ACC: game-day traditions
What exactly was I looking for?
He might be right.
Here are the top five game-day traditions the ACC has to offer:
1. FSU: Osceola and Renegade: It’s unique, it’s cultural, and it’s a true show that gets the Doak crowd roaring when the spear is planted at midfield. It’s easily one of the most recognizable traditions amongst college football fans nationwide.
2. Clemson: Howard’s Rock and The Hill: They go hand in hand, and it’s been that way for decades. It’s part of what makes Clemson “a football school,” and neither had to be generated by popular music or mechanical tactic. Instead, they are simply rooted in the history of the program.
3. Virginia Tech’s entrance to Enter Sandman: It’s intimidating to opponents. It’s deafening, especially if you’re standing on the field for it. It’s Metallica and it has attitude. But it’s only been around since 2000, and was developed by the marketing and promotions office.
4. Miami’s smoke: The Hurricanes’ home might have changed over the years, but this traditional entrance has remained. You know the word and the image it conjures up, though some hate it -- swagger.
5. Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Wreck: It’s quite fitting for the engineering school, and considering it’s led the team onto the field for every home game since 1961, I’d say that’s a staple of ACC football games.
Here is a sampling of the other nominations that came in:
- Walk of champions: A few hours before kickoff, fans line the walkways in front of the Murphy Football Center, forming a path for the team. The coaches and players walk to the locker room entrance on the opposite side of the field.
- Sign of the wolf: Your ring and middle finger meet your thumb while the index and pinky stick up. Apparently president Barack Obama learned how to do this while on campus in 2008.
- Flag bearers: Tom O'Brien started this tradition where each week, two players are given the honor of carrying the American and state flags onto the field.
Tommy from NC State writes: GAME-DAY TRADITIONS at NC STATEI don't know if these are just for NC State or if other places do them, but some of the things I like that are done at games are:-Randomly during the game half the stadium yells "WOLF" and then the other half yells "PACK"-The mascot or a cheerleader does a push-up for every point we have scored - every time we score-The walk from Trinity Lot (the student tailgating area) through the alumni tailgating area to get to the student gates -Every time we play Carolina at home, there is a 'ram' roast the day before and a lot of people have BBQ on Gameday
- Adventures of Cavman: You can find it on the video board during pregame, where a cartoon of the mascot Cavman defeats the opposing mascot in dramatic fashion. It leads up to the grand entrance of Cavman riding his horse onto the field.
- Guys in ties, girls in pearls: It's the unofficial dress code in Scott Stadium, though it seems to have faded a bit. (Some of that was replaced by the "Groh must Go" T-shirts.) Still, you'll find Virginia fans tend to have a little class with their game-day attire.
Ben in Arlington, Va., writes: Gameday Traditions: I know you are not in love with the "Guys in Ties, Girls in Pearls" tradition at UVa (although it has died down some recently), tailgating on the Lawn is a great gameday tradition. You can't find a more picturesque spot in the ACC (full of history as well), and although the administration has limited it recently, it's still the perfect spot to get ready for a game among fellow 'Hoos. In its heyday, it was like a smaller "Grove" down at Ole' Miss (where, along with other SEC schools, many students dress up for games as well and their teams seem to do just fine).
Peyton in Martinsville, Va., writes: Tailgates are the prime spot for pre-games in Charlottesville. They stretch from as far away as old UHall all the way to the stadium. If you can't find a good tailgate, hit "The Corner" and visit Mincer Clothing for your gameday gear and The Virginia Inn for a good Pie (pizza of course!) before the game .The pre-game in the stadium is the best though. Watching the teams warm up, mingling throughout the concourses with all UVa faithful. Then the Marching Band preforms their awesome show, right before the "Adventure of Cavman" -- leading to the Cavman leading the team onto the field by horseback.Needless to say, there are very few places like Charlottesville on any given Saturday! Go Hoos!!!!
