100 Best Traditions in College Football

Danny Flynn@FlynnceptionSenior Analyst ISeptember 14, 2012

100 Best Traditions in College Football

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    College football is a sport that’s known for its great historic traditions and pageantry.

    Mascots, marching bands, historic rivalries and school chants are the true lifeblood of the sport, and they’re what make college football so special.

    There are so many celebrated traditions that fans around the country hold dear in their hearts.

    Here’s a look at college football’s 100 best traditions.  

100. Maryland Players Touch Testudo

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    Before every Maryland home game, Terrapin players and coaches make sure to touch Testudo, a 300-pound statue of the team’s mascot, on their way out to the field.

    Rubbing Testudo’s nose is believed to give the team good luck for the upcoming game. 

99. Oklahoma State’s Waving Song

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    Oklahoma State fans know the lyrics to the team’s fight song, “Waving Song,” by heart, as it’s played at every single football game during the pregame, after touchdowns and following a victory.

    When the song is played, Cowboys fans join in unison and sway to the melody of the “The Streets of New York,” a song originally used in the operetta “The Red Mill.” 

98. Tennessee’s Checkered End Zones

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    The checkered end zones at Tennessee's Neyland Stadium have become synonymous with the Volunteers’ program over the past few decades.

    The orange and white checkerboard design is one of the most original and creative features in any football stadium in the country.

    The design dates back to 1964 when head coach Doug Dickey decided to add some more color and life to the stadium because he thought it was too drab.

    The checkerboard end zones disappeared when the school installed artificial turf in 1968, but they returned in 1989. They’ve been a defining part of the program ever since. 

97. “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard”

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    The Harvard football team has been around since 1873, and it’s one of the oldest programs in the country. The Crimson have many notable traditions, and one of the most famous is the singing of the school's fight song, “Ten Thousand Men of Harvard,” back in the locker room following every victory.

    After finishing the song, players then begin to count off how many points the team scored in that day’s game.

96. Toledo’s Cannon

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    If it happens to be your first time at the Glass Bowl to see a Toledo football game, you may be taken off guard the first time you hear the loud “Boom!” of the cannon fired from the southeast corner of the field after the Rockets score.

    Toledo has been firing the Civil War era model cannon since 1966, and it would be hard to imagine a home game without it. 

95. Wyoming’s Beer Song

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    At every Wyoming home game, Cowboys fans can be heard chanting for the band to play “In Heaven There Is No Beer,” which is known more simply as the “Beer Song.”

    The school’s marching band will eventually give in and begin playing the fan favorite, and students will sing along, screaming the lyrics “In heaven there is no beer, no beer. That’s why we drink it right here, right here. And when we’re gone from here, are friends will be drinking all the beer.”

94. UCLA’s “8 Clap” Cheer

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    At every UCLA football game, you’ll be sure to hear the Bruins fans performing the 8-clap cheer.

    The cheer consists of fans raising their arms up in the air, then clapping eight times and letting out a chant of “U-C-L-A” while clapping and pumping their fists before ending with “UCLA fight, fight, fight!”

93. Navy’s Bill the Goat

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    Navy has had a live goat at its games ever since 1893, when the mascot debuted at the Army-Navy game. The Midshipmen won that contest 6-3, and they decided to adopt the goat as part of the team for good luck.

    There have been 33 goats that have handled the role over the years. Bill XXXIII is currently the team’s mascot, and his backup is Bill XXXIV.

    Bill has been kidnapped numerous times by rival students from Army, Air Force and Maryland, but he’s always been returned safely. 

92. Virginia Fans Sing the “Good Old Song”

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    Every time Virginia scores during a home game, Cavaliers fans join together, sway back and forth and begin to sing the “Good Old Song.”

    The song is set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne, and it includes the modified line “Wah-hoo-wah,” which refers to the unofficial Wahoo nickname of Virginia’s sports teams. 

91. Florida State’s Sod Cemetery

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    One of the strangest traditions in college football has to be Florida State’s Sod Cemetery.

    Since 1962, the Seminoles have always made sure to bring back pieces of the opponent’s turf to be buried in the cemetery.

    The “Sod Games” are considered to be any game on the schedule that Florida State would be competing as the underdogs, matchups against in-state rival Florida, conference championships and bowl games. 

90. Lafayette vs. Lehigh: “The Rivalry”

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    The long-running Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry is the most played rivalry in college football, as the teams have met a total of 147 times since 1884. Plus, it’s also the longest uninterrupted rivalry series, as the teams have squared off in every single season since 1897.

    The two eastern Pennsylvania schools are located just 17 miles apart, and their fanbases share a mutual dislike for one another.

    Lafayette currently leads the series 76-66, and there have also been five ties. 

89. Wisconsin’s “5th Quarter”

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    Following every Wisconsin game, the Badgers marching band plays both the winning and losing teams’ fight songs out on the field.

    The band then follows that up with a performance that can last anywhere between 15 to 45 minutes. It usually includes the songs “On Wisconsin,” “Beer Barrel Polka” and “You’ve Said it All.”

    The performance usually ends when the band plays “Varsity” while many of the Badgers fans who stuck around sing along. 

