College Football Nicknames and Mascots

Discover the great stories behind these collegiate symbols that not only shape a university’s identity, but see generations of fans rally around and support with all of their heart and pride.
Join our exploration of how many of our collegiate nicknames and mascots originated and why they remain so dear to fan bases across the nation.  We also have special sections on Nicknames that don’t end in S, Mascot names gone bad and much more.

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College Nickname Changes
Major College Football Programs That Have Changed Their Nickname
 
Alabama Crimson Tide
What is a Crimson Tide?   Red Detergent?

Nebraska Cornhuskers

What exactly is a Husker?
Air Force Falcons
Air Force Academy spirit travels  at Mach 1.
North Carolina TarheelsHow does one become or find a Tarheel?
Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas fans yell “Whoo, pig, sooie”
when excited about the hogs.
NC State WolfpackIt came from a disgruntled fan.
Arizona Wildcats
A loss worth roaring about
Notre Dame Fighting IrishAlways after me Lucky Charms?
Arizona State Sun Devils
Once had an Ab-Normal nickname
Ohio State BuckeyesThe Buckeye mystery is solved!
Army Black Knights
Army supports cheer for the “A Team”
Oklahoma SoonersBetter to “Boomer Sooner” than Late
Auburn Tigers
An Eagle named Tiger?
Oklahoma State Cowboys Straight From the Pages of the Wild West!
Baylor Bears
The Judge Rules When it Comes to
Baylor Mascots!
Penn State Nittany Lions The first of the Lions.  Once donned dark pink??
Boston College Eagles
They’re dressed to meet the Pope!
Purdue Boilermakers Boilermakers are always served at Purdue
Cal Golden Bears
Success is always “in the cards!”
Rutgers Scarlet Knights It’s where it all began
Clemson Tigers
Tiger spirits high even though their going down hill!
South Carolina Gamecocks South Carolina tradition is filled with a fighting gamecock spirit.
Colorado Buffaloes
No one storms the field quite like Colorado
Stanford CardinalThey have the most famous tree in college football
Florida State Seminoles
Chief Osceola declares war on FSU opponents.
Syracuse OrangeThe most loved fruit in college athletics
Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia Bulldog’s mascot rates as “Top
Dawg” and more!
Tennessee Volunteers Volunteer fans are on top of “Old Smokey!”
Indiana Hoosiers
If a Hoosier is present, who’s there?
 Texas Longhorns Longhorn fans are “Hooked” on tradition!
Kansas Jayhawks
Their mascot combines two animals.
 Texas Tech Red RaidersTexas Tech’s masked rider is no Lone Ranger
Kansas State Wildcats
Players once earned a farmer’s tan
 TCU Horned Frogs It’s cool to be “Horny” at TCU!
LSU Tigers
LSU’s Tigers were originally Rebels!
 Texas A&M Aggies Aggies make Reveille a tail-wagging experience
Maryland TerrapinsA place where they “Fear the Turtle!”
 Washington Huskies No Longer the Sun Dodgers.
Michigan Wolverines
Wolverines is more than just a salute to the state nickname.
 Wisconsin Badgers Did you know that Wisconsin “plays” a 5th quarter at their home football games?
Minnesota Golden Gophers
It was all politics
 USC Trojans USC’s Mascot rode straight into Hollywood!
Mississippi State Buldogs
Mississippi State Bulldogs like to “Bully” their competitors!
 Vanderbilt Commodores This Commodore was never a computer
Missouri Tigers
Their mascot is named after a former U.S. President!
 West Virginia Mountaineers Forever in Buck Skin!
Navy Midshipmen
It’s an honor to be a “Goat” at the Naval Academy
 Western Kentucky
Hilltoppers
 They see Big Red and wave red all the time.  And then they walk up that hill!
 

College Football Nicknames
“Lions, Tigers and Bears. Oh My!”


Since the dawning of advanced civilization, groups both large and small have sought ways to identify themselves.  While giving the individuals within the group a sense of belonging, nicknames also create an image in the minds of others.

This philosophy has been evident in war when fighting units have labeled themselves with names such as Minutemen, Rebels and Fighting Tigers.  With football teams taking to the field of battle for a game it became natural for universities to adopt warrior like nicknames.  

That’s why on a typical college football Saturday invading forces with the nicknames of Trojans, Spartans and Black Knights seek to conquer their opponents. While all schools devise battle plans for victory, they don’t all embrace military themed nicknames.  That’s why major college football nicknames also feature frogs,
Hurricanes,Aggies and more.  

Below you’ll find research on college football nicknames and answers to many questions that surround them.  You’ll uncover such college nickname mysteries such as what an Ohio State Buckeye is and why Tulsa is known as the Golden Hurricanes despite they’re being in Oklahoma.


