A candid, no holds barred look at those screwy college nicknames. You know the ones. Hoyas, Tar Heels. Yeah. Those ones.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Like several other teams, the Vanderbilt Commodores don't have a mascot or symbol. They just have a "v" It's just as well, though. I'm not sure I would want to see a commodore. Isn't that a musical group? Oh, someone has just informed me that a Commodore is a naval officer. Hmmm. Let's see. Vanderbilt is located in Nashville, Tennessee – Tennessee - a land-locked state. Umm, yeah. That makes sense.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Ragin Cajuns

Ok, forget about the fact this is a goofy name. Ragin Cajuns ? Simmer down now, boys. Let's examine their symbol. A fleur-de-lis surrounded by flames. In heraldry, the fleur-de-lis stands for purity and light (and also the symbol for France). This equates with ragin' cajuns? To me, it equates with gaudy wallpaper and the boy scouts. Where's the "ragin'" in that? They'd be better off with a small domestic cat as their symbol. At least with a kitten, there's the potential to inflict harm.

[I'm on a roll, that's why there are so many entries for today. Plus, I'm still miffed about that whole Kornheiser article.]

Aaargh, Matey. Xavier University is known as the Musketeers.

Now, there are also Pirates, Bucaneers and Commodores in the tournament.
But, there's just something about a Musketeer from Xavier. Look at him. I mean, here's a guy that looks sharp. He's devilishly handsome and tough as nails. He's the kind of guy that would defend you against your enemies, but would kick your ass if you crossed him.

Kornheiser is crowding in on my nickname turf. Oh, and he's not nearly as funny.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Along the same lines as Blazers: in this year's NCAA Tourney, there are not one, but two (count them, two) teams called the "Flames." There's the Liberty Flames:

(Hey, that's not a flame, that's an eagle. They need to take the same zoology class as the students at Southern Utah!)

And there's the University of Illinois – Chicago:

Yeah! That's more like it – now that's a flame!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I'm not a big Portland Trailblazer fan, but I live in Portland and through my second job I'm able to watch all of their home games at the Rose Garden Arena. I wouldn't say I'm a big fan, just a follower. Anyway, I've always thought the "Blazers" was a cool nickname, just because it's so unusual. It makes sense for the Northwest, since there many who blazed trails to the west. I could never figure out their logo, though. That's it up above. It's a nice "pinwheel," but it just doesn't tie in with anything. I mean, if you’re a Bull or a Timberwolf, at least you have something to go by. I thought Portland's NBA team were the only "blazers" around. Turns out I'm wrong.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham – UAB – also uses the Blazer moniker.

But, hey, their nickname and mascot make sense! A dragon! Blazers! Get it?

Actually, there are some other teams that are called the Blazers:
Belhaven College (Jackson, Mississippi)
College of Saint Benedict (Saint Joseph, Minnesota)
Elms College (Chicopee, Massachusetts)
Hood College (Frederick, Maryland)
Valdosta State University (Valdosta, Georgia)

Who would have thought?

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Next weird one: The Manhattan Jaspers. While it has a nice ring to it, I caught myself wondering again, what the hell is a jasper? Oddly enough, the fine folks at Manhattan College, just as at SIUC, have found it necessary to explain the whole thing. (Yeah, that's where I want to go to college – someplace where you have explain the nickname!?)

It's not even as exciting as the Saluki, because, ah-hem, it was named after, uh-hmm , a, errr, a person. Named Jasper. They don't even have a symbol, just the words:

Monday, March 15, 2004

March Madness
Now that the invitations to the "Big Dance" for 2004 have been handed out, the NCAA's selection committee has provided me with some additional mascots to make fun of. (Ooops – I've committed that grammatical sin where I end a sentence with a preposition. Should it instead read, "…some additional mascots of which to make fun."?? Naaww.)

First off, let's look at some of the traditional teams that have ended up in the tournament. With these, we've learned over time to accept their goofy nicknames and have given up hope that we can convince others to join us in making fun of them. We've got Blue Devils, Friars and Demon Deacons. Yellow Jackets and Red Raiders, Crimson Tide and Blue Demons. Gamecocks and Catamounts. We've even got Illini (fighting ones at that).

And that's not even the weird ones! One of the weirdest (and believe me, the competition is tough!) is the Southern Illinois Salukis. What the hell is a Saluki? Apparently, I am not the first one to ask this question. When Walt Frazier was leading the So. Illinois team to an NIT championship in 1967, sportswriter Jerry Isenberg wrote the following:

Princeton has its Tiger. B.C. has its Eagle,
Rutgers is the Queensmen, a title truly regal.
But from frigid New York City to Kentucky's old Paduchee,
There's just one burning question – what the hell is a Saluki?

Ok, for the record, please note that Rutgers used to be the Queensmen?!? Ugh. Makes Kingsmen seem so much manly-er.
Well, the short answer is, a Saluki is nothing more than a fancy name for a dog. For the long answer, you can visit SIUC's website. Basically, it's an Egyptian dog, and Salukis were accepted as the finest animals a family could possibly possess. Known for their speed and hunting skills, Salukis are the oldest pure-breed dogs in the world with records dating back to 3600 B.C. That's great. And very historical. Not to mention very biblical. And much better than their former name – the Maroons! But, don't you think they could have come up with a better looking representative of that fine animal?

This reminds me of the dog on the Simpsons. Hellooo Santa's Little Helper!