Melissa in Bridgewater, Va., writes: Here are some traditions at UVA:Tailgating on the Lawn - Thomas Jefferson's academic village is the best place to take in pre-game festivities especially on a beautiful autumn dayPower "V" formation done the UVA Marching band before the players run onto the fieldThe Good Ole Song - sung by all the UVA fans when we score; yes, we hold put our arms around each other and sway while singing it loud, singing it proudCavMan video shown before players come onto the field. The video is followed by the Cavalier and Sabre the horse running onto the field in sync with the end of the video. The players run onto the field at the same time as the Cavalier and Sabre.Traditional Sundresses, khaki pants, ties still worn by students on game daySpelling out U-V-A with our hands along with "Go Hoos Go" after Good Ole Song is played after each scorePeople sitting and/or standing on the "Hill" during the game. Has been a tradition for a very, very long time. New tradition - beating Va Tech. LOL!
- Open the Gate: It's a fairly new tradition where a special honored guest "opens the gate" and leads the team onto BB&T Field.
I'll let Jonathan in Chapel Hill handle this one: Thanks for the blog Heather! I'm a student at UNC and a diehard fan, love Saturdays in the fall! Here are my favorite traditions in no particular order:
1. Old Well Walk - Team walking from the Old Well to the stadium. Good way to make the team more visible for the fans and get people pumped up.
2. Tar Heel town - Great place to be before football games on Saturdays. Set right on the campus' quad, creates a great atmosphere.
3. Location - This isn't exactly a tradition, but the stadium being located literally right in the middle of campus is great. Students walking out of their dorms and emerging into a crowd of people going to tailgate. It's great.
4. The Tarp - The tunnel that the Heels run out of from the locker room cuts right into the middle of the student section, the Tar Pit. As the team prepares to come onto the field, students bang on the tarp together, slowly increasing the pace until they end up just going crazy. It's awesome.
5. Before the 4th Quarter - A lot of teams have a mid quarter tradition before the final segment of the game. At UNC, we hold four fingers in the air and make a motion similar to the Seminole chop. That, coupled with the music and video played on the scoreboard is incredible. One of my favorite game moments.
6. Fight Song - Chanting "Go to hell Duke" in the fight song. Love it.MARYLAND
Alex in College Park, Md., writes: Maryland has a few traditions. I'm in the marching band, so I can tell you a few things from a band perspective. There is Terp Alley, which is 2.5 hours before the game and fans, the band, cheerleaders, and dancers line the parking lot while the football team walks off the team bus and into the locker rooms. There is also "trucking" from the music building to the stadium, which is something unique for the Maryland bands. We also have jingling keys during "key" 3rd downs, "ho"ing on every third down, lighting a cannon after every Terps touchdown, and the football team rubs Testudo's nose as they run onto the field. Recently, I have seen times where the student section transports Testudo from the field to the top of Byrd stadium and back down.
Chris M. in Washington, D.C. writes: The entire student section belting out Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" in unison at Boston College's Alumni Stadium is one of my favorite BC traditions. It originally began as a Fenway Park tradition but naturally moved on to BC's sporting events (specifically football) and caught on. It?s hard to describe the camaraderie felt with your fellow student fans when everyone comes together and forgets what is going on on the field for a few minutes and participates in a 5,000 person karaoke. To this day when I hear that song I am taken back to those moments in my gold Superfan shirt under the hot sun or cold night when everyone decides to forget they have terrible voices.
Another great BC tradition is the "We are?? BC!" chant where one half of the student section asks the question and the other half answers.One more BIG one is RVs to Notre Dame. Every year the Notre Dame game is away thousands of BC students rent RVs and make the 17 hour trek to South Bend, IN. It is one of the most memorable experiences of my life... driving through Niagara Falls, sleeping in an empty parking lot next to Cleveland Browns stadium and seeing hundreds of RVs filled with BC students take over a Wal-Mart parking lot. So sad that future students might not get to experience this.
Thanks so much to all of the ACC fans who participated. Check the blog tomorrow for the best of the best ACC game-day traditions.
Here they are, beginning of course with the fan favorite:
- The smoke: It began in the Orange Bowl in the 1950s when university transportation director Bob Nalette had the idea of using fire extinguishers to produce the smoke the Hurricanes run through as they enter the field. Nalette built a pipe that blew the smoke from the entrance tunnel.
- Sebastian the Ibis: As legend (and the media guide) has it, the Ibis is the last sign of wildlife to take shelter before a hurricane and the first to reappear after the storm. The name Ibis was adopted in 1926, and in the late 1950s, Sebastian was added after one of the residence halls, San Sebastian Hall, sponsored an Ibis entry for homecoming.
