Big Ten: BT traditions 10

The game-day traditions series wraps up with Indiana. Although it took a few attempts to get some suggestions from Hoosiers fans, there are a few good items here.

We all know IU has really struggled in football, particularly the past 20 years. But Terry Hoeppner began to change the culture in Bloomington, especially on game day. In 2007, Bill Lynch led Indiana to its first bowl appearance in 14 years, and last fall IU had the nation's third-largest attendance increase from 2008. So things appear to be improving.

Let's take a look at some Hoosier traditions:

  • The Walk/PowerPlay! One of two traditions started by Hoeppner, as players and coaches walk through the tailgating areas to the crimson gates at Memorial Stadium two hours before home games. Indiana's Marching Hundred also performs during The Walk.
  • Defend the Rock: Hoeppner used this as a rallying cry to improve Indiana's defense of its home field. Indiana also has a 3-ton limestone boulder on a granite slab placed in the north end of Memorial Stadium, just outside IU's locker room. Before games, players and coaches touch the rock, which serves as a way to honor Hoeppner's memory.
  • Sing, Sing, Sing: The 1936 Louis Prima hit is a staple of the band's performance, and the drum line is prominently featured in the song. Each year, a new drum solo is incorporated.
  • R-O-C-K In the USA: The Marching Hundred honor Bloomington native John Mellencamp by playing playing his hit at the end of the first quarter. It doesn't hurt that the song references "Rock," the nickname for Memorial Stadium.
  • Tailgates: This is a tradition Indiana likely wants to change or at least modify, but the tailgating scene is massive and a ton of fun. The only problem: too many folks spend the day outside the stadium rather than going inside to check out the action.
TESTIMONIAL

Jason from Bloomington, Ind.: As for the Hoosiers, there's not a lot to celebrate most saturdays in the fall, but we do still bring it on gameday. While tailgating happens anywhere, I'm not sure you'll find a more off balance ratio of "tailgate intensity v. game interest (or team performance)". Sure, ohio state gets into tailgating, but do they party for the last loss of a 4-8 season? Also, we have 'The Walk', which, based on this blog and the big east blog, seems like every team does to get to the stadium (2 hours pre-game). And, you can't over-look 'The Rock' in the North End Zone - While it is a rather new tradition, I think it also serves as a memorial to Coach Hep. Lost traditions seem to include the cannon fired after the Hoosiers score (absent since the start of North End Zone construction, and now replaced with fireworks), as well as winning - there's no sign of a return to the Rose Bowl anytime soon.
No one is going to confuse a trip to Evanston with one to Columbus, Ann Arbor or State College. While Northwestern has transformed its tradition between the lines, going from national laughingstock to respectable program and regular bowl invitee, the school is still trying to improve its environment on fall Saturdays.

Attendance at Ryan Field remains a struggle, and NU fans are often outnumbered by visiting supporters at games, but as the wins come, the traditions should follow. Indiana rounds out the traditions series on Monday.

Here are some of the top Northwestern traditions, as suggested by you folks:

