IT'S BACK MOFOS! YES YES YES YES YES YES YES NAMES NAMES NAMES NAMES NAMES.
(As always, apologies to the Name of the Year blog. This isn't meant to be different or funnier than what they do, or even original - it's merely a way to tolerate the boredom of there being four days left until the next game - and giving us people to watch for on the opposing teams.)
We've waited through most of winter. Spring came, with its flowers and showers. Summer scorched our cities, from Ryan Field's brownish grass to my home in New York. Fall is dawning. And here we sit, a day before football season, three before Northwestern's first game. No sport, nothing on this green earth of ours brings the names better than American football. Each week brings us about 100 candidates, and I narrow them down to the best five, and you, the readers, find the best one.
Vanderbilt is a squad with some tremendous last names, but not much in the way of dramatic/poetic given names - a lot of smart dudes with families who knew how to spell things will do that. It's not the deepest name pool, but it'll get us started. First, let's look at who didn't make the cut: wide receiver Andre Hal (double first names always work,), quarterback Jared Funk (if only his first name was more interesting than "Jared" this could've been a competitor), defensive end Theron Kadri, linebacker Fitz Lassing (very, very tempting to put a guy named "Fitz" in the field - couldn't do it) and linebacker Tristan Strong are this weeks runners up.
Now, onto the nominees:
#82, Jameson Sackey: Naming your child after the alcohol you were consuming when they were conceived is a long, storied tradition. And nothing makes a better name than Jameson Irish Whiskey. Furthermore, if you change the "whisk" to "sack", Jameson Irish Whiskey is called Jameson Irish Sackey, which is a great thing. If Sackey was a defensive end primarily involved with tackling the QB behind the line of scrimmage, otherwise known as "sacks", we'd have a winner here, but unfortunately, he's not. I would've appreciated a capitalized "O" a la former Chicago Bull JamesOn Curry, in which case his name might have been pronounced either "Jameson" or "James On". Also, sack is a funny word when said in a non-football contest.
Sackey is a junior walk-on wide receiver who hasn't yet played for Vandy - that likely won't change against Northwestern.
#4, Udom Umoh: Anybody whose initials are "UU" is an automatic shoe-in for a nomination. Also, his first name is very nearly a type of noodle. Umoh was born in Nigeria, which makes his appearance on a college football roster rather impressive.
Udom is a starting wide receiver, one of Vandy's best. He caught 20 passes for 267 yards last year, nabbing a touchdown for the Dores' only points against Ole Miss. He'll be in his starting role on Saturday.
#70, Justin Cabbagestalk: I'm genuinely surprised that "Cabbagestalk" is a real last name for a person and not like a troll or something. First of all, cabbages have stalks? Aren't they just like lettuce? Don't they just kinda grow out of the ground and just be there? Do cabbages really have stalks? Can you climb up them and reach a magical land inhabited by huge giants? The world will never know. Actually, I'm pretty sure many farmers do know, but I for one don't care. Anyway, Cabbagestalk is a pretty sweet compound word to have as your name, unless you don't like when bloggers mention that your name that sounds like a mythical, magical woodland creature from a Harry Potter book. If only his first name was something else magical, like Udom. Udom Cabbagestalk would be a winner.
Cabbagestalk is a backup redshirt freshman center who's never played - he'll probably do most of his stalking on the sidelines.
#59, Adam Smotherman: THE SMOTHERMAN. HE IS A MAN THAT SMOTHERS PEOPLE. AND HE PLAYS DEFENSIVE TACKLE. JESUS.. Another case if a nearly perfect last name that just needed a more awesome first name, like "SUFFOCATEGUY" or "MURDERBOY", because quite frankly, Adam doesn't work. Those would go well with a last name like Smotherman, as does playing defensive tackle, the most smothery position on the field.
Adam is a senior defensive tackle, measuring 6-foot-4 and 295 pounds. (Smother. Man.) He started 11 games as a junior and every game last year, notching 31 tackles - by all rights, he'll be starting up front on Saturday, attempting to smother Northwestern's running backs.
And see my pick... after the jump!
#7, Charlie Goro: A lot of you probably wonder what happened to Goro, the evil four-armed monster from the Mortal Kombat video games. I certainly do. It's a hard life out there for a former character in Mortal Kombat: Raiden sells fake watches on Canal Street, Johnny Cage has had to take lesser acting roles as his youthful vigor has waned, Sub-Zero has had to deal with the crippling effects of global warming on his trademark ability to throw ice onto the floor and make people slip on it, and Scorpion finally lost a decades-long battle with a rare, uncurable disease symptomized by having gigantic spears implanted into his forearms. But Goro? Could a four-armed monster adapt to life on our fast-paced, two-armed world? Why can't giant four-armed monsters have their slice of giant American pie? Doesn't our Declaration of Independence say that all men are created equal, regardless of how many limbs they have or if they're giant monsters? Goro sure believed that. He settled down, found himself a two-armed wife, and had himself a kid. The kid presumably had three arms - the result of being the child of one four-armed monster and one two-armed woman - and Goro spent all day training little Charlie how to throw. One of these two mutant arms, he figured, will make his kid into a good quarterback. And sure enough, Charlie learned how to throw a perfect spiral with mutant Goro arm No. 2 (he presumably either cut off his other mutant Goro arm or hides it under his pads during games) and earned himself a college scholarship while getting an elite education at an SEC school. That, sirs, is the American dream.
As for young Charlie, he's the third-string quarterback behind Larry Smith and Jared Funk. He's only a redshirt freshman, so perhaps someday, Goro will lead his team to victory. That is, FLAWLESS VICTORY.
So that's it. As always, I urge you to vote or die, presumably by fatality. And tell me who you voted for in them comments.