The FCS is home to great football with great traditions, with nicknames and mascots playing a big part. While there are plenty of Lions, Tigers and Bears across the board, many schools chose a more creative route in naming their teams.
Here are some nicknames across the FCS that stand out above the rest.
Better than a Bulldog: Albany Great Danes, Southern Illinois Salukis, Stony Brook Seawolves
A dog is one of the most common mascots in college sports, but Albany, Southern Illinois and Stony Brook found a way to use a dog creatively. Albany's Great Dane is one of the largest breeds of dogs there is. Southern Illinois' Saluki is a breed that has been traced back to ancient Egypt. Of course, Stony Brook's Seawolf isn't a real dog, but the mythical mascot is a good luck charm according to legend.
Campbell Fighting Camels
If you don't feel like taking a trip to a desert to see a camel, you can take a trip to Buies Creek, North Carolina instead to find the Campbell Fighting Camels. While It's hard to trace the origin of Campbell's nickname, Campbell's mascot is easy to find as Gaylord the Camel is sure to stand out in a crowd.
Colors take over the Ivy League | Cornell Big Red, Dartmouth Big Green, Harvard Crimson
Ivy League classes may be complicated, but Cornell, Dartmouth and Harvard chose to keep things simple with the names. However, nickname simplicity has its perks. The Big Red, Big Green and Crimson have combined for 13 national titles.
Florida A&M Rattlers
The Florida A&M Rattlers have a storied history on the gridiron and the Rattler nickname is known throughout the HBCU landscape. You may have seen athletes and celebrities like LeBron James or Chad Ochocinco supporting Florida A&M, sporting Rattler gear. The green and orange colors stand out for this serpentine mascot.
The Georgetown Hoyas nickname is well known throughout the country, but there is confusion about what a Hoya is. Although Georgetown uses a bulldog mascot, a Hoya is not a dog. Instead, Georgetown's nickname stems from the "Hoya Saxa" chant heard throughout the prestigious campus.
The "M" in the MVFC may stand for mascot | Indiana State Sycamores, South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Western Illinois Leathernecks, Youngstown State Penguins
The Missouri Valley Football Conference leads the list with four teams. The Sycamores reference the tall trees in the Indiana region. Meanwhile, Western Illinois' Leatherneck nickname ties its roots to the Marine Corps. Energetic animals take the cake in the MVFC as the Jackrabbits and Penguins are two of the most fun in the FCS.
In 2019, Long Island University announced it would be unifying LIU Brooklyn and LIU Post programs. In doing so, the school chose a new nickname, Sharks. The nickname was chosen by a student and alumni vote, beating its competitors, the Eagle and Falcon. Just like the movie Jaws, the Sharks hope to put fear in their opponents.
CHAMPIONSHIPS: Schools with the most FCS national championships
Murray State Racers
The Murray State Racers nickname stems from Kentucky's long-standing history of racehorses. In fact, Murray State was originally called the Thoroughbreds. After newspapers struggled to fit Thoroughbreds into headlines, a shortened moniker of Racers took over. In 2014, Murray State's baseball team became the last Murray State athletic team to make the switch to the Racers nickname.
Pioneers in the naming room | Dayton Flyers, Presbyterian Blue Hose, Stetson Hatters
Take flight in the Pioneer Conference with the Dayton Flyers. Or, add to your wardrobe with the Presbyterian Blue Hose. If socks don't fit your style, you can always find headgear with the Stetson Hatters.
If you have arachnophobia, Richmond is not the school for you. The nickname's origins go back to 1894. Over 120 years later, Richmond remains the only school in the country with a Spider mascot.
So fun in the SoCon | Chattanooga Mocs, Furman Paladins, Western Carolina Catamounts
In the Southern Conference, the mascots at Chattanooga, Furman and Western Carolina are sure to inspire questions. Since 1997, a Chattanooga Moc has referred to the Tennessee state bird (mockingbird) and the city's railroad heritage. Get medieval with the Furman Paladins, a nickname referring to the knights of Charlemagne's Court. Elsewhere, the Western Carolina Catamounts add a big-cat flair to the conference; a catamount is also known as a mountain lion or cougar, depending on where you are.
Southern Utah Thunderbirds
After three mascot changes, Southern Utah landed on the Thunderbirds in 1961. A walk on campus and you may hear students and staff refer to themselves as a "T-Bird," a shortened version of the nickname. Outside of an April Fools joke in 2008 where Southern Utah briefly became the Prairie Dogs, the Thunderbirds have patrolled the sky.