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Best College Football Traditions, Trivia, Rivalries & History

Posted by Rae Lynn on 9/6/2014 to Football & Tailgating
University of Arkansas
  • Nicknames: The Arkansas Razorbacks, Hogs
  • Mascot
    • The traditional “running hog” is the official logo. 
    • Tusk, the live Russian boar; currently Tusk IV, descended from the original boar. 
    • Big Red a.k.a the “Fighting Razorback” is the name of the costumed mascot, who is sometimes accompanied by the lady...
    • Sue E hog, who dances and stays in fashion through numerous costume changes, as well as...
    • Pork Chop, the “kid” mascot. 
    • Boss Hog joined the scene as a 9-foot inflatable mascot in 1998.
  • Colors: Cardinal Red & White
  • Traditions
    • Games start off with chant known as “calling the hogs.” 
    • Here is how to participate in the tradition the right way, thanks to the step-by-step instructions on the school website.
    1. Raise your arms above your head during the The Hog Call is one of the "Wooo" and wiggle your fingers for a few seconds.
    2. Next, bring both arms straight down with fists clinched while yelling, "Pig."
    3. Then extend your right arm with the "Sooie."
    4. Repeat these steps two more times and finish by yelling
    5. "Razor-Backs" like this: 
Wooooooooo. Pig. Sooie!
Wooooooooo. Pig. Sooie!
Wooooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Razorbacks!
  • Fight Song: Arkansas Fight, officially adopted in 1932. Hear it here.
  • Rivalries 
    • Historic rivalry with the Texas Longhorns, which lessened after the teams joined different conferences in the 1990s. 
    • The showdown with new football rivals, the LSU Tigers, usually occurs near the end of the season. The winner of the game takes home the “Golden Boot,” a trophy shaped like the geography of the two states. 
    • The school maintains a policy of not competing with other Division I schools within the state of Arkansas.
  • History: Formerly the Cardinals from the football program’s inception in 1894 to 1910, the name changed after Coach Hugo Bezdek praised his team for playing with the fury of a “wild band of razorback hogs.”
Auburn University
  • Nicknames: The Auburn Tigers
  • Mascot: 
    • Auburn’s live mascot is named Nova, a 14-year old male golden eagle officially named War Eagle VII in 2006. 
    • He flies along with Spirit, a bald eagle, in pre-game performances. 
    • The costumed mascot is a tiger named Aubie, and is known for clownish antics and his animated, strutting walk.
  • Colors: Midnight Navy & Burnt Orange
  • Traditions
    • Thousands of fans line Donahue avenue to cheer on the team as they walk from the athletic complex to Jordan-Hare Stadium before each home game. 
    • The battle cry “War Eagle!” is also used as a greeting between two individuals who are associated with the university. 
    • Students also don their pajamas and parade around town in the Wreck Tech tradition, reinstated in 2005 when arch rivals Georgia Tech returned to Auburn’s schedule.
  • Fight Song: War Eagle, adopted in 1955. Listen here.
  • Rivalries
    • Auburn’s most heated rivalry is with the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, and the game between them is referred to the Iron Bowl. 
    • The other primary rival is the University of Georgia Bulldogs, who compete in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Aurburn’s games against UA and UGA are traditionally referred to as the Amen Corner. 
    • There is a history of rivalry between Auburn and Georgia Tech, which ended with SEC restructuring for a couple of decades. However, the teams have recently began dueling regularly and the rivalry has come back strong. 
    • The LSU Tigers are also rivals, and the match between these schools is called the Tiger Bowl due to the similarity of their mascots.
  • History: The school began competing in intercollegiate football in 1892, and joined the SEC in 1932. The War Eagle mascot originates in a Civil War legend in which a lone-surviving Confederate soldier finds a wounded eagle and nursed it back to health. The soldier then became faculty at the university, and brought the eagle, named Anvre, to live on campus. Since then, they have had seven live eagle mascots. Aubie, the anthropomorphic tiger mascot, appeared in 1959.
Clemson University
  • Nicknames: The Clemson Tigers
  • Mascot
    • The tiger paw is the official logo of Clemson University.
    • The tiger mascot is referred to simply as “The Tiger.”
  • Colors: Clemson Orange and Regalia
