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20 Strangest Division I Team Names


1 of 20

Akron Zips
Akron Zips

The University of Akron Zips

Drawing by Laura Reyome

An article featuring the "20 Strangest Division I Team Names" is immediately going to come under attack by readers who question the methodology used for including a school on this prestigious list. After all, a college's reputation can be created or destroyed by national rankings such as this one. So I want to begin with absolute transparency. Laura Reyome and I approached this daunting responsibility with a fair, balanced, highly scientific, and entirely empirical system of evaluation. First, we looked at all Division I colleges and universities and studied their retention rates, graduation rates, selectivity, and financial aid. We then agreed that those numbers were lovely, and they were probably useful for something. But not this list.

We then modified our methodology so that it looked more like this:

     Allen: What do you think is stranger? Big Red or Big Green?
     Laura: They're both pretty strange.
     Allen: Yeah.

Note that this article covers NCAA Division I colleges and universities only. We'll be creating separate articles for Division II and III schools in the future so that a team such as the Delta State Fighting Okra can get the credit it deserves.

I should also note that Laura had absolute artistic license to represent these team names in whatever way she chose. This lead to some heated intellectual exchanges such as this:

     Allen: You drew a blue garden hose. I don't think that's what Presbyterian's "Blue Hose" means.
     Laura: Duh.

Now that you're fully satisfied with the fairness of our methodology, on to the list which we present alphabetically...

We begin with the University of Akron Zips. What is a "zip" you ask? The term could refer to something fast, or something that zips up. The reality may be a little of both, for the original costume for the University of Akron mascot debuted in 1954 and included a paper mache kangaroo head and a zip-up brown furry uniform. The choice of the kangaroo makes a lot of sense because of all the kangaroos running free in Eastern Ohio. You can learn more about Zippy the kangaroo on the Akron website: What is a Zip? and The Evolution of Zippy.

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