Sixteen spirited but unsung heroes of college football are basking in the limelight as Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE: COF) announced the members of the 10th annual Capital One All-America Mascot Team.The 16 mascots, representing nine conferences and including several natural gridiron rivalries, will go head-to-head throughout the college football season in a battle royale determined exclusively by fan voting. When the dust - and fur - settles, one lucky creature will be named the Capital One National Mascot of the Year at the 2012 Capital One Bowl.

This year's field is comprised of a talented variety of species, including an eclectic mix of mammals and reptiles. As in years past, the only things that eclipse the gargantuan size of the mascots' heads is their boundless energy and relentless commitment to claiming the title by any means necessary.

All mascots look forward to this day with anticipation, as we seek the recognition we deserve for our tireless efforts and unwavering loyalty to our schools," defending champion, Big Blue of Old Dominion University, said through a mascot interpreter.  "It's a true measure of our self worth.  I know what it takes to be named Capital One Mascot of the Year and I am not going to let any muscle-bound Spartan, buck-toothed Beaver or freaky-looking Frog derail my quest for a second straight title."

Members of the 2011 Capital One All-America Mascot Team, as nominated by their schools and selected by a panel of judges from Capital One and the mascot community, are detailed below.

Wilbur T. Wildcat of University of Arizona            Sparty of Michigan State University

Aubie of Auburn University                                    Mike the Tiger of Louisiana State University

Testudo of the University of Maryland                  Wolfie Jr. of the University of Nevada

Hairy Dawg of the University of Georgia               Boomer of the University of Oklahoma

Brutus Buckeye of The Ohio State University       Big Blue of Old Dominion University

The Duck of the University of Oregon                   Benny Beaver of Oregon State University

Buzz of Georgia Tech                                              SuperFrog of TCU

Cy of Iowa State                                                     Big Red of Western Kentucky University

New this year, fans will be able to view never told before stories for each mascot to learn more about their journey to become National Mascot of the Year.  The videos will be available on www.CapitalOneBowl.com and www.Facebook.com/MascotChallenge all season long.

"The Capital One Mascot Challenge is a long-standing tradition for our organization during the college football season," said Marc Mentry, Senior Vice President of Advertising and Sponsorships at Capital One.  "We are proud to honor these unheralded mascots who tirelessly roam the sidelines cheering on their schools.  The fan support and growth of this program has been outstanding over the past 10 years, as evidenced by the millions of fan votes cast each year.  We are anxious to see how this year’s competition plays out."

The 16 mascots will go head-to-furry-head for 12 weeks during the college football regular season in a voting contest to determine the Capital One National Mascot of the Year.  Fans will be able to vote at www.CapitalOneBowl.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MascotChallenge and via text voting. Regular season voting officially opens at 12 p.m. EST on August 29, 2011, and continues weekly through November 21, 2011.  The top eight mascots with the best head-to-head records will then compete in a bracket-style, single-elimination competition to determine the overall winner.

The Capital One National Mascot of the Year will be announced at the Capital One Bowl on January 2, 2012 and will be awarded a $20,000 scholarship to help fund its school’s mascot program.
  Each of the 2011 Capital One All-America team members receives $5,000 for their university mascot program.

A "write-in" campaign is available for mascots who did not make this year's selection.  Fans are encouraged to log on to CapitalOneBowl.com and, after voting on this year's match-ups, nominate their school's mascot for a chance to be a part of the 2012 Capital One Mascot Challenge and earn $1,000 toward their school's mascot program.