Mascot Madness, Catholic-style

This week, you can visit and vote for your favorite mascots from 32 Catholic colleges and universities. The bracket poll, called Catholic Mascotology, will feature a new round each morning. The winner will be announced Friday.

With the college football season in full swing and basketball just around the corner, this is a chance to learn more about the mascots that represent the diversity of Catholic education across the country.

The contest invites voters to look at the artistry and imagination of each mascot, go deeper than a mere popularity contest and even learn about Catholic history. I was disappointed not to find the mascot of my alma mater -- Halo, the great Fighting Saint of Carroll College in Helena, Mont. -- represented. However, I did learn the dolphin of Lemoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., symbolizes a desire for knowledge. I also learned that another favorite, the bulldog mascot for the Georgetown Hoyas, is actually named Jack. The first of the Georgetown bulldogs was named Hoya as a puppy but would respond only to Jack, and the name stuck.

So though Siena College may not stand a chance against Notre Dame on the basketball court, Bernie the Saint Bernard just may be able to stand up to the famed leprechaun this week in the brackets.

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