Facts About College Football Team Names

College football team names are unique, ranging from the Hurricanes to the Corn Huskers to the Buckeyes. Sometimes the origin of college football team names is uncertain; other times a lively explanation accompanies the team's name.

One of college football's most popular and a widely recognized team is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. There are a few theories as to where the name came from, but the most widely accepted explanation is that the press labeled Notre Dame's team based on Irish stereotypes as well as the toughness and tenacity of the legendary Coach Knut Rockne's teams. Other teams have taken on the name of popular stereotypes as well as local professions and Native American peoples. The Nebraska Corn Huskers are named as a nod to the well-known local crop and those that work on the farms. The Florida State Seminoles, though a bit controversial, were named after the Native American tribe that lived in and around the Tallahassee area. The Oklahoma Sooners' nickname is a reference to the Oklahoma settlers who staked a claim to the land sooner than they were supposed to. Though it initially had a negative connotation, the school's fans proudly call themselves Sooners today. The armed forces pay their respects to their soldiers with obvious nicknames of Midshipmen (Navy), Falcons (Air Force) and Black Knights (Army).

Other schools have taken on the name of animals that populate the region surrounding the school. The Texas Longhorns are named after the cattle that evolved from those brought over from Spain by Columbus. They were one of the few species of cattle that could survive Texas's harsh conditions.  The Colorado Buffaloes and Kentucky Wildcats follow in this tradition.

Another tradition is to name teams after state nicknames The Sooners are a good example of this. Other examples include the Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan Wolverines, Tennessee Volunteers and Wisconsin Badgers.

Other schools choose names to sound intimidating and in hopes that their players will exhibit the characteristics of those names. The Arkansas Razorbacks are a prime example of this. Arkansas coach Hugo Bezdek is said to have told a crowd that his team would play "like a wild band of Razorback Hogs." Both the Clemson Tigers and LSU Tigers follow this line of thought.

Although team names may be colorful and intimidating, they do little to help the team win. At the same time, a team name may provide enough pride to motivate a team to play a little harder than their opponent.

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