College Football 2011: Power Ranking the Pac-12's Best School Traditions
Every school claims to have the best tradition when it comes to college football. Don’t deny it. You think your school is the best, but the truth is most fans view tradition only through their school-colored glasses.
Just to prove I’m not rattling off biased opinions, here are the defining traditions of each school in the Pac-12 in alphabetical order.
University of Arizona
Lots of schools have their own sayings, but Arizona’s famous “Bear Down” motto has special significance.
In 1926 UA quarterback and student body president John “Button” Salmon died from injuries sustained in a car wreck. His final words to coach “Pop” McKale were, “Tell them...tell the team to bear down.” Soon thereafter the student body adopted those inspiring words “Bear Down” as the school motto.
Arizona State University
Let’s get real here: A school that is spends 90 percent of its school year in the sun is bound to attract gorgeous people. ASU is home to some of the most beautiful student “bodies” in not only the Pac-12, but the entire country. Even if the game gets ugly, its co-eds won’t be.
University of California
JESSE McKINLEY, NY Times
Tightwad Hill. Combining the age-old pursuits of great entertainment and rock-bottom prices, Tightwad Hill is a revered tradition for Berkeley. Brave spectators trek up the hill above the stadium to watch the game for free against the beautiful backdrop of the San Francisco Bay.
The air is usually clear except when the cannon is fired after a Cal score or when other “smoke” wafts through the air—this is Berkeley, after all.
University of Colorado
No wimpy mascot here, not when you have a 2,000-pound buffalo rampaging into the stadium before the game. Although it has several student handlers, let’s be honest—you’re just waiting for Ralphie to break loose and do some broken-field running through the opposing team.
University of Oregon
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
This isn’t your father’s Disney Duck—Donald doesn’t blast into the stadium on a Harley. Oregon mascot Puddles, on the other hand, makes this ride every home game to the fans' thundering chant of “Go Ducks!”
Oregon State University
For most fans, first downs are appreciated but not celebrated. At Oregon State they are revered. There is something truly powerful about every Beaver fan chanting in unison, “OSU first down,” while giving the accompanying first down arm thrust.
During these last few very successful years, Beaver fans’ throats and rotator cuffs are in need of medical attention.
You thought the Tree was memorable? Just wait until the band takes the field.
Unafraid to cover controversy, Stanford’s marching band (if you can call it “marching”) has been banned for several antics, including its swine flu show and its polygamy show against Brigham Young University, with the band leader “marrying” in turn each cheerleader.
However, its most famous on-field performance was memorialized against Cal for “The Play.” Maybe if it had marched in formation, that trombone player might not have met his celebrated fate.
University of California, Los Angeles
Every school in the Pac dreams of playing in the Rose Bowl at the end of the year; UCLA, on the other hand, plays there all year. Talk about a home-field advantage. One of the most picturesque settings in college football, UCLA gladly plays its home games off campus.
University of Southern California
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
The USC song girls’ vintage look never goes out of style, especially when worn by these beautiful and talented women. One of the most amazing things they do is stay cool under pressure—not easy to do wearing a sweater in Los Angeles.
Oftentimes in games, sports stations are at war with themselves over who to focus on: the football team or the women who cheer it on.
University of Utah
Fans of the Utes have no trouble following their team on the field, especially when the team dons its all-red uniforms. When their offense and defense is hitting on all cylinders, which has been the case lately, it’s the opposing team that is left seeing red.
University of Washington
Pac fans are no strangers to tailgating. Many boast of having the best setups with massive RVs and cars decked out in school gear.
However, Washington is home to perhaps the coolest breed of fan and pregame celebration: It is the home of Sailgating. Fans sail on Lake Washington right up to the stadium, and for those that don’t have a dock, you won’t be left stranded. The UW crew team shuttles fans to and from the stadium.
Perhaps the best part about this is the postgame commute—no freeway traffic.
Washington State University
Every school wants to be recognized on ESPN’s College GameDay broadcast. WSU has taken matters into its own hands—literally.
The tradition started October 4, 2003, when Tom Pounds, a WSU grad, flew a homemade WSU flag at GameDay in Austin, Texas. Since then Pounds has shipped his flag kit to Cougar fans all over the country, where they have proudly displayed it at over 100 straight shows. That’s dedication!