NPR logo Unborn Uga VIII Still Better Than Russ

Unborn Uga VIII Still Better Than Russ

Uga VI, on the sidelines in October, 2006. Marc Serota/Getty Images hide caption

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Marc Serota/Getty Images

Uga VI, on the sidelines in October, 2006.

Marc Serota/Getty Images

At my alma mater, the University of Georgia, the school mascot is a big deal.  Always named Uga (I-VII, so far), the pure white, English bulldogs are bred from the same line by the Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler family of Savannah, Ga.  Uga V "starred" in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and Uga VI nabbed his own Sports Illustrated cover — how many mascots can say that?

When things go according to plan, one Uga "passes the bone" to the next Uga amid great pomp and circumstance, and retired dawgs return to Savannah, then ultimately are laid to rest in Sanford Stadium.  But last year, Uga VII died unexpectedly, leaving only a half-brother — Russ — to assume mascot duties in Georgia's time of need (and mourning).

The mascots are graded on the win/loss record the team earns during their reigns, and so far, Russ is undefeated (2-0). But since he's not a direct descendant — a mere half-Uga — he's going to be replaced when a true heir comes of age.

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Breeder and owner Sonny Seiler says Russ will stroll the sidelines until one of the puppies identified as of the Uga line is ready to assume mascot duties.