Saturdays in Athens are Back! While anticipating the first home game of the season, one thing that came to mind was the possibility of hearing the Chapel Bell ring throughout the night if the Bulldogs managed to defeat South Carolina (which it did). There is nothing like college football, and the unique traditions at universities across the nation are part of the reason why it is differentiated from other sporting events. The Southeastern Conference is home to some of the greatest traditions in college football.
The Florida Gator Head
Before kickoff, every Florida player must tap a Gator head that is in between the locker room and the field. Many players have said they get goose bumps from tapping the head.
Blue and White at Kentucky
In 1891, Kentucky students decided to wear blue and yellow to the game played against Centre College. When a student asked what shade of blue, Richard C. Stoll, who lettered in football from 1889-1894, took off his necktie and held it up as a reference. This shade of blue was adopted by the students, and later yellow was changed to white.
The Granite M at Missouri
At Memorial Stadium, the Freshman are invited to Whitewash the rock M at the North End of the Stadium before the first home game. This tradition started in 1957 when students from Nebraska rearranged the “M” to an “N”. A group of Missouri students helped to reorganized a groundskeeper it before the game.
The Cockaboose Railroad at South Carolina
In 1990, a local businessman who owned part of the railroad tracks outside of Williams-Brice Stadium put twenty-two stationary cabooses on the tracks for tailgaters. The Cockaboose Railroad provides tailgaters with running water, air conditioning and heating, cable television, and a living room.
Smokey at Tennessee
The Pep Club at Tennessee sponsored a contest for a live mascot in 1953. A bluetick hound responded to the crowd with a howl, and today Smokey leads the Volunteers through the “T” assembled by the marching band before each home game.
The Admiral at Vanderbilt
Since 1993, each time the Commodores score a navy horn has sounded. Sounding the horn has always been the responsibility of a chosen member of the Vanderbilt Navy ROTC. The horn was named by a winner of the naming contest in the summer of 2011.
The Chapel Bell at Georgia
When football was played on Herty Field near the Chapel in the 1890s freshmen were required to ring the Chapel Bell until midnight following a victory. While freshman are no longer required to do this, it is not uncommon for to hear the Chapel Bell ringing all night and sometimes into the following day. According to many rumors, fans of in-state rival Georgia Tech have made several attempts to steal the Chapel Bell.