88. Boise State's Blue Turf

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    There are a lot of great stadiums in college football, but Boise State's Bronco Stadium showcases one of the most unique features out of any of them—a blue field!

    The "Smurf Turf" was installed in 1986, and since then it has become synonymous with the program and helped the team gain national popularity.

87. Penn Fans Throw Toast

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    At most stadiums, a fan would get ejected pretty quickly if they’re caught throwing anything out onto the field, but that’s not the case at Franklin Field.

    At every Penn home game, Quakers fans throw toast onto the field after the end of the third quarter.

    The tradition was started back in the 1970s when alcohol was banned from the stadium. The fans now use it as a way to “toast” the team. 

86. South Carolina’s “Cockaboose Railroad”

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    One of the most unique tailgating features that you'll find in college football is South Carolina’s “Cockaboose Railroad.”

    The Railroad consists of 22 cabooses lined up on the tracks just outside of Williams-Brice Stadium. Inside the cars, fans have a pleasant tailgating experience that includes televisions, air conditioners, running water and a full living room for relaxation. 

85. Notre Dame’s Irish Guard

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    Notre Dame’s Irish Guard is a group of 10 uniformed students that is in charge of leading the band out onto the field during the pregame ceremonies.

    All members of the guard wear full uniforms, which includes traditional kilts and shakos.

    The group is known to perform a Victory Clog to the tune of “Damsha Bua.”  

84. “We Are the Boys from Old Florida”

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    At the end of every third quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida fans join together in unison and sway back and forth as they recite the lyrics to “We Are the Boys from Old Florida” while the school’s marching band, the Pride of the Sunshine, plays along. 

83. Oklahoma State’s Pistol Pete

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    Pistol Pete has served as Oklahoma State’s mascot since 1958, and over the past few decades, he’s become one of the most recognizable mascots in college football.

    Pete’s best known for his giant oversized head, which was created to resemble famous American cowboy Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton.

82. Penn State’s White out

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    Many fanbases in all different sports have adopted the tradition of wearing the same color shirts to the stadium to show their unison and create a pretty stunning visual effect.

    Penn State’s “White Out” for special home football games is certainly one of the most breathtaking examples of the growing trend.

    Over 100,000 fans come to Beaver Stadium all donned in white shirts, which creates a huge sea of ivory.

    The tradition was only started back in 2005, but it’s already become one of the most talked about annual events in college football. 

81. “Waving the Wheat”

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    You’ll see fans doing “The Wave” at pretty much every stadium in the country, but you have to go to Kansas to find fans “Waving the Wheat.”

    At every football game, Jayhawks fans imitate the many wheat fields that can be found in Kansas, as they throw up their hands in unison and sway back and forth to create a pretty spectacular visual effect.  

80. Ohio State Sings “Carmen Ohio”

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    Following every Ohio State home game, win or lose, the Buckeyes always stand in the end zone in front of the marching band, as the band belts out the school’s alma mater “Carmen Ohio.”

    The players and coaches sway back and forth, singing the lyrics, before ending the song with O-HI-O hand gestures. 

79. Tennessee’s Vol Navy

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    Tennessee has one of the most unique traditions in college football, which is aided by the fact that the school’s stadium is located right next to the Tennessee River.

    For every home game, dozens of boats of various sizes referred to as “The Vol Navy” make the trip up the Tennessee River and form college football’s largest floating tailgate.

    The tradition was believed to have begun back in 1962 when the team’s broadcaster, Paul Mooney, began driving his boat to games in order to avoid the traffic mess on game days.

    Since then, “The Vol Navy” has grown to include every type of boat you could imagine, whether it’s a small speed boat or a 50-foot yacht. 

78. Oregon’s Uniforms

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    Since 2009, Oregon has been one of the most successful teams in college football, winning three Pac-12 championships under Chip Kelly’s watch. However, it seems that a lot of outsiders would rather talk about what the Ducks are wearing than what they’re actually accomplishing on the field.

    Every season, Nike manages to outfit Kelly’s crew with some of the wildest uniform designs that you’ll ever lay your eyes on, whether they’re black, yellow, white or any shade of green you could possibly imagine.

    Oregon is undoubtedly the reigning uniform king of college football. 

77. Michigan State’s Marching Band Spins the “S”

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    There are a lot of great pregame shows around college football, and one of the best can be found at Michigan State home games.

    The Spartan marching band comes out firing on all cylinders after furiously entering the field with a signature kick step.

    After getting the fans riled up, the show finishes with the band forming its signature “S” formation as it marches down the field to thunderous cheers and applause.

76. Watching a Game from Cal’s Tightwad Hill

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    You don’t necessarily need a ticket if you want to watch a University of California Berkeley home football game.

    Instead of sitting in the bleachers at California Memorial Stadium, some Golden Bears fans decide to make their way up to Charter Hill, also known as Tightwad Hill, to watch all the action.

    The Hill is roughly 100 feet above the east rim of the stadium, and it offers up a surprisingly great view for spectators. 

75. Nebraska’s “Sea of Red”

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    Nebraska fans are one of the most loyal groups in the country, and they show that loyalty every home game when they don red shirts to create a “Sea of Red” at Memorial Stadium.

