Revisiting the 'Wrecking Crew' and 'Blackshirts'

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The guys at Bleacher Report have gone into the way-back machine to highlight two great nicknames from Big 12 schools.

Texas A&M's "Wrecking Crew" and Nebraska's "Blackshirts" both were included in a list of top 12 nicknames that was topped by Notre Dame's Four Horsemen at No. 1 and Fordham's Seven Blocks of Granite at No. 2.

Some of the nicknames on the list might be a little politically incorrect, but the two Big 12 additions remain among the most cherished in the history of both schools.

Texas A&M's "Wrecking Crew" was coined by defensive back Chet Brooks in the 1980s to describe the defense coached by R.C. Slocum and then Bob Davie. It remains in use today, although maybe not in the wide public venacular as when the Aggies were one of the nation's power teams. But a big performance or two by Joe Kines' unit will get the nickname popping up again.

Nebraska coach Bob Devaney came up with the concept of the "Blackshirts" to describe his defense in 1964 to distinguish his first-stringers from everybody else during spring training. The nickname stuck and developed into a proud tradition that remains a badge of honor among Cornhuskers. Despite Nebraska's struggles last season, restoring the "Blackshirts" is perhaps the prime goal of new coach Bo Pelini this season.

Both Nebraska and Texas A&M will be starting under new coaches this year. Rebuilding the "Blackshirts" and the "Wrecking Crew" will be pivotal in how Pelini and Mike Sherman, respectively, fare in their new jobs.