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June 20, 2011To quote William Shakespeare, "What's in a name?"
A name is how you are known. How you are referred to. How history remembers you. If you're famous, your name is talked about. It frequently rolls of the tongues of people who do not even know you.
That's how it is for athletes. Their names are repeated. Over the PA, on television, in newspapers and on websites. By fans, media, coaches and casual observers.
Great names often go hand-in-hand with greatness. William Wallace sounds like a champion of the people, though he may not have been so impressive were his name Henry O'Leary.
Mother Teresa sounds much more regal than, say, Aunt Jemima, nothing against syrup, of course.
For that reason, I unveil to you my Mississippi State football All-Name Team. The best names in the history of MSU football, some going back to the days of the Aggies and Maroons when it was Mississippi A&M.
We'll start with the food section, the most nutritionally-sound names, and progress through the best names in Bulldog history.
Mississippi State football All-Name food team:
Floyd 'Pork Chop' Womack: What a name for 300+ pound offensive lineman. I don't know that there exists a more appropriate food name for such a behemoth.
Quentin Saulsberry: Mmmm, steak.
Robert Bean: The bean is a simple, yet versatile food, and is a great compliment to most any dish. Just like Robert was a player.
Ike Pickle: Bet you didn't know this person existed. Records don't indicate what position he played, but don't get sour on this Pickle. He was 1st-team All-SEC in 1935.
Charles and Sonny Shamburger: Letterwinners in 1939 and 1967 respectively, I assume there must be a relation here, perhaps father/son. However, Shamburger sounds like a mean name a hamburger chain would use to make fun of the competition's puny excuse for a burger.
Sean Brauchle: Yes, it is pronounced like the vegetable. Well, if you live in the south it is. Pronounced brock-lee, it is just as fitting for a placekicker as Pork Chop is for an offensive lineman.
Leon Berry: An underrated candidate in the food category, Leon Berry just sounds like a happy name.
Pig Prather: Just as Colt McCoy was destined to play football for Texas, so Pig Prather was meant to be in Starkville, home of The Little Dooey and many-a pig cook-off in tailgating hours.
Mississippi State football All-Name best of the rest team:
Ashley Cooper: It takes a real man to pull off "Ashley." A mark of what a man he is, I would never say any of this to his face. Also, it has become clear that Jackie Sherrill deserves much of the credit for bringing not only talented players to MSU, but well-named athletes, at that.
Johnthan Banks: He mystified all of us when he burst onto the scene as a true freshman. Not because of his talent or skill, but the seeming lack of that one more vowel somewhere in his name.
Trey Belcher: Perhaps this is better suited for the food category, but either way, it's entertaining. His name brought out, I'm sure, just as many elementary jokes as the recent escapades of Representative Anthony Weiner.
Willie Blade: He will cut you.
Ferlando Bohanna: Nothing funny here. Just a helluva name. Sounds impressive, yeah?
Sleepy Robinson: I'm always a fan of adjectives used as names.
Rockey Felker: The original Rockey, coming before Rocky and that Sylvester Stallone guy. If all you knew about a guy was that his name is Rockey, you'd probably not want to make him angry. Which brings us to
Bob Anger: Again, just a great football last name, and in my opinion, a tremendous and under-appreciated first name.
Chris Ralph: This one is for you, Herm Edwards.
Tay Bowser: Super Mario World, anyone?
B.S. Cannon: Don't read this as a name. Read it as something you might purchase at a weapons store. Sounds like something we could all use, right? He lettered in 1931, and yes, all the records listed was B.S. No idea what the initials stand for.
Jesse James: Yep. Same name, different lifestyle.
Dennis Rushing: He better have been a running back.
Dylan Favre: Like it or not, Dylan, you've got the most famous last name to walk onto the Mississippi State campus since President George Bush, Sr., delivered the commencement address in The Hump some years ago.
And now, for the final category. It is a category of one. Fitting as it is a one-name winner. The best in history were known by one name.
Ghandi. Cher. Bono. Madonna. Mozart. Lassie. Shakespeare, Hitler, Prince, Oprah and Pele. For some, we know both names, but they were great enough to be recognized by only one.
For two years, his name was called at Davis Wade stadium. Not to be confused with the "Booooo's" of the Croom Era, Bulldog fans cried together with excitement whenever he stepped on the field. "Smoot."
Yes, Fred Smoot. But have you ever met someone who referred to him as "Fred"? He's the one man known by one name in the annals of MSU football. In only two years, he made sure every Bulldog fan knew him, and that none would ever forget him.
Known as much for his fast mouth as his play on the field, his is the name MSU fans chanted over and over. "SMOOOOOOOT!" crooned the Bulldog faithful. His name may top them all.
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