One of the best parts about college football are the traditions that have been around for decades. In some cases, almost centuries. There are Division I football traditions that are known by athletes all over the United States, whether they choose to attend that particular school or not. In some cases, athletes are drawn to these schools in part because of the amazing traditions they have for each home football game.
This will be a two part series listing division I universities and their unique traditions created throughout history, in no particular order. These game day traditions have been named some of the best in the country, drawing in people to attend the games from all over the nation.
Auburn → Toomer's Corner
Their grand football tradition began in the 1950’s, but it wasn’t always throwing toilet paper into trees. The tradition is said to have started when a drug store in town called Toomer’s had the only telegraph in town. For away games, when the drug store employees would receive news of a win on the road, they would go outside and throw ticker tape onto the power lines to indicate an Auburn win.
The tradition these days is known as “rolling the trees”, and students of Auburn University throw toilet paper into oak trees on the corners of College Street and Magnolia Avenue. Toomer’s Corner is known to be one of the oldest traditions in football history, and is also claimed to be one of the most unoriginal traditions created.
Texas A&M → The 12th Man
“The 12th Man” refers to the entire fanbase at Kyle Stadium down in Texas, not just an individual person. This tradition dates back to 1992 when Texas A&M pulled off an astonishing upset against Centre College. The football team was injury ridden, and only had one man standing on the sidelines to physically go in and help his teammates, E. King Gill. He was a practice squad player who has now created one of the best known traditions in football history.
One of the coolest parts of this tradition is how during games over 103,000 fans in the stands of Kyle Stadium (a concrete stadium!) sway back and forth, chanting to the same beat in unison. The Texas A&M football team reserve a roster spot for #12 and a jersey each year dedicated to the most well known walk-on in school history. There is also a 12th man statue in front of Texas A&M University Stadium.
Oklahoma → The Sooner Schooner
Dating all of the way back to 1964 is when the Sooner Schooner made its first appearance at an Oklahoma football game. However, it wasn’t until 1980 when the Sooner Schooner was officially declared Oklahoma University’s official mascot. The Sooner Schooner is a replica of the Conestoga wagon which was used by settlers of the Oklahoma territory during the turn of the 20th century. The wagon is pulled by two white ponies named Sooner and Boomer before each game, leading the Oklahoma Sooners out onto the field.
Sooner and Boomer race around the field pulling the wagon decked out in Oklahoma logos and colors, and has become a treasured tradition throughout football history. Over time there have definitely been some jokes to be made due to some mishaps over the years, but the Sooner Schooner football game day tradition is one that cannot be replicated.
Mississippi State → Cowbells
Another game day tradition that began in the early 1900’s had its debut in the late 1930’s. However, the Mississippi State tradition has been known to be awesome for those who love it, and impeccably annoying for those who don’t. What is incredibly unique about this college football tradition, is how generally each student has their own cowbell uniquely designed specifically for themselves. Quoted from The Bleacher report, “Mississippi State fans have a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell. As if that's possible”.
A surprising fact about this college tradition, the cowbells cannot make noise when the ball is in play. In 2010 the SEC lifted the ban of now allowing the cowbells inside the stadium, allowing them to be used whenever the game is not in motion. It is known to be one of the loudest stadiums, and an intimidating atmosphere for the opposing teams.
Virginia Tech → Enter Sandman
A tradition that started in the year 2000 has become known all throughout the country. As the Virginia Tech Hokies run out onto the field, ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica rains all over the stadium, getting louder and louder as the team continues to sprint out onto the field.
However, it was not until the following year, 2001, where the students created the tradition to jump throughout the entire stadium as ‘Enter Sandman’ blared throughout Lane Stadium. It was started by a member of the marching band, who was then joined by his fellow band members, and then it spread throughout the entire stadium.
You can find part two here.