Top 20 Lamest College Nicknames
August 27, 2009 | Lists
Nothing has done more to facilitate wearing sweats—invasive surgery/rising unemployment rates excepted—than college sports. Anyone who’s so much as parked illegally on a college campus owns a pair of draw string pants or a hoodie they’ve thrown up in, decked out in their team’s cartoonish NCAA apparel. This is a testimony to just how popular college sports are, if you haven’t already guessed as much by reading the preceding sentence.
College sports are so popular, they’ve spawned NCAA ‘student athletes’: in Greek antiquity they would’ve thwarted advances from professors by learning how to wrestle but now corrode admission standards and deplete resources that would otherwise educate the overachievers they once beat up.
Every college, from the hallowed halls of the Ivy League to the coconut variety have seen the economic potential in subsidizing student athletes—even those who’ll be immediately cut from a professional roster (i.e., nearly all of them)— and collegiate sports are so entrenched that unless offshore gambling havens disappear due to global warning, office productivity skyrockets or the drinking age is upped to 30, they’re here to stay.
To the casual observer, college sports are Balkanized combat with cheap beer ammo, garish sweaters and more crappy brass bands than all of Bavaria. Nearly every team is called the Wildcats which makes staying awake during the play by play and discriminating between fight songs that much more difficult.
Most college nicknames are historically grounded. In the case of the University of North Carolina literally—‘Tar Heels’ are so named because of the Confederate army’s standing firm—not the greatest choice for a fleet-footed basketball team, the majority of whom are black. In the case of Notre Dame, ‘Fightin’ Irish’ somehow came about despite its founding by French Jesuits (this is understandable as being French hasn’t been associated with kicking ass for about 200 years).
Regardless of origin, most college nicknames are very hostile—Vikings, Blue Storm, Marauders, and Warriors—fitting if you’ve ever called the cops on a frat house or had to mace a second string quarterback. There are many though, that aren’t in any way intimidating the way a good name should be. Here are our Top 20 Lame College Nicknames, chosen alphabetically.
20. Ozark Christian College Ambassadors. Diplomatic immunity means getting away with murder, in some cases, literally, so why not ‘Hitmen’ instead? An ambassador, unless aggressive diplomacy is practiced, usually seeks to find common ground—which is not going to win many friends (or games), especially in a territorial sport like football.
19. Rhode Island College Anchormen. A deadweight, that doesn’t bode well for any kind of ‘run and gun’ offense, it’s also, thanks to Will Ferrell, a term that connotes someone who once practiced real journalism.
18. University of California-Santa-Cruz Banana Slugs. Something that would be scraped off the bottom of a shoe if it wasn’t ocean-dwelling.
17. Ohio Wesleyan University Battling Bishops, Blackburn College Battlin’ Beavers (tie). On a chessboard, bishops only move diagonally, a strategy that would spell a quick end for both a football team and someone trying to dodge a roadside breathalyzer. Unlike papal pronouncements, Episcopal ones are fallible so it’s hard to get god on your team’s side. As far as Blackburn goes, we refer you to this from Naked Gun:
“Nice beaver. Thanks, I just got it stuffed.”
16. University of Delaware Blue Hens. What happens when you choke your chicken.
15. University of Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils. This guy, pictured here, has a song called ‘Ballad of the Boll Weevil’. Get out the DDT.
14. Lubbock Christian University Chaparrals. A chaparral is desiccate shrub land, which could be pretty intimidating if you don’t stamp out that cigarette and start a brush fire.
13. University of Oregon Ducks. Most often shot, played with in a bathtub or hanging in the window of a Chinese restaurant.
12. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Gobblers. ‘Gobbler’ is an 80s Pacman knockoff, part of a Thanksgiving spread or someone who didn’t have sex with Bill Clinton according to his famous definition.
11. Geneva College Golden Tornadoes. A golden shower from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania is almost too hard to pass up—we say, ‘almost’.
10. South Dakota State University Jackrabbits. Delicious in a stew, or braised, Italian style.
9. Wabash College Little Giants. Why ‘Cannonballs’ like the song, couldn’t have replaced this oxymoron we don’t know.
8. Pacific Lutheran University Lutes. Since the Baroque Renaissance (because you know we’d get to that period in human history sooner or later in a post about college sports) guys have taken up lute to get laid. These days however, the instrument has the opposite effect: Exhibit A: medieval fair enthusiasts.
7. St Joseph’s College of Maine Monks. Shaolin Monks are trained to kick ass, but unless a hair shirt makes their western counterparts particularly incensed, a low-blood sugared penitent isn’t going to put up much opposition.
6. Whittier College Poets. Not going to run roughshod over the opposition in free verse. ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, analyzing Keats’ themes of transience and nature, isn’t going to give us a competitive advantage over you.’
5. University of Pennsylvania Quakers. The most ironically named team here, as the world’s most famous pacifists are Quakers, yet this team still has a fight song.
4. Montana State University-Northern Skylights. “I decided to install a skylight. The neighbors upstairs are really ticked off”, Steven Wright.
3. Indiana State University Sycamores. Until 1921, their athletic teams were unofficially dubbed the “Fighting Teachers”. Not surprisingly, a contest was held soon after to come up with a new name and in 1922, it was announced that “Sycamores” had won by popular student body vote. Then again, ‘The Soldering Irons’ or just about any phrase chosen completely at random and entered as a ballot write-in would’ve been preferable.
2. Webb College Webbies. When you share a name with “the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet” this is a sure sign your football team will be stuffed into a locker.
1. Arkansas Tech University Wonder Boys. In the film version, Michael Douglas takes a lonely, slight, depressed would-be novelist (who wasn’t going to be a walk-on for the line-backing corps any time soon), under his wing.