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I run the aforementioned College Nicknames list, and I have been doing do since 1993. My favorite is still the Figtning Banana Slugs from the University of California at Santa Cruz. I learned that most nicknames reflect any or all of the following: (1) something local to the area, (2) something about the school, or(3) something that strikes fear into the opposing team. I'm a graduate of the University of Florida; the mighty mighty Florida Gators certainly fulfill (1) and (3) above. I'm also a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; RPI is the only tech school I know of in the U.S. that plays Division I hockey. Their nickname (for hockey, anyway) is the Engineers. That certainly fits in (2) above. I'm back in school (!) again, at the University of New Hampshire. UNH has a boring and common nickname: Wildcats. I have no idea if wildcats are native to the Granite State; I doubt it. Nonetheless, it fits (3) above. One last note: in the summer of 2005, there was a major controversy regarding the NCAA's decision to penalize schools with offensive nicknames. One of the more visible schools under scrutiny were the Seminoles of Florida State University -- a team I love to cheer against. (I am, after all, a Gator fan.) However, I do know that the Seminole Tribe of Florida actually has a positive working relationship with FSU Athletics. The tribe gives the school all the information about the traditions, the colors, the dances, and so on... with all the details required. FSU Athletics takes all this information directly from the tribe and does it perfectly. This article from the Tampa Tribune gives more detail. My best guess is that the tribe sees FSU Athletics as an extension of their own marketing division, and I respect both groups for this win-win situation. But I still cheer against them. :)
posted by recycler1973 at 10:52 AM on February 16
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