  • Wildcat Alley: Two words to remember here: Free beer. Northwestern puts on a pregame party for fans two hours before games on the baseball field north of Welsh-Ryan Arena. The marching band performs and there are plenty of activities for everyone, which include drinking free beer.
  • The Purple Clock: During the football season, the clock tower above the Rebecca Crown Center, which houses Northwestern's administrative offices, will turn purple or white depending on the outcome of games. Purple means a Wildcat victory; white means a Wildcat loss.
  • Walker Way: The late Randy Walker played a major role in restoring respectability to Northwestern's program, and the school honored its former coach by naming the road northwest of Ryan Field after him. Fans assemble two and a half hours before kickoff to greet players and coaches as they arrive, a tradition known as "Walk with Us." Some fans watch games from Randy Walker Terrace, located in the north end of the field.
  • Hannibal statue: Before the 1998 season, Northwestern installed a bronze wildcat statue in the southwest corner of the stadium. Illinois players crowned the statue with one of their helmets after a win that fall. Two years later, Northwestern exacted its revenge by pounding the Illini 61-23 to win a share of the Big Ten title. Wildcat players put a purple helmet on Hannibal and later talked about their motivation to reclaim the statue.
  • March of the Steelmen: Since 1928, Northwestern's band has concluded each home football season with the march, adapted to match the Old Plus-Four drill. The NU monogram is featured in the display.
  • SpiriTeam: Consisting of two leaders, the Spirit Leader and the Grynder, the tandem leads the band and the student section in cheers during games. Both figures are known for their headgear. The Spirit Leader wears a cloth helmet that reportedly belonged to a former NU player who served in World War II. The Grynder wears a black felt hat that gets passed down through the years until Northwestern makes its next Rose Bowl.
  • Keys at kickoff: Not exactly a unique tradition, but Northwestern fans jingle their keys before every kickoff during games.
  • Laking the Posts: This tradition no longer exists because the goal posts at Ryan Field are pretty much immovable now, but it's still worth mentioning. During Northwestern's dark days in football, fans would celebrate rare victories by tearing down the posts, passing them up through the east side of the stadium, and then carrying them down Central Street to Lake Michigan, where they'd toss them in.
TESTIMONIALS

Steve from Bloomington, Ill.: Hey Adam,Some input on Northwestern football traditions (although I'm sure you're familiar with many of them):1.) The purple clock tower. Glad to see it that color after a Northwestern football win. Of course it's now being used for other sports, particularly after women's lacrosse won its first championship.2.) The SpiriTeam. The marching band's cheering leaders are notorious for some obnoxious cheers and chants, followed by the Growl. An example used when trying to run time out: "Let's enunciate them! Enunciate them, enunciate them, 'CATS EAT CLOCK. *growl*"3.) Drum major back-bends. At the beginning of pregame, the drum majors show off their flexibility by performing a full back-bend while on their knees. Usually it's the first thing that gets the crowd going in the stadium.4.) Walker Way. The football players are greeted to the stadium by fans and the marching band each home game, walking along the entryway named after former coach Randy Walker.

Tim from Bolingbrook, Ill.: Adam, I'm sure you're waiting to do Northwestern last to give enough time for the traditions to trickle in because let's face it, we don't have many. Does free Goose Island beer before the game in Wildcat Alley count? How about the band's pregame performance in Wildcat Alley? I know one thing still gives me chills every time I see it: the pregame video montage of all the great moments from the past 15 years. Victory Right, the punt return against Illinois, the Anthony Thomas fumble... I'm getting chills right now just thinking about it.

Tim from State College, Pa.:
Hi Adam,I'm a Northwestern alum who lives in State College, PA. The best game-day tradition for Northwestern is apparently for the fans to stay home and watch the game on TV! If I can make it to every home game, so can you NU alum who lives in Ohio! So can you NU alum who lives in Milwaukee! So can you NU alum who lives in St. Louis, or Detroit, or Cleveland, or Cincinnati, or ANYWHERE! Yeah, NU alum who lives in Dallas, I'm talking to YOU! We CAN fill that stadium, we've done it before! This team deserves your participation! Having a 2-year-old baby is NO excuse to miss games! GO CATS!
The traditions series marches on with Minnesota. Although the Gophers have gone 33 years without a Big Ten championship, Minnesota remains one of the league's most tradition-rich programs.

A quarter-century in the Metrodome didn't help Minnesota's game-day atmosphere, but a new chapter of traditions has started at TCF Bank Stadium, and I got a taste of the atmosphere for a piece back in September.

