Who in the mother of all non-menacing nicknames is Scrappy the Mocking Bird? He’s the mascot for the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Mocs that’s who.
On paper, the University of Nebraska’s Herbie Husker and Lil’ Red should be able to kill a mocking bird any given Saturday, right? Sure. So, this weekend’s opening salvo into the 2011 Nebraska season appears to be more about my writing skill than the outcome of this game.
Nebraska, however, has been known to give up an upset. Could NU serve one up in their first game after getting handled in the Holiday Bowl by the Washington Huskies last year—a team the Huskers had absolutely throttled in a road game?
Keep reading to feed off the tasty corn cracking by the lake. Humbly, I’ve been known to, every now and then, get an entertaining thought and prediction right. Let’s see how this one turns out to kick off my 2011 college football coverage.
I’ll be watching the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big Red and the SoCon. Yes, the Southern Conference is on my radar as a potential upset power.
The SoCon includes traditional Division-I FCS (formerly I-AA) powerhouses Georgia Southern and Appalachian State. ASU is known for upsetting the University of Michigan, 34-32, in 2007 at Ann Arbor. The mighty Appalachian State Mountaineers have won or shared six straight SoCon championships.
UTC was picked to finish fourth this year by SoCon coaches in the preseason poll, yet the Mocs posted seven players on the preseason All-Southern Conference team. This speaks to the strength of the conference and the slowly growing parity in the world of college football.
Facing perhaps Nebraska’s weakest link this season—the refurbished defensive backfield—the Mocs could air it out to the tune of 60 passes in this game. Senior wide receiver Joel Bradford continues to bring in preseason honors after he broke UTC's school record with 1,284 receiving yards last year.
Coming from Lookout Mountain Valley, UTC’s quarterbacks had better lookout for the bull-rushing NU defensive linemen—perhaps the greatest strength of this season’s Blackshirts. Chattanooga's QBs could possibly use Scrappy the mascot to help block.
So, where did the name for UTC’s mascot come from, you ask? While it remains a mystery according to UTC, there are certain possibilities. Moccasin Bend is part of the Tennessee River as it rushes past Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga.
A water moccasin was UTC’s mascot in the 1920s. Next is was "The Shoe" in the 1960s through the '70s…seriously. Then the school's athletic teams were nicknamed Moccasins until 1996. A characterization of a Cherokee chief nicknamed “Moccanooga” was the lucky charm until the great year of 1996.
The political correctness wave of the 1990s helped create the current mascot—a northern mockingbird, which is the state bird of Tennessee. Scrappy is now a characterized Chattanooga Choo Choo engineer.
Some of my readers probably remember the song Chattanooga Choo Choo. Pardon me boys and girls, but A.C. “Scrappy” Moore was UTC’s former football coach. Moore could be the source of the Scrappy part of the current mascot's nickname.
To name a mascot after a former head coach, in the words of too many hip-hop artists to count, ladies and gentlemen: "That ain’t right.”
Will the Cornhuskers start the season in a predictably rightful manner with an explosive performance against what amounts to be a junior varsity squad? Maybe.
NU's reserves will see plenty of action, and there will be plenty of mistakes and poor execution. Bo Pelini and his partners won’t be happy, or at least they won’t say so.
They’d find something to be unhappy about if the Huskers posted 100 points in the first half. That’s what coaches do. Deep down inside, though, they’ll be content with a win in this first battle.
Chat Town was the center of a Civil War battle. The Cornhuskers need to be civil in this football battle against the little sisters of the poor; I mean the University of Chattanooga Mocs.
If the score is 76-0 by the end of the first quarter, then I expect the leader of the Honor Society at NU to be taking snaps instead of the third-string quarterback.
The Huskers and their talented corps of quarterbacks will win this one by a score of 176-0—barring a missed extra point—and get me off to a 1-0 start.
That is all for now, but I'll leave you with a quote: "While this is a trap game for Nebraska, the Mocs will set the trap when the rat has gone." That's taken from the Burundi tribe of Africa. Back in the states, catch me next time on Lake’s Magnificent Lincoln Report.