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PJ Media
PJ Media
15 Apr 2023
Chris Queen


NextImg:One of College Football's Greatest Mascot Traditions Opens a New Chapter This Weekend

One of the more interesting mascot traditions in college football enters a new era on Saturday. At this weekend’s G-Day, the University of Georgia’s annual spring football scrimmage, the university will pass the mascot baton over from the current mascot, Uga X (get it: Uga/UGA?), to his successor, Uga XI.

The “collaring” ceremony will take place as part of the G-Day pregame festivities in front of a throng of fans gathered to watch the back-to-back defending national champs give a glimpse into what next year’s team will look like.

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The 11th pure white English bulldog in the mascot line, whose real name is Boom, has some big paws to fill. Uga X, whose real name is Que (pronounced like the letter), served as mascot for two national championships in a row and has the winningest record of any dog in the line.

“Que was two and half years old when he began his reign as Georgia’s beloved mascot in 2015,” reads the UGA Athletic Association’s press release. “He compiled an impressive 91-18 record, which included back-to-back College Football Playoff National Championships, two SEC titles, and victories in the Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Peach bowls.”

The University of Georgia’s football team became the Bulldogs in 1894 when student Charles Black, Sr., brought his bulldog Trilby to football practice, but the Uga line began in 1956 after someone gave UGA law student Sonny Seiler and his wife Cecilia a white bulldog named Hood’s Ole Dan as a wedding present. The Seilers took the dog to the 1956 home football opener. Cecelia Seiler made a jersey for Hood’s Ole Dan out of a children’s T-shirt, and the university took notice.

“Dan Magill, athletic publicity director at Georgia, became enthused over the dog and took several publicity photographs of Uga and football players,” Sonny told the press at the time, and it didn’t take long for Hood’s Ole Dan to become the official mascot with the nickname “Uga.”

Related: Remembering Legendary Football Coach Vince Dooley, a ‘Damn Good Dawg’

Uga I served for a decade — which included a kidnapping at the hands of some University of North Carolina fans — and when the family and the school passed the torch to Uga II before the 1966 homecoming game, the crowd erupted in a chant of “Damn Good Dawg!”

Uga III presided over the Bulldogs’ 1980 national championship season, and Uga IV accompanied Herschel Walker to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation the year he won. Uga V graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the best college mascot in the nation (I have a framed cover of that issue on a wall at my house), and he also appeared in Clint Eastwood’s film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

“Seiler has often told the story of meeting with director Clint Eastwood, who knelt down to pat Uga on the head,” writes Seth Emerson at The Athletic. “’I’m going to make you a celebrity,’ Eastwood said. Seiler replied: ‘Uga is already a celebrity, Mr. Eastwood.’”

Uga has found himself embroiled in controversy as well. Earlier this year, after UGA won its second consecutive national championship, the idiots at PETA decided to start a crusade against live animal mascots. Two notable Bulldog football alumni clapped back at the stupidity.

“I don’t think folks know how good of a life Uga lives,” former wide receiver Tavarres King said. “That dog’s loved, bro. Chill out, PETA.”

“You’d be getting rid of a lot of tradition,” agreed former running back Knowshon Moreno. “I feel like those pets live the best lives… Uga’s very well treated.”

You see, Uga lives a life of absolute luxury, and the Seiler family still takes care of the dogs. The Athletic’s Jeff Schulz gave readers a peek behind the curtain in a 2021 profile:

Uga has his own Athens hotel suite with the team on game weekends. He knows where the room is — when the elevator doors open, he steps out, turns left, and walks to the end of the hall. (I know the room number, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy.)

Uga sits comfortably in an air-conditioned dog house that sits near the corner of the end zone at Sanford Stadium. It’s so heavy it takes a forklift to move, and it’s so unique that Georgia Power did an energy audit on it. When the dog house isn’t available on the road, he’ll lounge on ice bags near a box fan.

Uga travels in a decked-out, smoke-tinted-windows Chevy Suburban with “MASCOT” plates and a UGA logo…

For 10 generations — soon to be 11 — Uga has rallied students, fans, alumni, and even a legendary film director, and he has even gone after opposing players who dared celebrate touchdowns at Sanford Stadium:

And as soon as G-Day begins, a new Uga will sit in that air-conditioned doghouse. It’s an impressive tradition, and I hate that I’ll miss it. After all, I’m here for you this weekend, dear readers, and besides, the $5 entry fee for G-Day is benefiting a yet-to-be-determined charity that the school’s office of diversity, equity, and inclusion will choose — which means I probably don’t want to donate.

You can watch G-Day on the SEC Network or stream it on the ESPN app, and I’m sure they’ll show footage of the “collaring” ceremony. It’ll be a beautiful sight to behold.