Northwestern is up next, but let's take a look at Minnesota's top game-day traditions:
  • Victory Walk: A fairly new tradition I got to experience firsthand in September, Minnesota players and coaches walk from the alumni center to TCF Bank Stadium as the band and hundreds of fans line the path to greet them.
  • Spin Your Head: Minnesota fans love their mascot, Goldy, and during games fans will chant "Spin your head!" Goldy always obliges, delighting the crowd.
  • Minnesota Rouser: One of the oldest and more famous fight songs in the Big Ten, the Rouser reaches a crescendo as fans spell out M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A.
  • Wearing maroon for Iowa game: Minnesota's colors are maroon and gold, but when the Gophers host hated rival Iowa, fans dress only in maroon to not get confused with Hawkeye gold. One group of fans will start the chant, "Who hates Iowa?" and be answered by, "We hate Iowa."
  • The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A staple of the pregame show, the Minnesota marching band plays the "Battle Hymn" in its trademark swinging gates formation.
  • Hail! Minnesota: After every game, the players and coaches gather in front of the student section to sing the state hymn and university alma mater, "Hail!" Minnesota."
  • Ski-U-Mah chant: The famous phrase is more than 110 years old and incorporates "Ski," a Sioux battle cry for victory, with "U-Mah," representing the university. It appears in both Hail! Minnesota and the Minnesota Rouser, and is chanted at games.
  • Trophy Games: Almost every FBS school has a trophy game or two, but Minnesota has four: the Little Brown Jug (Michigan), the Floyd of Rosedale (Iowa), Paul Bunyan's Axe (Wisconsin) and the Governor's Victory Bell (Penn State). Odds are, if you attend a Big Ten home game in Minneapolis, some hardware will be at stake.
TESTIMONIALS

Taylen from San Francisco: Hey Adam, never sent in before, but for something as important as showing school pride with gameday traditions I had to "show up!" Gopher Gameday traditions include Goldy's signature "Spin Your Head" (and body and tail), Who Hates Iowa (We Hate Iowa) cheer no matter who the opponent is, all the players and coaches gathering at the student section for "Hail Minnesota" after the game, the marching band's pregame show on the concourse and field, all the fans wearing maroon to the Iowa game (so as not to confuse our Gold with that disgusting yellow), Minn-Knee-So-Ta cheer from the four corners of the crowd, and I'm sure there are more with TCF that I haven't even witnessed yet now that I'm on the West coast! (However, I don't approve of the new name forced on the student section - The Vault...I get that it's clever, think bank, but nicknames shouldn't be forced, they're earned!) Thanks for keeping me in the B10 loop every day!

Sam from Minneapolis: With the new stadium comes new traditions and here are just a couple that are awesome:Victory Walk - Two hours before kickoff, the players march from the alumni center to the stadium along with the marching band and cheerleaders in an awesome sort of mini parade. All the while surrounded by a less-than-lucid sea of maroon and gold. Trophy Games - Ugghhh. This makes my heart heavy since it's been a while since we've won one. But we've got some great trophy games against Wisconsin (Paul Bunyun's Axe), Michigan (Little Brown Jug), and Iowa (Floyd of Rosedale). I'll throw the Governor's Victory Bell in there too (Penn St.), but that takes a back seat to the other three. Also, Spin Your Head - Goldy is the best mascot in the Big Ten hands down. Watch him interact with students and fans, and invariably the chant "Spin your head!" will start. He does it (awesomely) and everyone goes wild.

Craig from Duluth, Minn.: Adam:Unfortunately, Minnesota does not a lot of great football traditions like the "dotting of the i" at OSU. However, one of the things I have always loved was the "swinging gates" formation and playing of the Battle Hymn of the Republic while presenting the colors before each game. It's a classy way to present the colors. The newer "Victory Walk" into TCF Bank Stadium may develop into a nice tradition in time, but after only one year it isn't old enough to qualify yet.I'm looking forward to reading about the other traditions around the Big Ten.Thank you!
The game-day traditions series marches on with Illinois. Although Illini football has struggled to sustain success the past few decades, the history and tradition in Champaign is easy to see. Memorial Stadium remains one of college football's great relics, and the recent renovation has preserved the history there.