- Lil' Joe and Touchdown Tommy: Joe (the cannon) came first, then Tommy. It's fired by the Sigma Chi fraternity after each Miami touchdown.
- The U: You know what it is, and how to "throw up the U," even if you're not a Miami fan.
- Four fingers: At the beginning of the fourth quarter of every home football game, Miami fans hold up four fingers to indicate that's when the game is won, and that Miami owns that quarter.
Chad in Miami writes: Probably my favorite thing about going to Canes games isn't seeing them go through the steam or holding my fours up when the fourth quarter comes around: but leading the 'We Got Some Canes Over Here!' cheer. After a big play there is usually a ten second window to start shouting 'WE GOT SOME CANES OVER HERE!', the crowd surrounding you shouting 'WHOOSH!WHOOSH!' can get you pumped up almost as much as watching FSU botch another field goal.
Spencer in Oviedo, Fl writes: Miami Game Day Traditions. Smoke out of the Tunnel. Its epic; Many try to copy this amazing tradition, but its clear that the original is the best. 4th quarter- When its the fourth quarter, everyone holds up four fingers to signify how we will dominate our opponents. While many teams claim the creation of this tradition, its really the _.Touchdown Tommy - T.T. is the cannon that is fired off when the team runs out of the tunnel, after every point that the Hurricanes score, and the conclusion of a victory. The cannon is kept by the Sigma Chi fraternity's Cannon Master and fired off during the games by the senior brothers of Sigma Chi. Winning- Winning is a time honored tradition at the U. While it has been out of practice for a while, it is still what makes the Miami Hurricanes THE Miami Hurricanes. If we didn't do this, we would be as irrelevant as the University of Virginia. =)
Harry in New York, NY writes: Miami - here's a few Gameday TraditionsAs u said, running through the smoke - EVERYONE now copies it!Also the StarWars stormtroopers theme - another thing EVERYONE copies now, but 20 yrs ago it's what spawned "throwing up The U" with your hands! It was invented in 1992 to combat the FSU chop, because our mock-chop was deemed "inappropriate" (picture their chop w/middle-fingers extended)The firing of "Touchdown Tommy" - the Cannon that goes off after ever score, is fired off when the smoke is unleashed.Night games: Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" plays as the players stretch - an homage to the night scenes in Miami Vice...There's more stuff we used to have at the Orange Bowl we can't do anymore. I hope the rest of the ACC pities us, every game for us is now a road game. :-(
Joel in Miami, Florida writes: Miami running out of the smoke. Tons of teams have copied this (Texas and UNC just off of the top of my head), but Miami started it. It is easily one of the most recognized team entrances/traditions in college football right up there with Chief Osceloa and Renegade at FSU, dotting the "I" in Ohio State, and Virginia Tech's Enter Sandman.
- 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.
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.
- Budweiser song between the third and fourth quarters. I’ll be honest, all I can make out from the press box is “Go Georgia Tech, go Georgia Tech … Buuuudweiser!” But hey, it’s pretty cool.
- The entrance of the Ramblin’ Wreck. The 1930 Model A Ford Sport Coupe has led the team out onto Grant Field for every home game since 1961.
- Yellow Jacket Alley. About two hours before game time, the team gets off the buses at the North end zone of the stadium and walks through the fans and the band there to greet them. The Ramblin' Wreck and cheerleaders lead the way to the stadium.
- The Varsity. Known as "the world's largest drive-in," this is the place to stop to coat the belly with grease before and after tailgating. Alex says it's an "important part of game day for many fans. They must get their Varsity hot dog, topped with either chili, cheese, cole slaw, or just a good ole' fashioned naked dog."
- Steam whistle: Located adjacent to the stadium and directly behind the TECH Tower, the whistle can be heard on Saturdays after every Georgia Tech touchdown and after the Jackets win the game.
- What's the good word? To Hell with Georgia! you say. Well, I'm sure you have some other choice words for your neighbor, too, but THWG is pretty standard. So, how 'bout them Dawgs?
- Hell of an engineer: Ramblin' Wreck is one of those fight songs I find myself humming long after the game has ended because it sticks in your head: "I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer ..."