    Overhead shots of the red-soaked stadium on game day are certainly awe-inspiring. 

74. Georgia Tech Fans Chow Down at the Varsity

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    The Varsity in Atlanta, Georgia is the world’s largest drive-in fast food restaurant, and it happens to be located just a few blocks away from Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium.

    On game days, thousands of Yellow Jackets fans pack the place before and after the game, ordering hot dogs, hamburgers, onion rings and fries. 

73. Texas A&M’s Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band

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    College football is filled with some truly outstanding marching bands.

    Not many can compare to Texas A&M’s Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band, though.

    The band, which includes over 300 members, is the largest military marching band in the world and one of the most disciplined units in all of college football.

    The group routinely puts on some truly spectacular and memorable halftime performances.

72. Notre Dame’s Postgame Alma Mater

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    Following every Notre Dame home game, win or lose, the Irish players, coaches and cheerleaders all gather in the end zone and join together as the band plays the school’s alma mater “Notre Dame, Our Mother.”

    Watching the players wrapping their arms around each other on the field while 80,000 fans sway back and forth in the stands will give any Irish fan the chills. 

71. Georgia’s “Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation”

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    Before the start of every Georgia home game, a trumpet player from the school’s Redcoat Marching Band will stand in the upper deck of the southwest corner of the stadium.

    They'll begin to play the first few notes of the song, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” or as Georgia fans refer to it, “The Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation.”

    Eventually, the rest of the band joins in, and the crowd begins to roar with excitement. 

70. West Virginia’s Mountaineer Mascot

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    One of the most recognizable mascots in college football is West Virginia’s Mountaineer.

    The Mountaineer, who is dressed in a buckskin suit and coonskin hat, is in charge of leading the team out onto the field before every game and leading fans in the chant “Let’s Go Mountaineers!”

    He’s also known for firing off his musket after every West Virginia score and at the end of every quarter.

69. Pregame Arrivals

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    In recent years, pregame stadium entrances have become commonplace at many major schools.

    Teams have begun the tradition of walking into the stadium through thousands of fans a few hours before the game.

    Some of the best walk-ins are Alabama’s “Walk of Champions,” Georgia’s “Dawg Walk,” LSU’s “Walk Down Victory Hill,” Tennessee’s “Vol Walk,” Army’s “Black Knight Walk” and Georgia Tech’s “Walk Down Yellow Jacket Alley.”

68. The Stanford Axe

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    The Stanford Axe symbolizes one of the best and oldest rivalries in college football—Cal vs. Stanford.

    The axe has been the victim of numerous thefts and pranks during its existence, and it has one of the wildest back stories of any of the famed rivalry trophies in college football. 

67. Ohio State’s Victory Bell

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    Ohio State is one of the winningest programs in college football history, which means that the school’s Victory Bell has gotten plenty of use.

    The bell, which is located 150 feet high in the southeast tower at Ohio Stadium, has been used since 1954.

    It’s believed that the bell can be heard from up to five miles away

66. Tennessee's Smokey Mascot

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    Since 1953, Tennessee has had a live canine mascot named Smokey on the sidelines.

    Over the years, Volunteer fans have grown to adore him. 

    There have been nine total dogs who have served as the team’s mascot since it was first introduced.

    Smokey IX, who is a bluetick coonhound breed, has handled the role since 2004. 

65. ESPN’s College GameDay

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    When ESPN’s College GameDay first took its show on the road to the battle between No. 1-ranked Florida State and No. 2-ranked Notre Dame back in 1993, no one could have foreseen just how big of a role the show would play in the sport’s popularity explosion in the coming years.

    GameDay is now a vital part of the fabric of college football, and it’s become required Saturday morning viewing for fans across the country.

    Whether it’s Lee Corso putting on mascot heads or one of the many clever signs that you’ll find in the crowd, GameDay is the type of show that perfectly suits the atmosphere of a big college football weekend.  

64. The Pride of West Virginia’s Pregame Performance

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    West Virginia’s Pride of West Virginia is one of the most respected marching bands in the country.

    A big reason why the group has received so much acclaim throughout the years has to do with their fantastic pregame performance.

    Before every Mountaineer home game, the band electrifies the crowd with songs such as “Hail, West Virginia,” “Country Roads” and “Simple Gifts.”

    The highlight of the show is when the 390-member group comes together to form an outline of the state of West Virginia.

63. Missouri’s Granite “M”

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    The best feature of Missouri’s Memorial Stadium is without a doubt the huge “M” above the north end zone. The “M” is made up of thousands of whitewashed rocks and it measures 90-feet wide by 95-feet high.

    Every year, before the first Tigers home game, incoming freshmen take part in cleaning the “M” as part of the school’s welcoming activities. 

62. Ohio State’s Helmet Stickers

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    Numerous college and high school football teams around the country now use helmet stickers as a reward system for players. However, Ohio State was one of the first schools to start using them back in the 1960s.

    They’ve since become ingrained in the team’s culture. 

    The stickers, which are approximately the size of a quarter, are made to resemble buckeye tree leaves, and they’re handed out to players for great plays and consistent effort. 

    It’s not unusual to see some of Ohio State’s top players have their entire helmet covered with the stickers. 