Of course, the most famous, or infamous Illinois game-day tradition, Chief Illiniwek's halftime performance, is no more.

Minnesota is up next. Indiana fans, where are you? You are up soon, and I need to hear from you.

Here are some top game-day customs for Illinois:

  • Block I's card stunts: The Block I student section has been the "visual staple" at Memorial Stadium since 1926 and performs creative card stunts during games.
  • Three In One: There's no more Chief, but the band still performs the time-honored Three In One at the end of its halftime show. Many fans still shout "Chief!" at the conclusion.
  • Illini Walk: Two hours before games, Illinois players and coaches walk from First Street to the football complex along Irwin Drive as fans greet them.
  • The Grange Rock: Dedicated in 1994, the rock honors former Illini great Red Grange and is situated near the northeast end zone. It comes from the same stone quarry in Indiana used to form the granite columns in the stadium. Players will touch the rock on their way to the field.
  • Marching Illini pregame show: A favorite for Illinois fans, the band performs seven songs in a 12-minute show that takes place shortly before kickoff of home games. Some of the top numbers are the fight song, "Oskee Wow Wow," and "William Tell overture." You can find a detailed description here.
  • I-L-L/I-N-I: You'll hear this at every Illinois sporting event, as a group of fans will yell "I-L-L," and be answered by "I-N-I," spelling out the school's nickname.
TESTIMONIALS

Rakesh from Urbana, Ill.: Illinois really started of a lot of football traditions. The idea for homecoming was started at the University of Illinois in 1910, when Illinois needed to defeat a tough University of Chicago team. Our school was the first to instate a student's section, the Block I (which until recently had held its own spot for 97 years). The card stunts of the Block I was the first of its kind as well. The first school song (ever) was played by our Marching Illini in 1906, Illinois Loyalty. The first halftime show (ever) was done in 1906 as well. A quick summary of traditions include the 3-in-1, the Illini walk, the Marching Illini, the pre-game star and stripes, and the formation of America/Illinois/a person for the University on the state of Illinois.

Eddie from Milwaukee: Hey Adam. Just wanted remind you to include Block I's card stunts during halftime. The crowd gets into it when the cards create an orange and blue foaming beer mug. Everyone hollers "chug, chug, chug" as it empties. Also great traditions are the student's William Tell dance, the Marching Illini's Three in One, and the War Chant, which is played at every third down. And don't forget the ILL-INI!! Finally, most Illini fans check out the colonnades around the stadium (each pillar represents one of the 200 fallen U of I students during WWI). Memorial Stadium was built for the WWI veterans, and the Marching Illini plays its American Medley at the beginning of every game to salute America and its veterans - since our stadium is a "living memorial" for them.
I've always been partial to Madison, Wis., ever since I made my first trip there in 2000. If you can't have a good time in Mad-town, there's probably something wrong with you.

But it's not just the town. Camp Randall Stadium rocks, literally between the third and fourth quarters of games. It's time to take a look at Wisconsin's game-day traditions. Illinois is up next, so send in your suggestions.

[+] EnlargeBadger fans
David Stluka/Getty ImagesCamp Randall Stadium really gets rocking -- literally -- when "Jump Around" is played between the third and fourth quarter.

