College football is rich in history and traditions. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have their famous “Play Like a Champion” sign that they all tap before heading out onto the field. The USC drum major stabs the field with his sword before every home game. Penn State hosts their annual “White Out” game where the entire stadium dresses in white. Although these traditions are cool, some schools take things to the next level. Here are a few of the most impressive traditions of college football.
How many teams can say that they cause a seismic event before each home game? Although elaborate entrances are common in college football, few compare to that of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Before each home game, Lane Stadium whips into a frenzy at the sound of the Metallica song Enter Sandman. The team walks from their facility, past their practice field, into the stadium tunnel and then bursts onto the field.
A few interesting tidbits about the entrance:
- The song was chosen in 2000 after an arm wrestling competition in the team’s video office
- After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, the East Carolina Pirates entered the stadium with the Hokies as a show of solidarity
- The song has also become a tradition at Virginia Tech commencement celebrations
The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football
The Clemson Tigers have an interesting journey before running onto the turf at Clemson Memorial Stadium. It starts as they exit their locker room and load onto buses that take them on a short trip to the opposite end of the stadium. They then walk through a tunnel and stop on top of a hill overlooking the end zone. At the top of the hill is Howard’s Rock; a good luck charm named after their late coach Frank Howard. The players rub the rock, wait for a cannon to fire and then run down the hill and onto the field. Confused? Here’s a video.
The song “Jump Around” by House of Pain has been a staple at sporting events for years. It’s a great way to get people out of their seats and dancing. Fans of the Wisconsin Badgers take that to the extreme. The team started playing the song between the third and fourth quarters of every home game in the late 90’s. I think it’s safe to say that the students approve.
According to Wikipedia, the tradition was temporarily cancelled before the season opener in 2003 due to concerns that the excessive jumping could damage the structural integrity of the stadium. After a student petition and consultations with engineers, the song reinstated a few days later.
Ralphie the Buffalo
The thought of releasing a 1200-pound buffalo in a football stadium during a game doesn’t sound like a good idea, yet the University of Colorado has been doing it for over 50 years.
You probably have a lot of questions after watching the above video. Here are some answers.
- There have been five Ralphies over the past 51 years. Ralphie V currently splits duties with her predecessor Ralphie IV
- Despite the male name, all five Ralphies have been female
- Ralphie V can reach speeds of 25 mph
- Ralphie starts her game day by attending a pre-game party hours before the game. She then makes her way to the stadium to help greet the team. She spends the rest of her time on a local ranch
- Ralphie is managed by a team of 15 handlers. These student volunteers spend 20-30 hours a week honing their buffalo training skills. Interesting in becoming a handler? The team hosts open tryouts every spring
- You can follow Ralphie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@cubuffsralphie)
The Iowa Wave
This one is relatively new but very cool nonetheless. When most football fans think of “the wave,” they think of the choreographed “stand up and then sit down” cheer that has been a fixture at sporting events for years. Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes do “the wave” at the end of the first quarter of every home game. Their wave is a bit different.
A quick lay of the land – Kinnick Stadium, home of the Hawkeyes, sits beside the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital. The hospital is tall enough that patients on the higher floors can see into the stadium. They can also take a trip to the top floor and watch the game from a room known as the “Press Box.”
In 2017, an Iowa fan had a cool idea to help lift the spirits of those children and families looking down from the hospital. Through the power of social media, she encouraged fans to turn and wave to those in the hospital at the end of the first quarter. As the tradition increases in popularity, players, coaches, officials and even the marching band have joined in.
Is it getting a bit dusty in here? My eyes seem to be watering.