61. Kansas State’s Wabash Cannonball

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    Kansas State has used “Wabash Cannonball” as its unofficial fight song ever since 1968, when a fire at Nichols Hall destroyed all of the marching band’s sheet music.

    The only music that the band had to play in its following game against Syracuse was Wabash Cannonball.

    Ever since then, Wildcats fans have embraced it, believing that it symbolizes the team’s feisty underdog spirit and the will to persevere.

    The song can be heard at every Kansas State home game, and fans routinely join together and sway back and forth anytime the band begins to play it. 

60. "The Victors"

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    Michigan’s fight song, “The Victors,” is one of the most famous and iconic fight songs in all of college football.

    The song, which dates all the way back to 1899, is played anytime the Wolverines come up with a big play or score. Fans often stand up, clap and sing along with the chorus whenever the marching band belts out the tune.

59. Washington Fans Arrive from Lake Washington

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    Husky Stadium, which is located right next to Lake Washington, is one of the most stunning settings that you’ll ever see for a college football game.

    Given how close the stadium is to the lake, it’s not unusual to see some fans arrive by boat, or even spend the day tailgating out on the lake before the start of the game.

    The pregame festivities at the lake, which usually includes dozens of boats filled with Husky fans, are among the most unique sports scenes in the country. 

58. Iowa’s Swarm Entrance

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    Once Iowa fans hear AC/DC’s “Back in Black” blasting on the speakers, they know what that means. It’s time to welcome the Hawkeyes onto the field.

    After a minute or two of listening to the crowd roar, Iowa players join hands and jog out onto the field together, sending the fans into overdrive.

    The so-called “Swarm” entrance dates all the way back to the Hayden Fry era in the 1980s, when the coach came up with the idea to have players hold hands as they ran out onto the field in order to promote the idea of unity and teamwork. 

57. Tennessee’s Rocky Top Chant

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    Tennessee fans have adopted the bluegrass song “Rocky Top” as one of their main rallying cries during football games.

    The song’s chorus, “Rocky Top, you’ll always be home sweet home to me. Good ole Rocky Top, Rocky Top Tennessee, Rocky Top Tennessee,” can be heard numerous times throughout games at Neyland Stadium. Vols fans will never get tired of singing it. 

56. Jackson State’s Sonic Boom of the South

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    One of the most impressive marching bands in college football is Jackson State’s Sonic Boom of the South.

    The band, which includes over 250 total members, is a renowned, award-winning group that puts together some of the best and most entertaining halftime performances you’ll ever see.

55. Hawaii’s Haka

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    The Haka that Hawaii players perform before and after games is definitely one of the most intimidating chants you’ll hear in college football.

    The players live up to their Warrior nickname, as they scream and pound their pads in unison creating a very compelling and frightening effect. 

54. Cal's Card Stunts

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    Many college football fanbases now have some form of card stunts in which a section of fans holds up cards in unison to form a picture. However, many credit the Cal Golden Bears with starting the tradition back in 1910.

    These days, the fans often perform numerous card stunts per season, and you can find pictures ranging from the word “Cal” to the team’s famous bear logo. 

53. Air Force’s Wings of Blue Drop in

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    Before the start of most Air Force home games (depending on the weather), the famed Wings of Blue parachute team will skydive into the stadium from thousands of feet above to deliver the game ball.

    The crowd definitely gets pumped up watching as the group slowly descends onto the stadium from above before finally reaching the field below. 

52. Navy’s Pregame March onto the Field

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    Before the start of many Navy games, thousands of Midshipmen will take the field in what’s known as a march-on.

    Watching all the companies stand at attention in different groups spanning the entire field is certainly an impressive sight to see. 

51. Army’s Cadet Parade at “The Plain”

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    Before every Army home game at the picturesque Michie Stadium, cadets perform a parade on “The Plain” three hours before kickoff.

    The cadets perform the parade in full dress gear, and it’s amazing to see just how precise and disciplined the group actually is during the performance. 

50. Oklahoma’s Boomer Sooner Chant

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    Throughout every Oklahoma home game, you will often hear fans chanting their favorite two words—Boomer Sooner!

    The volume and enthusiasm that fans use when screaming the chant is enough to rattle any opposing player while also helping to pump up the Sooners. 

49. Kansas’ Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk Chant

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    Kansas may be known as a basketball power, but the school’s famous Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk chant is the type of universal battle cry that sounds great at a football stadium as well.

    The chant is considered by many to be one of the best in all of college sports. The slow pacing and tempo that fans use when screaming it only adds to its uniqueness. 

48. Yale’s Handsome Dan Mascot

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    There are a lot of teams that now feature live animal mascots on the sidelines during games, but none of them has been around for as long as Yale’s Handsome Dan bulldog.

    Handsome Dan is believed to be the oldest live animal mascot in the history of college athletics with his origin dating all the way back to 1889.

    There have been 17 total bulldogs that have filled the role over the years. Handsome Dan XVII has been the team’s mascot since 2006.

47. Notre Dame’s Golden Helmets

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    There’s a reason that Notre Dame’s famous golden helmets always look pristine and spotless on game days. It has to do with the fact that the team’s helmets are constantly repainted and retouched every single week of the season.

