With college football back in full swing, all of us CFB fans are reminded of some of the best traditions in the sport. Traditions are a huge part of what makes college football so special, each school and program has its own twist to make their own game day experience and team feel unique.
Anyone who watches a lot of college football knows about all the huge traditions- the Notre Dame “Play Like A Champion Today” sign, the Wisconsin “Jump Around” after the third quarter, the Florida State tomahawk chop, the Virginia Tech “Enter Sandman” team entrance. But it’s the lesser known ones that are what make college football what it is, a truly different experience whatever stadium you go to. Here are 5 of my favorite.
1. The Grove (Ole Miss)
Ole Miss Athletics
The Grove is the home to the tailgate before every home Ole Miss football game. When you hear the saying, “Football is different down south,” this is a perfect example of how revered the sport is down there and how much a part it is of peoples’ lives. Fans will often line up for these Saturday tailgates the night before, and it is common for 100,000+ in total to end up there. Students often dress up in suits and ties, and dresses, and at the tailgates, the food is often served on china with nice glasses as well. The team will walk through the center of the Grove on their way into the stadium pregame, creating a great atmosphere for the team no matter how good they are that year.
2. Touchdown Balloons (Nebraska)
This tradition, which is pictured at the top of this article, is one of my favorite because of the visual effect it creates. After the first touchdown of every Nebraska home game, much of the crowd has a balloon they are given in the concourse to release into the sky. It always looks great, especially because of the lack of tall buildings around the stadium. However, this tradition is one that’s been under controversy because of the amount of litter it creates. The last 2 years, students have been asked to vote on the tradition, whether it should stay or go, and it has passed both times, but it is likely to be gone in the next few years.
3. “Neck” (LSU)
This tradition comes from a song by Cameo and sampled by Dem Franchize Boyz called “Talkin Out the Side of His Neck.” This song originally came out in 1982 but it wasn’t until the sample was used by Dem Franchize Boyz in 2008 that the tradition became popular. This is another tradition that is under fire, because of the “edited” lyrics that the student section yells along when the band plays the song.
The actual lyrics are “Talkin’ out the side of his neck,” but because the LSU students changed up the lyrics for their own purpose, the band apparently incurs a fine any time they play the song at the games because of what the University knows will happen.
At a 2017 game, though, Odell Beckham was back at LSU for a game, and wanted Neck to be played badly enough that he went up to the band director and offered to pay the fine if the band played the song- which they eventually did.
4. “Shout!” (Oregon)
The classic scene from “Animal House” will never get old, and never will the song, and Oregon football makes sure to keep it alive by playing the song for all the crowd and players to join in on after the third quarter every game.
I mean, that just looks fun. Of course, when you’re playing Montana at home and up 4 scores at the end of the third, it’s a little easier to let loose than a tie game with USC, but either way, this is a great tradition that even inspired Nike to make an Animal House parody video with some Oregon alums.
5. “Country Roads” (West Virginia)
This is a classic song, and when this many fans stick around postgame to sing it after a win, it creates a great atmosphere unique to WVU. Having such a good song that even references your state in the chorus is perfect for college football fans.