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ACC's best game-day traditions: Florida State

3/1/2010

The Seminoles might not have the most game-day traditions, but they definitely have some of the best in all of college football. The pageantry is special and unique to Florida State. One of the most memorable moments in Florida State history will be when former coach Bobby Bowden planted the spear at the Gator Bowl. Of course, you already know which FSU traditions were mentioned the most:

  • Osceola and Renegade: Before the kickoff of each home game, Osceola rides downfield on an Appaloosa horse named Renegade and plants a flaming spear at midfield. The tradition began on Sept. 16, 1978 against Oklahoma State when a student led the team from the tunnel riding a horse. The clothing and rigging used were designed and approved by the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida.

  • War chant/tomahawk chop: They’re unmistakable and intertwined, and Florida State fans gush with pride at the sound of the war chant. According to the FSU media guide, the war chant began during a 1984 game against Auburn, but also had its roots in the 1960s, when the Marching Chiefs would chant “the melody of a popular FSU cheer.” Yet another one that gets stuck in your head easily.

  • Sod cemetery: It all started in 1962 against Georgia, when FSU won 18-0 on the road. Team captain Gene McDowell pulled a small piece of grass from the field and presented it to Dean Coyle Moore at the next practice. He and coach Bill Peterson had the sod buried on the practice field as a symbol of victory. Now, before every road game in which FSU is the underdog, or playing at Florida, team captains gather everyone to remind them of this traditions. Winners bring back some turf.

  • Downtown GetDown: I’ve actually gone to this once, and it was a good time. It’s a combination of a pep rally and block party. The bar scene was lively, and there was live entertainment, but it was also a good family atmosphere with plenty of knee-high Seminoles fans.

Testimonials:

Alex in Miami writes: How does rubbing a rock or coming out of a tunnel filled with smoke get so much hype? The best tradition in the ACC is Chief Osceola running down the field with Renegade with a spear on Fire and 80,000 found screaming. Once he plants the spear the same fans start the War Chant letting the opponent know there about to go into battle. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

Tony in Tallahassee writes: Heather, the best gameday tradition in the ACC has got to be Chief Osceola's pregame ride, hands down. Nothing compares to watching him ride out on his Appaloosa and spiking his fiery spear mid-field, and nothing gets a crowd more pumped. It's not only representative and respectful of the Seminole tribe, but sends a message to opposing teams. Nothing else even comes close.

Dave in St. Robert, Mo., writes: FSU - Regarding best gameday traditions, one of my favorites is the Marching Chiefs playing "The Good, Bad, and the Ugly" as the team gathers at midfield after pregame warm ups, then head into the locker room with their FSU helmets held high. Gametime baby.Also this tune is played sometimes when the defense takes the field in the 4th QTR during a close game... perfect rallying call.

Josh in Tallahassee, Fla., writes: A couple little known Tallahassee game day traditions.Skull Session by FSU Marching Chiefs at Dick Howser Stadium 2 hours before kickoff. The Chiefs play music and entertain fans before the game.The War Drum: The ominous sound of the warchant can be heard all the way up to kickoff on this massive drum outside the main stadium gate. The drum is played 24/7 in the student union for a week leading up to a rivalry game.GBU/Fight into Seminole Uprising: During pregame warm ups, the Football team will stand in line, raise their helmets and walk from the middle of the field to their endzone with the marching chiefs playing the theme from "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" right into the FSU Fight song.Those are just a few I can think of, I hope that helps!

Up next: Tough call. There's a smattering of traditions that have been nominated here and there from the other schools, but none have been overwhelming. I've heard from a lot of Miami fans, but haven't heard anything other than smoke. The schools on Tobacco Road have been quiet, and not a peep from Maryland or BC. So far, it sounds like we've covered the best in the ACC with Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Clemson. I'll give the mailbag another look.