Before any of my regular readers get upset let me point out right off the bat that I am NOT going to start covering Division 1 sports on a regular basis. This will simply be a quick list of the most unique nicknames for D1 teams outside of the 120 schools that count as 1A (FBS for you spineless conformists) for football. There’s no contest this time and I won’t bother with pertinent details about the schools. I’ll just feature the logos and my pithy comments. Since this is the only time I’ll deal with Division 1 I’m doing more than 20 to get all the unique names in. And by unique I mean a name not shared by a team in one of the divisions I cover, hence no UTSA Roadrunners or Campbell Camels, etc.
FOR MY LOOK AT THE MANY FAULTS OF ESPN’s BROADCASTERS CLICK HERE: http://glitternight.com/2012/04/29/evaluating-espns-on-air-personalities/
FOR MY LOOK AT THE COOLEST HELMETS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL CLICK HERE: http://glitternight.com/2012/08/11/the-coolest-helmets-in-ncaa-division-2-college-football/
32. SAINT FRANCIS (PA) RED FLASH - CONFERENCE AFFILIATION – THE NORTHEAST CONFERENCE - The name and logo can’t help but make you think of the superhero The Flash from DC Comics which lends the nickname a certain kind of Neo-Nerd Chic. Sort of like the Blue Streaks from a few divisions down in the college sports world. Plus this school plays football, always a plus with me.
31. LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION – PATRIOT LEAGUE – Everyone knows about Lehigh’s storied gridiron rivalry with the Lafayette Leopards but some people have forgotten that the team’s name used to be the Engineers. Mountain Hawks has a really cool ring to it that kind of reeks of espionage, doesn’t it? You can picture a Top Secret meeting at the Pentagon to discuss Operation: Mountain Hawk.
30. CENTENARY GENTLEMEN (WOMEN’S TEAMS ARE CALLED THE LADIES) – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION – SUMMIT LEAGUE – Yes, it’s Gentlemen as in Southern Gentlemen (the school is in Louisiana) and Ladies as in “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen”. While it’s not exactly an intimidating nickname (with possibly the Penn Quakers having the only D1 nickname that is even less threatening) there’s no denying it’s a very cool one.
29. PRESBYTERIAN COLLEGE BLUE HOSE – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: THE BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE – This is one of those nicknames that has multiple stories behind it so I’ll just go with the coolest one to keep my readers entertained. A particularly badass group of Scottish warriors supposedly wore blue stockings, hence the nickname! But to tell the truth the figure in their logo looks like he’s saying “Please don’t laugh at my outfit.”
28. MURRAY STATE RACERS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE – “Murray, use a coaster!” … Had to be said. Now let’s move on. The Racers’ logo kind of reminds me of one of my favorite D2 logos -the one for the Kentucky State Thorobreds. If they ever look for an alternate theme they could go with Speed Racer or even his brother Racer X. Which begs the question, does the Murray State marching band play “Go Speed Racer” every time the football team scores a touchdown?
27. MARYLAND-BALTIMORE COUNTY RETRIEVERS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE – I’m a dog lover so canine nicknames that are NOT the incredibly overused Bulldogs really register with me. Plus in this one you have the whole Baltimore Retriever thing going on so that’s pretty cool too. And their hoops teams have been pretty good in recent years.
26. PEPPERDINE WAVES – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: WEST COAST CONFERENCE – The Big 120 have the Tulane Green Wave, the USCAA has the OSU-Marion Scarlet Wave and this list has the Pepperdine Waves, period. Awesome logo that is heavy on the intimidation factor AND the fantasy factor, so it’s got both sports geeks and regular geeks covered with this.
25. MANHATTAN JASPERS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE – This school’s teams are named for Brother Jasper of Mary, who introduced baseball to the institution in the 1800′s and is also credited with inventing the 7th inning stretch before it caught fire in the Major Leagues. I wish this school played football just so I could see that logo on a plain white helmet.
24. MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE DELTA DEVILS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE – That’s Delta Devils as in the Mississippi River Delta, the same Delta that lends its name to Division 2′s Delta State Statesmen. Mississippi Valley State is best-known as the alma mater of the one and only Jerry Rice way back when and, of course, for this kickass logo.
23. WILLIAM AND MARY TRIBE – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION – As everyone who’s into U.S. Presidential history knows William and Mary was the alma mater of Thomas Jefferson. If you’re into television sitcom trivia it was also the alma mater of J.D. and Turk on Scrubs and of Jerry Robinson on The Bob Newhart Show.
