- Iowa State Cyclones
The "Cyclones" name dates back to 1895. That year, Iowa suffered an unusually high number of devastating tornadoes (often known as cyclones back in the day). In September, the football team from what was then Iowa Agricultural College traveled to Northwestern University and defeated that team by a score of 36-0. The next day, the Chicago Tribune's headline read "Struck by a Cyclone: It Comes from Iowa and Devastates Evanston Town." The article began, "Northwestern might as well have tried to play football with an Iowa cyclone as with the Iowa team it met yesterday."
The nickname stuck.