Ranking the Renditions of Brutus Throughout the Years

By D.J. Byrnes on July 23, 2014 at 11:59 am

In yesterday's Skull Session, I ruminated on the swagger of 1979 Brutus. Even though he could likely get your (or my) girlfriend pregnant by making eye contact with her, I think I would prefer him to the current day rendition.

So that got me wondering, just where does today's (or 1979's) Brutus stack up against the pantheon of Bruti? A quick search led to me to this 2013 Buckshot, which in turn led me to Ohio State's interactive Brutus timeline.

*puts on the Macarena* LET'S LISTICLE, BABY.

1975 Brutus


Bringing up the caboose is 1975 Brutus, for horrifically obvious reasons.

I imagine the directions to the artist were to "make Brutus look like he's trying to lure a gang of children into his windowless 1962 Astrovan. Bonus points if you can make it look like he's having a stroke."

How did this get past multiple people and into the public realm? I assume it was because it was 1975 and everybody thought PCP was healthy. That is the only logical explanation.

1981 Brutus

1981 Brutus

Like most things made in the 1980s — and I say this as a man created in 1986 — 1981 Brutus is hot garbage. The only thing positive I can say about this rendition — the first to feature the Buckeye head sitting on the shoulders of the performer — is it doesn't look like a stroked-out pedophile on the prowl.

Some questions I have: Why is he holding giant cotton balls? What's with the clown shoes? Why did they affix his hat at that stupid, stupid angle? Are those horrific white pants? I thought white pants were only worn in the 1980s by cocaine dealers and people who hadn't yet accepted the death of disco. 

But you know what? A college mascot would be the perfect cover for a 1980s cocaine don dada... let's move on before I get myself shot.

1982 BRUTus


They were still working through the kinks in 1982, apparently. At least the cotton balls, pants, shoes and hat were fixed, but I still have no idea what's going on with the mouth or why Brutus has a homicidal glint in his eyes.



Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger — the OG Brutus — put a knife into the back of Julius Caesar during a Senate meeting on the Ides of March. (44 BC was a wild, wild time.) 

While 85 BC Brutus gets mad points for putting an end to the reign of autocrat Julius Caesar, and thus the Roman Empire, he loses mad points for never publicly rooting for The Ohio State University or its athletic teams.


1965 Brutus
The Ohio State University Archives (Photo by Jim Baer)

Did you know, Brutus the mascot didn't appear until 1965? It's true.

According to legend, during an era where teams prominently had live mascots, students Ray Bourhis and Sally Huber suggested a buckeye as Ohio State's mascot.  

This led to the paper-mâché Brutus pictured above. While Ohio State notes it was "well received" by the public, I can't get past the giant tampons used for Brutus' eyebrows.

1968 Brutus

1968 Brutus

Somebody must've caught the tampon eyebrows by this point, because they were eliminated. 

What I like about this rendition of Brutus is his smile was rotatable into a frown for when the Buckeyes were playing bad (which in 1968 wasn't very often).

I also like how this Brutus is wearing slacks and dress shoes. To hell with that bum Don Draper, I'm all about church'd up Brutus.


2007 Brutus 

It only took a little over two decades, but Ohio State worked out the kinks to anthropomorphic Brutus, and in 2007, Brutus was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame. (I assume he's the only member.)

While there's a lot to like about 2007 Brutus, I am forced to deduct points for allowing Rufus the Bobcat to get the drop on him in 2010. I also don't think our champion Brutus would have almost literally been decapitated by David Perkins while toting the rock across the middle of a practice. 


1979 Brutus

I knew it in my gut when I discovered 1979 Brutus on Tuesday: He must've been what Mark Pantoni had in mind when he coined the term, Swaggernaut.

To me, 1979 Brutus is the perfect balance between old and new school. While the lack of a mouth might be seen as a hindrance, I think 1979 Brutus would be able to communicate by just using his eyes and eyebrows.

(Ol' girl on the right is obviously enticed by the smooth shell of this battle-tested warrior, the best Brutus Ohio State has ever produced.)

1979 Brutus is dead. Long live 1979 Brutus.

Image source: The Ohio State University Archives

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