    Every Monday of a game week, the helmets receive a fresh coat of gold paint, which includes actual gold flakes.

    The helmets are truly one of the most recognizable uniform features in all of college football.

46. Texas’ Bevo Mascot

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    It’s only right for a team called the Longhorns to feature a Longhorn steer mascot with a huge set of horns.

    Texas’ Bevo certainly doesn’t look like the type of animal mascot that you want to go near, but for the most part, he’s usually pretty peaceful during his time spent behind the end zone on game days.

    In total, there have been 14 cattle that have served as Bevo through the years. Bevo XIV has been in the role since the start of the 2004 season.

45. Purdue’s Big Bass Drum

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    Although it’s never been officially confirmed that Purdue’s bass drum is, indeed, the largest in the world as the school claims, it’s certainly big enough to get Boilermakers fans excited during the pregame festivities.

    The drum crew, which includes two beaters and two pushers, is in charge of the 10-foot-high drum on game days.

    The massive instrument is certainly a unique piece of college football history and tradition. 

44. USC’s Song Girls

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    USC’s Song Girls are not an ordinary cheerleader group.

    Unlike most cheering squads, the Song Girls do not perform aerial stunts or gymnastic-type maneuvers during games. Instead, they are primarily a dance squad who are there to keep the fans energized and entertained all game long.

    The white sweater-clad group, which has been around since 1967, is one of the most recognizable parts of USC game days at the L.A. Coliseum.

43. The “We Are, Penn State” Chant

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    With a capacity to fit more than 106,000 fans, Penn State’s Beaver Stadium is the second largest sporting venue in the United States.

    It’s quite impressive to hear all of those Nittany Lion fans chant the school’s motto “We Are, Penn State” on game days.

    Outsiders may look at the program in a different light following the child sex abuse scandal that rocked the school late in 2011. However, there’s no question that the Penn State fanbase is one of the best and most loyal groups in all of college football.

    They love to show the pride they have in their team with their favorite game day chant. 

42. Night Games at Death Valley

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    Tiger Stadium, also known as “Death Valley,” has gained a reputation as one of the loudest and most intense college stadiums in the country. Night games have been notoriously deafening and overwhelming for opponents. The 90,000-plus Tigers fans are usually a rowdy bunch after they’ve had all day to properly prepare for that night’s contest.

    The Tigers currently hold a remarkable 77 percent winning percentage in night games at Death Valley.  

41. Michigan Players Touch the “Go Blue!” Sign

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    There aren’t many stadiums that can compare to the Big House on a Saturday afternoon in the fall. Over 100,000 Wolverines fans pack Michigan Stadium to create a game day experience that is almost indescribable.

    The huge crowd usually reaches a fevered pitch when the players come running out of the locker room and touch the famous “Go Blue!” sign.

40. Mississippi State Fans Clang the Cowbells

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    If you’ve ever been to a Mississippi State football game or even just watched one on television, then you know all about the school’s cowbell tradition. Yes, Bulldogs fans love to clang their cowbells all game long.

    Even though the constant noise and ringing is enough to give even the toughest fans a headache, it does provide a one-of-a-kind atmosphere and backdrop for a college football game. 

39. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party

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    Every season, 80,000 Georgia and Florida fans descend onto Jacksonville for what has been dubbed “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”

    The game marks one of the only times that you’ll see EverBank Field actually filled to capacity.

    The matchup is usually an important showdown with SEC East implications on the line, but in recent years, the pregame festivities have gained just as much attention as the actual game.

    If you’re looking for a fantastic college football tailgating experience, you couldn’t go wrong with attending this mega matchup down in Jacksonville. 

38. Nebraska’s Blackshirt Defense

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    Nebraska’s blackshirt defense tradition dates all the way back to the 1960s when then head coach Bob Devaney wanted his starting defensive players to have their own specific color practice uniforms.

    The Cornhuskers defense eventually ended up with black shirts, and the rest is history.

    During the Tom Osborne era, the team routinely featured some of the most dominant defenses in the country, which only helped to enhance the image.

    You will now often see Nebraska fans and players “Throwing up the Bones” after a great defensive play, which is a reference to the skull and cross bones that were featured on the front of the jerseys. 

37. Tennessee Runs Through the “T”

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    Tennessee’s band, the Pride of the Southland, is one of the best marching bands in the country. One of the most impressive feats the group pulls off each game is when it makes a perfect “T” formation for the team to run through.

    With 102,000 volunteer fans screaming in the background, it’s one of the most thrilling pregame entrances in all of college football. 

36. Texas Tech’s Masked Rider

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    Texas Tech isn’t the only school that features a horse and rider as its game day mascot. However, the school’s Masked Rider was the first mascot to feature a live horse when it debuted as the team’s official mascot back in 1956.

    Since then, the Masked Rider has become an integral part of the game day experience at Red Raiders games.

    Dressed in a black outfit, which includes a cape, hat and mask, the Masked Rider and its trusty stallion always lead the team onto the field at every home game.

