My wife ranks the Big Ten nicknames!

·3 min read

It’s Sunday, which means it’s time for another one of “My wife ranks lists.” She’s previously has given us her thoughts on mascots, uniforms, and helmets. Today we’re taking a look at the 14 Big Ten nicknames. A couple of bits of history and random tidbits on the history of Big Ten nicknames.

  • Did you know that the Minnesota Golden Gophers got their nickname from a political cartoon in the 1850s? The golden term was added in the 1930s by a Minnesota sports writer.

  • Northwestern’s original mascot was a bear cub from the Lincoln Park Zoo named Furpaw. After a losing season in 1923, the school retired Furpaw believing he was bad luck. However, in 1924 Chicago Daily Tribune writer Wallace Abbey gave the school the wildcat nickname when he wrote after a loss to the University of Chicago, “Football players had not come down from Evanston; wildcats would be a name better suited to Coach Glenn Thistletwaite’s boys.”

  • The Ohio State Buckeyes get their nickname from the colloquial term used for people from Ohio.

  • Nebraska sports writer Cy Sherman gave the school its nickname when he referred to them as the Cornhuskers in 1899. The school formally adopted the nickname the following year.

Those are just to name a few. Now it’s time to take a look at how my wife ranks the nicknames

Northwester Wildcats

My wife’s thoughts: Everyone uses the name wildcats. I would have preferred they stuck with the Furpaws.

Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Wolverines

My wife’s thoughts: I think of Hugh Jackman, not an animal. Then I’m going to be disappointed when Hugh Jackman doesn’t appear. (Hugh Jackman played the Marvel Comics character The Wolverine on the big screen).

Michigan Wolverines football helmet (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Michigan State Spartans

My wife’s thoughts: It’s not very unique.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers Scarlett Knights

My wife’s thoughts: They get points for using color in their nickname but that’s all they get points for.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Hoosiers

My wife’s thoughts: Think about it, it’s just a collection of people from one state.

Indiana Hoosiers helmet (Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports)

Penn State Nittany Lion

My wife’s thoughts: It’s alright

© Dan Rainville / USA TODAY NETWORK

Wisconsin Badgers

My wife’s thoughts: It reminds me of the Hufflepuff House from Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter. I don’t like Hufflepuffs.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa Hawkeyes

My wife’s thoughts: It reminds me of the Avengers character and I like Hawkeye.

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Ohio State Buckeyes

My wife’s thoughts: They’re named after a tree? That must be one special tree.

© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Nebraska Cornhuskers

My wife’s thoughts: I think of a guy shucking corn.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue Boilmakers

My wife’s thoughts: It’s kinda random. I like it.

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

© Scott Utterback/Courier Journal

Illinois Fighting Illini

My wife’s thoughts: It sounds intimidating.

Illinois Fighting Illini helmet (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

Minnesota Golden Gophers

My wife’s thoughts: They’re Gophers and they’re golden. It just sounds fun.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland Terrapins

My wife’s thoughts: The turtle!!

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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