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Wednesday Etymology: Catamount

A brief history on Georgia Tech’s next opponent and its elusive mascot.

Senda Verde wildlife sanctuary in Bolivia Photo by Luis Gandarillas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

You know what I love about these short weeks, man? Well... a lot of things, but the main thing is the fact that it’s already Wednesday. That’s the good news... and I don’t want to give anyone outlandish ideas, but a short week following a tough season opener against a Top 5 opponent can be a recipe for disaster. The last thing Georgia Tech needs is a letdown game. This Saturday’s matchup is probably the only game that every fan agrees should be a win, but that doesn’t mean it will be, especially considering Geoff Collins’ track record against FCS/Group-of-5 schools.

That’s right. Nothing comes easy. Nothing is given to us. We have to fight for every single win. And that’s where Georgia Tech football and the mascot for Western Carolina find common ground. For those unaware, Western Carolina’s mascot is the Catamount. A catamount is a cat of the mountains... Cat-A-Mount. Cat-Of-Mountains.

Much like our program fights for every single win, these beautiful beasts have to scratch and claw for every single meal. They can leap really far, with a long jump of nearly 20 feet, which helps with their hunting ability, and their diet consists of other animals. Gnarly. Now, there is heated debate in the Big Cat Community as to what exactly constitutes a catamount. Some say it’s a cross between a cougar and a bobcat, some say it’s the same thing as a puma or a jaguar, some even say it’s a long-extinct creature that Paul Bunyan himself kept as a house pet. Whatever you choose to believe, Georgia Tech better show up planning to beat every single one of them on Saturday.

As for me, I’m excited to get back to Bobby Dodd. The Benz was fun, but it’s just not the same. Plus, I can’t remember the last time we opened the season with two straight night games... It’s been at least a decade. Do we deserve the prime time slots? Not going to answer that... The point is - we got ‘em. Now, I don’t suspect the Watching World of College Football to tune in on Saturday, but if they do, they should expect to see a bounce back performance. Disregard the gap in talent between opponents, I think we will control what we can control, build on the more-than-expected positives from Monday night, and learn from the easily-fixable negatives.

This will be just the sixth matchup between the Yellow Jackets and the Catamounts, which is somewhat surprising considering the proximity and longevity of both programs (WCU started their football program in 1931). If you’re looking for some good news, we’re 5-0 against them, so hopefully we don’t mess that up. Western Carolina did put up 52 points in their season opener against Charleston Southern, and 6’3” 225-pound quarterback Carlos Davis will be looking to replicate his 6-TD, 433-yard performance. I don’t expect him to have that much success, especially if the Yellow Jacket front seven plays with as much effort and intensity as it did on Monday night. That unit had one of the more impressive performances of the game, pressuring DJU multiple times and holding Clemson’s run game under 4 yards per carry. Additionally, this is only the Catamounts’ second year under HC Kerwin Bell. There are 40 true freshman on their roster, as well, so playing experience should favor GT.

I’ve done about all the analysis that I’m willing to do for this one. No disrespect to the Catamounts of Western Carolina, but I’m glad we aren’t playing actual catamounts. Georgia Tech should beat FCS opponents, so let’s do that. See you on The Flats. Go Jackets.