I just caught Rece Davis referring to the East Carolina Pirates as “The Fighting Skip Holtzes.” This is poor not only because it’s too long and the Pirates don’t have a “Fighting” anywhere in their name (a team called the Fighting Pirates would be redundant, everyone assumes pirates fight, as well as plunder, pillage, rape and other unsavory things — unless these particular pirates happen to be Red Raiders from Lubbock, Texas, whom, under the leadership of Captain Leach and first mate Graham Harrell, launch aerial assaults against all landlubbers*), it’s bad because it’s not phonetically funny, and we know where Rece Davis got this stupid idea.
He thought the “Fighting Zookers” nickname for Illinois would translate. It doesn’t, because not only has Ron Zook been such a perennial punchline that his name has become synonymous with underperformance (until this year), but because Zook is one of those words that is phonetically hilarious. Say it. Repeat it. Zook. Just caresses off the tongue in laughter, unless you happen to be an overrated Wisconsin squad or an Iowa team with the college football version of Norv Turner leading you into battle this weekend. No wonder EDSBS calls him [NAME REDACTED]. A man with so much funny in his name can cause so much pain, unexpectedly. And when he does things like water-ski (and accidentally show off his two tickets to the gun show while doing so), it only makes Zook more humorous, less malicious, and intrinsically hilarious.
Now, Ron and his Fighting Zookers may be laughing at the rest of the college football landscape if they run the table the rest of the way. But Rece, please remember: half of the funny of a cliche is knowing the background behind it. Compared to his daddy, Skip Holtz has a way to go for humor potential to be included in his name. Maybe adopting a lisp would help.
(*I hope Texas Tech vs. Texas A&M is on a FSN here this weekend. Yarr.)