10. Navy Midshipmen—No disrespect meant to our servicemen, but how can you pass up "Destroyers"?
9. Oklahoma Sooners—Apparently "Sooner" refers to certain settlers in 1889 who snuck out ahead of a gunshot that signalled the opening of two million homestead acres. Basically, Sooners were cheaters. It's kind of like naming yourself after a false start.
8. Minnesota Gophers—A team mascot should strike terror into the hearts of opponents. Naming yourself after a defenseless mammal that scurries into a hole in the ground at the slightest hint of danger doesn't quite get the job done.
7. Maryland Terrapins—I know the SEC has a reputation as the speed conference, but surely the ACC can't be so slow that they are forced to name a team after a turtle.
6. Virginia Tech Hokies—Only a slight improvement over the team's original name, "The Fighting Gobblers." If you're going to name yourselves after a bird, choose a bird of prey, not a turkey. Turkeys are a food supply.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes—The Buckeye is the state tree of Ohio. That's right. They're named after a tree. What are we supposed to be afraid of? Are the Buckeyes going to fall on us? Are we going to scrape ourselves against their bark and develop an infection? Or perhaps they are the Orc tossing trees from the "Lord of the Rings" movies? I'm lost here, folks. Help me with this one.
4. Purdue Boilermakers—Also previously known as the "pumpkin-shuckers," "railsplitters," and "cornfield sailors". Hello, Purdue? This is the 21st century calling. Is anybody home?
3. Vanderbilt Commodores—I know Cornelius Vanderblt orginally paid the bills around there, but he's been dead for over 100 years. Isn't it about time to stop sucking up?
2. South Carolina Gamecocks—If they are going to be allowed to keep this name, the NCAA should at least ban those "Beat the Cocks" signs at South Carolina's road games.
1. Wake Forest Demon Deacons—Can anybody tell me what this means? I'm coming up with "Preachers Possessed by Satan". They get number one based on their mascot, the really irritated old dude.
This Week's "Playoff" Games
As my regular readers know, I consider meetings between ranked teams during the regular season to be the equivalent of playoff games. The winner stays in contention for the National Championship, while the loser—usually—falls out of contention.
As we enter the second half of the season we are going to assume that any team currently ranked 16-25 has no hope of reaching the top two spots even if they win out. Therefore I will only be discussing meetings between teams that are both ranked in the top 15.
Missouri (11) at Texas (1)
Clearly Texas is in the driver's seat right now. Their destiny is in their own hands if they win out. Even a loss on Saturday doesn't take them out of the mix. They still have Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Kansas on their schedule, at least one of which should still be highly ranked when they meet. On top of that, they will have a rematch against either Kansas or Missouri in the Big 12 Championship Game.
For Missouri, it is do or die Saturday. It's hard to imagine a two-loss Missouri team coming out on top in November.
Kansas (16) at Oklahoma (4)
Even though they aren't ranked in the top 15 Kansas is still a contender due to strength their upcoming schedule. A one-loss Kansas team could definitely get into the mix. A two-loss Kansas team? Sayonara, baby.
Oklahoma also needs a win to stay relevant in the "playoffs". A two-loss Sooner team would face the same improbable road to the title game that LSU took last year.