35. LSU’s Mike the Tiger

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    There are plenty of live animal mascots in college football, but not many of them are so dangerous that they have to be caged for the entire game. LSU’s Mike the Tiger, a 450-pound Siberian-Bengal mixed breed, is certainly the scariest living animal mascot in the sport.

    Mike is paraded around in a cage on the sideline, and he’s become a key feature of the game day experience in Baton Rouge.

    There have been a total of six tigers who have served as the school’s mascot since Mike was first introduced back in 1938. Mike VI has been handling the role since the 2007 season. 

34. Iowa’s Pink Locker Room

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    The most famous feature of Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium is the pink-painted visitor’s locker room.

    Former Iowa head coach Hayden Fry is the one who originally came up with the idea to paint the locker room pink.

    Fry believed it would have a psychological effect on the visiting team.

    The locker room has remained pink for over 30 years, but it’s impossible to say if it actually gives the Hawkeyes any sort of advantage.

33. Ole Miss’ Tailgate at the Grove

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    One of the most interesting tailgating experiences in all of college football takes place on the campus of Ole Miss, specifically in a section near the stadium called the Grove.

    It’s there where Rebel fans dress up in their best attire for a day of tailgating unlike any other in the country.

    Between 20,000 and 25,000 fans spend the day eating upscale food off fancy china and indulging in a large assortment of alcohol before heading into the stadium.

    The Grove has consistently finished near the top of basically every college football tailgating rankings, and it should be on the bucket list of any real college football fan.

32. Florida State’s War Chant

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    Florida State’s War Chant is definitely one of the most well known cheers in college football, and it’s one that you’ll hear numerous times during a Seminoles home game.

    Once the Marching Chiefs begin to bang on the drums, the fans know that’s their cue to break out the famous chop and start chanting.

    Many trace the chant’s origin back to a game against Auburn in 1984. Since then, it’s become a main staple at every game at Doak Campbell Stadium.

31. Texas A&M’s Midnight Yell Practice

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    Texas A&M fans are some of the most passionate in the country, and they display their support for the Aggies on the night before every home game during a rally at the stadium known as Midnight Yell Practice.

    The Midnight Yell has been one of A&M’s most important traditions since it started back in 1932.

    Typically, the practice consists of five yell leaders guiding a group of roughly 20,000 fans  as they sing school songs such as “Spirit of Aggieland” and “Aggie War Hymn.”

    There comes a certain time in the night when the stadium lights are turned off, which is a signal for fans to kiss their dates. 

30. Michigan’s Winged Helmets

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    There are many instantly recognizable helmets in college football, but one design that has stood the test of time is Michigan’s winged helmets.

    The Wolverines weren’t the first school to use the design, but they were the team that really made it famous.

    Michigan has used the winged design for their helmets since 1938, and over the years it’s grown into one of the most illustrious icons in all of sports. 

29. Miami Runs Through the Smoke

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    Miami isn’t the only school that incorporates smoke in its pregame entrance, but the Hurricanes do utilize it the best.

    When the smoke starts to pour out of the big helmet that Miami players run out of, it drives the fans wild. Once the Hurricanes finally emerge and come running through the smoke, the stadium becomes absolutely electric. 

28. Texas’ Hook ‘Em Horns

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    The most famous hand gesture in all of college football is the Hook ‘Em Horns sign that Texas fans use frequently throughout games.

    This is an obvious homage to the team’s mascot Bevo. The Horns are used to show solidarity, support and unity amongst the massive Texas fanbase.

27. Florida’s Gator Chomp

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    You’re likely to see the Gator Chomp quite often during a Florida home game, as Gator fans love to use the simplistic hand clap to try to psyche out opponents.

    The idea of it may not seem all that intimidating. But when nearly 90,000 fans begin thunderously clapping their arms together while the band plays the song from Jaws, it can definitely be disconcerting for the visiting team. 

26. Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck Entrance

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    Since 1961, the Ramblin’ Wreck, a golden 1930 Model A Ford Sport Coupe, has led the Georgia Tech football team out onto the field.

    The car has become synonymous with both the school as well as the Yellow Jackets fanbase, which was given the nickname Ramblin’ Wreck back in the late 19th century. 

25. The Oregon Duck’s Motorcycle Entrance

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    You have to hand it to Oregon’s Duck mascot. He certainly knows how to enter a stadium in style.

    Before every game at Autzen Stadium, the Duck leads the team out onto the field on the back of a Harley Davidson.

    Oregon's one of the fastest teams in college football, so it seems only right that a motorcycle leads the players out of the tunnel. 

24. Notre Dame’s Touchdown Jesus

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    One of the most well known features of the Notre Dame game day experience is looking up at the World of Life mural on the outside of the school’s Hesburgh Library, which can be seen from inside the stadium.

    The 134-foot tall mural features artist Millard Sheets’ vision of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

    The way Jesus happens to be holding his arms up in the air makes it seem as if he’s signaling a touchdown, which has earned the piece of art the nickname, “Touchdown Jesus.”

23. Virginia Tech’s “Enter Sandman” Entrance

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    New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera may be the most famous athlete who runs out to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” However, Rivera’s entrances don’t hold a candle to the Virginia Tech football team’s “Enter Sandman” pregame entrances.

