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Pitt vs. PSU: 8 Reasons Why Roc Is Better Than the Nittany Lion

It’s time for round two of our Pitt vs. Penn State battle, and we’re ready to take this one home for our dear mascot Roc the Panther. Roc has graced the fields and stands of Pitt’s stadiums for over 100 years, bringing energy and humor to every game. No game is boring with Roc—he dances, joins the band, high fives you, and most of all, pumps everyone up for our teams. Roc stands tall and fierce in terms of looks and spirit compared to Penn State’s Nittany Lion. I can’t deny that our amazing mascot is dressed in more Pitt attire than I am at the games! So without further ado, I present to you Roc the Panther, the #1 mascot in this rivalry (and in our hearts).


1. The Pitt Panther is all over campus, and his nose brings good luck! Ever notice how many Panther statues there are around campus? Pitt doesn’t take the Panther lightly; with 20 representations of the Panther around campus, students always love the chance to take a selfie with our beloved statues. Every student has taken the traditional “let me sit atop the Panther” picture outside of the Union. We just can’t get enough of our mascot! It’s tradition to rub the Panther outside of the Union’s nose for good luck. Yeah, it sounds superstitious, but we love the Panther even more for helping us get those victory lights on. Rubbing his nose is so popular that it’s even featured in a national commercial.


Help me ace my exam, Roc!

2. Roc goes all out in Pitt attire for every occasion. I can only imagine what Roc’s closet looks like—navy football jersey, white basketball jersey, yellow jersey, and the list goes on. Roc always pulls off that Pitt student swag with his wide variety of attire. On the other hand, the Nittany Lion simply wears a Penn State scarf. Roc’s attire brings out his school spirit, and helps him blend in with the rest of the students, despite the animal suit. It helps him look less like a Halloween costume and more official, just how we like our sports and our spirit here in Pittsburgh. (Not to mention that the jersey makes Roc’s neck look less creepy compared to the Nittany Lion mascot’s costume.)

3. The Panther is a real, living animal. Not to brag, but I love that our mascot was chosen because the panther was once known as the most formidable creature native to the Pittsburgh area. Panthers have roots in Pittsburgh, a place where history is so important to the culture of our city. In comparison, the Nittany Lion was essentially an animal made up by a student at Penn State. Many question what exactly a Nittany Lion is, but fret no more; the animal is essentially an ordinary mountain lion, like a cougar, puma, or panther. So next time you find yourself in the midst of a friendly battle with one of your friends from Penn State, pull that card out of your pocket.

You don’t want to mess with a panther!

4. Pitt was the first university to choose the panther as a mascot. The panther has become a popular mascot for colleges and high schools, but Pitt started the trend. On November 16, 1909, the University’s publicity committee made the decision to select the Panther as our mascot and become the first school to make the best decision ever. Roc has symbolized power and nobility on campus since that day, and continues to prove that Pitt is always first—in sports, mascots, and pride. The Panther just fits in so perfectly in front of Cathy when you snap that picture walking on Forbes, it’s as if it was meant to be.

5. The alliteration is perfect for Pittsburgh. Roc rocks our world, Pittsburgh Panther pride, and the list goes on. “Roc the Panther” makes for some catchy sayings that just roll off our tongue. The alliteration played a role in the decision to choose our mascot, and the people who followed through with it were pure genius. Pittsburgh sports are all about alliteration—Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins—place the Pittsburgh Panther right in there, and you’re set. If only the Steelers didn’t stray from the spirited path.


6. He has his own Facebook. Sometimes I’ll scroll through my Facebook Newsfeed and see “Roc-Roc Panther” show up. With nearly 3,000 friends, Roc is the coolest Panther there is on Facebook—and probably the only one. He promotes Pitt’s sports through Youtube videos, news articles, photos, and encouraging posts. Can he be any sweeter and dedicated? Every Pitt girl is dying to be “In a Relationship” with him on Facebook. Stop missing out on life and go friend this handsome stud now.

7. The Nittany Lion wears all the anger in his teeth, but Roc wears it in his eyes. If I could find a guy with as much intensity in the eyes as Roc, I wouldn’t complain. The Nittany Lion wears all his anger in his feisty teeth (I’m a little scared), while Roc puts fear into the hearts of our opponents with the intensity in his stare. Roc’s eyes are the perfect level of intensity to still maintain a cute and appealing face while also displaying power and strength. I will mentally thank the students who created Roc every game I go to for the rest of my time at Pitt for not enhancing his teeth!


Win or lose, Roc is always there for Pitt students and our teams. He joins in for Sweet Caroline, throws newspapers in the Zoo, and is a symbol of spirit at every sporting event. Penn State may have the larger sports, but we have Roc, who beats the Nittany Lion in appearance, spirit, heart, and symbolism any day. Hail to Pitt, and Hail to Roc!

Do you think that Pitt won this battle? Share this article on Facebook and Twitter to support Pitt! Also, check out the other side of debate from our friends at Her Campus Penn State!


Main Image: Onward State

Image Source: 1, 2, 3 and 3 4, 5, 6, Own Photo, 7

Katie handles the day-to-day management, development and expansion of our chapter network to ensure that our on-campus presence is stronger than ever. She recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied Nonfiction Writing and Communication. Her extensive Her Campus background dates back to 2012 and she has since held the position of Campus Correspondent and Chapter Advisor. When Katie isn’t watching the Pittsburgh Penguins, you can find her trying new restaurants, obsessing over her long list of shows (The O.C., Scandal and Gilmore Girls are top picks) or setting out to find the perfect donut.
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