During the bowl selection process, there are a lot of factors that a team's fan has to consider: which will be the easiest travel option? Which will bring my team the best national exposure? And most importantly, which team will my team have a good opportunity of beating?
Me, however, I had a different focus: I pored over each school's football roster, and debated the pros and cons of every team's respective best names. (Hey, gotta pass time during finals week somehow besides playing Bubble Spinner, putting up blog posts about my boy Bangs, and listening to the song "Forever" by Drake on repeat for hours at a time. And studying.)
On decision day, the Outback Bowl pitted us with the right team: it was clear to me that Auburn was the best opponent when it came to potential name nominations. But I feel I would be remiss not to honor some of our coulda been name heroes: the University of Miami brought adorably named cornerback Ray Ray Armstrong, while Clemson had a freakin' bevy of awesome options: linebacker Quandon Christian, the two-headed Brown monster of Kourtnei and Kantrell Brown (not related!), and my personal favorite, grad student safety Sadat Chambers.
But let us not dwell in the past. On to the Auburn War Eagles Regular Eagles Tiger-Eagles Tigers (this is going to take a while). Honorable mentions from that squad include D'Antoine Hood, Phillip Pierre-Louis (the dreaded triple-name threat) Ralph Spry, and Travante Stallworth.
Now, onto the nominees, after that jump!
#28, Dontae Aycock: I couldn't leave off a guy whose last name is "A cock." Just couldn't.
Dontae is redshirting this year, but judging from what his profile says about him, he'll be a decent running back someday.
#20, Woody Parramore: I realize Woody won't get a lot of support in the votes, as it seems like he has a pretty normal name, but I feel like it's necessary to point out that his name is basically a euphemism for "erection adulterer."
Woody is a senior cornerback who saw his first playing time this season, recording six tackles, including five against Furman.
#22, T'Sharvan Bell: I've written multiple times about how it takes more than a "D'Firstname" to get a name nomination. But T'Sharvan is more than that. I mean, there is nothing like "T'Sharvan" that I have ever seen before. It's just not an actual name that people have ever had or used or conceived. I'm trying to comprehend where it might be derived from, and I'm failing.
T'Sharvan is a redshirt freshman cornerback, and saw limited playing time, but managed to pick off a pass against Mississippi State.
#9, Quindarius Carr: Quindarius is an absolute doozy of a first name. Darius is already a perennial favorite first name of mine, seeing as it can be applied with equal appropriateness to a Persian emperor, Lithuanian dude, or a black guy, and it works. Then you randomly throw a Quin on the front of that Darius, making it bulkier and probably doubling its Scrabble score, and you've just enhanced an already great name. Quindarius might have been born in 1989, but I'll go ahead and assume he was named after the star-crossed friendship of Quintin Richardson and Darius Miles, the high school buddies from Chicago who got drafted by the Clippers together in 2000, and after an initial period where they got signed by Jordan together, Q dated Brandy, and were considered good, even having a straight-to-video movie made about them, they both clearly weren't that good. But to the very end, Q and Darius each did the awkward double-fist head bump to signify their friendship despite never telling anybody what it meant.
Anyway, Quindarius: great name.
Quin caught six passes in 2008, but this year has only reeled in one, a 32-yarder against Arkansas, so at least it was a pretty decent catch.
and my pick for the winner...
#21, Eltoro Freeman: I sat for a good three minutes trying to come up with the proper way to convey my initial reaction to there being a human being named "Eltoro Freeman" over the internet. It was something like a "NOOOO!" but not like "no!" as in "I'm really disappointed in this", it was a "no" like, "I can't believe that this just happened." It was a combination of shock and joy and amazement and wonder, but mixed in with a little bit of fear and trepidation. I mean, naming your child "Eltoro" redefines the game. The closest approximation to the way I immediately reacted would be Gus Johnson's assorted noises after this Jamal Crawford gamewinner from 2006.
The etymology of "Eltoro" is a simple one, I assume: it's a one-wordization of the spanish "el toro", which means "the bull." Notably, "el toro" is one of the few nearly universally understood Spanish words, along with "la fiesta" and "la biblioteca." Why, I'm not sure. I assume it's because of Spain's obsession with bullfighting. However, if someone named their child "Lafiesta Freeman", I wouldn't be awestruck: that's just weird.
But "Eltoro" is like bestowing some sort of perverted crown of awesomeness on your child. Like, "this kid is going to be so awesome, and strong and terrifying, it's going to take seven little spanish dudes on horses with swords to kill him, and he might gore one of them fools in the chest while he's at it. But they're probably going to get him anyway."
On the field, Eltoro is a sophomore linebacker who transferred from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College after earning a Juco All-American title and helping them to a national championship in his freshman season before redshirting last year. This year, Eltoro has played nine games as a starting outside linebacker, recording a sack and four QB hurries.
So people, vote with your hearts. But let me point out that I believe Eltoro Freeman to be the owner of the best name we've seen all season. War Wildcat!