- Cougar/Tiger/Some other wild cat
The University of Idaho is the only 1A school to feature a Vandal as its mascot. While the vandal is more prevalent as a high school mascot, it can often be confused with a Viking. The difference lies within the helmets and is probably only a difference that those who are either Vandals or Vikings would even recognize. (Fortunately for everyone, I've gone to schools with both mascots.) Viking helmets have horns while Vandal helmets have wings. It's seriously as simple as that. :)
Photo from Mascots.com
2. Banana Slugs
The University of California Santa Cruz is probably not well known for much, but it has certainly become famous (or perhaps infamous) because of its mascot, the banana slug. The banana slug gets its name, obviously, from its bright yellow color. The UCSC website says that early students chose the slug as a mascot to represent their reaction to the fierce competition harbored by other schools. Perhaps a bit of social commentary. If you'd like to read more about the banana slugs and UCSC's temporary two-mascot debacle, you can visit their website.
Photo from GoSlugs.com
3. The Nimrods
Watersmeet High School in Michigan has chosen the nimrods as their official mascot. This mascot should work well to educate students that just because one word means something in today's vernacular it doesn't necessarily mean that is the word's only denotation. Nimrod was a biblical warrior/hunter/trapper and son of Ham, the least known of Noah's sons. For the full story of Nimrod and Abraham, it can be found here.
Photo from Google image search
Southern Illinois University is home to the salukis. At first glance, these look like some sort of horrifying dog creature with a bad perm. After doing a little bit of research, I've discovered that a saluki was one of the first dogs to be domesticated. Salukis have been traced back to the Middle East and Egypt, these dogs still exist today. They are fast and resilient, making them the perfect mascot.
Photo from Bofads.com
Evergreen University in the Puget Sound area of Washington is home to a truly unique mascot: the geoduck (pronounced "Gooey-Duck"). While there's nothing menacing about this mascot, I think it was probably picked for two reasons. One, geoducks are native to this particular area. Two, this mascot probably takes other teams by surprise, allowing the geoducks a chance at a sneak attack before their opponents can even figure out how to pronounce it. Geoducks are actually large saltwater clams and are apparently edible. To learn more about geoducks and to see a picture of a real one, check out its Wikipedia page.
Photo from Evergreen.edu