    When the Hokie faithful first hear the intro to the song blast from the stadium speakers, they go nuts, and the whole stadium begins to rock before the players finally burst out onto the field.

    If that entrance doesn’t get you pumped up, then you aren’t a true college football fan. 

22. Arkansas Fans Call on the Hogs

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    “Woo, Pig Sooie!” is a chant that can be heard loud and clear before every single Arkansas home game.

    Razorback fans use the saying to call the Hogs out onto the field before the start of the game.

    The cheer includes fans raising their arms in unison and then wiggling their fingers before making a clenched fist and giving a forceful pump.

21. Alabama’s “Rammer Jammer” Chant

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    Besides Roll Tide, there’s nothing that Alabama fans love to say more than “Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer, give ‘em hell, Alabama!”

    That’s because the cheer signifies an Alabama victory, and you can hear Tide fans passionately screaming it in the closing minutes of games when the outcome is certain.

    Some consider the somewhat controversial line, “We just beat the hell out of you” to be inappropriate and unsportsmanlike. But don’t try telling that to Alabama fans because they don’t want to hear it. 

20. The Red River Rivalry: Oklahoma vs. Texas

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    Every college football season, one of the most anticipated games of the year is always the Red River Rivalry, pitting Big 12 powerhouses Oklahoma and Texas against each other.

    The game takes place at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas during the State Fair of Texas, and the crowd is usually split evenly between Sooner fans and Longhorn fans.

    The first meeting was back in 1900. Since then, the two teams have battled each other 106 times. Texas currently holds a 59-42 advantage in the series, and there have been five ties. 

19. Auburn Fans Roll Toomer’s Corner

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    Toomer’s Corner, which is located on the corner of Magnolia Avenue and College Street in Auburn, Alabama, is considered a sacred ground by Tigers fans.

    You can usually find toilet paper covering the two massive oak trees located there following a big Auburn win.

    This celebratory tradition, which is believed to date all the way back to the 1950s, has become simply known as “rolling Toomer’s Corner.” 

18. South Carolina’s Pregame Entrance

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    There aren’t many pregame entrances in college football that can compare to the one that occurs at Williams-Brice Stadium for every South Carolina home game.

    As the iconic theme from “2001: A Space Odyssey” begins, South Carolina fans get amped up as the song continues to build into a crescendo.

    Once it finally reaches its peak, the Gamecocks come bursting out of the tunnel while the fans erupt with applause. 

17. West Virginia Fans Sing “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

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    Following every West Virginia home victory, Mountaineer fans all around the stadium join together to sing John Denver’s hit “Country Roads.”

    The song has become an unofficial anthem and theme for the university, and it’s a tune that every true Mountaineer fan knows by heart.

16. Oklahoma’s Sooner Schooner

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    During every Oklahoma home game, the Sooner Schooner—a Conestoga wagon pulled by two white ponies named Boomer and Sooner—will race out onto the field every time the team scores while the band belts out the team’s fight song.

    Seeing the Schooner racing out onto the field really whips Oklahoma fans into a frenzy. 

15. The Iron Bowl: Alabama vs. Auburn

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    If you don’t live in the state of Alabama, it’s hard to really describe just how big of a game the annual Iron Bowl between in-state rivals Alabama and Auburn really is.

    The two fanbases can’t stand each other, and they spend all year counting down the days until the big matchup.

    The Iron Bowl is one of the sport’s greatest and longest running rivalries, dating all the way back to 1893, and it’s a matchup that’s steeped in tradition.

    Currently, Alabama holds a 41-34 edge in the series, and there has been one tie. 

14. Wisconsin Fans Jump Around

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    Between the third and fourth quarters of every Wisconsin home game, the Badgers student section enthusiastically dances while the stadium P.A. system blasts the House of Pain song “Jump Around.”

    No matter what the score of the game may be, Camp Randall Stadium always gets a big boost in energy once the song comes on and the kids start jumping.

13. Nebraska’s Tunnel Walk

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    There are very few venues in the country that can compare to Memorial Stadium. The most exciting moment of a Nebraska game day occurs when the team first enters the field.

    The Cornhuskers leave the locker room and make the walk through the tunnel leading out to the field, making sure to touch the lucky horseshoe on their way out.

    Fans can see everything that’s happening on the video board, as the Alan Parson Project song, “Sirius,” blasts throughout the stadium.

    When the players finally do emerge from the tunnel, the crowd lets out a roar and the Cornhuskers fly out onto the field. 

12. The Army-Navy Game

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    Army vs. Navy is a rivalry that may not feature star players or champion-caliber teams on an annual basis, but there’s no doubt that it’s still one of the biggest events of every college football season.

    It’s a rivalry that started all the way back in 1890, yet it’s still running strong 122 years later.

    The two teams may be fighting a heated battle for bragging rights on the field. Nevertheless, no matter which squad ends up winning, the players from both sides always show mutual respect for each other, as they know that they’ll be fighting together for the same cause in the future. 

11. USC’s Traveler Mascot

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    USC is one of the most prestigious programs in college football, so it figures that the Trojans would have one of the most well known mascots in the sport.

    The school’s mascot, Traveler, is a white horse who is ridden around the field by a Trojan warrior character at every USC home game at the L.A. Coliseum.