  • The Fifth Quarter: Thousands of fans will remain in their seats after home games to watch the marching band's extensive performance. Among the favorite songs played are "Beer Barrel Polka," "Hey, Baby" and "You've Said it All," also known as the "Bud song."
  • Jump Around: The House of Pain hit blasts through the speakers between the third and fourth quarters, and fans follow Everlast's orders as the stadium literally shakes. Even the visiting teams will sometimes get into the act.
  • Buttercup/Time Warp: Wisconsin's student section will sing along to "Buttercup" and do the dance from "Time Warp." If you ever check out a Badgers hockey game, prepare for an extensive rendition of "Roll Out the Barrel."
  • Pregame concert at Union South: An hour before every home game, the marching band performs at Union South on campus. The band plays "On Wisconsin" twice and several other numbers.
  • Varsity: At the end of the band's halftime performance, 80,000 fans wave their arms and sing the final lines of the school's alma mater, "Varsity."
  • The Wave: Much like Michigan's fans, Wisconsin supporters are known for The Wave and the creative versions they employ, usually in the second or third quarters of games.
  • Regent Street/Breese Terrace: No Big Ten stadium is woven into the city and campus quite like Camp Randall, which borders fraternity houses to the east and the famous Regent Street to the south. These areas are packed with fans before, during and after games.
  • Eat (Bleep)/(Bleep) You: This is a family blog, so I'll let you figure out the expletives for yourself. But the Wisconsin student section splits into two groups and trades insults during games. Hey, I don't make the traditions.
TESTIMONIALS

George from Crofton, Md.: Wisconsin Gameday Traditions- Pre-Game band concert @ Union South!! It really gets you ready for the game.

Adam from Madison, Wis.: Hey Adam, love the traditions blog and I saw UW was next. Be sure to include "the singing of our time-honored classic, Varsity."U-rah-rah Wisconsin!

John from Madison, Wis.: When you write up the 'Big Ten Game Day Traditions,' don't forget to consider The Fifth Quarter! It's one of the best times in college football with songs such as the Bud Song, Beer Barrel Polka, Time Warp, and Hey Baby. It's so popular that all of the songs get played at other Major Sporting events as well.

Steven from Madison, Wis.: Hey Adam. Just writing to inform you of some lesser-known UW traditions. I personally love the Wisconsin student section singing extended renditions of certain songs. Singing Buttercup at football games well after the music cuts out, 20 minute+ Roll Out the Barrel at hockey, and the Time Warp dance are all fantastic and don't get the attention they deserve.
A trip to Ann Arbor is a must for any die-hard college football fan, even in these tough times for the Maize and Blue. Michigan Stadium is one of the sport's most famous venues, and the atmosphere around the Big House is top notch.

Michigan would like to restore its most famous game-day ritual -- winning -- in the 2010 season, but for now, let's look at some of the school's top traditions, as suggested by you folks. Wisconsin is up next in the traditions series.

    [+] EnlargeMichigan
    AP Photo/Tony DingThe tradition of touching the banner has been around for almost half a century.
  • Touching the banner: Every college football fan worth his or her salt has seen Wolverines players and coaches race onto the field and jump to touch the "Go Blue: M Club Supports You" banner, as the marching band plays "The Victors." The tradition started in 1962.
  • Seat for Fritz Crisler: For every home game, Michigan reserves one seat in the stadium for former head coach and athletics director Fritz Crisler. The tradition was started by legendary former coach Fielding Yost. All Michigan Stadium capacity figures have ended with 1, to honor Crisler. The seat's location is not revealed.
  • The Wave: If Michigan has a game well in hand, the student section will start The Wave and go through a series of creative versions. They'll slow it down, speed it up and send two waves in opposite directions. In such a large stadium, it looks pretty cool.
  • Tunnel Walk: There's only one way to enter the playing field at the Big House, and that's through the tunnel at the 50-yard line. Michigan's team entrance is certainly a sight to see.
  • Temptation/The Hawaiian War Chant: The Michigan marching band has played these two percussion beats after games for four decades. The band also plays "Temptation" after the Wolverines' defense makes a third-down stop.
  • Hail to the Victors: It's quite possibly the most famous fight song in all of college sports, and you'll hear it in and around Michigan Stadium throughout game days in the fall.
  • Guarding the "M" on The Diag: During the week leading up to Michigan's rivalry game against Michigan State, fraternity members guard the block M at the center of The Diag on campus to prevent any vandalism.
  • Victors' Walk: The tradition of players and coaches making a longer walk to the stadium began under Bump Elliott in the 1960s and continued during the early Bo Schembechler years. Current head coach Rich Rodriguez brought back the tradition in 2008, as the team makes a 200-yard walk to the stadium two hours before games.
TESTIMONIALS

