he's been of late, do you think this commercial is actually some kind of sick joke on Roger?
Tommy Trojan (USC)
Mr. Ed didn't have it this good. Quarterback John David Booty is on everybody's short list for the Heisman, the Trojans enter the season No. 1 in the coaches poll and alum Steven Spielberg is busy at work on the fourth Indiana Jones film (it's about time). But the Men of Troy take a hit in the rankings for former QB and gossip-column mainstay Matt Leinart's baby mamma drama.
Bucky Badger (Wisconsin)
Buckingham U. Badger, as he's formally known, should be proud: between football coach Bret Bielema singing at Wrigley Field and basketball coach Bo Ryandoing the hambone,the Badgers headmen can start their own dinner theater troop. Just one question: why exactly does a furry animal wear a turtleneck?
So "Who's Now?" The Tree, that's who. Oh yeah, and Tiger Woods, who welcomed a baby girl into the world. Football coach Jim Harbaugh is also pretty now, but for all the wrong reasons (i.e. mouthing off about USC, his alma mater Michigan and Cal). I can't decide if I absolutely love this guy or want to buy him a muzzle. No matter what he says, he can't possibly dim the Tree's 40,000-watt smile.
The Dawgs take a hit this month, but this isn't Uga's fault. Georgia garnered zero first-team selections in the SEC coaches' preseason team and apparently famed announcer Larry Munson, 84, has no faith in the Bulldogs either, saying "I think we're going to lose a lot of games. It's scary; it really is scary." Good news though, Uga VI's owner says the English bulldog, who is nine, will make it through the season. "We can't run him anymore," Sonny Seiler told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "But he still does his thing, which is mostly eat, sleep and poop." Awesome.
Chief Osceola (Florida St.)
The Chief will be entertaining one of the nation's highest-paid coaching staffs this fall with new additions Jimbo Fisher ($415,000), Chuck Amato ($200,000) and Rick Trickett ($300,00) and a newly-inducted Hall of Famer in Bobby Bowden. So who will entertain Osceola? Florida State grad Cheryl Hines, who talked Larry David out of ending Curb Your Enthusiasm (season six starts in September) -- and of course, those FSU Cowgirls.
Sebastian the Ibis (Miami)
Last year was one to forget in Coral Gables, but things are looking up: former wide receiver Michael Irvin entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame, ex-defensive tackle Dwayne ?The Rock? Johnson will appear in Shazam! and Get Smart and new coach Randy Shannon is laying down the law. Completely off the subject, but Sebastian has to be the only mascot in sports history to have his own bar mitzvah Quite a koontz.
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