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College Football Wordplay: 50 Best Terms Related to CFB

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2017

College Football Wordplay: 50 Best Terms Related to CFB

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    College football fans are becoming more and more excited with the 2012 college football season right around the corner.

    As the 2012 season prepares to get underway, fans are getting ready to hear various terms that are synonymous with college football. 

    These words may be different verbs, nouns, adjectives or phrases that are unique to the sport. As we continue to look for ways to make the time go by quicker, here are 50 of those words or phrases that are related to college football. 

'Whoa Nellie'

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    Keith Jackson has one of the most iconic voices in college football history.

    The phrase "Whoa Nellie" is something that Jackson would use during broadcasts and is a memorable saying that easily allows college football fans to hear him saying it as if he was standing right in front of them.

Student Section

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    Student sections are unique to college football. It is an outstanding sight to see an entire section devoted to loud, passionate and crazy college fans that will completely pack the section to cheer on their team.

    If you have ever been to a college game, you do not have to search hard to find the student section.

'Student Body Right'

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    While most people know this phrase better as a sweep right, the phrase "student body right" is used to describe it as well. This is a running play in which almost the entire side of the line pulls to the right and provides the back with plenty of blocking as the play moves right.


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    One thing that NFL fans do not have to worry about is the eligibility rules of their players. College football players have to remain eligible in many fashions, but this is often used to talk about their academic eligibility or the number of years that they have left to play in college football.


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    In college football, a redshirt is a way for a college program to preserve a year of eligibility for a college athlete. This ability allows a player to come into the program and to practice and learn the system but does not allow them to play a live snap in a game.

    If the player remains off the field, they will maintain all four years of eligibility. 

True Freshman

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    While most freshman tend to redshirt in their first year, some unique and outstanding athletes have the ability to play as true freshmen. A true freshman is a player that is in their very first year of college and did not take that year to learn the system while being protected by a redshirt. 

Bowl Game

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    Unlike other sports, when the college football regular season is over, the sport moves into its bowl season. When most teams have achieved six wins, they are invited to a bowl game in various locations around the nation. This game acts as the team's postseason and is something that every team strives to be a part of. 


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    After the regular season is over, a select group of college players are invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony.

    The Heisman is awarded to the nation's most outstanding player and the most cherished award in college football.

Granddaddy of Them All

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    When people talk about the Rose Bowl, it is often referred to as the granddaddy of them all. Aside from the national championship, the Rose Bowl is one of the most coveted bowls and is generally reserved for both the Pac-12 champion and the Big Ten champion.


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    Another unique sight seen at college football games is when a program does a white-out or any color-out in which everyone comes to the game in the same color. 

    Most famous for this is Penn State, because they get nearly 100 percent participation in getting fans to wear white to certain home games.


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    While "Tebowing" has picked up speed in the NFL, Tim Tebow had his start at Florida. "Tebowing" is the act of imitating Tebow when he drops to one knee to thank God. This was something that Tebow did throughout college and has continued in the NFL.


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    Made famous by teams like Nebraska, the fumblerooski has been successfully run in college by several teams. The fumblerooski is a play in which the ball is left on the ground after it is snapped and the offense pretends to run the play one way while another player picks up the ball and runs the other way.

Big House

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    The Big House is the home to the Michigan Wolverines and is the biggest stadium in the nation. With the ability to seat over 100,000 fans, the Big House has rightfully earned its nickname and is a sight that all fans should see in person.

The Swamp

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    Another stadium known around the nation is the Swamp. The Swamp is the home to the Florida Gators, and when the program is at an elite level, the stadium matches that intensity. It can be one of the most difficult places to play, but it has one of the coolest nicknames around.


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    Depending on what side of the fence you sit on, this can be a dirty word or a great word. The BCS system has been in place for a while now and has created a system to name a national champion. This system has been highly criticized, and with the approval of the new playoff system, it may be on its way out.


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    While the idea of a playoff is nothing special to most sports, for college football fans it is something that they have been waiting for. When the 2014 season starts, college football will be adopting a four-team playoff, and if it is successful, it may grow even bigger.

Death Penalty

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    Whenever people in the sports world hear this term, they automatically think of SMU. The "death penalty" is the punishment that SMU received for paying players. This resulted in them having to suspend their program from play for a year. It basically took the team back to square one.


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    In college sports, recruiting is the life of your program. While things might be going well currently, a coach must stay on top of recruiting talent for his team for the following seasons.

Signing Day

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    With recruiting comes the now highly publicized national signing day. This is the day that high school players around the nation must fax in their letters of intent to their schools of choice. On this day, coaches know where their teams stand and what is still needed for future success.


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    When it comes to recruiting or even when a player is attending a college, the possibility of a violation is there. Coaches and programs need to be careful with how they both handle recruiting and running their programs because, while some violations are minor, others can cost programs dearly.

Roll Tide

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    The fans of Alabama live from coast to coast and are as passionate as any group in the nation. One phrase that you will hear them saying all college football season long is "Roll Tide Roll."


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    One of the most known mascots in the nation may be Michigan State's Sparty. Sparty is seen all over in the Big Ten and has been part of many college football commercials. As the Spartans continue to improve on the field, Sparty is sure to grow in popularity.

Spring Game

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    After college football's final game is played in January, the wait until the next season starts. One way that the wait is broken up is when teams open up spring camp and conclude with their annual spring game. This is a great way for fans to see how the teams are developing and how they may look come fall.


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    Each team around the nation is given a certain number of scholarships to attract the top talent in to the nation with. A scholarship could be impacted by any potential violations but is one of the main benefits that a recruit gets for attending a certain school.

