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The Polls Are Open for the Nation's Highest Perch - Capital One Mascot of the Year

October 11, 2004 at 11:20 AM EDT

College Mascot Contest Begs the Question: "Is the Best Person for the Job a Gopher?"

MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 11, 2004--The 12 members of the Capital One All-America Mascot Team are gearing up for the biggest kitty-litter slinging campaign in history as they pursue the most coveted title in the land -- "Capital One Mascot of the Year."

Voting for top dog begins Monday, October 11 online at www.capitalonebowl.com. Vying for the acclaimed title are the 12 members of recently named 2004 team, comprised of mascots from universities and colleges who made the cut in the first round of competition.

The Contenders:

Air Force Academy - The Bird
Auburn University - Aubie
James Madison University - Duke Dog
University of Georgia - Hairy Dawg
University of Kentucky - Scratch
University of Maryland - Testudo
University of Montana - Monte
University of Nevada/Las Vegas - Hey Reb
University of South Carolina - Cocky
Virginia Tech - Hokie Bird
Western Kentucky University - Big Red
University of Minnesota - Goldy Gopher

"The contenders are chanting, flapping, stomping and in some cases growling in their bid to be named favorite crowd pleaser in the nation," said Pam Girardo at Capital One. "College mascots have more impact on day-to-day (campus) life than even the president. In fact, most experts agree that the dozen creatures named to the Capital One All-America Mascot Team present an exciting - and more diverse - choice for voters."

Cast Your Vote!

Voting consists of 11 weekly match ups between the finalists (polls close on Dec. 26). The mascot with the best win/loss record will win the online portion of the contest. This "popular" vote will be combined with a judges' ranking from the initial round of competition (50/50 weighting) to determine who gets the ultimate title. The winner will be pronounced National Mascot of the Year on Jan. 1, 2005 during the nationally televised Capital One Bowl on ABC.

This year's fuzzy crew was chosen from Division IA and IAA athletic programs with college football teams. They made the squad after being ranked on mascot musts such as: (1) interaction with fans, (2) sportsmanship and (3) community service. The panel of judges, including mascot guru and historian, Dr. Roy Yarbrough; former college mascot and current sports marketer from Richmond Sports Backers Scott Schricker; and representatives from ESPN and Capital One.

"The amount of spirit these mascots generate is impressive. We've seen that mascots, just like the teams they root for, have a very loyal following," said Scott Schricker, Contest Judge. "In past years, we've seen colleges and universities pull out all the stops to drive fans to vote for their mascot, including Jumbotron tributes, letters from senators, billboards, newspaper ads and e-mails from eager alumni and faculty encouraging fans to vote for their favorite mascot."

Over the past three years, Capital One has helped thrust the spotlight on these unsung heroes of the gridiron. Team members star in a national advertising campaign, which this year features the mascots as they vie for the heart of "Maiden Melissa" in ads spoofing reality dating shows. In addition to hooplah, each mascot receives $5,000 for its school's mascot program. Mascot of the Year receives an additional $5,000 scholarship to help fund its school's mascot program.

About Capital One

Capital One Financial Corporation (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 McLean, 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's affiliation with college football began with the sponsorship of the 2001 Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl (now the Capital One Bowl) and ESPN's Bowl Week. In addition, Capital One sponsors the ABC College Football Halftime Report and numerous other college football programs.

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=4737988

SOURCE: Capital One

CONTACT: Capital One
Pam Girardo, (703) 720-2351
pam.girardo@capitalone.com
or
MS&L
Stephanie Smith, (212) 468-4057
stephanie.smith@mslpr.com