In a universe of infinite universes, there are other outcomes, other worlds, other yous...and even other college football teams, teams much like the ones you know and yet different. Some are better, some are worse, and all exist somewhere in the multiverse. This is one of them.
There was a plan in the late 19th century. This should be enough all by itself to pique your curiosity. The 19th century was full of grandiosely horrible ideas, but even in a crowd with "The Boxer Rebellion" and "miasma theory" this one stands out as fantastically stupid: hippo ranching in Louisiana.
This could have happened. Senator Robert Broussard proposed importing hippos to the bayous of Louisiana. Once there, the merciless killing machines and plant vacuums would devour all the invasive, non-native water hyacinth, grow fat in the swamps of the state, and then be killed for their meat at a time when America was going through a very real meat shortage. It solved three or four problems at once, and only required a.) the importation of one of the most dangerous animals in the world to one of its most dangerous states, and b.) a Jurassic World-level of hubris towards the natural world and the unintended consequences of
The bill Broussard sponsored never made it out of Congress, and the dream of future airboats crashing over submerged water horses in the bayou died with it. The timing in this timeline wouldn't have worked out, anyway: LSU adopted the Tiger as their mascot in 1896, prior to the "birth of hippopotamus ranching" in the United States in 1910.
Yet imagine what could have been, dear reader, and what may be in some parallel universe:
A mascot much more in line with LSU's general modus operandi of recruiting large, fast, and unruly monsters along the defensive line, and putting the ball in hands of barreling, contact-absorbent running backs in the backfield.
You might even be able to keep one on campus, too. He/she would be just like Bevo, only with murder and river lice. You can even tote them around the stadium prior to kickoff for maximum intimidation, provided you have a white stretch limo with a hot tub in the back. Someone at LSU has one of these and stop lying and saying that you don't.
The fight song works just as well, or even better if you're into imagining a terrified student body held captive by the whims of a wild animal. (And we are.)
Just do as you're told
Let's fight to hold
The glory of the Hippo's Gold.
Don't let it spill,
The hippo--he'll kill!
He'll gore you
for dear old LSU.
You better not score
He sprints river floors!
Your blood sings with fright
Come on you Hippos, Fight! Fight! Fight!
for dear old L-S-U. [HIPPO NOISES X 3]
The Tiger Rag works just as well, if not better as long as you imagine it as a terrible advocacy jingle for hippo meat consumption.
Long ago, way down in the jungle
Someone got an inspiration for a meat,
And that jingle brought from the jungle
Makes savory steaks with a nutrition quite complete
Vitamins and protein, please!
But cook it through to stop disease!
Tho' it's just the smell of the hippo
It was cooked in a creole way,
More and more they howl for the 'Hippo'
Ev'ry where you go today
Where's that Hippo!
Fry that Hippo!
Broil that Hippo!
Where's that Hippo!
Blanch that Hippo!
Bribe that Hippo!
Hold that Hippo!
You can even scream out "Suck that hippo dick" during "Neck," LSU students. Did we mention that hippos also have armored testes, making their balls impervious to attack? Or that they ooze a protective red coating called "Blood sweat?" Did we repeat that they kill more people than tigers do every year, and in much more terrifying ways? And that they bite kayaks in half just because they can, and fight elephants in the wild?
We've kind of sold ourselves on this. It's not too late, actually. Louisiana does have a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, miles and miles of unusable swampland, and a fondness for genuinely terrible ideas from the last century, so it's not totally unrealistic to think this might get a second look. Would it be worth it, you ask? Say it with us, and let your skepticism evaporate in the light of true beauty: Les Miles, hippo whisperer. That sells it for you, right? Just nod. We see you nodding and are sending hippos to Baton Rouge right now.*
*Don't worry about customs. We got a cousin who'll fix that for us.