Monday 29th November 2021

Tennessee’s Top Dog Is Tops In College Mascot Semifinals

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The top dog on Rocky Top is now the top dog in the nation.

Tennessee’s costume mascot Smokey placed first in the semifinal round of UCA’s Division 1A College Mascot National Championship, earning a paid bid to compete for the title at finals in January at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. Auburn, Cincinnati, Minnesota, and Colorado rounded out the top five.

Twenty mascots from Football Bowl Subdivision universities across the nation each submitted a two-minute highlight video to be judged based on character development, game situations, crowd involvement, cheer, band and dance incorporation, community service and school activities. The top ten advanced to the final round where each will perform a 90-second skit in person and before a live audience.

“Our mascot team put in an incredible amount of work this year to bring the best possible experience to fans at all of our games, community service outreaches and campus events,” mascot coach Rodney Arnold said. “We began practicing and planning in May. The team’s countless hours of investment to be the best they could be for the fans they entertain was evident in our video entry.”

Smokey has won three national championships—2000, 2001 and 2008—but hasn’t placed first in the video entry semifinals since the 2008 entry that propelled the team to its most recent title. Last year, Smokey placed second in the video entry semifinals and eventually finished just one-tenth of a point short of claiming the program’s fourth national championship.

“It feels good going into finals knowing that we are building on last year’s success and are in the driver’s seat this year to make Smokey a champion again,” Arnold said. “Fifty percent of the semifinals’ score carries over to finals, so with a clean routine in Orlando, we will have our best shot in years to put Smokey back on top.”

A team of five students were selected at tryouts in April to bring Smokey to life for the 2021-2022 year and will appear at more than 300 events on campus and in the community throughout the year, in addition to nationals competition.


1. University of Tennessee – “Smokey”
T2. Auburn University – “Aubie” the Tiger
T2. University of Cincinnati – The Cincy Bearcat
4. University of Minnesota – “Goldy” the Gopher
5. University of Colorado – “Chip”
6. University of Wisconsin – “Bucky Badger”
7. University of Oklahoma – “Boomer”
8. University of Iowa – “Herky” the Hawk
9. Rutgers University – “Sir Henry” The Scarlet Knight
10. Pennsylvania State University – The Nittany Lion
T11. Liberty University – “Sparky:”
T11. Louisiana State University – “Mike” the Tiger
T11. University of Washington – “Harry” The Husky
14. University of Kentucky – “Wildcat”
15. Louisiana Tech University – “Champ” the Bulldog
16. University of Texas – “Hook ‘Em”
17. University of Alabama Birmingham – “Blaze”
18. Texas State University – “Boko” the Bobcat
19. University of New Mexico – “Lobo Lucy”
20. University of New Mexico – “Lobo Louie”