    The horse has been a fixture at USC games since 1961, and over the years he’s grown into one of the most famous mascots in all of college football.  

10. Ralphie Runs onto Colorado’s Folsom Field

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    Ralphie—Colorado’s 500-pound Buffalo mascot—is a part of one of the most famous pregame traditions in college football.

    At every Buffalo home game, Ralphie leads the team out onto the field with a thunderous run from one side of the field to the other. It’s definitely a remarkable and rare site to witness on a football field.

    The fact that the big buffalo needs five handlers to keep her under control during her pregame charge just goes to show how powerful she really is. 

9. The Rose Bowl

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    The Rose Bowl is referred to as the “Granddaddy of Them All” because in terms of prestige and tradition, there isn’t another bowl game in college football like it.

    The game, which dates all the way back to 1902, is surrounded with pageantry.

    It’s hard to imagine New Year’s Day without watching the Tournament of Roses Parade in the morning, or seeing a beautiful Pasadena sunset glistening over the iconic stadium packed with 100,000-plus fans during the afternoon. 

8. Notre Dame’s “Play Like a Champion Today” Sign

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    Many college football teams touch a sign or an object during their pregame walk onto the field, but Notre Dame players touching the “Play Like a Champion Today” sign is the most famous example.

    Although the Irish haven’t exactly been blessed with much luck or played like a true champion in recent years, the team is still one of the most celebrated and renowned programs in the country.

    The sign, which is hanging on the staircase leading from the team’s locker room to the tunnel, is one of the most well known symbols that fans associate with the Notre Dame Football team.

7. The Ohio State vs. Michigan Rivalry

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    Ohio State vs. Michigan is arguably the most intense rivalry in college football history.

    The Buckeyes and Wolverines have been playing each other since 1897, and during that time, the two schools have grown to truly despise one another.

    The late season meeting between the two teams, known simply as The Game, is always one of the most anticipated matchups on the schedule every year. Plus, it usually has Big Ten championship implications.

    The week leading up to the game is filled with great traditions, including Ohio State students making the famous jump into the frigid Mirror Lake on the Thursday before the game. 

6. Auburn’s War Eagle Fly-in

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    One of the most unique pregame rituals in college football occurs during Auburn home games.

    Before the start of every game, the team’s eagle mascot known as War Eagle comes soaring into the stadium to the delight of the thousands of fans in attendance, who let out a special War Eagle chant.

    It’s certainly a one-of-a-kind tradition that you won’t see replicated anywhere else in the country.

5. Georgia’s UGA Mascot

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    College Football features a numerous variety of live animal mascots who stand on the sidelines during games.

    None of them are as famous, though, as Georgia’s bulldog UGA.

    Although he may be small in stature, UGA is a big part of the program, and he’s truly beloved by the Bulldogs fanbase.

    Since the mascot’s introduction back in 1956, there have been a total of nine UGAs.

    All of the deceased bulldogs eventually end up in a mausoleum near the main entrance of Sanford Stadium.

4. Clemson Players Run Down the Hill

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    Clemson’s pregame stadium entrance is loaded with excitement. After players grab the famous Howard’s Rock for good luck, a cannon is fired, and the team comes running down the hill towards the field as the fans around the stadium go crazy. 

    Once the Tigers reach the field, the fans let out a loud C-L-E-M-S-O-N chant, and the energy level in the stadium reaches its peak.

    It’s been called “The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football,” and it’s the type of thrilling entrance that you won’t see anywhere else.

3. The Ohio State Band’s Script Ohio Formation

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    Every marching band in college football has some sort of signature formation that they’re known for. However, none of them can compare to the Script Ohio formation that the Ohio State marching band forms during their pregame performance.

    It’s one of the most iconic images in all of college football.

    It’s the type of moment that gives Buckeyes fans chills, and it’s probably caused more than a few tears to be shed over the years.

    The defining part of the performance comes when a sousaphone player trots out and dots the “I” as the crowd of over 100,000 fans roars with excitement. 

2. Florida State’s Chief Osceola Planting His Flaming Spear

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    The most powerful pregame ritual in college football is when Florida State's Chief Osceola rides out to midfield on his horse Renegade and plunges his flaming spear into the grass.

    The way the crowd and stadium atmosphere builds in intensity as Osceola approaches midfield before rising up on his horse and hurling the spear into the ground is truly remarkable.

    It’s the type of spectacle that you can only find on a college football field. 

1. Texas A&M’s 12th Man

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    Texas A&M’s 12th man is the type of tradition that represents everything that college athletics should be about—a fanbase that goes out of its way to support and show its love for both the school and the football program.

    It’s a tradition that revolves around the inspiring story of E. King Gill, a Texas A&M student who came out of the stands and took the place of an injured player in a game against defending champion Centre College back in 1922. Although Gill did not actually play in the game, his willingness to help out his team has come to symbolize the enthusiasm that the team’s fanbase has for supporting their Aggies.

    Whether its standing united throughout the entire game, practicing chants in the late hours of the night or showing off their passion and pride for their team whenever they get the chance, the 12th Man has come to embody everything that’s truly great about college football. 

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