One of the many different things that make college football more attractive than professional isn’t always what happens on the field, but what goes on off the field.
This column is not about why college football is much more exciting than professional, that’s another column for another time. There is more to college football than what we see on Television. The releasing of an Eagle, watching a buffalo run across the field, a band perform your favorite college fight songs are a few of the traditions that get us fans fired up but then again, there are some that just simply don’t make sense.
As college football gets closer, I decided to rank my own favorite traditions. Although some of the colleges’ traditions look just simply foolish, there are those that cause a true football fan to get chill bumps. I for one, being a Clemson fan, get a big rush of adrenalin when I see the Tigers run down “The Hill” into Death Valley.
As I viewed several different football traditions online, I can’t help but wonder how some of them could fire up anyone. An example is Purdue University’s Big Drum. How would a big drum being pulled across a field fire up anyone? Out of the ones I viewed online, I will start with my top 10 best and worst college football traditions, all of course in my opinion.
1. The good: Let’s start with the SEC. I love the Florida Gators hands signals that represent a gator chomp. It’s even better with the players do it when taunting. The ugly: Like Purdue, Texas has a big bass drum also. Still nothing about that gets me excited. They call their big bass drum “Big Bertha,” a giant eight-foot drum.
2. The good: Ok, bias opinion coming: The Clemson players touching Howard’s Rock before running down the hill. Only problem I have with that is when the public address announcer starts it off by telling the fans, “Fans get ready for the most exciting 25 seconds in college football.” I hope that’s not the most exciting 25 seconds I will see when I’m at a Clemson game. The ugly: Georgia’s full house of grown adults barking like dogs on kickoffs. Dog fans don’t get too upset with me. I will admit that you have the second best fight song.
3. The good: Florida State’s tomahawk chop and chant. I mainly like this one because the Braves adopted it in the 90s, but it’s impressive. Also added is Chief Osceola and his spearing at mid-field before kickoff at FSU. The ugly: What’s up with Mississippi State and the cow bells? How very annoying that must be to sit through. And while on Mississippi State here’s another odd tradition — the egg bowl between Mississippi State and Ole Miss. The winner of this instate rival gets a golden egg trophy. Now there’s something to play for.
4. The good: “Rocky Top” Tennessee’s Rocky Top song. It drives the opposing fans nuts by repeatedly playing it over and over by the UT band. The ugly: Staying with the SEC is my number four ugliest tradition. Arkansas’ “Woooo Pig Sooie” chants. That would be a good place to promote ear plugs.
5. The good: Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck. Although not something that will actually get someone fired up for football, it is pretty neat to watch the overhauled Model T ride out leading the Yellow Jackets onto the field. The Ugly: The Stanford Tree. I’m not even sure what that means. The “Tree” is a mascot created by the Stanford band that accompanies them during games. Enough said.
6. The good: Wisconsin’s “Jump Around.” It’s a tradition where 80,000 screaming fans jump in unison to the House of Pain song to begin the fourth quarter. The Ugly: Boise State’s Blue Turf.
7. The good: South Carolina’s entrance to field through smoke to the sound of “2001.” I’m not a Gamecock fan, but it’s a pretty exciting thing to see. The Ugly: The Auburn War Eagle. What does an eagle have to do with a Tiger, Auburn’s mascot?
8. The good: Touchdown Jesus at Notre Dame. Irish fans claim that Jesus is watching over their team with a mural painting of him on the stadium wall beyond the scoreboard. With his arms raised, it seems touchdown Jesus is signaling a touchdown for the Irish. The Ugly: Ohio State’s band dotting the “I” while spelling out Ohio. Many people pick this one in their top 5. Must be only those fans from Ohio.
9. The good: Ok in order to stay in good standing with my Georgia friends. I like the tradition of the lone trumpeter playing before the game and then the video clip of Hershel running over Bill Bates to Larry Munson’s play by play voice. I admit that would get me fired up IF I was a Dawg fan. The ugly: The checkerboard end zones at Tennessee. Not sure if that falls under tradition, but it’s ugly.
10. The good: The “Dog Walk” at Georgia. Although many schools have adopted this tradition, I’m going hate myself for admitting, but Georgia’s is pretty impressive. By the way, they have the “Tiger Walk” at Clemson also. The ugly: The Haka dance. Hawaii football players perform this dance prior to their games. Could this be their pre-game workout?
The list of traditions goes on and on. It’s all part of the pageantry of college football. It gets us as fans fired up and ready to support our team. Ah yes, college football, gotta’ love it!
Dallas Bordon is the former sport editor for The Comer News/Danielsville Monitor.