Although the first snap of the 2011 college football season has yet to crackle, pop, or flop, it's not too earlier to declare the most powerful names in the sport.
But not so fast, my friends. I'm not talking about Mark Emmert, Nick Saban, Paul Finebaum, the Fighting Irish Leprechaun, the guy in the band who dots the "i" at the Ohio State games, or even you, Lee Corso. Instead, I mean the names that jump off the player rosters and onto the gridiron -- in other words, the monikers that sound as much like college football as the echoing smack of pads or the sharp blasts of a ref's whistle. At the very least, they sound like guys you'd want wearing your team colors.
First, there's T-Bob Hebert, who plays center for LSU. Who wouldn't want a guy from Georgia named T-Bob blocking for you? Buffalo's Gokhan Ozkan also sounds like the kind of guy that can ring your bell. And the only thing that would be better than being named Jake Stoneburner (as in the case of Ohio State's tight end) would be if he was named Jake Rockeater.
Some names likewise speak for themselves -- Arizona's Tom Savage, Duke's Teddy Force, Cincinnati's Dominique Battle, Ole Miss' Darius Slay, or Memphis' Cannon Smith. Of course, it is always good to have a little luck as well -- Stanford's Andrew Luck, to be precise.
Other names are menacingly understated. Texas A&M's lineup includes a 212-pound freshman running back named Mister Jones. Apparently, this kid is so tough he doesn't even need a first name. He's just Mister Jones.
Another Jones -- Oklahoma's Landry Jones -- makes the cut as well. If you're named after Tom Landry, you're on the list with no questions asked.
Similarly, I can't help but like Nebraska's Bronson Marsh and Boise State's Bronson Durrant. Anyone who shares a name with Charles Bronson gets my vote -- even if Bronson's original name was Buchinsky. Of course, Buchinsky isn't a half-bad football name either.
Staying with the movie theme, Alabama's Dont'a Hightower's name inspires similar confidence. Remember Moses Hightower, the Police Academy cadet played by the late, great Bubba Smith? Enough said.
Speaking of Bubba, where are all the Bubbas this year? The only Bubbas in Division 1 that I can find are Hawaii's Bubba Poueu-Luna and Nevada's Bubba Boudreaux. The former is from Hawaii, the latter from Las Vegas. Hawaii and Las Vegas? Potential parents of future Auburn Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs, please get with the program. At least Missouri has a guy named Elvis -- Elvis Fisher, to be precise.
Happily, the traditionalist in me finds some comfort knowing that the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame have players like Dennis Mahoney, Patrick Couglin, Dan McCarthy, and Matthew Mulvey on the roster. And I'm pleased to report that the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette are suiting up Hunter Thibodeaux and Aaron Thibodeaux -- and they aren't even brothers.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the storied Army-Navy rivalry promises to produce two players that sound like they should be fighting it out across the pages of Marvel Comics. Army's ranks include quarterback Trent Steelman, with Navy's squad offering up a guy named Wave Ryder. Army's Trent Steelman versus Navy's Wave Ryder? You can't make that stuff up.
In closing, though, I save my highest praise for Baylor quarterback Andrew Frerking. Just once this season I want to hear an announcer scream, "It's a Frerking touchdown!"
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