The 15 Most Unique College Sports Nicknames

In a previous article my hate for the annual LSU and Auburn game made me propose that the most common nicknames in college sports, like the Tigers, Bulldogs and Panthers, should be banned. Instead colleges should be forced to choose some more unique names. I decided to help these schools that need new nicknames by listing some of the most unique nicknames in college sports for them to choose from. Below are the 15 most unique nicknames in college sports.

But before we get there let’s do to things. First let’s set some criteria. All of the following nicknames in this article are used by only one school and the nickname also can not be used by team from one of the major professional sports leagues.

Before we get to the top fifteen, let’s give out some honorable mentions.

First of all, let’s hand it to the schools from major conferences for their originality. As a school from a major conference it’s real easy to settle for a common nickname like the Tigers or Wildcats, but some teams chose to use something different. The Purdue Boilermakers, Vanderbilt Commodores, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Virginia Tech Hokies, Indiana Hoosiers, Illinois Illini, Kansas Jayhawks, Syracuse Orange, Florida State Seminoles, North Carolina Tar Heels and Maryland Terrapins are all original names.

A common trend is to improve a regular nickname by adding a color at the beginning. The most common color is Gold, but Blue is a close second. Some of the most colorful college nicknames include the Black Knights, Blue Demons, Blue Hens, Blue Streaks, Golden Grizzlies, Golden Rams and Golden Seals.

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Another popular choice is to take a regular nickname and add a descriptive word at the beginning like the Battlin Beavers, Gothic Knights and Hustlin Owls.

Those are all good attempts, but these are the 15 most unique nicknames in college sports:
15. Banana Slugs (University of California-Santa Cruz) – Unfortunately, being unique is not always good. Sometimes unique is bad and that is the case with the Banana Slugs, who I once chose as one of the worst nicknames in college sports.

14. Boxers (Pacific University) – Okay maybe the Boxer doesn’t seem really unique but I like it because of its double meaning. If you are a member of Pacific University then the Boxers are large muscular men with boxing gloves beating the crap out of people. If you’re the opponent then they’re all a bunch of men’s underwear.

13. Little Johns (Penn State University-Albington) – Any time something reminds me of Robin Hood it is going to get some major bonus points.

12. Chaparrals (Lubbock Christian University) – A chaparral is actually just a type of shrubbery but it sounds pretty cool. Plus shrubberies always make me think of the Knights who say…Ni!

11. Chanticleers (Coastal Carolina University) – Chanticleers sounds pretty cool doesn’t it? Well, a chanticleer is just a rooster but you have to give them credit for using chanticleer and not just rooster. Plus a chanticleer is a rooster in medieval times, medieval roosters rock!

10. Prairie Wolves (Nebraska Wesleyan University) – A wolf is one of the most menacing creatures to name your team after. But wolves has been used, so has Timber Wolves. So at least they gave us a twist on the classic wolves nickname.

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9. Mastodons (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne) – There are two definitions for a mastodon, a large elephant-like creature and a human of enormous size. Either way you’re getting crushed.

8. Grenadiers (Indiana University-Southeast) – Those baseballs and footballs of yours, they’re real cute. But these guys throw grenades.

7. Canoneers (Pratt Institute) – It was hard to rank these last two teams. How do you choose between someone who throws grenades and somebody who shoots cannons? Well I like cannons better so I chose the Canoneers.

6. Humpback Whales (University of Alaska-Southeast) – I like a nickname that can only be used by certain people. Like a college in New York City couldn’t really be the Cornhuskers, but for Nebraska it makes sense. The same thing is true for this nickname. Alaska is one of the few places in the United States you can find a Humpback Whale, so the Alaskans have embraced it.

5. The Rock (Slippery Rock University) – First of all I’m pretty sure this is the only nickname with the word “The” in the nickname. Being known as “The Rock” is way cooler than being called “Rocks.” Just ask former WWE wrestler and now actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Doesn’t that sound a lot cooler than Dwayne “Rocks” Johnson?

4. Centaurs (Purdue University-North Central) – Believe it or not there are even sports nicknames for fantasy geeks to love. The centaur is a classic half man-half horse creature that can be found in a lot of fantasy stories.

3. Griffons (Missouri Western State College) – The only thing better than a half man-half horse creature is a half eagle-half lion creature.

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2. Dirtbags (California State University-Long Beach) – You have to love honesty don’t you? Yeah, we’re dirtbags. What are you going to do about it?

1. Sand Sharks (University of South Carolina-Beaufort) – I know that technically a Sand Shark is a shark that swims in shallow waters in tropical places but it sounds a lot cooler than that. A Sand Shark sounds like a shark that can actually swim through sand. I imagine Sand Sharks as not being in the ocean at all, but actually swimming through the desert, picking off poor starving souls. A shark that swam through deserts would be awesome!