22. WOFFORD TERRIERS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: THE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE – Once again my fondness for dogs is showing! Since I like cool logos and cool helmets as well as cool nicknames I’ll take this opportunity to once again vent about how annoyed I am that Wofford got rid of their football helmets that had a Terrier head logo on them and now just wear plain gold helmets. BRING BACK THE POOCH!
21. DELAWARE BLUE HENS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION – How cool is this nickname? Plus to throw in some more references to famous alumni the NFL’s Joe Flacco went to Delaware, as did Vice President Joe Biden, a man best-remembered for his Gettysburg Address. (I don’t care what decade it is, Joe Biden plagiarism jokes are still damn funny!)
20. AUSTIN PEAY GOVERNORS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE – If you’ve never watched a Governors sporting event you owe it to yourself to do it at least once just so you can hear the fans exuberantly chanting “Let’s go Peay!” with huge grins on their faces. That aside, Governors is a pretty appealing nickname all by itself.
19. LONG ISLAND BLACKBIRDS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: NORTHEAST CONFERENCE – The Blackbirds is a pretty cool nickname that lends itself to great visuals like this. And you can insert your own “Bye, Bye Blackbird” joke here, or for bonus points if you’re interested, insert your own “Bye, Bye Berwyn” joke for all of us Son Of Svengoolie fans. (No, I’ve never met a Rich Koz reference I didn’t like.)
18. SAN DIEGO TOREROS - CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: PIONEER LEAGUE – To answer your questions in advance the Northridge Matadors are not on this list because there are other teams called Matadors in the divisions I cover but San Diego boasts the only team called Toreros, along with the most beautiful weather in the world!
17. EVANSVILLE PURPLE ACES – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE – How can you not love a nickname as cool as the Purple Aces? It’s a shame this school stopped sponsoring football long ago. I could picture football helmets with a big purple ace of clubs on the sides. All of this is meant to distract you from the fact that I have absolutely no idea what the figure in the logo has to do with the name Purple Aces.
16. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE JACKRABBITS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: THE SUMMIT LEAGUE – No, it’s not a movie poster for a remake of Night Of The Lepus, the memorable bad movie about radiation-spawned giant rabbits on a rampage, it’s the logo for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. If you think normal-sized rabbits can’t be dangerous just watch Monty Python And The Holy Grail.
15. RICHMOND SPIDERS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION – Spiders is another of those nicknames so cool that I can’t believe it isn’t used more often. As far as I’m concerned half the teams that call themselves Eagles, Tigers, Bulldogs and Wildcats should switch to names like Spiders or Scorpions or Tarantulas or Black Widows, etc. By the way, a few years back the Spiders won the 1AA (or FCS if you’re gutless) football championship.
14. WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS - CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE – No, Shockers is not a reference to the Wichita Power company and the song Wichita Lineman. This nickname is a truncated one in the tradition of the Dodgers, who were originally the Trolleydodgers. Wichita State’s teams were originally called the Wheatshockers, hence the mutant killer wheat-beast as the mascot.
13. NORTH FLORIDA OSPREYS - CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE – If you were a Marvel Comics geek like I was as a kid you’ll remember the short-lived comic relief supervillain called the Osprey, based on the bird, just like this school’s teams. His contemporary, the Texas Twister, would also make a good name for sports teams if plural. Not so, however, their fellow villain Captain Ultra.
12. UC-IRVINE ANTEATERS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: BIG WEST CONFERENCE – Okay, I know we’re all a little disappointed that they don’t go all the way and call their teams the Aardvarks but you have to admit Anteaters is still pretty cool. Plus the baseball team’s success in recent years has made us all familiar with the fans’ cheer ”Ant- EATERS!” And to quote Jim Rome , if you have a problem with the Anteaters, you have a problem with yourself.
11. STETSON HATTERS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: ATLANTIC SUN CONFERENCE – I much prefered the days when they were called the Mad Hatters instead, but what can you do? They’ve still got a cool nickname and a cool logo, so there’s absolutely nothing to complain about … unless you count the fact that they haven’t had a football team since about the time when Lee Corso, the Sunshine Scooter himself, was playing for Florida State.
