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Top Southern Traditions



Clemson running down the hill is a great tradition, but where does it rank on our list of Southern Traditions?

Top 30 Southern Traditions

Every school has them and they are all unique in their own way.  It might be a great entrance, cheer, song, or tailgate but everyone in the South has their own way of showing support for their school.  We countdown our list of the top 30 traditions in the South.

30. Vanderbilt's Foghorn- The first time you go to Vanderbilt Stadium and you hear their foghorn it will shock you a bit.  The loud horn is used after Vandy enters the stadium, makes a great play, or scores a TD.  Members of the Vanderbilt Naval ROTC are the only ones that are allowed to sound the horn.

29. Purple Haze East Carolina- The Pirate's enter Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium to Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze".  A cloud of smoke appears and the Pirates take the field to the delight of 50,000 fans dressed in purple and gold.

28. "My Old Kentucky Home"- The State Song of Kentucky is played prior to each Wildcat Football game.  It is an impressive sight to see everyone in Commonwealth Stadium stand and sing this song with pride.  The people of Kentucky have embraced this song that is also a huge part of the Kentucky Derby each year.

27. Golf Course Tailgating- It only happens twice a year, but when Arkansas fans get a game in Little Rock at War Memorial Stadium they make sure they make the most of it.  The tailgate scene is a unique one as it takes place on a golf course next to War Memorial Stadium.  Fans in Northwest Arkansas will argue that games at Razorback Stadium are better, but the tailgate scene at War Memorial has it beat. 

26. Anyone Anywhere Anytime- Southern Miss has made it known they aren't afraid to play any team nationally.  The Golden Eagles have become one of the true giant killers in college football with wins over Nebraska, Alabama, Florida State, and many other BCS schools over the years. 

25. Miami's Smoke Entrance-  Since the 1950's Miami has been running out through smoke.  The entrance also includes a soundtrack of a hurricane being played over the PA system.  At one time Miami used Hurricane Flags and flashing lights as they entered, but those items have been eliminated

24. Ole Miss band playing Dixie- Few songs make you feel like you are in the South like Dixie.  When the Ole Miss band plays the tune you will sometimes see fans from the opposing team taking enjoyment in it.  

23. Virginia's Good Ol Song- This song that is sung to the tune of Auld Lang Syne(the New Year's Song).  The song has been popular on the Virginia Campus since the early 1890s.  After each touchdown fans sway back and forth while singing the Good Ol Song.

22. We are the Boys of Old Florida- In 1919 two Florida students wrote this song and it has since become the song Florida Fans sing at the end of the 3rd quarter.  Fans sway together singing this song.  Nebraska's Fight Song has a similar tune to it, but the lyrics of We are the Boys of Old Florida are a few years older.

21. NC State hand sign-  In Texas hand signs are all over the place, but in the South there really aren't many schools that use one.  NC State fans make a wolf with their hand by touching the thumb and middle fingest and raising the pinky and index fingers. 

20. Rolling Toomer's Corner-  Toomer's Drugs is a small store that has been located on the Auburn Campus for nearly 130 years.  Many years ago this store had the only telegraph in town and when Auburn would win an away game they would communicate this to the community by throwing ticker tape on the powerlines.  Around 20 years ago these powerlines were moved to the ground so Auburn fans started to throw toilet paper on the large Oak Trees by Toomer's Corner.  While used typically after a football win, Rolling Toomer's Corner is also used for other big events within the Auburn Community.

19. UCF Chant- This unique Gregorian Chant is a band led cheer that has been used by Knight fans for many years. It's not as well known as many of the cheers you hear in the SEC, but it is certainly original.

18. Florida State's War Chant- This chant became popular during a Florida State-Auburn game in 1984.  The Florida State Marching Chiefs began to play the tune associated with the song during this game and a few students started to do this chant.  After the Marching Chiefs were finished playing, the students continued with the chant.  It eventually spread throughout the entire stadium and now is one of the most recognized chants in all sports.  The Atlanta Braves started using the chant following a spring training game when a few Florida State fans started the chant when former Seminole Deion Sanders came to bat.  Eventually it grew with the Braves during their World Series run in 1992. 

17. Tennessee's Entrance- Since the days of General Neyland, the Vols have entered the stadium by Running Thre the "T".  THe "Pride of Southland" Band starts by marching a in the formation of a "T".  Once they reach the North Endzone the "T" expands and the Vols run out infront of 100,000 fans.

16. Georgia fans barking- Georgia fans will bark at you after a big play, before each kickoff, or sometimes just to greet you.  No matter when it is done, you know that Georgia fans take plenty of pride in being the Bulldogs.  The barking is included in the cheer "Goooooo Dogs!  Sickem! and then 90,000 fans start barking.

15. Tailgating at the Grove- This 10 acre part of campus is filled with large elm, magnolia, and oak trees. It has been a place known for its great tailgating at Ole Miss since the 1950s.  In 1991 the school banned automobiles inside the Grove.  This has created a far better scene.  The Ole Miss Marching band will come to the Grove for a pregame pep rally perform spirit songs for those tailgating.  Prior to taking the field the Ole Miss football players will take "The Walk of Champions" and dress in suits and ties.

14. LSU's white jerseys- In 1958 then head coach Paul Dietzel decided to have his LSU Tigers wear white jerseys at home.  After winning the national championship the school continued to wear white jerseys until the NCAA ruled in 1983 that home teams had to wear colored jerseys.  LSU wasn't able to wear white jerseys again until 1995 when Gerry Dinardo was able to get the NCAA to approve of LSU wearing white jerseys.  In 2000 Nick Saban started the practice of wearing white jerseys for home openers and SEC games only, a tradition that Les Miles has continued. 