Andrew from Ann Arbor, Mich.: There are so many great traditions here at Michigan. 1. One of the best things about Michigan is the Fight Song," The Victors." There is no better song on this green Earth; there were times even when President Ford played it rather than "Hail to the Chief." 2. Also, at every home game, the drumline sets up in the North end zone at the end of the first quarter and plays a cadence for the student section. 3. The Big House is itself one of the greatest venues for football ever. With the longest streak of over 100,000 fans at a game, the Big House is an amazing scene every football Saturday, with 100,000 fans flooding the streets headed to the game. 4. There are several symbols in Michigan Football that are never forgotten. The Winged Helmet and the Block M are probably the most recognized symbols in all of college football. 5. Every year we have MSU at home, one of the fraternities protects the bronze M at the center of the Diag on Central Campus. This is because, one great year, we went to Lansing and painted their hideous statue Blue. 6. After a victory, all Wolverines start the chant, "It's Great to be, a Michigan Wolverine!"That's just to name a few. Love the blog, but most importantly, LET'S GO BLUE!

Dan from Gilbert, Ariz.: As an alum and former trumpet player in the marching band (rank 7 rules!) and having grown up in pac-10 land where football tradition is laughable in comparison (people have to care about a tradition for it to be an actual tradition) I came to U of M in large part because of the tradition. Yes...I know everyone loves script Ohio, but the block M, with the band bursting out of the tunnel and the twirlers (including my future wife at the time) and drum major coming through to the sounds of M-fanfare and then leading into Victors down the field punctuated by the drum major throwing his baton over the cross bar and going into his backbend is far better. And then postgame there's temptation/war chant followed by the singing of the alma mater (the yellow and blue) in backwards hats on the field after a win...and on and on...the band alone could give you ten traditions...

Curt from Chicago: Football traditions:Michigan: I imagine you've already got "touching the banner" as the team runs from the tunnel, our helmets got wings and the great fight song. Other cool traditions:1) Michigan Stadium has always had an 'extra' seat reserved for Fielding Yost (I'm not sure if this will continue with the improvements) but prior to the renovations it was 107,501, during renovations capacity is 106,201. Supposedly only Fritz Crisler knew its exact location.2) Not sure if this qualifies, but walking through (or participating in) the student tailgating on state street from south university ave to hoover ave is quite an experience.3) Little brown jug battle with minny - oldest trophy in college football4) The #1 jersey on our best wide receiver (if there is a worthy one on the team)5) Winningest team in college football history.

BT game day traditions: Purdue

February, 26, 2010
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Little known fact: the first Big Ten game I ever watched took place at Ross-Ade Stadium. I was just a college freshman in 1999 when we made the drive from Evanston to West Lafayette to see Purdue take on Northwestern. I came away from the game with two thoughts:

  • Drew Brees is really, really good
  • What was the deal with the "I am an American" speech?

Another of my favorite Purdue game day memories took place last year before the Oregon game, when I rode the elevator with Purdue alum Neil Armstrong.

The game day traditions series marches on with Purdue. Michigan is up next on Monday, so send in your thoughts.