Eric in Carrollton, Ga., writes: HD, The best gameday atmosphere by far is the GA Tech Gameday! Nothing in this world beats the first fall Saturday, heading to the Varsity (on of the best gameday traditions in America), and standing on Bobby Dodd Way waiting for the Band to parade down the hill from the Tech Tower and play Ramblin' Wreck and White and Gold to get us all fired up about the poor victims we are about to feast on!! Nothing beats college football amongst the skyscrapers of Downtown ATL!!!!!!!!!
Kathryn in Atlanta, Ga., writes: One of the best college traditions, by far, is the beautiful Ramblin' Wreck leading Georgia Tech's team out onto the field. Everyone has mascots, sure, but who else has a car? OR one as awesome as a 1930 Ford Model A in great condition?Also, the Georgia Tech fight song is a fabulous tradition. Or song is one of the most known in the country, has been sung by Kruschev and Nixon, has been featured in movies, and proclaims that we are a group of "Helluva Engineers!"
Blume in Atlanta, Ga., writes: GT tradition:Chili Dog, Onion Rings, and Frosty Orange at the Varsity before (and after) the game! "Wudda ya-ave?"
Alexa in Atlanta writes: GEORGIA TECH has the BEST GAMEDAY EVER! 2.5 hours before kickoff: Players walk down Yellow Jacket Alley. They are led by the cheerleaders, drumline and dance team. All the fans have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the players and give them some words of encouragement as they head to the locker rooms. 1 hour before kickoff: Marching Band led by the Wreck parades down freshman hill to Bobby Dodd Stadium splitting the sea of fans. They play "Up with the White and Gold" and "Ramblin' Wreck" and all the fans sing along. The band then plays at the stairs in front of the north end of the stadium. It's an awesome sight to see. Everything the band does on gameday is greatly appreciated and makes the day as amazing as possible! Before Pregame: The band lines up in the tunnel under the stadium and sings "To HELL with georgia!" It's the perfect gameday hype song.We might not be the biggest school, but we know how to support our team and be true fans!
Fear not, Seminoles, Florida State is up next.
- Howard’s Rock: The Tigers began the tradition of rubbing the rock before running down the hill on September 23, 1967. Clemson beat Wake Forest 23-6 that day. Before they did, though, coach Frank Howard told the team, “If you’re going to give me 110 percent, you can rub that rock. If you’re not, keep your filthy hands off it.”
- Running down “The Hill”: It started out of necessity, as it was the most convenient way into the stadium, and it stayed that way for 25 years. There were no dressing facilities in the west end zone, so the team would get ready in Fike Fieldhouse, walk to the gate where the scoreboard now is, and jog down the hill for warm-ups. Now it’s accompanied by fanfare, a cannon shot, the Tiger Paw flag, and Tiger Rag.
- The Esso. Before and after the game, this establishment has become a fan favorite for an adult beverage or six. Or so I'm told. (Really, I've only driven past it. I'm working, people, I'm working ...)
- Tiger-Rag. It’s the unmistakeable fight song.
- The Graveyard. Beating a ranked opponent on the road is taken very seriously. Any opponent who suffers this fate is buried near the practice fields behind the Jervey Athletic Center.
- Tiger Walk. It’s a new tradition, instituted by Dabo Swinney during his first season, and the fans seem to love it.
George in Summerville, S.C. writes: Game-day Traditions -- nothing in the ACC comes close to the players running down the hill at Clemson. I have been to home games at all of the ACC schools (with the exception of BC) so I can speak from experience. I am a little biased since I am a Clemson grad but even so, I have not seen anything at any of the other schools that is even close!
Peter in Columbia, S.C. writes: Game-day traditions at Clemson are outstanding. Besides the game-time tradition of running down the hill (you have to see it at least once if you're a college football fan), the tailgating scene is second to none. Everywhere you go you'll find orange... flags waving, clothes, dog clothes, tents, beer pong tables, chairs... you name it. Another great tradition that Dabo started when he got here is Tiger Walk. The team walks 200 yards right down the middle of one of the tailgate lots to get to their locker room in the West End Zone. I'm confident that Clemson's game-day traditions are unmatched anywhere in the ACC.
Grayson in Tampa writes: Why even pose the question, Brent Musberger already told the entire nation what the MOST EXCITING 25 SECONDS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL was all about. You can enter the Sand Man or have Chief O and Renegade open your games, but neither compare to when those TIGERS are perched atop the hill ready the enter the VALLEY and descend upon their prey.
