On the Approaching Traditions

NOTE: This post is about college football in the U.S., but there is something here for everyone!

Saying that college football is big in the U.S. is an understatement. Not only is it popular, it is also big business – actually ginormous! Nonetheless, with the 2012 season starting toward the end of this month, fan excitement is building.

I like the traditions of college football – and oh my, there are many – but one post cannot capture them all. Much like politics, one’s favorite traditions stems from their loyalties. Simply put, here are some of my favorites.

Colleges have their collection of spirit songs, fight songs, and alma maters. Here’s mine – a song that I played many times in my time as a member of the BGSU Falcon Marching Band – Forward Falcons. (Yes, that’s me on the album cover here.) BTW – Here’s a site where one can find a plethora of college spirit songs.


From the Michigan’s “Big House” hosting 110,000 to the small stadium holding 4,000, fans file into colossal venues across the land to watch their gladiators. One of my favorite venues is also one of the oldest in college football. Nippert Stadium , located in the center of campus at the University of Cincinnati, is a cozy place with great site lines for fans. Given a full house and a raucous crowd, it’s a tough place for opponents. (My past post on Nippert) The band racing down the old concrete steps is always a risky venture, but a traditional pre-game entrance.

More on Nippert


Avid fans help create an atmosphere that seems unique to college football. Some say that game day in Madison is the place to be because those fans know how to have a good time while intensely supporting their Wisconsin Badgers. I’ve been there once, and what an experience – and witnessing their eruption in song was both a surprise and a treat!


Teams have nicknames (my past post) and mascots, such as Herbie Husker, Bucky Badger, Freddie Falcon, Puddles the Duck, Tommy Trojan, Benny Beaver, Buster Bronco, or single names as Smoky, Cocky, Testudo, just simply The Bearcat … animals as Bevo (longhorn steer), Uga (bulldog), Ralphie (Buffalo), Tusk (bore hog), Traveler (horse), and many more.

Before you get to the video, here are a few other links about mascots: Wikipedia list of mascot names , a photo gallery of mascots , a video of bad mascots, and my post on nicknames. Meanwhile, I gotta love this short video about Puddles, the Oregon Duck.


As the home team finally enters the field shorting before kickoff, fans erupt! I’ve never been to Clemson University, but someday I want to be in the stands as their Tigers enter the famed field known as Death Valley.


Pregame and halftime is for the college bands, which add to the atmosphere and have historic traditions of their own. I may live in Ohio, but that does not mean I root for Ohio State. Nonetheless, as a former band member, I respect their long-standing tradition of Script Ohio.


Meanwhile, the college football season starts by the end of this month. Good luck to your favorites, and if my team plays yours, I wish you the best with the other games.

43 thoughts on “On the Approaching Traditions

  1. Gee, somebody who lives in Ohio who doesn’t root for OSU. How DOES that feel, my having NO idea what that could be like. ;)
    Madison is a great place to be on game day. The bookstores and resale shops are DESERTED, and you can get some GREAT bargains! :D
    Tell ya what. If YOU can figure out the name of my high school mascot, WITHOUT USING WIKI, I promise to watch ONE college game – preferably Michigan vs OSU, so I can root against OSU. :D
    (Hint: I went to high school in Addison, Illinois. And it wasn’t Willowbrook HS. Good luck!)

    • John the Blazer,
      To be honest, Cincinnati is not an OSU hotbed. Their fans are here, but there are many anti-OSU people. On the other hand, go 60 miles north to Dayton, it is strong OSU country. Also, up in the northwest corner is a large number of Michigan fans.

      BTW – hope you watched the video of the Wisconsin fans. Thanks for commenting.

      • So how did you find out? Remember, no Wiki, you promised! ;) (I would’ve had you do my college, but where I went didn’t have a team – well, not OFFICIALLY, anyway.)
        Try living in Michigan, around Lansing. There’s Michigan and MSU. If you wear either’s colours, you’re liable to be shot by the opposition. If you don’t wear ANY colours, BOTH groups come after you! Makes trying to find food on a game weekend REALLY interesting.

        • As per your instructions, I did NOT use Wikipedia … and I found and verified in short order. The in-state Michigan rivalry is a good one, but others exist. And those in Alabama will say the Alabama-Auburn rivalry is the most fierce. There must be a reason way Oregon-Oregon State refer to their game as the Civil War … and I could go on!

  2. I went to a school that was largely uninterested in any and all NCAA activity, so I never got the whole college football vibe. My husband, on the other hand, went to Maryland so he filled me in. So between him and the zillions of OSU grads I know in the NYC area, I’ve learned much.

  3. It’s never just a game, it’s full-on entertainment. I just love that photo of you from 1972. You just wouldn’t want to be wearing that costume in super-hot weather xx

    • Spiced,
      Well said about game and entertainment! And at some of the bigger schools, it’s a full-fledged, day-long event!!! Meanwhile, band uniforms on a hot day can be difficult. I was in northern Ohio, and at a time when football didn’t start until mid-to-late September … therefore, I experienced warm days, (we would remove jackets in our seats). But I also my share of the cold days of November. Nonetheless, it was a great experience. Thanks for commenting.