Trophy Game

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    One of the most unique parts of college football are the traditions that certain games have. In certain rivalry games, the teams have trophies that they have continued to battle for year in and year out. These trophy games are a ton of fun to watch and make college football what it is today.

Bowl Tie-In

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    While bowls are fun, understanding what bowl game a team may end up in is sometimes complicated. Conferences around the nation have natural tie-ins to certain bowl games, depending on where a team finishes in the standings.

    With these tie-ins, teams sometimes do not know where they will be playing until the season is completely finished.

Automatic Qualifier

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    Along with having bowl tie-ins, the BCS has set up a system in which certain conferences are automatically qualified for BCS games. The conference champion from the ACC, Big East, SEC, Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten all are guaranteed spots in a BCS game.


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    Teams like Boise State and TCU have been programs that are frequently referred to as  BCS-Busters. These teams do not have the ability to automatically qualify for a BCS bowl game but have often played their way into one.

Out-of-Conference Schedule

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    A big difference between college and professional football is that college teams can make their own out-of-conference schedules. Teams are able to go out and sign agreements to play other teams, but for the most part, they end up playing lower level teams in order to allow themselves to gear up for conference play.

Rushing the Field

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    Unlike any other sport, college football and college basketball have seen their fans rush the field or court after a huge win. In college football, fans quickly descend upon the field if their team is able to pull off an upset over a highly ranked opponent.

Striking the Heisman

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    With the Heisman trophy being the most coveted award in college football, players have continuously celebrated by striking the Heisman pose in celebration. Most famous for this was Desmond Howard, after he had returned a punt against Ohio State.

Spread Offense

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    In the past couple of years, college football has come a long way in developing new offensive schemes. One of the new innovations over the past decade has been the creation of the spread offense.

    The spread offense has allowed offenses to spread out the field, open large running holes and set up the play-action pass.


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    A play that you will rarely see run in the NFL but which is run all the time in college football is the option. The option is simply when the quarterback and running back run to one side of the field together, and the quarterback has the option of pitching the ball or running it himself.

Coaches' Poll

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    Throughout the season, the conference standings get some attention, but nationally people are looking at the coaches' poll. The coaches' poll has been a great source of debate throughout the years, but it wouldn't seem like college football without it.

Dr. Lou

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    Lou Holtz is a great figure in college football, but his part on ESPN playing Dr. Lou is great. Dr. Lou gets into his role and allows fans to have a laugh but mostly at his expense.


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    Headgear is often what people talk about on Saturday mornings when Lee Corso is preparing to pick the game of the week. For years, Corso has been wearing the headgear of a certain team at the end of College GameDay, and this tradition has been growing with each new season.

'Jump Around'

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    If you follow Wisconsin or Big Ten football, you know that "Jump Around" is associated with the Wisconsin Badgers.

    Before the start of the fourth quarter, the song "Jump Around" blasts over the stadium's speakers, and fans throughout the stadium begin to jump around and get the stadium rocking.


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    Oregon also has a tradition that picks up at the end of the third quarter. Since Animal House was filmed on the University of Oregon's campus, the fans listen to "Shout" over the speakers and get themselves ready for the fourth quarter.


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    While it may not have been that well known 10 years ago, after every Oregon score, the Duck now matches the point total with pushups on the sideline. Over the past couple of years, ESPN has documented this and even had some fun with it on Saturday mornings.


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    While most fans still just refer to it as Division I, they have officially switched the name over to the FBS division. Despite the change, some fans will never embrace it or care enough to change what they are saying.


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    While fans can tailgate for any sport, tailgating for college football goes to a whole new level. Fans around the nation pack local parking lots and stadium parking lots and practically put together full blown parties before and after their teams take the field.

'Pay to Play'

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    This is something that nobody in college football is comfortable talking about. It is an issue that is brought up as college teams continue to profit off of players, and yet they do not see any of the profits coming back to them.

Locker Room Signs

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    Locker room signs have been a great way for college coaches to get their teams motivated. Teams use this as a way to remind themselves of how they need to be mentally and physically, as they prepare for the battles ahead of them.

Howard's Rock

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    One specific and well known symbol in college football is Howard's Rock. Howard's Rock is a symbol used by Clemson to motivate its team before it runs down the stadium hill and kicks off its home game.


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    While perfection has only been achieved once in the pros, it is a feat that is pulled off more frequently by college teams. Every year, teams around the nation start off the season with the expectation and goal of going undefeated, but in most cases, only one team fulfills this dream. 

Mad Hatter

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    LSU's head coach Les Miles is one of the best coaches in the nation but also is a little bit out there in terms of how he acts on and off the field. Since being at LSU, Miles has been nicknamed the "Mad Hatter," and the nickname has fit him perfectly.

Five Star

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    When talking about recruiting in college football, coaches are always in search of 5-star athletes. Recruits are assigned star ratings based on their potential and abilities, and while the ranking will differ from site to site, most 5-star athletes are seen as the cream of the crop by fans.

The Horseshoe

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    Another well known stadium in college football resides in Columbus, Ohio. The Horseshoe is the home to the Ohio State Buckeyes and got its name from the unique shape that the stadium has.

    Not only is the nickname creative, but the fans come from miles around to make this one of the loudest stadiums in the conference.

Helmet Stickers

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    College football has another tradition that is extremely unique—the start of helmet stickers. While not all schools participate in this practice, some schools have set up goals for their players, and if they are achieved, the player or team earns helmet stickers that are continually added through the season.

The Big Game

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    Known simply as the "Big Game," the matchup between Michigan and Ohio State is one with a rich and long history. These two teams hate each other to the point that when people talk about the greatest rivalries in sports, this is generally near the very top.

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