If you come from the old site (hey, ten of you!), you probably know I feel that previewing a game requires more than just poring over football. (Although I will pore over football. Later today.) It requires understanding the team you're playing: where they come from, who they are, etc.
It's in this spirit that every week I try to find the greatest name on the team we're playing against: not the funniest name, not the name that sounds most like a body part, the best name. The name that makes me want to find the parents of the football player and shake their hands, bust out two moderately illegal Cuban cigars, drink, like, sherry, or whatever classy british people drink, and say "you, sirs. You know how to name a child."
For our first two opponents, I selected the best name myself, and discovered Towson's Tamba Tongu and EMU's Lorenzo Seaberry III and Nate Paopao. (Pow! Pow!) Then I opened the voting up to the public, and although I suggested they vote for Syracuse's long snapper, Maximilian Leo, they overrode me (pause) and went with WR Van Chew. Who does, in fact, have a decent name.
So on to Minnesota's names: the nominees are below, and my pick and the poll itself are after the jump.
#4, WR Hayo Carpenter: Admittedly, not the finest name, but still. Hayo is something you could say to catch someones attention, and Carpenter is a job. So it's an above-average name. The juco transfer tallied a reception for 18 yards and rushed twice for 17 against California, so we might see Hayo.
#29, RB Shady Salamon: This is a ridiculously good name, and it's not even my pick for the week. First off, the guys first name is "Shady". Shady. That's his government name, as far as I can tell. Shady, like, when there's, like, trees over you, or when you're skeezy and people don't trust you. And Salamon sounds like Solomon, which is a first name old timey people had. Therefore, when you combine "Shady" and "Salamon", you get a name that sounds like it belongs to, like, a Mormon drug dealer or a wild west brothel owner. And that's awesome. Shady, a sophomore was a backup RB last year and started two games, totalling 181 yards on 49 carries on the year, but hasn't seen the field yet this year.
#83, WR Da'Jon McKnight: I had questions about whether to include Da'Jon, but left him in. Because his name is Da'Jon, which is either like an emphatic way of saying "THE JOHN!" or a mispronunciation of a delicious mustard. Da'Jon had a 22 yard td against Ohio State and two catches in Minnesota's bowl game against Kansas, but has none this year as a sophomore.
#80, WR Xzavian Brandon: What? Xzavian? I assume that started out as "Xavier", then got to "Xzavier", and then took a sharp left turn and headed straight for Xzavian. Either way, it's a great name. I feel this would be a good place to mention that I feel Xzibit is a severely underrated rapper. Just sayin'. "What's the Difference" is X's song, and I don't care what you say. As for Xzavian, he's a sophomore who has no career catches.
My pick for Minnesota's best name...
#42, FB Logan U'u: Sign you have an awesome name: you have as many different types of pronunciation as you do letters. Also, Logan is such a nondescript name to put right in front of a name like "U'u". The first thing I think when I hear Logan's name is that if you say it twice over, you get the chorus to the Redman song featured below:
Technically its a song by the severely overrated rappers De La Soul, and although the video is way, way, way too high concept for any rap video, and sort of sucks, it happily features a Dave Chappelle cameo, and therefore is alright. Anyway: Logan OOOH OOH OOH OOOH. He was a linebacker in his junior year after transferring from juco, but now is in his first year as a fullback. So here's to Logan getting some carries on Saturday.
And here's the poll: