Cotton Bowl Countdown: Optimus Klein

The most commonly used nickname for Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein will likely always be Honey Badger.

It’s the nickname his teammates gave him early on this season, and the YouTube videos that have popularized the weasel-like creature as “the most fearless animal in the world” fits with Klein’s personality. Much like how the Honey Badger wreaks havoc on whatever prey it encounters (even cobras in a tree), Collin Klein, as the narrator says, “Don’t care … he just takes what he wants.”

But we suddenly have a new contender in the nickname department: Optimus Klein.

The nickname, which plays off the beloved fictional leader of the Autobots, Optimus Prime, popped up earlier this week on twitter and has gained a bit of momentum from fans since. A reader suggested yesterday Optimus Klein would look good on a T-shirt, and a fan sent in a humorous Optimus Klein question to ESPN’s Big 12 Mailbag as well. So it’s out there.

I’ve got to say, I like it. I was a big Transformers fan as a kid, and I watched the first two Transformers movies. Will probably catch No. 3 on Netflix at some point. Optimus Prime was always my favorite character, and Prime almost rhymes with Klein. You could also say Klein’s playing style resembles that of a robot. So it works on a few levels.

Though I doubt we will ever hear Klein say “Wildcats transform and roll out,” you could say every time K-State enters the red zone Klein powers through defenses like Optimus Prime in semi-truck form.

And if Megatron works as a nickname for Calvin Johnson, Optimus Klein can work for Collin Klein.

A new nickname would certainly work well at the moment, too. LSU cornerback Tyran Mathieu also goes by the nickname Honey Badger. As a Heisman finalist, when you say Honey Badger and college football in the same sentence most people, at least nationally, think of him.

So if you’re into nicknames, feel free to call Klein whichever one you like best.

Optimus Klein or Honey Badger … He don’t care. He just takes what he wants.

Editor’s Note: In 27 days, the Kansas State football team will face Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl. With that in mind, I began counting down to the big game in Cowboys Stadium on Dec. 6 with 31 blog posts in 31 days. I use the word “attempting” because I can only currently think of about 20 blog ideas. I’m confident that I can go 31 for 31, but your help is appreciated. Feel free to send a blog idea (or two) my way at