  • Traditions
    • The week before prominent football games, Clemson students participate in Spirit Blitz during which everyone wears orange to promote athletic events and pep rallies. 
    • During away games, Clemson fans are known for spending two-dollar bills stamped with tiger paws to show their contribution to local economies. 
    • After a touchdown during a home game, the Clemson Tiger mascot performs a set of push-ups equal to the number of points the team has scored. 
    • Before each home game, players gather atop “The Hill” behind the west endzone and take turns touching “Howard’s Rock” for luck, then run down onto the field as the Tiger Rag and a cannon sound off the start of the game.
  • Fight Song: Tiger Rag, a jazz standard originally recorded by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917. Clemson’s version is called “The Song That Shakes the Southland” and was officially adopted in 1942. Take a listen here.
  • Rivalries
    • The University of South Carolina Gamecocks are a traditional rival, and the game between the teams is referred to as the Blood Bowl, but not for the reasons you might think. Since 1985, the schools have hosted a week-long blood drive before the game to see which school can donate the most blood. However, the historic rivalry has bitter beginnings despite the fact that the schools are in different conferences. The winner of the Clemson-South Carolina game takes home the Hardee’s Trophy. 
    • Lesser rivalries include Georgia Tech, NC State, Boston College, Florida State, and UGA.
  • History: The Clemson Tigers had their logo crafted from a mold of a real Bengal tiger footprint. In the official licensed trademark logo, there is a small fishhook-shaped indention at the base that makes it unique and is from a scar on the paw of the actual tiger who supplied the footprint.
Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Nicknames: Yellow Jackets, Ramblin’ Wreck, Engineers
  • Mascot: 
    • Buzz, an athropomorphic Yellow Jacket whose signature move is the so-called “Buzz flip” as well as frequent crowd-surfing. 
    • Accompanying him is the Ramblin’ Wreck, a 1930 Ford Model A Sport Coup.
  • Colors: White, Old Gold
  • Traditions
    • A steamwhistle blows 5 minutes before every hour from 7:55am to 5:55pm. 
    • Stealing the letter “T” from Tech Tower. 
    • George P. Burdell, a fictitious student enrolled at the university continuously since 1927. 
    • “What’s the Good Word? THWUGA!” 
    • The Rambling Wreck Parade is held before every homecoming game and includes classic cars to engineering oddities.
  • Fight Song: “(I’m a) Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech,” played after every score and frequently preceded by “Up with the White and Gold.” Hear the song here.
  • Rivalries: A traditional rivalry exists with the University of Georgia, and is referred to as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.”
  • History: Georgia Tech has been called the Yellow Jackets since the 1890’s, when the football players wore yellow jerseys because of a lack of gold fabric. Fans also donned yellow jackets in support.
University of Kentucky
  • Nicknames: Wildcats, Big Blue Nation (fans)
  • Mascot
    • A live bobcat named Blue is an official mascot, but never attends games due to the nature of the wild creature. 
    • Costumed mascots include The Wildcat and Scratch, the kid-friendly mascot.
  • Colors: Royal Blue and White
  • Traditions
    • Every time the team scores a touchdown, The Wildcat completes a set of one-armed push-ups on a raised board to match the number of points gained. 
    • Fireworks are also set off after each touchdown from the top of Commonwealth Stadium. 
    • Fans line up at Gate One for each home game to cheer on the players as they enter the field in what is known as the "Cat Walk".
  • Fight Song: On! On! U of K, listen here.
  • Rivalries: University of Louisville Cardinals
  • History: The school adopted the “Wildcats” moniker after Commandant Carbusier asserted that the football team had fought “like wildcats” after a win in 1909 over Illinois.
University of Mississippi
  • Nicknames: Ole Miss, Rebels
  • Mascot
    • Rebel, 
    • The Black Bear
  • Colors: Cardinal Red & Navy Blue
  • Traditions
    • On gameday, eager tailgaters flood a 10-acre lot shaded by historic trees called The Grove, everyone is dressed in their “Sunday Best,” and hospitality is generous even to fans of the opposing team. 
    • The school cheer is called “Hotty Toddy” and the lyrics are chanted:
Are you ready?
 