Wade in Boston, Mass., writes : No. 1 in the ACC, if not the entire country... Rubbing Howard's Rock and Running down the Hill. It still gives me chills everytime I feel the energy of 80,000+ fans screaming to that entrance. Other Good ones at Clemson, the tombstones, yelling Orange/White, and Clemson/Tigers, and last year CJ/Spiller (not a tradition). The Tiger doing pushups in front of the student section after Clemson scores points. I'm also very proud of the Ring of Honor around the stadium, and I look forward to them putting up Spiller's name and number. Finally, it's only been a two-year tradition, but I personally like the Dabo instituted Tiger Walk through Parking lot 5 to the West endzone.
Here were the ones that were mentioned the most:
- Enter Sandman. Metallica starts it off, the fans bounce in the stands, and I swear you can literally feel Lane Stadium rocking under your feet.
- Team walk. Two hours before game time, the Highty-Tighties lead the way for the players, coaches, dance team and cheerleaders in a walk to the stadium outside the athletic complex.
- Shaking the keys. Fans jingle their keys on “key” third-down plays.
- Let’s Go!/Hokies! cheer: It's the West section and the East section taking over Lane.
- Firing “Skipper” after scoring. The cannon has its own story, and thanks to one reader for digging it up for us. It's also fired prior to the start of the game.
- Turkey legs. They're huge, impossible to miss, and smoking from the stands all game.
- Hokey Pokey. At the end of the third quarter, you put your right foot in ...
Several readers also mentioned “beating UVa every year.” Ahem. Don't shoot the messenger ...
Laith in Sacramento, Calif., writes: Heather, Love the blog. I can honestly say that nothing beats Enter Sandman at Lane Stadium. The adrenaline rush of all the Hokie Nation jumping in unison as the team runs out brings shivers to my spine every time I see it.
Scott Beard, a former Hokie swimmer now in Charlotte, N.C., writes: First of all, your blog is about the only thing that gets me through my lectures in grad school. Secondly, I can't think of a place in the ACC that gets as loud and rowdy as Lane Stadium when Enter Sandman come's on. It's one of the main reasons I signed with VT on my recruiting trip (and that includes trips to Tennessee and Penn State). And admittendly, Clemson's may have the best tailgating scene around, but lack the decibels to compete with our entrance.
Chris in Blacksburg, Va., writes: Beyond Enter Sandman and the smell of Turkey Legs in the stadium, there is "The Walk" with all of the team, cheerleaders and dance team as they go into the locker room the day of the game. Also you can't forget the 4th Quarter Stretch with the "Hokie Pokie." Then the loud boom of Skipper every time we score has been around since 1964. If the Big East blogger is gonna make a comment about the "We are...Penn State" cheer, the resonating sound of "LET'S GO...HOKIES!" by 66,233 people that sound more like 100,000 cannot go unmentioned. Also the stone inside the Tunnel that the players run out of with the phrase "For those who have passed, For those to come...Reach for Excellence!" It's always a special thing for anybody that isn't a football player to get to go through there and touch the stone.
Ben in Blacksburg, Va., writes: Best ACC tradition is....Getting schwasted and going crazy to Enter Sandman before we crush opponents...But on a more serious note; During homecoming week the Corps of Cadets rotates through groups of Cadets who run all over campus with the game ball yelling "Game Ball!" and gets everyone they pass to touch it. The game ball is constantly moving the entire week before the game. It literally goes everywhere, every day. Its not uncommon to be sitting in a huge class (3-4 hundred kids) and have a group of cadets burst in and run through the auditorium yelling game ball!...We think its cool as hell here.
Thanks to the many Hokies fans who contributed. Florida State or Clemson will probably be up next, based on the amount of responses.
This is one of them.
Austin in Blacksburg liked it: Heather, can you please do what the Big 10 and Big East bloggers are doing and do a blog about the best ACC game day traditions. There are many in the ACC and I'd love to see it on here. Thanks.
Ask and ye shall receive.
Help me out, though. You guys are the ones who make these traditions special. So drop me some notes in the mailbag and let me know what your favorite game-day traditions are in the ACC. I'm only going to do it for the schools that make some noise, so don't be shy. That means you, too, Dukies.
I'll post 'em as they come in.