The leaves are turning and it’s time to grab your jeans and favorite team sweatshirt. That’s right, it’s football season! Another great time of the year where your priorities on the weekend become eating an insurmountable amount of food and kicking back a few before you head into the big game. There are many different ways that fans celebrate their favorite teams and enjoy the rich tradition that football has brought to their university, city, and/or state. While the overall premise is to become excited for your team to grind out their opponent, fight through adversity and find the end-zone to score the winning touchdown, Americans have enjoyed the individual culture of each school and what they represent. Some of these traditions keep the spirit of being a fan alive, so let’s dive into what makes universities across the country so unique in the fall.
RUNNING WITH THE BUFFALO
Starting in 1934, Colorado came up with their mascot as the buffaloes. Since then, they’ve had a 1,300 lb. bison named ‘Ralphie’ that storms the field with the team before each half.
The Warriors of Hawaii have adopted a very intimidating dance ritual done during home games, called a haka. Before 2006, they had been using one called the “Kapa O Panga”, but the dance was very controversial due to some of the explicit signs made from players. The Warriors then came up with their own haka that NCAA officials would allow, called the “Ha’a”.
IOWA VISITING LOCKER ROOM
In psychology, the color pink calms and diminishes excitement and aggression. Iowa has prided themselves for decades by having painted literally everything in the visiting team’s locker room pink. It is there to give Iowa mental competitive advantage over their opponents.
THE 12TH MAN
If there’s any sport that’s big in Texas, you know it’s football. The Texas A&M fans consider themselves the 12th man on the field with the atmosphere they create for opponents.
WORLD'S LARGEST DRUM
Before home games, Purdue students wheel out this massive drum while cheering for the Boilermakers. It was constructed in 1921 and is a two man station when played.
Consider one of the best tailgates you can go to for college football, and then think about it on water. Washington University’s stadium overlooks Lake Washington, giving local fans a very unique experience to prepare for the big game.
MIKE THE TIGER
LSU has some very unique traditions just from their geographic location, but having a live 400 lb. tiger on the sidelines for every home game? That’s something you won’t see anywhere else
There is nothing more infamous in “The Swamp” than “The Gator Chomp”. This has become a staple for Florida fans to intimidate their opponents at home, on top of the fact that Florida has one of the loudest stadiums in the NCAA.
Mississippi State fans pride themselves on cowbells that they ring during play to get under their opponents skin. Fans had made it so loud it was banned, but eventually repealed the ruling. Now the University has to ask fans to “ring responsibly”.
This Seminole warrior rides horseback on the field before each game with his spear lit on fire, only to then throw the spear in the ground at midfield. Starting in 1978 after Bobby Bowden became head coach, this tradition has made for a unique experience at the games.
WORLD'S LARGEST COCKTAIL PARTY
This tradition is for the rivalry of Florida vs. Georgia. Held in Jacksonville, FL, this game has become a huge event for half a million fans, making for a great celebration pre- and post-game.
PRECESSION OF THE STUDENTS
When Army plays Navy, this is the only game required by all students from each school to attend. The students march in form to their seats, and you will rarely ever see any of them sitting down during the game.
Wisconsin fans get to “Jump Around” to the song by House of Pain between the third and fourth quarter of every home game. It is said to get so loud that the entire stadium shakes. This tradition is fairly new, however. In 1998, Wisconsin had not scored a touchdown against Purdue after the first three quarters. The song came on, and the Badgers got so pumped up that they came back to win the game.
This mural that covers one end of Notre Dame’s library can be viewed easily from their stadium. It has become known simply as “Touchdown Jesus”, helping the team get into the endzone.
Ole Miss’ has been recognized as holding the best tailgates in the NCAA. The Grove is the place to get together and party before the game starts. Just make sure you can find your way out of the 10-acre hotspot.
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Pictures Courtesy of Bleacher Report, NBC Sports