Disco Turkeys to launch bird-themed national college football poll
Here’s a little-known fact: No bird-nicknamed team has won a top-level college football national championship in more than half a century.
That will change with this season. Sort of. The Carolina Disco Turkeys, a Winston-Salem-based summer wood bat baseball team needing something to do in the offseason, will be providing America with a new college football poll to rival the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll with only bird teams eligible.
The first poll will be released in late September following a sampling of early-season games and after that will be released on a weekly basis. At the conclusion of the season, a final poll will be released, and a national championship trophy will be presented by the Disco Turkeys to the winning school’s athletic department.
“Our players and coaches and everyone associated with our poll are almost all big college football fans,” said Greg Sullivan, the Disco Turkeys’ team president and co-owner of the team. “We already got the trophy figured out, a poll committee and a sponsor lined up. We believe this poll will be a great way to recognize some teams and a national champion that had a great season but maybe won’t win the overall title. It also might serve as a motivator to get some of these teams playing even better and get them some deserved spotlight.”
For instance, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, based in Conway, SC, likely would have been the poll’s national champion had there been one last season, Sullivan said. The Chants had an undefeated regular season and beat a Power-5 bird team, the Kansas Jayhawks, head-to-head. Against high odds, they finished ranked ahead of better-known national bird team powers like the Oregon Ducks and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
There are just over 20 narrowly defined bird teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision and perhaps a few more if teams are generously placed in the “bird” category. The Disco Turkeys are not counting the Auburn Tigers, for example, despite them having a secondary eagle mascot. Bird teams tend to fare better at the Football Championship Subdivision level with powerhouses like the Delaware Blue Hens and Jacksonville State Gamecocks. “The FCS teams are unlikely to ever win a title with us, but they will technically be eligible in our poll and might sometimes sneak into the Top 10,” Sullivan said.
Iowa has won all five NCAA-recognized national championships won by bird teams. However, its last title was back in 1960.
The lone exception, depending how bird teams are categorized, would be the Miami Hurricanes. Winners of five national championships, the Hurricanes are represented primarily by an ibis mascot. The Disco Turkeys are launching a fan poll on Twitter with their broader poll announcement to determine whether the public wants Miami counted as a bird team and eligible for its national championship.
In the modern era, there have been plenty of great bird teams, but they’ve been plagued by near misses. Oregon has lost twice in recent national championship games. An undefeated Air Force Falcons team famously suffered an upset loss in their last regular season game of the 1985 season. Kansas did the same in 2007. Even with Michael Vick starring at quarterback for them, the Virginia Tech Hokies [a hokie is an anthropomorphic turkey character] fell well short to Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles in a championship game appearance. The South Carolina Gamecocks, even in good years, have failed to win the mighty Southeastern Conference.
“The fun thing is one of these teams is going to get a trophy after this season. Hopefully they win the national championship over the non-bird teams too and the Disco Turkeys can carry some of that bird mojo into our next baseball season in Winston-Salem,” Sullivan said.