Most of the time, college sports teams name themselves something that evokes strength, virility, or athletic prowess — Lions, Knights, Bears, Vikings, Panthers, and whatnot.
But some teams go in the opposite direction…
The Banana Slugs — The University of California at Santa Cruz. Adopted when students rebelled over the chancellor’s choice, “The Sea Lions.”
The Fighting Pickles — University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.
The Fighting Blue Hens — University of Delaware, Newark.
The Dirtbags — California State University – Long Beach. Men’s baseball team only.
The Fighting Artichokes – Scottsdale Community College, Scottsdale, Arizona.
The Trolls — Trinity Christian College, Palos Heights, Illinois.
The Geoducks — Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington. Pronounced “gooey-ducks.” Refers to the world’s largest burrowing clam. Their fight song: “Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about, let it all hang out!”
The Student Princes — Heidelberg University, Tiffin, Ohio. Very Germanic.
The Jumbos — Tufts University, Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts. Named after P. T. Barnum’s star circus elephant. Barnum gave Tufts a lot of money.
The Lemmings — Bryant & Stratton College, Cleveland, Ohio.
The Fire Ants — University of South Carolina Sumter. Ouch.
The Fighting Okra — Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi. Formerly “The Statesmen.”
The Stanford Tree — Unofficial mascot of Stanford University in Stanford, California. The actual team name is “The Cardinal” — the color red, not the bird. That’s too abstract for the student body, so they ignore it and have adopted a redwood tree.
The Hustling Quakers – Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana.
The Gorloks — Webster University, Webster Groves, Missouri. Named for the intersection of Gore and Lockwood Avenues on the university campus. The Gorlok mascot you see dancing on the sideline has the paws of a cheetah, the horns of a buffalo, and the face of a St. Bernard.
The Fighting Camels — Campbell University, Buies Creek, North Carolina. The team mascot is Gaylord the Camel. The women’s teams are, of course, the Lady Camels.
The Flying Fleet — Erskine College, Due West, South Carolina. (See Comments for details.)
The Eutectics — St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis, Missouri. Eutectics is a chemistry term relating to the solidification of alloys, which I don’t understand at all. The team mascot is Morty McPestle, a werewolf in a lab coat. Morty isn’t a wimpy mascot like okra and lemmings, but he seems to belong on this list.