Hell, yeah! Damn Right!
 
Hotty Toddy, Gosh almighty
 
Who the hell are we, Hey!
 
Flim Flam, Bim Bam
 
OLE MISS BY DAMN!
    • The trailer bathrooms set up for gameday bear the sign "Hotty Toddy Potty".
  • Fight Song: Forward Rebels, also known as the “Rebel March” and is played by the Pride of the South marching band before home games. It is often accompanied by an unofficial version of “Dixie.” Listen here.
  • Rivalries
    • The major rivals of Ole Miss include the Mississippi State Bulldogs with whom they compete in the Battle for the Golden Egg (Egg Bowl). 
    • The Arkansas Razorbacks are also traditional rivals mainly due to geography, and also the fact that Old Miss has played the hogs more times than any other SEC opponent after Texas A&M. 
    • The Ole Miss and the LSU Tigers match-up is referred to as the Magnolia Bowl. 
    • Other rivalries include the Alabama Crimson Tide, Vanderbilt Commodores, and Memphis Tigers.
  • History: The current mascot was adopted in 2010, replacing Colonel Reb as the official mascot. However, the Colonel still appears unofficially at some school-related events (ie. tailgating).
Mississippi State University
  • Nicknames: State, Bulldogs, Diamond Dogs (baseball)
  • Mascot: Bully the Bulldog
  • Colors: Maroon and White
  • Traditions
    • Fans celebrate Bulldog victories by sounding off cowbells. 
    • This tradition stems from the legend that a cow wandered onto the playing field during a game against the Rebels, leading to a Bulldog victory. 
    • She was adopted as a good luck charm and was wearing a cowbell.
  • Fight Song: Hail State, click here to listen.
  • Rivalries
    • Rivals include Ole Miss whom they duel in the Egg Bowl.
    • The LSU Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, and the Kentucky Wildcats.
  • History: Mississippi State was first known as Mississippi A&M, being a leading research institution in agriculture. The athletic mascot was the Aggies, which was then changed to the Maroons in 1932. The current Bulldog mascot was adopted in 1960
University of Missouri
  • Nicknames: Tigers, Mizzou, MSU
  • Mascot: Truman the Tiger
  • Colors: Black, MU Gold
  • Traditions
    • MSU purports to be the originator of the homecoming tradition, attracting 10,000 fans in 1911 to one of the first-ever homecoming games. 
    • A large bass drum referred to as “Big MO” is used to lead fans in the MIZ-ZOU cheer. 
    • The tradition of tearing down the goalposts from the playing field after a home game has occurred for decades, and since 1971 have always ended up at Harpo’s on South Tenth Street in Columbia.
  • Fight Song: Fight Tigers, hear it here.
  • Rivalries
    • Mizzou’s newest rivals are the Arkansas Razorbacks, who share the same conference as of 2014. It has begun to be called the Tiger Boarder War 2.0, after the original Tiger Boarder War with their longest-running rivalry with the Kansas Jayhawks ended in 2011 due the restructuring of the conferences. 
    • Other rivals include Texas A&M and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
  • History: The school mascot comes from a Civil-war era band of armed guards who called themselves the Missouri Tigers and defended the city of Columbia from Confederate guerrillas.
University of South Carolina
  • Nicknames: Gamecocks
  • Mascot 
    • Sir Big Spur IV, the live rooster mascot who travels to away games in addition to making appearances at home games. 
    • Cocky the Gamecock is the costumed mascot portrayed as the “son” of Big Spur, a larger barnyard rooster created by a fraternity.
  • Colors: Garnet and Black
  • Traditions
    • Cockaboose Railroad is a revamped railroad near the stadium that now boasts luxuriously renovated train cabooses to tailgate in. 
    • A couple of popular songs have become standard during Gamecock home games; the hype wouldn’t start off right without the theme to 2001: A Space Oddyssey and Sandstorm by Finnish DJ Darude playing after each score. More details here.
  • Fight Song: The Fighting Gamecocks Lead the Way; listen here.
  • Rivalries
    • The Gamecocks’ longest running rivalry is against the Clemson Tigers, whose historic tensions have fueled the heated battles on the field. 
    • The South Carolina-Clemson annual football game is the longest-running uninterrupted series in the south, first played in 1896 and third longest in the country. 
    • Against newer rivals University of Tennessee Volunteers, they play the “Halloween Game” named for its annual proximity to the holiday. 
    • Other rivals include the University of Georgia and University of Florida.
  • History: The “Gamecock” moniker was adopted in honor of Thomas Sumter, a reportedly fierce-fighting war hero of the Revolutionary War.
University of Texas at Austin
  • Nicknames: Longhorns, ‘Horns
  • Mascot 
    • Bevo XIV is the current live Longhorn steer present for home games and special events, and whose name is derived from a slang term for “meat animal.
    • ”Hook ‘Em" is the costumed mascot appearing on the sidelines, whose name is derived from the hand gesture.
  • Colors: Burnt Orange and White
  • Traditions
    • Big Bertha is a large bass drum used to lead the crowd in chants, claimed to be the world’s largest. 
    • The cheer “Texas --- Fight!” are yelled by fans several times throughout the game, with one side yelling “Texas” and the other replying “Fight!” 
    • Smokey the Cannon is fired up every time the Longhorns score or win a game.
  • Fight Song: Texas Fight, listen to the song here.
  • Rivalries
    • The Longhorns have two big rivals; the Texas A&M rivalry which has been said to be “based on respect” and is played out in the Lone Star Showdown.
    • The rivalry with the Oklahoma Sooners is “based on anger” during the Red River Shootout at the Cotton Bowl. 
    • The Arkansas Razorbacks are another long-standing rival due to their history in the Southwest Conference.
    • The Texas Tech Red Raiders with whom the Longhorns compete for the Chancellor’s Spurs trophy.
  • History: The original mascot of the school was a pit bull named Pig. An alumnus cobbled together funds to purchase a steer from the panhandle to begin the tradition of the iconic Texas Longhorns mascot.

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