  4. I am a Texan, in Texas we put High School games on television. In my family the girls go to UT and the boys to A&M, not to many exceptions. That is the big game each year in the family, it gets vicious.

    • Val,
      I know that Texas is football crazy, but the family sends guys and gals to fierce rivals! Wow … no kidding it gets vicious! I must say that I’ve never heard of such a family tradition, but hats off to your family … especially surviving the season! Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. Oh college football season! I’m the lone voice of ho-hum in a family that is completely crazy for college football. My daughter and her husband have season UCLA season tix and all of life revolves around the games. My house becomes “host house” for two young adult cousins who come all the way down from Sacramento just to go to the UCLA games at the Rose Bowl. Now the bands are another thing. I do love them! I will tell you that I try my best to hide my true feelings, and to be supportive. I’m outnumbered 15 to 1! :-) Debra

    • Debra,
      Well, well … the self-proclaimed family party pooper. ;) But I’m sure you smile and let them have their fun. And when they are at the same, you get either quiet gardening time or time with the granddaughters. :) Because you like bands, I hope you watched videos 1, 2, and last … plus I think you’ll enjoy #4. Thanks for sharing your situation. ;)

  6. Oh man this is one of the things I really miss. I miss the passion, heart, and pure entertainment. Enjoy the season Frank. And if you think of it, can you give occasional updates.

    • TBM,
      I can see that being away would be difficult on a football and baseball fan. Passion, heart, and entertainment are great adjectives for college football. There’s a lot of excitement in that Clemson video. I can deliver updates, but your teams are? Thanks for commenting!

      • I pretty much know the updates for my team, they try to win, but they never manage to put winning seasons together on a regular basis. I went to Colorado State in Fort Collins. The football team did well for a few years, but nothing major. I still cheer them on though. I’ll always be a Ram. Since living on the East Coast for a few years, I try to keep up to date on those conferences.

  7. My brother used to live in Houston and on a visit we saw a college football game – The Longhorns maybe? – It was a thrilling spectacle – one of those great comeback games of legend. It seemed that collaege football is more expansive than the NFL. HUP! HUP! Bubba Biglad!

    • Ginger,
      The entire state of Texas is football crazy, and has its share of major college football teams – including the Longhorns. So, it’s great that you got to experience the spectacle! Thanks for sharing.

  8. I know that college football is huge, but I went to NYU(seless) film school so it wasn’t really on my radar. Everyone was too busy smoking and acting indifferent in my day. (No, I never smoked; it would only make me look like an idiot.)

    • Lame,
      LOL … I’ve always thought of NYU as a place that marches to its own beat. :) For some reason I recall them having a good basketball team in the early 60s – but we know who early childhood memories can be. :) BTW – I suggest watching the video of the Wisconsin fans as I believe you will enjoy it. Thanks for visiting.

    • Guapo,
      That’s ok, but because your love for music, I encourage you to watch the video of the Wisconsin fans. Meanwhile, good observation because there are too many games between the haves and the have nots. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Awww I feel like I have inside information on tomorrows post. All I can say is :+(

    I follow one college team local they are called the Grizzlies . I say GO GRIZZ they are a lot of fun to watch they are a very good team. I use to watch the games a lot with my neighbor she’s a huge Griz fan lots of fun.

  10. Clemson! Hmph. Arch rivals of the University of South Carolina, where I went to school. (Actually, I don’t really care much for football so it’s okay with me if you bring Clemson into the mix.)

  11. Traditions are what I always felt college football had a “leg up” on as far as competing for the attention of the crowded sports calendar. You could always count on the games being on Saturdays. Teams wore the same unis they wore “back in the day.” Students filled the stands to root on the home team with their marching bands on full display playing their traditional fight songs. Predictable yes, but a comfort within. Now…college football games can be found almost every night as schools sell out their students and alumni alike just to rake in TV money and stay afloat…no two uniforms appear in the same season as, once again, money appears to help keep colleges at the highest level of play possible. Attendance at games continues to drop as all of them wind up on television now…and are played whenever television tells them to play…ergo the lack of people in the seats. You don’t even see marching bands covered on TV anymore unless someone has an accident running into a player warming up. And the bowls…so many…for so who truly deserve them…once again because television needs live sports inventory. And a playoff too. I remember when teams played 10 game seasons. Those who advance to the championship play the equivalent of another 1/2 season at this point. Sigh.

    • Bruce,
      Many good points about college football … positive and negative. Today, it is extremely money driven … actually with a full throttle. Here’s an attendance issue that you didn’t mention.

      Yes, TV drives the schedule (as you mentioned) – but they also drive the times. They don’t have to select the start time until 6 days (I think) ahead of the game. Therefore, ticket holders block a whole day without knowing game time.

      Let’s us Nebraska … Back in the day, I imagine fans planned their game days to cross state to Lincoln to spend the day. These days, they find out the week before that kickoff is at 7 pm, which screws them up. Yes, I’ve been a UC season ticket holder for 8 or so years, and TBA in the scheduling drives me nuts.

      Here’s an interesting article about college marching bands (of which I was in one). http://tinyurl.com/juaujw9 Nonetheless, cheers to the traditions college football still have.

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