Let's take a look:

  • Breakfast Club: Purdue students dress up in costumes and hit the bars early before heading to the game. It's like Halloween seven or eight times a year.
  • "I am an American" speech: You know you're in the heartland when the Purdue marching band announcer leads fans in reciting the "I am an American" speech before games. It started in 1966 at a time of political and social unrest as a way to inject some patriotism into games.
  • Boiler Up chant: After a touchdown or a big play by Purdue, fans chant "Boiler Up!" as a train whistle sounds.
  • Big bass drum: Known as the world's largest drum, the centerpiece of Purdue's band is wheeled around by four members in sliver helmets. Two drum beaters thump away during the band's performances.
  • Boilermaker Special/X-tra special: As the official mascot for Purdue University, this old-time locomotive can be spotted around Ross-Ade Stadium on game days. The X-tra special is a smaller version that leads the football team onto the field.
  • Block P: The All-American marching band was the first of its kind to break ranks and form a letter (P) on a football field back in 1907. The big bass drum is at the center of the block P during performances.
TESTIMONIALS

Andrew from West Lafayette, Ind.: Adam, Regarding game-day traditions: For Purdue, after every touchdown, any big play the train horn goes off and the "Boiler Up" chant begins. It's loud and it's fun. Another one would be the formation of the Block "P" during the bands pre-game show. Seeing as Purdue was was the first school to break formation to make the logo of the school, it's a great tradition; especially when The World Largest Drum is spinning in the middle and Hail Purdue is being sung. It's a great sight. The next one is less than a game-day tradition and more of a game-morning tradition. But "Breakfast Club" is without a doubt one of the biggest traditions at Purdue. Every football home game-7am-Bars-Costumes. It's a ridiculous good time.

Purdue alum who's deployed writes: Adam, this is in response to the question from Jasen asking you to rank the traditions of Big 10 teams. I've got a good Purdue tradition for you. It's the reading of I am an American by Al G. Wright before each home game. There's also Purdue's "World's Largest Bass Drum" and you can't forget about the pregame ritual known as Breakfast Club (for those over 21) where the bars open early and the Chauncy Hill area resembles more of a large Halloween party the morning of every home game rather than a strip of restaurants, bars, and shops.

Adam from Fresno, Calif.: Hey Adam, I'm and OSU grad, and though I already missed my chance to talk about my alma mater's traditions (which are many and great) I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents for my brother's school, Purdue. I ventured to the OSU-Purdue game in W. Lafeyette a few years ago with my roommates, and got to partake in one of the greatest traditions in the Big Ten, breakfast club. Nothing better than rolling out of bed on a gameday, throwing on a costume and going drinking. (Somehow we got the DJ at the bar to play Hang on Sloopy, but thats another story).

BT game day traditions: Iowa

February, 25, 2010
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The traditions series marches on with Iowa, which generated a ton of responses from you fine folks. I had the chance to attend three games at Kinnick Stadium in 2009, including a night game against Michigan that might have provided the best atmosphere of the fall.

[+] EnlargeKinnick Statue
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesIowa players and coaches touch the statue of Nile Kinnick before filing into the stadium.
Up next on the traditions list is Purdue, so Boiler fans, send in your suggestions before Friday morning.

Here's a look at some of Iowa's top game-day traditions:

  • In Heaven, There is No Beer/Hawkeye Victory Polka: After every Iowa win, the marching band delights fans with the playing of this song, which features the lyrics, "In Heaven, there is no beer... That's why we drink it here... And when we're gone from here... Our friends will be drinking all the beer."
  • Back in Black/entrance video: One of the best pregame intros you see, Iowa players are shown walking down the tunnel from their locker room to the field as AC/DC's appropriately titled hit blasts through the speakers in the stadium. On the video screen, Herky Hawkeye drives Iowa's equipment truck over the logo or mascot of that day's opponent.
  • I-O-W-A chant: Whether Iowa is playing at home or on the road, groups of fans will often spell out I-O-W-A, with each group representing a corner of the stadium. This chant is always done after Hawkeye touchdowns.
  • Touching the Kinnick Statue: After the buses arrive at the stadium, Iowa players and coaches make sure to touch the 20-foot statue of Nile Kinnick before going through the team entrance.
  • Kinnick's Heisman acceptance speech: Before every home game, Iowa plays video of Nile Kinnick's memorable Heisman Trophy acceptance speech in 1939. The speech took place during World War II and concludes with, "I thank God I was warring on the gridirons of the Midwest and not on the battlefields of Europe. I can speak confidently and positively that the players of this country would much more, much rather, struggle and fight to win the Heisman award than the Croix de Guerre."
  • "Big ass turkey leg": There's only one acceptable pregame meal at Kinnick Stadium, as fans flood the food stand selling, well, big ass turkey legs on Melrose Avenue. Yum. The guy hawking the turkey legs is rather entertaining.
  • Beer band: Not technically a game-day tradition, but on Friday nights before home games, a pep band makes its way to the Iowa City bars and plays the fight song, Victory Polka and other numbers.
  • Magic Bus: Widely recognized as the No. 1 tailgating spot before Hawkeyes games, the bus, operated by the Iowa City Rugby Football Club, is a can't-miss destination.
TESTIMONIALS