13. Florida's Gator Chomp- The tradition has been going on for many years, but it wasn't until 1981 that the Jaws theme was added to this tradition.  Gator fans are known to use their arms to recognize a big play.  Prior to each kickoff Gator fans also will use the Gator chomp.

12. Rammer Jammer cheer- In the final minute of a football game when there is no question that Alabama has whipped its opponent the Million Dollar Band will lead the crowd into the Rammer Jammer cheer.  Rammer Jammer was the name of the student newspaper dating back to the 1920s.  At onetime The University of Alabama tried to eliminate the cheer, but after a homecoming vote in 2005 showed 98% of students enjoyed the cheer it was kept as a Bama tradition.

11. Enter Sandman- Prior to taking the field the beginning of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" is played at Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium.  While this isn't an old tradition like many on the list, this has become one of the best entrances in college football.  Fans jump up and down during the song and once the Hokies take the field the fight song is played and Virginia Tech is led out by the American Flag.

10. 2001 Entrance- Another great entrace is that of the South Carolina Gamecocks.  The idea for this tradition came from former Gamecock QB and current color commentator Tommy Suggs.  Suggs saw Elvis enter to "2001" and thought it would be a good idea for the Gamecocks to use this entrance.  He pitched the idea to Jim Carlen in 1981, but Carlen wanted the band to play the song.  Few could hear the band playing it and when Richard Bell was coach in 1982, the song wasn't used.  In 1983 when Joe Morrison became head coach "2001" was played over the PA system and it has been used for USC's entrance since. 

9. Roll Tide- Whenever Alabama has a big play or fans feel its time to cheer on Alabama, you will hear the "Roll Tide" cheer echo throughout Bryant Denny Stadium.  The cheer also is used as a greeting by many.  Listen to an Alabama sports show and you are bound to hear a couple callers greet the host with a "Roll Tide"

8. LSU fans Tailgating- Most fans start to setup their tailgate on Saturday Morning, some of the true tailgaters will start the Friday prior to the game.  Not LSU fans though.  Tiger fans get the party started several days prior to their game.  The tailgates are filled with the best food in the SEC.  Boudin, jambalaya, gumbo, and cush-cush are some of the foods you'll get at a LSU tailgate.  Some fans are turned away when they hear a Tiger fan yell "Tiger Bait" at them.  If you come over and shake the hands of a Tiger fan yelling "Tiger Bait" you are likely to get a great pregame meal.

7. MSU's Cowbells- The tradition of the cowbell at MSU is nearly 80 years old.  During a game against Ole Miss a cow wandered on the field.  The game was delayed for a bit, but in the end MSU won the game.  Since then the cowbell has been seen as a sign of good luck for Mississippi State.  The SEC has tried numerous times to eliminate the cowbells from MSU, but has always failed.  Most opposing fans hate this tradition, but it's one I hope to never see die.

6. Rocky Top- While "Down the Field" is the official fight song for Tennessee, it is "Rocky Top" that most fans associate with Tennessee.  The song became a hit for the Osborne Brothers in 1967 and was adopted by the Vols in a 1972 game against Alabama.  Now it is played after each extra point and after big plays by the Vols.

5. Running Down the Hill and Howard's Rock- The most exciting 25 seconds in college football takes its start when two buses pickup Clemson's players from the West End Zone locker room.  The buses stop at the top of Clemson's Hill and the players gather next to Howard's Rock, which actually came to Clemson from Death Valley, CA.  When Tiger Rag is played and a cannon sounds the Tigers rub the rock and run through the student section on the hill. 

4. UGA the Bulldog-  The best mascot in college football is without a doubt UGA.  Sine 1956 there has been a Bulldog from the lineage of Dogs owned by Sonny Seiler.  Since then there have been 8 different UGAs on the sidelines between the hedges.  The UGA with the best win pct was UGA VI who had a record of 87-27.  UGA III was the bulldog who saw Georgia win the National Championship in 1980. 

3. The Hog Call- The most unique cheer in American Sports is Arkansas' Hog call.  Started in the early 1920s by a couple farmers in the stands, the Hog call has evolved over time.  You will hear the Hog Call at tailgates, during the pregame, and during big moments in a game.  A shorter version of the Hog call is done prior to each kickoff.  The correct way to call the Hogs is

Woo Pig Sooie
Woo Pig Sooie
Woo Pig Sooie Razorbacks!

2. Chief Osceola and Renegade's Entrance- In 1978 Florida State started its tradition of having an individual dressed as Chief Osceola ride a horse named Renegade onto the field.  There have been 16 Osceola's and 5 Renegades since then and each is displayed in authentic regalia designed by the women of the Seminole Nation of Florida.   When Osceola and Renegade enter the field they throw a spear into the ground, for big games a spear with flames is thrown into the ground. 

1. Auburn's War Eagle- The story of The War Eagle begins with a Confederate Soldier who was said to be the only survivor of a bloody battle.  While leaving the battlefield the soldier found a wounded Eagle that he was able to nurse back to health.  The soldier would later become an Auburn faculty member and bring this Eagle to many events on campus.  During Auburn's first football game against Georgia, the Eagle got away from the man and circled the field.  After Auburn's victory that day the Eagle fell to its death. 

War Eagle II's story is also an interesting one.  This bird was injured while swooping down on a group of turkeys in Bee Hive, Alabama.  14 individuals and businesses purchased the Eagle from a farmer and helped the it recover from its injuries.  The Eagle was taken by cage to a game against the South Carolina Gamecocks and following a victory it was thought that having an Eagle on the sidelines would be good luck for Auburn.

There have now been seven War Eagles and prior to each Auburn game this Eagle takes flight at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  While in the air fans start waving their pom poms and yell War Eagle as he lands. 

War Eagle is also the name of the school's fight song and is used as a greeting by fans.  

Matt Barber
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