The pageantry and traditions surrounding a college football gameday create an electric atmosphere unmatched by any other sport. From the passionate fans to the elaborate pre-game rituals, fall Saturdays on a college campus bring out a palpable spirit that embodies the pride and camaraderie associated with these storied programs. While every school has its own set of cherished customs, certain gameday experiences stand out as the best in college football.
From charging thoroughbreds to hovering helicopters, many colleges put on a show as their team takes the field. The University of South Carolina is known for its grand entrance, as 80,000 fans join together to sing along with 2001’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” while the Gamecocks storm out of the tunnel. Down south, Texas A&M’s “12th Man” tradition involves the crowd standing throughout the entire game to represent their role as the 12th player.
Up in Ann Arbor, Michigan Stadium sets the tone with the time-honored tradition of slapping the “Go Blue” banner as the team runs underneath while Tennessee charges through the iconic T formed by their marching band. In Clemson, the players take a bus from the locker room and go to the north end of the stadium. They then storm down the hill onto the field as the raucous fans cheer them on at Death Valley.
The crowd’s roar is amplified by certain colleges’ signature chants, creating an intimidating environment for opponents. At Virginia Tech, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” cues the raucous jump and arm swing of the “Hokies” chant. Down in Fayetteville, Arkansas fans call the Hogs by bellowing a loud “Woo Pig Sooie!” cheer.
Wisconsin’s student section erupts into a frenzied “Jump Around” at the start of the 4th quarter, while Penn State’s famous “We Are…Penn State!” chant gives chills when echoed through massive Beaver Stadium.
From special uniforms to unique mascots, schools showcase their spirit through gameday pageantry. At Colorado, Ralphie the Buffalo’s thundering run before kickoff electrifies Folsom Field. Air Force’s falcon mascot inspires awe as it flies around Falcon Stadium before returning to its handler. Ohio State’s marching band performs the always-anticipated “Script Ohio” formation, complete with the dotting of the “i” by a sousaphone player high-stepping down the field.
Down south, Baylor’s black and gold riverboat floats down the Brazos River as fans line up to greet the team. Ole Miss fans take pride in tailgating at The Grove, with its picturesque setting of trees and tents on the Oxford campus. At Oklahoma, two ponies named Boomer and Sooner pull the “Sooner Schooner” before each game. Chief Osceola doesn’t hold back when he comes out with his horse, Renegade, and plants his burning spear into the turf at the center of the field before each Florida State game.
After a big win, fans have their own traditions to continue the celebration. Alabama fans like to commemorate a victory by yelling “Roll Tide” as they embrace the crimson-clad players. At Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the Midshipmen sing the alma mater with the students after every game. Up in Morgantown, West Virginia, fans join arms and sing along to John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
Over at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, fans throw rolls of toilet paper over the power lines in a display of orange and blue. Whether win or lose, college football fans have a genuine connection to their schools that keeps them coming back every Saturday.
The passion and pageantry surrounding football create a spirited gameday atmosphere found nowhere else. As the season kicks off and the college football odds are released, fans can be sure to feel that energy in the air as they cheer on their teams and keep their cherished traditions alive. Even neutral observers can’t help but be swept up in the school spirit on display. While every school has its own set of customs, they all come together on fall Saturdays to showcase the pride, camaraderie, and passion that make college football so beloved.
Tags: College Football, Football, Sport