Last year I wrote a top 10 silly team names list that remains my most widely read post. It was clear from the many comments I received that I had barely scratched the surface of this fascinating topic.
Here's part two.
Please note: I'm not suggesting that all teams be named Lions, and Tigers, and Bears. Quirky team names are a big part of college football's crazy, wonderful subculture. I'm just poking fun while I celebrate and educate.
10. Texas A&M Aggies
A team name should strike fear into the hearts of opponents. When it comes to conflict, farmers are usually defenseless victims. The Idaho Vandals got this right. Name your team after nomadic pillagers, not sedentary pillagees. Historically, the "Huns" never lost a match to the "Sodbusters". Abel slew Cain, remember?
9. Cincinnati Bearcats
I'm assuming that "Bearcats" represents an idiotic compromise between one group pushing for "Bruins" and the other pushing for "Lions".
8. Syracuse Orange
I don't understand having a color as a team name. How can you expect to forge an identity out of an electromagnetic wavelength devoid of form? It may not even be an improvement over their original name, "The Saltine Warriors". A head's up. We're not allowed to say "Orangemen" anymore. Sexist. Sorry about that.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels
The region has been an exporter of pine tar since colonial times. The name Tar Heels salutes the bravery of Carolina Civil War regiments who "stuck" to their positions.
No disrespect intended toward the Civil War fallen, but the modern usage of this name is an insult to students of UC Santa Barbara, who have to keep cans of turpentine outside their apartments to scrub off tar that actually gets stuck to their feet when they walk on the beach near the campus.
If we're going to call anybody Tarheel, it's those poor saps.
6. Kent State Golden Flashes
Football is a macho sport. Do we really need allusions to female menopause? What's next, the "Fighting Menstrual Cramps"? (Sorry, Barbie Girl, I can't insert your Alabama joke here. The moderators might intervene.)
5. TCU Horned Frogs
If there is even a remote possibility that a team name can conjure up the mental image of a sexually aroused amphibian, it should be banned from college football.
4. University of Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
For every game of his NBA career, Michael Jordan wore his North Carolina shorts underneath his Bulls uniform. I wonder if there is any truth to the rumor that Joe Flacco secretly wears a Fightin' Blue Hens T-Shirt during every Ravens game. (Give me some credit for not using any "lay an egg" jokes here.)
3. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Named the "Hilltoppers" because the university is located high on a hill above the Barren River. Do you get the feeling that people in Western Kentucky weren't exactly world travelers? "Yup, we're the folks from that dadgum hill over thar."
2. Akron Zips
In the 1920's the team was named the "Zippers" after some rubber overshoes being sold by B.F. Goodrich. I guess when you're in a company town and the company's got a product it needs to hype, you don't get to choose your own name.
Now who do they blame for picking "Zippy the Kangaroo" as their mascot?
1. Tulsa Golden Hurricanes
I hate to break this to you guys, but your city is located more than 500 miles inland of any hurricane zone. I know "Cyclones" is taken. Use it anyway. USC stole Troy's name, didn't they?*
Why is Tulsa No. 1 on the list? Their name is uncomfortably close to "golden showers."
* Gratuitous attempt to rile up USC fans in order to increase readership
Note: If you are interested, last year I also wrote a Top Ten Best College Football Team Names