COLLEGE MASCOTS & NICKNAMES
BY CLASSIFICATIONS

ACTS OF GOD

Iowa State                           Cyclones
Miami                                   Hurricanes
Tulsa                                    Golden Hurricanes

REPTILES/AMPHIBIANS

Florida                                 Gators
Maryland                             Terrapins
TCU                                      Horned Frogs

AGRICULTURE

Nebraska                             Cornhuskers
New Mexico State             Aggies
Texas A&M                         Aggies
Utah State                           Aggies


WOLVES
Arkansas State                   Red Wolves
Nevada                                Wolf Pack
New Mexico                        Lobos
North Carolina State          Wolf Pack
APPAREL
Akron                                   Zips

PIGS

Arkansas                             Razorbacks

BEARS

Baylor                                   Bears
California                             Golden Bears
UCLA                                     Bruins

RAMS

Colorado State                    Rams

Beavers

Oregon State                      Beavers

REBELS

Nevada Las Vegas              Rebels
Mississippi                          Rebels

BIRDS

Ball State                             Cardinals
Louisville                             Cardinals
Oregon                                 Ducks
Boston College                   Eagles
Eastern Michigan                Eagles
Southern Miss                    Golden Eagles
North Texas                         Mean Green Eagles
Air Force                              Falcons
Bowling Green                    Falcons
South Carolina                    Gamecocks
Florida Atlantic                   Owls
Rice                                      Owls
Temple                                 Owls
Miami Ohio                          Redhawks
Texas San Antonio             Roadrunners
Louisiana Monroe              Warhawks

PREDATORY CATS

Cincinnati                            Bearcats
Ohio                                     Bobcats
Texas State                         Bobcats
Brigham Young                  Cougars
Houston                              Cougars
Penn State                          Nittany Lions
Florida International         Golden Panthers
Pittsburgh                           Panthers
Auburn                                Tigers
Clemson                              Tigers
LSU                                      Tigers
Memphis                             Tigers
Missouri                              Tigers
Arizona                                Wildcats
Kansas State                      Wildcats
Kentucky                             Wildcats
Northwestern                     Wildcats

BUFFALO

Colorado                             Buffaloes
Marshall                              Thundering Herd

HORSES

Boise State                          Broncos
SMU                                      Mustangs
Western Michigan              Broncos

BUGS

Georgia Tech                      Yellow Jackets

LIVESTOCK
  

Buffalo                                 Bulls
South Florida                      Bulls
Texas                                   Longhorns

PLANT LIFE

Ohio State                            Buckeyes

GOPHERS

Minnesota                           Golden Gophers

DOGS

Fresno State                       Bulldogs
Georgia                                Bulldogs
Louisiana Tech                   Bulldogs
Mississippi State                Bulldogs
Connecticut                        Huskies
Northern Illinois                 Huskies
Washington                         Huskies

STATE NICKNAME MATCHES

Indiana                                 Hoosiers
Iowa                                      Hawkeyes
Kansas                                 Jayhawks
Michigan                              Wolverines
Nebraska                             Cornhusker
North Carolina                    Tarheels
Ohio State                           Buckeyes
Oklahoma                            Sooners
Oregon State                      Beavers
Tennessee                          Volunteers
Wisconsin                            Badgers

COLORS

North Texas                         Mean Green
Stanford                               Cardinal
Syracuse                              Orange

FROM THE WILD WEST

Oklahoma State                  Cowboys
Wyoming                              Cowboys


FIRE AND LIGHT
Alabama-Birmingham         Blazers
Kent                                     Golden Flashes

Ancient Warriors

Troy                                      Trojans
USC                                      Trojans

Achievers

Western Kentucky             Hilltoppers

Soldiers

UMass                                  Minutemen

DEVILISH NAMES

Arizona State                      Sun Devils
Duke                                    Blue Devils
Wake Forest                       Demon Deacons

ETHNIC HERITAGE

Louisiana-Lafayette           Rajun’ Cajuns
Notre Dame                        Fighting Irish

INDIANS

Central Michigan               Chippewas
Florida State                       Seminoles
Illinois                                  Fighting Illini
San Diego State                  Aztecs
Utah                                      Utes

KNIGHTS

Army                                     Black Knights
Central Florida                   Golden Knights
Rutgers                               Scarlet Knights

MECHANICAL WORKERS

Purdue                                 Boilermakers
Texas El Paso                      Miners
West Virginia                      Mountaineers

SAILING THE SEAS

East Carolina                      Pirates
Navy                                     Midshipmen
Vanderbilt                           Commodores

NOBILITY

Virginia                                Cavaliers

WATER

Alabama                               Crimson Tide
Tulane                                  Green Wave

RAIDERS

Texas Tech                          Red Raiders
Middle Tennessee State   Blue Raiders


UNDETERMINED
Virginia Tech                       Hokies