Colleges and professional teams are named after a wide array of animals, professions and anything in between.
While some teams have generic names (i.e. Wildcats, Warriors, Knights), others go with more creative names to separate themselves from the pack.
We sat down as a team to find the wackiest sports names in the country. We had so much fun with it that we decided to make a 64-team tournament and allow you, the readers, to select who has the silliest team name in college/professional sports in America (and Canada).
Today we open the voting for the "Noah Should Have Left These Off the Ark" Regional.
Like the make up of the platypus, the story of St. John's is a bit strange. The private liberal arts school has two campuses: Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Annapolis, Maryland. And it has two mascots — both a little strange. While the Platypus is used as a mascot, most of the teams go by the nickname "Books," which refers to its curriculum based on "reading and discussing seminal great works of Western civilization."
Fort Wayne, Indiana — the capital of strange names — was named after Revolutionary War General Mad Anthony Wayne, so the Mad Ants makes sense to the hometown fans of the NBA Developmental League team. The Ants have been less mad lately after winning the D-League title and their top scorer getting a cool profile in Sports Illustrated.
The Marlins' single-A affiliate's logo is about as wimpy as it gets, but the team gets props for being unique. The storied franchise changed its name from the Bats in 2005, the same year it moved out of 80-year-old War Memorial Stadium.
Of Bryant & Stratton's 10 campuses, Cleveland has the worst (best?) nickname in the Lemmings. Not exactly intimidating to face an animal known for jumping to its death.
Life University, which is known for its doctoral degree program in chiropractic care, has always played well in the back-breaking club sports (like hockey and rugby). But why are the Eagles running, not flying?
The two small California colleges of Pomona and Pitzer joined forces in 1970 to compete as a combined athletics teams of the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. The nickname, originally with Pomona, dates back long before that. The logo is definitely old-school. It looks like it belongs in a 1940s Donald Duck short.
The Blue Wahoos was the winner of a 2012 fan contest to rename the team as it moved from Carolina (formerly the Mudcats) to Pensacola. While fun to say, the Wahoo is a prize game fish that can be found around the world. The colors of the double-A affiliate of the Reds are just as creative as the name: Neon Red, Gulf Coast Royal Blue, Blue Angel Navy Blue, Tin Roof Tin. Huh?
How Tufts University got this fantastic nickname is a long story. Jumbo was a famous giant elephant in the Barnum & Bailey Circus, which was killed in a locomotive accident in 1885. After taxidermy, Phineas T. Barnum, who had ties to Tufts, donated Jumbo's stuffed remains to Tufts. At the time, Tufts had a museum, but over time that museum became a student lounge, but Jumbo's body was never moved. According to the university, it then became a good-luck charm for students during finals. Though the remains were destroyed in a 1975 fire, the name sticks with Tufts to this day.
Indiana University-Purdue at Fort Wayne is known for its annoyingly long school name (not as bad as IUPUI), but also for the most prehistoric team name. As the university says on a page completely dedicated to explaining its team name, "It all started about 10,000 years ago … when mastodons roamed the southern Great Lakes region." But in the late 1960s, IPFW geologists found mastodon bones in the Fort Wayne area.
However, it wasn't until the 1970s that IPFW became the Mastodons. The student newspaper at IPFW began a push for a mascot name. Suggestions included the "Elfs" and "Hobbits," and even the "Boiler-Hoosiers" (think Indiana-Purdue). However, it was the student body president at the time, among others, who pushed for the Mastodons. The name stuck, and IPFW maintains that name to this day.
What's a sailfish? It's a lot like a marlin or a swordfish. However, why not go with the swordfish then? That sounds way more intimidating than the sailfish.
We all associate gophers with Carl's attempts of killing the gopher in "Caddyshack." But why the Golden Gophers? It's apparently because Minnesota became the "Gopher State" in the 1800s and the team colors are gold and maroon. According to Yahoo, broadcaster Halsey Hall started calling them the "Golden Gophers" in the early 20th century because of the gold uniforms. The name stuck and that's why they are the "Golden Gophers."
Two schools have the name Peacocks, and we assume each are known for showboating in the end zone or after a dunk.
We got an idea what a Chanticleer might be from the logo. It's a fiesty rooster from a fairy tale. USC-Coastal Carolina (now just Coastal Carolina University) was originally the Trojans, but switched its name in the 1960s after an English professor (go figure) led a charge to rename them the Chanticleers — close to South Carolina's Gamecocks.
First off, the Horned Frogs are liars because a horned frog is a lizard, not a frog. It's a name that was adopted in 1897, according to the university, and the lizard is now the official state reptile of Texas.
If you've ever been bitten by a fire ant, you know it can be painful and annoying. But why name a team after a bug that can easily be squished?
What is a Javelina? First off, it's so obscure of a name that the university adds it to the pronunciation guide of names — it's pronounced "Hah-vuh-lee-nuh." It's actually the Spanish name for a peccary, which is a small wild pig. The university notes the animal's reputation as a strong fighter as why the school is nicknamed the Javelinas. It's been the school name since 1925.
Voting will commence on the Deseret News Sports Facebook page.
Today we open the voting for the Wild Animals Regional.
Click here to vote for your favorites.
Read about the Vocation Regional here.
Read about the Wild Animal Regional here.
Read about the Food and Things Regional here.