Ranking the Greatest All-Time Traditions in South Carolina Football History

Adam Garrett@lifeofagamecockAnalyst IOctober 24, 2011

Ranking the Greatest All-Time Traditions in South Carolina Football History

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    South Carolina football has been around for a long time.

    Gamecock football began in 1892 for their first game ever against Furman University on Christmas Eve. Since then, it's been a lot of up's and down's for the Gamecocks, but there have been some traditions created that rival some of the greatest programs in college football.

    South Carolina has seen its stock rise in recent years thanks to the arrival of Steve Spurrier, and Gamecock football truly is on the upswing toward becoming a more prominent team seen around the country.

    If you are unfamiliar with Gamecock football, it's only fitting that we get you acquainted with some of the greatest traditions in South Carolina football history. We'll take you through a space odyssey, outside to the railroad tracks and through a sandstorm. You might get Cocky and have to deal with Sir Big Spur yourself.

    Here's a look at the top five all-time football traditions at South Carolina....

No. 5: Sir Big Spur

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    Sir Big Spur has been crowing at Gamecock football games since 2005.

    Sir Big Spur is a unique mascot because he's one of just a few live mascots that are with the team at both home and away games.

    It all started when a Gamecock fan began bringing a live rooster to Gamecock baseball games several years back. Eric Hyman, the athletic director at South Carolina, took over in 2005 and was looking for a way to add excitement to the Gamecock football experience. Someone mentioned the rooster that had been making its presence known at Gamecock baseball games and the rest became history.

    He's got his own remote control perch that he sits atop as he surveys the crowd on the sidelines of Williams-Brice. This same perch is a goal post. How fitting...

    Sir Big Spur is a pretty popular guy too. He's got his own Twitter account.

    The wonderful owners of Sir Big Spur fund all the expenses as he travels to home and away games. They say this is the third bird. The average life span is from nine to 12 years.

    Sir Big Spur is only five.

    He'll be crowing on the sidelines for the Gamecocks at Williams-Brice for years to come.

No. 4: Cocky

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    Cocky has become a fan favorite for Gamecock fans young and old at South Carolina football games.

    Cocky was "born" in 1980 when he took over for his dad, Big Spur, at South Carolina athletic events. He's become one of the more recognizable mascots in college football and is a part of the Gamecock tradition.

    His part in the 2001 entrance at USC football games is one of the magical moments that make up the Gamecocks entrance on the field. Cocky appears out of nowhere, in his magical black box with his own smoke screen, and gets the crowd even more hyped up as the football team enters Williams-Brice to do battle with their opponent.

    Cocky has won several mascot championships and was the 2002 Capital One Mascot Challenge winner. He's a big part of the athletics program at South Carolina and can be seen all over campus at different events.

    Make no mistake, though, his presence is felt on Gamecock football Saturdays.

No. 3: Sandstorm

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    The instant the song starts, you know it's on in Williams-Brice.

    One of the newest traditions in Gamecock football has taken the Gamecock Nation by storm.

    "Sandstorm" is a song by Finnish DJ Darude and was released in 1999. It was first played at Williams-Brice on a day when South Carolina was on the verge of upsetting the No. 4 ranked Ole Miss Rebels.

    The Gamecocks defense was on top of its game that day and the crowd was into it. All of a sudden, "Sandstorm" hit the speakers and the place went crazy.

    A tradition was born in an instant.

    Now, "Sandstorm" is played throughout key moments during South Carolina football games and continues to produce energy throughout the stadium. Gamecock spirit rags have been incorporated into this new tradition and really bring it all together.

    It's hard to imagine a South Carolina football game without "Sandstorm" playing over the speakers to over 80,000 screaming Gamecock fans.

No. 2: Cockaboose Railroad

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    One of the more unique traditions in college football is the Gamecocks Cockaboose Railroad right beside Williams-Brice Stadium.

    It all started around 1990 when a South Carolina fan hated the look of the rundown tracks right outside the stadium. He proceeded to clean up the tracks and place renovated cabooses on the tracks to create a one-of-a-kind tailgating experience.

    There are 22 cabooses in the Gamecock Railroad today and are considered some of the most luxurious tailgating you can have at a South Carolina football game.

    On the outside they all look alike. The inside, though, is customized to each owner's taste in style.

    These units have all the amenities like big screen TV's, mahogany cabinets, heating and air, granite counter-tops and anything else you can imagine.

    It truly is one of the coolest traditions at South Carolina and one any fan should see in person.

No. 1: 2001

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    The entrance for the Gamecocks to the song "2001: A Space Odyssey" has become one of the greatest entrances in college football today.

    Former Gamecock coach, Joe Morrison, was looking for a way to add to the Gamecock football experience.

    A new tradition was born during the 1980s with the entrance to song. The idea comes from the way Elvis Presley took the stage on one of his tours to the theme of "2001: A Space Odyssey."

    The Gamecocks assemble in the southwest corner of the of stadium waiting for the right moment to run on to the field. A video plays South Carolina highlights from over the years with the closing line from Steve Spurrier: "It's time for Carolina football!"

    "2001: A Space Odyssey" begins to play and the crowd goes wild. The band is lined up on the field as a makeshift tunnel for the entrance to the players. The energy is electric and the pageantry of Gamecock football is on display. Cocky appears in the middle of the field, the smoke begins to fill the corner of the end-zone and the Gamecocks make their much anticipated appearance on the field.

    It's hard to describe in words one of the great entrances in college football. It really needs to be experienced in person to get a feel of what its like.

    I promise you won't be disappointed.