Intercollegiate mascotingRaider Red had to beat Truman, Sebastian and, finally, Cocky for the championship -- the Capital One Mascot Challenge, that is.In postseason bowl competition, this is an upset of, well, maybe Alabama over Notre Dame proportions.Consider the opponents Raider Red had to outvote: Truman, the University of Missouri's tiger, had 7 wins and 5 losses in head-to-head competition; Sebastian, the ibis from the University of Miami, was 9-3; and Cocky, South Carolina's gamecock was 12-0.Raider Red, a taller, redder, more modern version of Looney Tunes lunatic Yosemite Sam, is described as a swaggering, finger-waving riler of opposing teams.After furious fan voting during the regular college football season, Cocky finished first, with Raider Red behind at 11-1.Not unlike undefeated Notre Dame (12-0) facing 12-1 'Bama on Monday night for the BCS National Championship.The Tech mascot's only loss -- which he might never live down -- was to YouDee, the Blue Hen from the University of Delaware.But by capitalizing on ferocious final-round fan backup -- fed by Facebook postings and even TV gigs in Lubbock -- Raider Red secured the money prize: a national title and a $20,000 scholarship for Tech's mascot program.The Tech football team, by the way, beat Minnesota 34-31 on Dec. 28 in the Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl in Houston. Raider Red was there.Capital One started the Mascot of the Year program in 2002 as a promotional tool for the Capital One Bowl, which this year was played on New Year's Day in Orlando."Thanks to the thousands of students, alumni, fans, and Texas Tech faculty and staff who voted tirelessly over the past 15 weeks and also to the media for helping us get the word out, Texas Tech has a National Champion in Raider Red, the best mascot in the country," Stephanie Rhode, director of Texas Tech's Spirit Squads, was quoted as saying on the university's website. (bit.ly/XflEkY)Yup, even mascoting is now a competitive intercollegiate sport.Get that license number?Texans have long been accustomed to auctions, from livestock to houses and property being sold on the courthouse steps.But license plates?Better get used to that, too, because specialty vehicle registration tags have become such hot items that they're becoming a Texas moneymaker. The state's second "Great Plate Auction" will take place Jan. 25 at the Houston Auto Show, and it is expected to add thousands of dollars to the state coffers.My Plates, the state-authorized vendor that offers specialty plates other than those issued to benefit charity and nonprofit organizations, has sold more than 126,000 plates since November 2009, bringing in $14 million to the state's general fund, according to myplates.com.The first "Great Plate Auction," in 2011 at Cowboys Stadium, generated $130,000 and set a record for the price of a single license plate when the high bidder paid $15,000 for "FERRARI," according to a news release.The Jan. 25 auction will feature "HOUSTON," "INDY CAR," "ROCKETS," "TEXAN5" with the Houston Texans football logo and "DYNAMO" with the Houston Dynamo Major League Soccer shield.Registration is at www.myplates.com/auction. My Plates also is conducting a survey to predict which plates might bring in the highest bid. Vote at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2013GreatPlateAuctionSurvey.Texas isn't the only place where car tags bring in top dollar. The state of Queensland in Australia collected $110,000 for a "BENTLEY" tag, and a license plate reading "No. 1" sold in Abu Dhabi for the equivalent of $14 million. That gives a whole new meaning to "vanity plates."