This is a follow-up to my recent post entitled "Top 10 Worst College Football Team Names." It was well received, but a few readers commented that part of the college game's charm is the wide variety of goofy team names and mascots.
A fair point, and it's also true that every team can't be named after tigers and lions and bears. Nonetheless, I wanted to pay tribute to those schools that managed to come up with team names that are neither clichéd nor goofy.
10. North Carolina State Wolfpack
Unique name with good imagery, especially for football.
9. Florida Gators
Gators are native to Florida and it works nicely with the stadium nickname: "The Swamp."
8. Texas Longhorns
Good local flavor.
7. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
It takes a lot of confidence to name yourself after an insect. Works for me. Nasty little fellows, those bees.
6. Miami Hurricanes
I give extra originality points for not naming your team after an animal. Good local context.
5. Iowa State Cyclones
Why better than the Hurricanes? They could have chosen "Tornadoes," but went with the less obvious choice.
4. USC Trojans
These are universities, right? How about some props for a reference to Homer? My writing teachers always told me, "Go with the specific, never the general." This team name is much stronger than the generic "Warriors." Nice ancient history tie in with their stadium, The Coliseum.
3. Michigan State Spartans
Same as above, but better choice. While 300 Spartans defeated the entire Persian army, the Trojans stole somebody's wife and got fooled by a bunch of guys hiding in a horse.
2. Marshall Thundering Herd
My favorite name. Not snappy, but you can always shorten to "Herd" if you need to. They lost out on No. 1 because of the implied animal reference.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
A tide sweeps everything before it. Blood is implied by crimson. A subtle reference to a deadly tsunami? A Noahesque armageddon? Beats "Tigers," that's for sure.