What's the deal with ... Presbyterian Coll.?

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
4:33
PM ET
Scottie ScotsmanCourtesy of Presbyterian College Presbyterian's Scotty the Scotsman has quite the origin story for a college sports mascot.
We know about the big boys. But what about the little guys? Throughout the 2012 college football season, Playbook Fandom will take a look at some of the less recognizable schools you might see on scoreboards and TV screens.

Fresh off its overtime loss to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech will face a considerably less nationally recognized opponent: Presbyterian College, a small liberal arts in Clinton, S.C. -- "where the tea is sweet and the 'T' is silent," they say.

So what's the deal with this FCS/Big South Conference school, whose Blue Hose -- yep, that's the nickname -- also find Vanderbilt on their schedule this year? Playbook investigates:

• Presbyterian sound a bit familiar? It's a brand-new Division I member, receiving full status in 2012, but it spent several years transitioning, playing against some big names in big sports.

• It's also the smallest Division I school, at about 1,200 students, but boasts more South Carolina Professors of the Year than any other college in the state -- no matter the size.

• About that nickname ... it comes from early 20th-century sportswriters, as many nicknames do, who dubbed the team the "Blue Stockings" because of its foot-slash-legwear. This was shortened to "Blue Hose" over the years, and the moniker was officially adopted in the 1950s.

• About that Scotsman ... it comes from legend, as some Scottish/Celtic Warriors were known to wear blue threads. Link that to "Blue Hose" and the town's Scottish heritage and you've got yourself a mascot slightly more fierce than socks.

• Then again ... it's not as if there's no silly factor to Blue Hose and Scotty the Scotsman. Frito-Lay's recent "Cheesiest Mascots" contests ranked the Blue Hose fifth in the nation (Scotty accepted this distinction with gratitude).

[+] EnlargeJustin Bethel
Courtesy of Presbyterian CollegeJustin Bethel's superhuman jumping ability stood out at P.C.
• Final note about the Scots: Presbyterian also claims its bronze statue, Cyrus, to be the largest such rendering of a Scotsman in the world.

• Notable non-sports alumni include Jim Samples, president/international of Scripps Networks Interactive (which owns HGTV, the Food Network and several other television stations); and the late Harry Dent, an influential aide to Sen. Strom Thurmond and later President Richard Nixon.

• Notable sports alumni include Lonnie McMillian, a former Presbyterian football coach who is credited with naming Clemson's Memorial Stadium "Death Valley" (after a series of bad losses to the Tigers); John McKissick, football coach at Summerville High School who holds the national record for wins at one school (595); and Justin Bethel, a cornerback who became a YouTube sensation for his vertical leap, set a Big South all-time record for blocked kicks and solo tackles in 2011 (he was conference defensive player of the year, as well), was drafted in the sixth round by the Arizona Cardinals, and cemented his status on the team with three blocked kicks in the preseason.

• Potential future alumnus: Shea Jones, a men's basketball freshman whose father is ESPN sportscaster Mark Jones.
Patrick Dorsey is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor for ESPN.com. He has worked for the Web and newspapers. He also played in one Division-III golf tournament (he shot 105).

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