Syracuse Orange

FULL NAME:  Syracuse University 

LOCATION:  Syracuse, NY



  •  1690:  The Orangemen and Orangewomen of the Orange Institution parade around with their secret society mates once a year to commemorate the Catholic ass-kicking conquests of King William III of Orange.
  • 1870: The Methodist State Convention produced Syracuse University. Contrary to some accounts SU was not related to Genesee College which operated until 1875.
  • 1890: Don’t adjust your contrast, Syracuse really did rock pink and blue for twenty years (some describe it as pink and green, but that doesn’t match the school’s official account). Finally someone was disturbed enough to protest looking like Robert Kraft’s favorite shirt and tie combo, and decided even orange was more manly. Good call…Orange remains the school’s only official color, with blue as an unofficial compliment.
  • 1920’s:  The first victim on SU’s mascot rap sheet was Vita the Goat. She was probably more concerned with eating her pennant than wearing it.
  • 1931:  (photo: 1960) A student newspaper pulled a fast one and the “Saltine Warrior: Big Chief Bill Orange” was born. They claimed the remains of an Onondagan man were unearthed during campus construction. While that was a hoax, Bill Orange and the Saltine Warrior both appeared in fight songs written much earlier. Saltine Warrior is a combination of Syracuse’s nickname, Salt City, and it’s past as the center of the Iroquois Nation.
  • 1978:   What? These images, offensive?! A Native American student group protested the portrayal, led by alumnus Oren Lyons, a ‘Cuse lacrosse star who happened to be an actual Onondagan Chief. Talk about pulling rank…
  • 1978-1984:    Naturally, instead of attempting to offer a more acceptable “presentation,” the administration buckled and swapped the American Indian warrior in favor of a Roman one, an homage to the original Syracuse in Sicily. Ben Hur Jr. patrolled the sidelines for a couple of seasons, but his plunging popularity left a void filled by the likes of: Dome Ranger (middle), a superman-like character (right), the Abominable Orangeman, Egnaro the Troll (no picture, unfortunately), Dome Eddie, the Beast from the East, a man in an orange tuxedo, a penguin in an orange scarf and an orangutan.
  • 1980:  And yet, when this big, round, piece of citrus plopped onto the scene he somehow rose to the top of this dysfunctional mascot challenge, banishing the rest to the Island of Misfit Mascots.
  • 1990:  The cheerleaders grew tired of calling him “The Orange,” so they named him Otto.
  • 1995:  Thanks to the success of The Simpsons, the administration contracted the rare but serious “Otto Inferiority Complex,” and quickly gathered a committee to consider their options. They decided on a wolf  for the official mascot, but the student body rebelled, forcing them to settle on Otto the Orange.
  • 1997:   Stuck with that citrus fruit for a symbol of school pride, the administration made the best of it and tried to put a devious face on its docile creature. Too bad the students once again disagreed, instead approving a docile face on a docile creature…pass the little, happy, orange pills, maaaaaan…
  • 2004:  (Note the growth spurt) In another case of political correctness when none was needed, Syracuse castrated the Orangemen, leaving just an Orange. Really? Was anybody going to confuse Otto with a Protestant from Northern Ireland? Backing down on a disrespectful portrayal of American Indians per the request of specific tribe you tried to represent: understandable. Going gender neutral with no apparent pressure from anyone: gutless.                     

RIVALS: The Orangemen used to get juiced up for Raiders and Nittany Lions, but now the Orange rolls up on Hoyas, Huskies, and Mountaineers on the court. He’s vulnerable to nearly everything off it, including: frost, juicers and competition from Clementine hybrids


  • Originality- (1.5) Pink would have been more original, but SU did make sure it followed up one unique color scheme with another (other schools had already chosen orange and something, but nobody had taken JUST orange). Then naming yourself after that color instead of screwing around with mascot-to-color-combos…simple, but somewhat original.
  • Presentation- (1) The version preceding the current Otto is better because the legs match logo Otto’s stumps. The growth spurt just looks weird. But, overall, the orange looks like an orange. Congratulations… 
  • Authenticity- (0) I realize Otto is based on the color and not the fruit, but besides sunset there is nothing particularly orange about Upstate New York.
  • Intimidation Factor- (0) Besides choking on his seeds or squirting juice into his opponent’s eye, Otto only strikes fear into the extremely fragile hearts of Chrysophobics. Talk about people who could use a drill sargeant for a therapist… 
  • Political Incorrectness- (0) The Orangemen lost all credibility when they went gender neutral. Had they at least attempted to modify the Saltine Warrior to meet the protestor’s grievances they could have salvaged some respect. The American Indian students said it was the mascot’s wild mannerisms that were offensive, not that he was portraying their ancestors. A toned down Onondagan Chief should have been attempted by a school which dominates in lacrosse, the modern version of baggattawaypopularized by the Iroquois Nation native to the university’s land.
  • TOTAL- (2.5) I’ve actually grown slightly fond of that goofy piece of fruit, but I can’t forget because he is just an orange he’s at the bottom of the food chain in both the mascot world and the real one.



5 Responses

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  4. Ishfaque said, on July 29, 2013 at 03:39

    Great articles, and nice comemnts by the readership of the blog.This is a tough choice. I don’t personally think there is a clear cut winner I am going to talk about the teams in the order in which I would rank them.I do think it’s hard not to love the depth of the picks the Eagles made, and the way the board broke to supply them will a combination of BPA fitting Need. Ultimately I voted Eagles because the only boneheaded pick in the lot seems to be the 3rd round QB Foles though I don’t think any reasonable person can argue the kids potential after watching the QB camp Gruden tape. Obviously a project, but I still don’t like the pick.For the Giants, the value isn’t there selecting a RB in the first round esp one who may not develop into a good blocker (though Eli can take a hit I don’t think he wants to) and puts the ball on the turf. There is a chance that this kid will be the man who finally kills Coughlin during one of his trade mark red in the face heart attack moments. I like the rest of the Giants draft, but having such a major beef with their #1 is what made me think they came in 2nd place (in an overall very strong draft by all 4 teams).Sorry to Jerry Jone’s lovers and fans of Claiborne (who I like). There is no way I can justify burning a pick in the sweet spot of this draft to take one of the big 3 CBs coming out. Heck Jerry could have stayed put and selected 1 really good CB and another good CB. Or (more to my taste) he could have revamped his interior O-line. I for one am glad that he didn’t get DeCastro. If Claiborne does develop into the second coming of you know who, then this will suddenly look like a very good trade.And in the basement we have the Redskins. This was hard for me My grandfather (RIP) was a Skins fan, and I love the fact that they have a *potential* franchise QB now. I like the fact that they attempted to address their O-line (though I have my doubts on whether those picks are geared toward the passing game). If Shananhan had Howard Mudd for his O-line coach I think I would be more apt to believe in these quick interior o-line guys. My major beefs are: they may have overpaid for RGIII and are they seriously already planning for him to not finish the season by selecting Cousins? The Cousins pick was a total waste IMHO go get a decent backup in free agency (I hate Vince Young with a passion but the dude can win a game if your real QB is out). I am NEVER inclined to say that an ACL tear makes a draft pick a bust, but it is scary to think that the Redskins gave up so many top picks to get RGIII and his frame below the waist is so fragile looking. I hope his track start abilities serve him well because in the NFC Beast there are going to be an awful lot of exceptionally talented athletes trying to crush this young man.In the end, 3 years from now; it may be that the Redskins win a superbowl because of the RGIII (or Cousins) pick and then my little ranking will look pretty foolish.

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