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SU's mascot evokes extreme emotions

Otto the Orange has been ranked one of the worst and one of the best mascots in the country.

Not many mascots can go from being fifth worst in the nation to the nation’s best college mascot in the span of a year. Then again, Otto the Orange isn’t just any mascot.

The pride and joy of the Syracuse University campus isn’t a spartan, tiger, or knight. 

It’s an orange — a lovable, huggable, silly orange. 

See more SUperlative videos about standout people and places on campus, including some "firsts," "bests" and "favorites."

The popular sporting website called Otto the fifth worst mascot of all time in 2009.  Otto followed that by finishing first in’s 2010 college mascot ranking.

Otto replaced the Saltine Warrior as SU’s official mascot in 1995. Not everyone was in favor of the change, claiming that an orange just wasn’t intimidating enough.

“Otto brings something different to the face of the university athletics and life,” said Julie Walas, a former Otto who now coaches the mascot team. “Otto brings a life to this campus that another mascot wouldn’t.”

Otto does not resign himself to just spectating sporting events. The buoyant citrus star is also very active in the community, giving tours to prekindergarten students at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center, helping freshmen move into their dorms, and appearing with Santa Claus at a local church.

These are things that Walas said are not quite suited for the usual eagle, lion, or demon deacon.

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