SEC mascot nicknames ranked by uniqueness
It’s late July, and we’re ready for some SEC football.
But, alas, there is no football to be found, and we’re left to count the days until fall camp begins while struggling through the dog days of summer.
So, if you’ll indulge us while we all have some spare time, we’d like to do some ranking of the conference based on the uniqueness of perhaps the most valuable identifying symbol each school has: the mascot nickname.
Sound fun? Good, I knew you’d come around.
Remember, we’re not critiquing whether “Aubie the Tiger” is better than “Albert the Gator,” we’re just analyzing the team name itself.
13-14. Bulldogs (Georgia and Mississippi State)
This one is a really disappointing lack of creativity for two SEC schools. Of all the different dog breeds to choose from, Georgia and Mississippi State landed here? According to a list compiled by BuzzFeed, they aren’t alone. The Bulldog is the most common mascot in all of NCAA Division I sports.
10-12. Tigers (Auburn, LSU and Missouri)
There really was not a good way to separate this trio from the pair of Bulldogs critiqued above. While infinitely more ferocious, the Tigers mascot is only slightly less common, ranking as the third-most common mascot. On the bright side, the SEC appears to own 25 percent of the Tigers mascot population in Division I. I’m unsure of whether I should award bonus points to Auburn for also utilizing the War Eagle, as it seems to cause more confusion than anything.
9. Wildcats (Kentucky)
While Kentucky may be the only school using the Wildcats moniker in the SEC, it is far from the only one to use it in college sports. Arizona and Kansas State are fellow Power 5 programs that share the nickname.
8. Aggies (Texas A&M)
The mascot name is a derivative of the word “agriculture,” which was used to describe students based on the popular area of study at the school last century. Fellow FBS schools Utah State and New Mexico State share this mascot with Texas A&M.
7. Rebels (Ole Miss)
The school may have distanced itself from Colonel Reb, but the Rebels nickname continues to live on at Ole Miss. The origin of the nickname is predictable, but it is still a fairly unique mascot. It is shared with fellow FBS program UNLV.
6. Gamecocks (South Carolina)
We have reached a point of the list at which all remaining mascots have a good deal of uniqueness. While South Carolina claims to be the only school to go by “Fighting Gamecocks,” the school does share its shortened nickname with Jacksonville State.
5. Gators (Florida)
Anyone that has ever visited Florida likely knows all about the state’s alligator population. Therefore, not only is this a unique mascot, but one that seems fitting for the state school.
4. Razorbacks (Arkansas)
Merriam-Webster defines the razorback as “a thin-bodied long-legged feral hog chiefly of the southeastern United States.” That’s a pretty specific mascot nickname. Hard to argue against the uniqueness here.
3. Commodores (Vanderbilt)
While Vanderbilt has no official tie to the Navy and no ocean in sight, the league’s only private school carries a uniquely nautical nickname that is tied to a high-ranking official in the Navy. There are no other colleges that use this mascot.
2. Crimson Tide (Alabama)
This is one of the iconic mascot nicknames in all of sports. What was originally a simple correlation to the school’s colors by a sportswriter spawned into one of the most unique nicknames around. Now, how the elephant got involved is a completely different story.
1. Volunteers (Tennessee)
The story behind this mascot nickname dates back more than 200 years, when the state of Tennessee earned the “Volunteers” moniker for its citizens willingness to serve in the military during the War of 1812 following a call to service from the President. A sportswriter tagged the school’s athletics with the moniker some years later, and it has stuck as one of the most unique nicknames in college sports.