Ranking the 13 Best Game-Day Traditions in College Football
The pageantry surrounding a game-day atmosphere is simply spectacular.
Ardent pride for one's school is palpable—and often showcased in myriad ways. Each university brings something different to the table on Saturdays. That uniqueness creates a culture rooted in togetherness and camaraderie.
Here, we'll look at the 13 best game-day traditions in college football, including acts made possible by the respective fanbases, universities and the teams themselves.
Woooooooo Pig Sooie!
At Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the Fayetteville, Arkansas, faithful offers a cry for its team to come out of the tunnel and charge onto the field of battle.
This unique act is akin to someone calling after a pig. Unsurprisingly, this tradition is dubbed "Calling the Hogs." A group of farmers first uttered the "Woo Pig Sooie" chant as a means to galvanize the squad back in the 1920s.
This universal call unites Razorbacks fans from across the country.
Go Blue Entrance
Holding nearly 108,000 people, Michigan Stadium is the biggest stadium in the country—and the second-largest in the entire world. Michigan players run onto the sparkling field amidst a blur of maize and blue.
Since 1962, a "Go Blue" banner has sat at midfield. As the players pass under the massive entity, each member jumps up and pats the sign.
Tradition goes hand-in-hand with Michigan football. It's the winningest football program in the history of college football—with 915 victories.
West Virginia's Link to John Denver
The faithful at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown has a fascinating tradition after every home victory.
John Denver's song "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is the official song for West Virginia University. Supporters of the school have essentially fallen in love with the ballad since its inception in 1971.
Dating back to 1972, the song has been played during the pregame of every contest. Since 1980, the song has been sung by both the crowd and players after every win. In unison, a chorus breaks out amidst a gigantic sea of blue and old gold.
It symbolizes not only the patriotism and pride associated with the football program, but also the entire state.
Running Through the "T"
Ever since former head coach Doug Dickey introduced the "T" to the helmets in 1964, the letter has become a staple of the game-day atmosphere in Knoxville.
The "Running Through the T" marks the conclusion of Tennessee's pregame activities. The marching band forms a gigantic "T"—drawing monumental cheers on Rocky Top. The players then run out of the tunnel and through the formation with fervor.
This scene has become a considerable point of interest not only with locals, but also visiting fans taking in a game at Neyland Stadium.
Tommy Trojan Setting the Tone
Southern Cal's iconic pregame ritual gets the home crowd completely amped. It also infuriates the opponents to no end.
Whether it's at home or on the road, a drum major from Southern Cal's marching band triumphantly thrusts a sword in the middle of the football field.
In a sense, the Tommy Trojan lookalike is setting the tone for the Trojans with his field-stabbing maneuver. The act itself ignites a gigantic roar from the home crowd at the Coliseum.
In fact, the act hasn't gone without eliciting some controversy. A UCLA walk-on player named Sam Handler tried to prevent the drum major from stabbing the Rose Bowl's field in 2014.
The simple act of playing music generally is accompanied with some sort of body movement.
For the fans of Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and South Carolina, this premise is taken to a whole new level.
At Lane Stadium in Blackburg, the Metallica song "Enter Sandman" incites a period of sheer hysteria and jubilation. It's immensely impressive, to say the least.
The song "Sandstorm" by Darude creates an insane atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. It's not hard to see why Steve Spurrier and his team would be completely jacked for any home contest.
Lastly, the House of Pain song "Jump Around" marks the beginning of the fourth quarter at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. The Badgers student section gets in an absolute frenzy when this tune is blasted.
There ain't no party like an Ole Miss party.
The Grove is a 10-acre tailgating spot nestled right in the heart of the campus. Simply put, it's a magical wonderland chock-full of scenic trees, immense school spirit, libations and beautiful women.
There isn't really anything else to say. If one is a fan of tailgating, I highly suggest making a trip down to the Magnolia State to take in this highly entertaining experience.
The Sooner Schooner
The classic "Sooner Schooner" is a mark of pride and association for the University of Oklahoma.
Two beautiful white ponies (named "Boomer" and "Sooner") pull the schooner out onto the field before games—as well as when the Sooners score. The schooner speaks to the history of the state. Settlers rode in on schooners when coming to Oklahoma in the late 1800s.
This iconic scene is one of the best to use animal involvement in a sporting program.
The Texas A&M Experience
Texas A&M has a myriad of awesome game-day experiences.
For one, Kyle Field is an exceptional place to take in a ballgame. The fans are considered the official "12th man"—in large part due to the raucous atmosphere in College Station.
On the night before a home game, students and fans alike participate in the midnight yell—which is a pep rally of sorts. Thousands upon thousands of people accompany the Texas A&M Fightin' Texas Aggies Band on Kyle Field for the event.
Lastly, dates must kiss each other on game day after every Texas A&M touchdown. Plenty of people hope Kevin Sumlin's offense will put up a ton of points in 2015.
Toomer's Corner is effectively the heartbeat for the city of Auburn.
Located right across from campus, the area is filled with memorabilia from the past. A famous drugstore has been sitting in the area since 1896. Fans gather in droves to celebrate anything having to do with the football program. The drugstore—named Toomer's Drugs—is a landmark.
In 1937, two massive oak trees were planted on the corner. Fans would decorate the trees with toilet paper after every victory. However, a supporter of Alabama poisoned the trees—effectively killing them.
This hasn't stopped the Auburn faithful from displaying its unbridled love for the university. Wires were placed on the corner for the sole purpose of utilizing copious amounts of two-ply.
The "War Eagle" tradition of releasing an eagle at the beginning of every game is also a sight to behold.
It's unquestionably a gem of a game-day experience for any major college football fan.
Ralphie the Buffalo
Is there anything cooler than having a majestic 1,300-pound animal run onto a football field at full speed?
Ralphie is the beloved mascot for the Colorado Buffaloes football team. Many people don't realize the bison is actually a female. As of 2008, Ralphie V has been the featured animal.
The act of Ralphie running out of her cage is a true sight to behold. Although brutish and bulky in nature, the bison rumbles gracefully across Folsom Field—accompanied by a team of handlers.
This spectacle is one of the greatest sights in all of college football.
Dotting the "I" at Ohio State
Dating back to 1936, the "Dotting of the i" is among the most aesthetically pleasing pre-game traditions in the entire country.
Ohio State's marching band succinctly and efficiently forms the word "Ohio" in script. The icing on the proverbial cake is the dotting of the lowercase "i."
It's captivating in nature and impressive when it comes to the pageantry surrounding the organization and execution.
In a word, the "Dotting of the i" is iconic.
Clemson's Stadium Entrance with Howard's Rock...
When it comes to game-day traditions, nothing tops the Clemson football team touching Howard's Rock for good luck—before running down a hill into Clemson's Memorial Stadium.
The crowd of more than 80,000 is a crystalline ocean of purple and bright orange. A fleet of orange balloons is released into the air as the team traverses down the incline onto the field. The players pile onto multiple buses in order to reach the top of the stadium.
Howard's Rock is a rock hailing from Death Valley in California. With Memorial Stadium also affectionately nicknamed Death Valley, the rock acts as a good-luck charm. Both players and fans rub it as a means to bring good fortune to the program.
With the pomp and circumstance surrounding this event, nothing rivals this game-day tradition.