On Saturday, Lee Corso continued a tradition that he’s kept going for many years on College GameDay.
No, we’re not talking about donning college mascot headgear as he selects a winner of that weekend’s big game, though he certainly did that, picking Georgia. We’re referring to Corso’s refusal to pick in favor of the Auburn Tigers, the only school that, according to him, refuses to let him don the head of their beloved mascot.
While picking his winner for Saturday’s SEC showdown between the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs and No. 7 Auburn Tigers, Corso noted that while “Auburn has the edge,” he was picking Georgia because “Auburn is the only school that won’t let me wear their mascot head, I’ve got no other choice.”
"GO BEAUTIFUL DAWGS!"
Coach Corso is taking No. 4 Georgia over No. 7 Auburn in Athens ?
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 3, 2020
Corso also talked about it during a chat with co-host Kirk Herbstreit that was tweeted out on Saturday.
This week on storytime with LC, he tells us why he has never worn the Auburn mascot headgear for @CollegeGameDay and we talk about this week's games-BIG week!! We're gonna dive into all of it now on ESPN! pic.twitter.com/ZNIUmHPZbv
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) October 3, 2020
It should be noted this isn’t a new revelation. Heck, we tweeted about this very thing all the way back in 2013(!).
Also, Auburn won't let Lee Corso wear their Tiger head? Outrageous!
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 30, 2013
It’s also an anecdote that seems to come up every other season or so, especially given how often Auburn is involved in College GameDay’s game picks.
Interesting tidbit from Lee Corso. The only school that will NOT let him put on the headgear is Auburn. pic.twitter.com/1AM7ypXz58
— Mike Morgan (@MorganOnAir) August 3, 2015
Lee Corso says Aubrun is the only school that doesn't allow him to put on their headgear. "So I'm not going to pick 'em"
— Natalie Pierre (@NataliePierre_) August 3, 2015
It should be noted that Corso has broken his own rule on occasion. In 2014 he donned an Auburn football helmet when picking them to beat Ole Miss. Though he’s also found creative uses for that helmet when picking against the Tigers as well.
GAINESVILLE IS GATOR COUNTRY ?? pic.twitter.com/bzsm2dTVzg
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) October 5, 2019
So what gives? What does Auburn have against Corso putting on the head of Aubie as he’s done with countless other school mascots? What’s the big harm?
Well, you can blame it on the Auburn mascot code, which is a thing that exists. From a 2015 article on AL.com:
“It’s like the War Eagle Club tradition that no one puts on the mascot, except for the kid who’s the mascot,” explained ESPN College GameDay producer Lee Fitting. “It’s one of those things we respect and find other means – don the old-school leather football helmet and move on.”
Fitting added: “They stick true and true to their tradition. That’s the stuff that makes college football cool and unique are those traditions.
“While it may seem crazy to others, it’s a big deal in that community and that program we abide by it.”
According to one fan, a big part of the mascot code for Auburn is that the person wearing the costume can’t speak once it’s one, which would absolutely count out Corso.
While the school hasn’t commented on the ban, Aubie did tweet about the issue once.
— Aubie the Tiger (@AubietheTiger01) August 3, 2015
Is a mascot code silly and dumb? Sure. But then again, being silly and dumb is part of what makes college football what it is. There are no real reasons that grown adults should care about such a thing and yet there’s some kind of weird charm in the fact that they do. It’s exactly the kind of thing Stephen Fry was talking about when he visited an Iron Bowl game all those years ago.