Syracuse Orange: 5 Irreplaceable Football Traditions

Andrew Pregler@ACPreglerContributor IIIOctober 25, 2011

Syracuse Orange: 5 Irreplaceable Football Traditions

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    College football is synonymous with traditions. It's why EA Sports went through such trouble to promote its addition of school traditions and mascots in NCAA Football 12.

    Syracuse has a storied football program, ranking 15th all time in total wins, winning a National Championship in 1959 and having the nation's first African-American Heisman Trophy winner in Ernie Davis.

    Naturally, the program has has its ups-and-downs over the years, but the fans remain loyal to the team. Under alum and coach Doug Marrone, Syracuse football has seen a resurgence, and he has reminded the team of these memories and long ago championships.

    On Twitter, I asked some of Syracuse's most hardcore fans: "What are the some of the Oranges' most important and long-lasting traditions?"  

    Here were there responses.

Entrance of Otto the Orange (@Adammc314)

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    For Syracuse, the most recognizable figure of the school is the mascot Otto.

    This Orange has been the official mascot of Syracuse since 1995, and it is impossible to walk into any souvenir store and not see Otto’s goofy grin on a shirt.

    One of the best Otto traditions at Syracuse besides the head spin or roll (as seen in the video) is Otto’s entrance. Otto is the head of Otto’s Army, the student section at games, and thus leads the crowd in cheering on the Orange.  

    So before even the football team takes the field, Otto is carried out in front of the student section before Coach Marrone and the Orange take the field (seen at the very beginning of the video).

Flipping the Banner at Varsity (@jakemcgoo)

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    For a Syracuse fan, going into Varsity is a rite of passage.

    Varsity, a pizza shop just outside the campus, has been passed down for three generations. With cheap, great quality food, it is a college student’s dream.

    What makes Varsity special to Syracuse is the football tradition.

    For years, the Syracuse schedule is displayed with banners hanging over the back of the restaurant. After games, the Syracuse Marching Band goes to Varsity and will play their sets inside the restaurant.

    Yes, it may be loud, but after the band plays, the best Varsity tradition takes place: if Syracuse has won, the banner of the opposing team will be flipped upside down to symbolize the victory.

    For the entire season, the banners will tell the tale of Syracuse’s season. Sometimes, even the players get in on the fun.

“Key Plays” on Third Down (@Intelligence4YA)

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    The Carrier Dome is affectionately referred to as “The Loud House” because as Geno Smith will tell you, the acoustics are made to amplify everything.

    That’s why third downs at Syracuse are so difficult to convert. At every stadium with knowledgeable fans, third down will signal an extra volume level. However, at Syracuse, Hells Bells begins to ring and fans reach for their pockets and grab their keys.

    On these “key plays,” fans scream and jingle the keys while these noises bounce and echo around the dome.

    Even the players know it's coming as late in the game. Some of the guys on the sidelines will motion for the fans to get out their keys rather than your traditional “get loud” arm wave.

School Chants (@Dan_Lyons76)

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    As is the case with every student section, the goal is not to be nice or cordial. The goal is to be the most obnoxious and aggravating fans in the entire building by a country mile.

    That being said, there are many times when everyone decides to cheer and chant along, and these vary from school to school. For Syracuse, these are some of the most iconic moments at the game.

    Thanks to the Otto's Army student leadership that helps organize the student section, fans can go right here and learn all of the cheers as well.

    Some are iconic (Spelling S-Y-R-A-C-U-S-E after every first down), funny (Darth Vader march after a failed opponent third down) and the ones we can't exactly explain in good taste (e.g. the "Hey Song").

    Regardless, Syracuse fans are some of the best in the entire country and games in the Loud House are not going to be easy for anyone, just ask Oliver Luck.

Alma Mater

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    As mentioned earlier, Doug Marrone is an alum of Syracuse who is very in touch with the school's traditions. Hence, ever since he has been head coach, Syracuse has started this tradition.

    At the end of the game, win or lose, the team will gather in the end zone with the cheerleaders and Otto and sing the Alma Mater with the band and fans.

    The fans and players all wrap their arms around each others' shoulders and sing while the band accompanies both groups. While for some games, like Rutgers, this is a subdued defeated song, games like West Virginia makes this song the beginning of the post game celebrations.

    Think I missed one? Want more details on more? Tweet me @acpregler or leave something in the comments below!

    @NunesMagician, one of the best Syracuse bloggers ever, has been working to provide tickets to the Boys and Girls Club of Syracuse for a few years now and could use your help. Please help if you are able as kids have greatly enjoyed this experience each time.