Daily Blog • December 2, 2014

Phil Steele’s
Capital One Mascot Challenge
Championship Power Ratings

I have used many different factors in compiling my rankings from total social media following to alumni networks to the opinions of my 8-year-old daughter, 20-year-old daughter and 82-year-old mother.

The factors are all weighted differently. For example, I place more weight on current social media presence and school enrollment than the volume of alumni networks as the challenge relies heavily on fans voting online and through social media channels. This year’s voting structure provides fans three ways to catapult their mascot to victory. By clicking “vote now,” fans earn one (1) point for their mascot. To go even further in expressing their enthusiasm, fans can complete weekly 50-point and/or 100-point challenges by posting clever entries on Twitter or Facebook using their mascot’s unique hashtag.

This year’s contest actually has THREE mascots that have won the title. Cocky of South Carolina won it in 2005, Zippy of Akron won it all in 2007 and Cy the Cardinal from Iowa State was the 2008 champ.

Voting opens Monday, August 25, 2014 at 12:00AM EDT and will continue weekly through Sunday, December 7, 2014.  Fans can visit www.CapitalOneMascots.com for all voting information as well as engage with the mascots and other fans at www.Facebook.com/CapitalOne and www.Twitter.com/CapitalOne.

Every year there have been underdog mascots that rise to the top and I will update the rankings weekly during the season with comments on each mascot’s 2014 performance. Below are my Championship rankings.

Phil Steele’s Capital One Mascot Challenge

#1 Aubie, Auburn 79.48 – Aubie began the year #4 in my mascot rankings but moved into the #1 spot by week 9  and has not looked back since. Interestingly, Aubie’s closest win of the season came back in week 9 when he beat Cocky 52-48%. I of course check the mascot rankings daily, sometimes numerous times a day at www.CapitalOneMascots.com, and last week Aubie had a strong lead over Cocky (my preseason #1) the majority of the week. I was surprised on Monday morning (voting stops midnight Sunday) to find out that Aubie only won by a 51-49% margin; he must have stonewalled a 2 point conversion attempt at the end, stopping Cocky’s valiant comeback. While an 8 team playoff in college football is a current hot button issue, there is no doubt it has worked perfectly in the mascot challenge, as our final two mascots have both gone the entire season undefeated. Its #1 vs #2, and I cannot think of a better Championship game.

#2 Joe Bruin, UCLA 79.33 – Joe Bruin did not have a lot of history in the mascot challenge, starting at #14 in my preseason mascot rankings, but it took him just 4 weeks to get into the top 4 after knocking off Zippy of Akron and Buzz of Georgia Tech in back to back weeks. Joe Bruin briefly took over the #1 spot in week 8, beating Benny Beaver, and has continued an impressive run holding down the #2 rank for the rest of the year. Joe’s closest battles were against Zippy (51-49%) and Buzz (53-47%). Last week was his big rematch vs Buzz, and originally things did not look good for the UCLA bear. Checking the results all week long, Joe was down big at first but made a huge push on Sunday, surprising me by pulling ahead by the midnight deadline at www.CapitalOneMascots.com and advancing to the finals. Joe even tweeted me during the week @philsteele042 and I was happy to support the cause with some retweets. There has been much debate since week 9 when these two were the lone remaining undefeated mascots as to which one deserved to be #1 in the mascot challenge. The great news this year is the championship will answer that question; undefeated vs undefeated, and may the best mascot win.