And The Winner Is ...
August 19, 2002
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[Full Press Release]

If you are aware that Dennis the Mennis drove Mr. Wilson to insanity, then you have an idea of what Herb Detweiler has done to me.

It was in July when Herb, a Virginia Tech fan from Roanoke, sent an email to us suggesting a nickname for the duo of Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones. It was with that email that "Nickname the Backs" was born.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I figured if one fan had an idea, we should let everyone play along.

Given the go-ahead, I put my plan into action. A page on our Web site was set up for fans to submit their name and slogan for the duo. On July 19th, the contest was officially launched on hokiesports.com.

That was five bottles of Pepto Bismol and over 4,000 submissions ago. My life hasn't been the same since then. My vision has gone blurry. My fingers shake. I can't sleep. I have the incessant ping of new email in my inbox ingrained in my mind like a kid walking into Wrigley Field for the first time ever remembers for the rest of his life.

I can't get work done. Just when I get on a roll, here come more submissions. They come in constantly. Ping. Ping. Ping. Two, three, 10 at a time.

"Thunder and Lightning." "Double Trouble." "The Stallion Battalion." Over and over, submissions keep coming in. "Men in Back." "Backfield of Dreams." "The Fast and the Furious."

It was never ending. I started to go into withdrawal. My friends started to get worried. All I would do is recite submissions.

No longer was I speaking English. My sentences consisted of ramblings like "Joy and Pain," "Slash and Dash," "Wham and Bam," "Fire and Ice," and "Zip and Zap."

Before the contest started, most guessed we'd get about 1,000 submissions in the month we ran the contest. That mark was passed by after a week. Soon after, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000 and even 4,000 were in the rearview mirror. In they poured. In all, representatives from 35 different states sent in a possible winner. From Texas to Minnesota, Virginia to Hawaii and states like Oregon, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Illinois and New Hampshire, in they came.

Ping. Ping. Ping.

It didn't stop there. The contest also took on an international flavor. From Ireland, Sweden and France to South Korea, India, Taiwan and even one from the Republic of Panama, they flooded to in box.

Opposing teams' fans even got in on the act. "Dumb and Dumber" and "Loser 1 and Loser 2" were among the 4,000-plus. Amusing as they were, they didn't make it past the preliminary rounds.

Judging the contest was the toughest part of it all. Day and night and even into the morning, I poured over the entries.

"Two Cool," "Mach Two," "Two Fast."

"The Czars of Rush-a," "The Rushin' Army."

There were too many. My brain went into meltdown. It was finally decided for the sake of my sanity that I should turn the judging over to the two running backs who would adorn the winning moniker. That still didn't solve my problem as I continually had slogans popping into my head.

"TD Lee and the Keystone Kid," "Galloping Gobblers," "Jones, Suggs N' Harmony."

It was determined that I needed professional help, but I couldn't get out the door to go to the psychiatrist without more submissions coming in.

Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping. Ahhhhhhhhh!

Finally, August 14th came and the site was shut down. The grand total of 4,016 submissions have to be some sort of record. Lord knows one of our student workers and myself read every one of them.

So after a month of constant "pings" from email and eating Tums like they were SweeTarts, I turned over the stack of submissions to Lee and Kevin for their decision. At first, they thought it was another playbook, but they slowly sifted through them all.

They laughed at some, groaned at a few and howled at others. But when they came to the eventual winner, their eyes lit up like headlights on an 18-wheeler. There was no doubt this one was their favorite.

So in the end, two things were clear.

1) The winning slogan was "The Untouchables," submitted by Jeremy Reynolds of Danville, Va. and;

2) The two will never be the same after going through the batch of entries.

Welcome to the club, boys.