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Hear me out: The sexiest mascots in college sports

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Michigan State mascot Sparty high fives fans as they wait for the players to come onto the court for practice for the Final Four at Ford Field in Detroit in 2009. (Andre J. Jackson/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

Michigan State mascot Sparty high fives fans as they wait for the players to come onto the court for practice for the Final Four at Ford Field in Detroit in 2009. (Andre J. Jackson/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

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Michigan State mascot Sparty high fives fans as they wait for the players to come onto the court for practice for the Final Four at Ford Field in Detroit in 2009. (Andre J. Jackson/Detroit Free Press/MCT)

By Jordan Mondell | Assistant Sports Editor

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During the first media time-out of No. 2 seed Duke against No. 15 Iona in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament last week, the mascots from both teams hit the court for a dance-off.

As I looked on in boredom, waiting for the game to resume again, my mind wandered, and I got to some serious thinking. I watched the Blue Devil’s muscles flex under his royal blue spandex, his pointy horns in stark contrast to his …

I averted my eyes — oh no. “Is the Blue Devil sexy!?” I thought to myself in disbelief. He couldn’t be … or could he?

Hate all you want, but these days, literally anything is possible. Here are the top five sexiest mascots in the NCAA — fantasize for yourself.

South Carolina mascot Cocky and the cheerleading squad take the court before action against Presbyterian Saturday, December 29, 2012, at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina. (C Michael Bergen/The State/MCT)

Cocky the Gamecock, University of South Carolina

No, it’s not the obvious sexual innuendo that made me choose Cocky, so stop reading if that was your first thought.

Cocky is just that — conceited, arrogant and self-important. While some find this off-putting, I find it striking — I need a mascot with confidence! When my mascot walks into the room, I want him to command it — to really let everyone else know who is boss.

Cocky the Gamecock does just that.

Sparty the Spartan, Michigan State

Sparty is an obligatory pick. His bulging biceps and hulking hamstrings protrude from his sparse armor — which only covers what it has to. I do not find war sexy, but due to American beauty standards, I feel compelled to recognize Sparty for his muscles.

Cayenne the Ragin’ Cajun, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

If you think Cayenne is just a kind of moderately hot chilli pepper grown in tropical and temperate zones and used to spice egg dishes, meats, stews, casseroles and curries — you couldn’t be more wrong.

Cayenne is also the name of the UL Lafayette mascot, and he is more than just a flavor. The Ragin’ Cajun — a red, muscled pepper with a stiff orange stem in place of hair — brings the spice, in more ways than one.

What can I say? I like my mascots like I like my peppers — hot.

The Stanford Tree mascot dances with the Stanford University marching band at a halftime show. (L.G. Francis/San Jose Mercury News)

The Stanford Tree, Stanford University

Though the Tree is actually the unofficial mascot of Stanford University, I stand planted in the belief that they belong on this list. The sexiest part about the Tree — aside from its uber-thick trunk and musky-scented pine needles — is that they are Earth-friendly.

In times like these, we need a mascot who cares about climate change.

Another fantastic part about the Tree is that there are often many of them present at every Stanford sporting event. Be it football or basketball, fans brandishing homemade tree costumes can be spotted in the stands from any vantage point. And if everyone did it, the entire stadium would be a forest.

Teamwork like that is sexy.

Big Red, Western Kentucky

If you’re wondering how Big Red made this list, you’re probably closed-minded.

What is a “Big Red,” anyway? Thanks for asking. The Big Red is nothing and everything, all at once. The mascot came about when a WKU student who was tasked with the job of sketching up a new face for the university while working in the Office of Alumni Relations drew up a big red blob on a piece of paper. A rough idea, at best.

But the people in charge liked it, apparently — and thus, Big Red was born.

Like the Stanford Tree, Big Red is agender, and also shapeless. While most mascots ooze some sort of overwhelming masculinity, Red is just there — a friendly, welcoming, amorphous face.

Further, they resemble a big, soft blanket — perfect for cuddling — which is why they top this list. Because who doesn’t love a good snuggle?

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Hear me out: The sexiest mascots in college sports