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Last Chance to Vote in the Capital One National Mascot of the Year Contest

December 12, 2002 at 7:05 AM EST

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- With the college football season quickly coming to an end, there's nervous energy in the air. Pundits and prognosticators are guessing who will win the national championship.

We're not talking about the football teams. We're talking about the mascots! Only eight days remain in the Capital One National Mascot of the Year Contest. Will one of the leaders make a fatal mistake in the final week? Can an underdog (or underbird, as the case may be) come from behind in the poll to claim victory? Live online polling -- at http://www.capitalonebowl.com -- will continue tracking votes from around the country until 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Friday, Dec. 20, 2002.

At that time the panel of judges -- made up of representatives from ESPN, Capital One and the mascot community who selected the 12 finalists -- will determine the winner. The Capital One National Mascot of the Year will be selected based on a combination of the online popular vote and the panel of judges' previous ranking which was based on criteria that included fan interaction, demonstration of good sportsmanship and community service involvement. In the event that there is a tie, the judges will cast a vote for the one mascot among those tied that they feel best embodies the criteria of the competition. The Capital One National Mascot of the Year will be announced during the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2003.

Right now, the Nittany Lion from Penn State is in first place in the popular online vote. But will it be enough to stave off Buzz the Yellow Jacket from Georgia Tech who is right on his paws in second place? With the online voting weighted at 50 percent, the last week will be crucial. A cluster of mascots -- Albert the Gator from Florida, Sebastian the Ibis from Miami and Monte the Grizzly from Montana -- are "neck and beak" behind the leaders.

"College football fans are very passionate about their beloved mascots," said Pam Girardo, manager, consumer public relations at Capital One. "The schools and the fans recognize that school pride and bragging rights are on the line."

Beginning in mid-October, 12 feathered, furry and lovable creatures were named by a panel of judges as the inaugural members of the Capital One All- America Mascot Team. The mascots began competing for the title of Capital One National Mascot of the Year via online voting on Oct. 10, 2002. Fans across the country began logging on in droves to vote for their favorite mascot at http://www.capitalonebowl.com .

Capital One Financial Corporation (http://www.capitalone.com ) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One FSB, offer consumer-lending products. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Falls Church, Va., is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index. Capital One is proud to continue the college football bowl tradition that began in Orlando, Fla., 57 years ago by sponsoring the Capital One Bowl, which will again feature teams from the Big Ten and Southeastern Conferences on Jan. 1, 2003.

Current Online Polling Standings

1. Nittany Lion - Penn State

2. Buzz - Georgia Tech

3. Monte - University of Montana

4. (Tied): Albert - University of Florida

Sebastian the Ibis - University of Miami

6. (Tied): Smokey - University of Tennessee

Big Red - Western Kentucky University

8. Big Al - University of Alabama

9. The Bird - U.S. Air Force Academy

10. (Tied): Otto the Orange - Syracuse University

Victor E. Bull - University at Buffalo

12. Seymour - University of Southern Mississippi

SOURCE Capital One Financial Corporation

-0- 12/12/2002

CONTACT: Travis Parrish of Capital One Financial Corporation, +1-804-675-8149, or tparrish@crtpr.com/

Web site: http://www.capitalonebowl.com