10. LOYOLA (CHICAGO) RAMBLERS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: THE HORIZON LEAGUE – Since the dog is just incidental to the name we’ll focus instead on the cool nickname Ramblers instead and maybe throw in an Allman Brothers reference … Okay, see if YOU can come up with something better.
9. IPFW MASTODONS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION – THE SUMMIT LEAGUE – The Mastodons really puts plenty of other sports team nicknames to shame, doesn’t it? And if you’re wondering , the letters IPFW stand for Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne. It’s not quite as awkward as the Indiana University Purdue University of Indiana (IUPUI) Jaguars but it’s still pretty enjoyably off-kilter.
8. WESTERN ILLINOIS LEATHERNECKS - CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE – They used to be called the Leatherneck Raiders, which might have been good enough for the number one spot, but they still made the Top 10 with this shorter nickname so the damage is minimal.
7. ALBANY GREAT DANES – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: NORTHEAST CONFERENCE – Once again the dog lover in me takes center stage. Returning to the theme of famous alumni, noted historian and author Dr Noralee Frankel did her undergrad work at Albany. Her latest book Stripping Gypsy: The Life Of Gypsy Rose Lee, is a terrific read!
6. FURMAN PALADINS – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: THE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE – Yes, it’s Paladins as in knights of Charlemagne, not Paladins as in Have Gun Will Travel. Although there is a tie-in if you count the fact that most people don’t seem to know that the reason the gunfighter Paladin used a knight chesspiece on his business cards was because of the original meaning of Paladins.
5. MASSACHUSETTS MINUTEMEN – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: ATLANTIC TEN CONFERENCE – You just knew a Revolutionary War nut like me would have this team ranked pretty high. Plus I always have a soft spot for teams whose names reflect some of the history or character of their region. And you can give yourself a ticket to Trivia Heaven if you remember the Golden Age superhero called the Minuteman.
4. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS SALUKIS - CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE – I swear to you this is the last dog nickname on the list. The back story of the Salukis’ efforts during a flood is well known so let me throw in one of my dark horse theories on a related subject: since the Saluki breed was around in ancient Egypt I’ve often wondered if the much-discussed “Set animal” is really supposed to be a Saluki with its ears extended.
3. SAINT LOUIS BILLIKENS - CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: ATLANTIC TEN CONFERENCE – A Billiken was a nationwide craze in the early part of the 20th Century and may have been inspired by a poem. There are dozens of stories about the origin of this good-luck figure and advertising icon so you can just take your pick. As for me, I just love how cool and unique it is and I feel it more than deserves its high ranking on this list.
2. MARIST RED FOXES – CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE – Insert your own Sanford And Son joke here if you like. I prefer to just soak in the overwhelming appeal of the nickname the Red Foxes. The school plays football and they once had a basketball star with the unforgetable name Spongey Benjamin! For an oddball like me all this makes them a slam dunk for this list!
1. COASTAL CAROLINA CHANTICLEERS - CONFERENCE AFFILIATION: THE BIG SOUTH CONFERENCE – The name Chanticleers is pronounced SHON-ti- cleers. This memorable nickname comes from the mighty, cunning and competitive rooster in The Nun’s Priest Tale from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. It definitely has all the oddball cool that readers of Balladeer’s Blog have come to expect.
FOR MORE LISTS AND ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE CLICK HERE: http://glitternight.com/top-lists/
MORE COOL STUFF
The 20 Coolest-Named USCAA and NCCAA Sports Teams – http://glitternight.com/2010/11/24/the-20-coolest-named-uscaa-and-nccaa-sports-teams/
The 20 Coolest-Named JUCO Sports Teams: http://glitternight.com/2010/10/18/the-20-coolest-named-juco-sports-teams/
For the NAIA edition of The 20 Coolest College Sports Teams You May Never Have Heard Of click here: http://glitternight.com/2010/06/21/the-20-coolest-named-college-sports-teams-you-may-have-never-heard-of-naia-edition/
For The 20 Coolest College Sports Logos click here: http://glitternight.com/2010/07/20/the-20-coolest-college-sports-logos/
For The 20 Coolest Football Helmets In NCAA Division 3 click here: http://glitternight.com/2010/08/23/the-20-coolest-football-helmets-in-ncaa-division-3/
For the 20 Coolest-Named Sports Teams In NCAA Division 2 click here: http://glitternight.com/d2-20-coolest/
Balladeer’s Blog is not affiliated with or operated by the NAIA or the NCAA or any of their member institutions.
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.