My first entry here comes as the result of a question in regard to one of my picks yesterday wherein I posted: The Ville -5.5
I owe at least one Pregame member (and probably quite a few more of our forum friends from across the pond who could not find my pick listed at their book) an apology. And I hereby offer it ... especially in light of the fact that Louisville had no trouble covering this spread on the road at Providence.
The problem, of course, is one of nicknames. Not nicknames in the sense of what a team's mascot happens to be, although that could probably be the source of a whole other article. (After all ... Auburn, are you the War Eagles or the Tigers?) No, the confusion to which I refer here is more one of pseudonyms or pet names that we give to the universities themselves.
Here in the Southeast, of course, we have Ole Miss, Vandy, etc. -- affectionate pseudonyms for the much longer University of Mississippi and Vanderbilt University respectively.
Other monikers, such as the one which caused the confusion with my pick, are derived by adding the definitive article "the" in front of a piece of the university name: The Ville, The Cuse, The G-Men. (The Big East seems particularly fond of this type of diminutive, but let's not forget The Zag or the ever simple, The U).
Valpo is Valpo because nobody can remember how to spell Valparaiso.
LaTech and VaTech ... because they roll off the tongue so nicely! (GaTech doesn't, so the Yellowjackets are resigned to being Georgia Tech.)
We've got Mizzou and Wazzu. Not a "Z" to be found in either school's name. The former is even a registered trademark, and is the name-of-choice -- proudly emblazoned across the front of the team jerseys.
Some pet names probably came about for no better reason than laziness. (Wake, Bama, Nova.)
Connecticut and Massachusetts seem to have exclusive rights to the UConn and UMass derivatives. Must be a New England thing.
After all, UTenn just doesn't work. Tennessee is, however, sometimes listed as UT. But shouldn't that denote Utah?
Yes, initials can be just as confusing as pet names. UK is Kentucky, not Kansas ...that's KU. Southern Cal might hate that name, but in my part of the country USC is South Carolina. And if Georgia is UGA, why isn't Florida UFLA?
You can forget the first part of UT-Chattanooga. Chattanooga will do just fine. But don't try that with Mt. St. Mary's or you will end up with a school 2,000 miles away. On the other hand, Troy and Troy State are the same school, but don't try that with Portland and Portland State. The city in Missouri is St. Louis on every map I've ever seen, but the college in that city is almost always spelled out ... Saint Louis.
You will likely find listed at different sportbooks: Illinois-Chicago, Loyola-Illinois, and Loyola-Chicago -- three names which represent only two different universities.
You have your Wisky and your Minny and your Pitt and your Cincy.
But I resolve here and now to make clear to all our Pregame members which school I am betting on. If I use affectionate pseudonyms or initials at all, I will do so only in the write-ups, not in the picks section.
And I also sincerely look forward to the day when I can get a line on (and proudly post in the forum) not Iupui, but:
Indiana University and Purdue University at Indianapolis + 9