Joe from Iowa City, Iowa: Hey Adam, Just throwing some more Iowa traditions at you. 1. I-O-W-A cheerthe Spirit Squad ways the four l-O-W-A flags at the corners of the field while the stadium cheers in Unison2. Back in BlackKirk always brings the team out to the field a bit early so they can get pumped up by the crowd and Back in Black is blasted through Kinnick to signal their arrival.3. Nile Kinnick's Heisman Award acceptance speech.During every pregame an excerpt of Nile Kinnick's Heisman award acceptance speech is played. Its considered to be one of the Best!4. The Hawkeye Victory Polka(This one is special for me because I'm the Drum major of the Hawkeye Marching Band and the only one who gets to conduct it!)At the End of a Hawkeye Victory the Drum Major of the Hawkeye Marching Band starts the victory polka. And depending on the importance of the Win or opponent such as a rival it can go on for quite some time. For Example....We played it at Iowa State till we were told to leave.

Zach from Iowa City: Another set of Iowa Gameday traditions, obviously tailgating is huge in Iowa City and one of the best spots is the Magis Bus, also as the team leaves the locker room and heads toward the field ACDC's Back in Black gets the entire stadium buzzing inside and out within earshot, The team arrives with a police escort at 9 am and a new tradition has started as players rub Knile Kinnicks bronze foot as they enter Kinnick to get ready for the game.

Leighton from Iowa City: in re: to your posting on team traditions:sure many are repeats from other emails you've received, but for the Hawks they include:- "In Heaven There Is No Beer" after each Hawkeye win (all sports)- touch the Kinnick statue on the way into Kinnick Stadium (football)- dominating (wrestling)- trophy games (about which I'm sure you're aware)- "Big As* Turkey Legs"- Friday night the band plays in the bars downtown ('pedmall') - not sure if this is unique or not- pink locker room in Kinnick for visitors- "The Hawkeye State"

Mike B. from Iowa City: Hi Adam,I'm writing to chip in some game day traditions for Iowa Hawkeye Football. I'm a student at Iowa and here are some of the traditions i've noticed at games.1. The Hawkeye victory polka or as the students call "in heaven there is no beer". This song is sung after every victory and i'd say that most students and fans know the lyrics. Some people don't like it because it promotes drinking but they won't ever get rid of the song because there was a lot of negative feedback when the university tried to get rid of it last time.2. Before the national anthem a portion of the end of Nile Kinnick's heisman Speech is played in the stadium3. Like many schools we do a chant of our name. I-O-W-A4. ACDC's "Back in Black" is always played as players enter the field5. Adam if you are ever in Iowa City on Game day, you have to get a "big ass turkey leg" from Chuck. It's a big part of Iowa tailgating.
I always enjoy a trip to Sparta in the fall, as Michigan State puts on a great show on game days. Spartan Nation had a strong response to the traditions request, particularly in recent days.

Keep those e-mails coming. Iowa will be up next, and I've already heard from plenty of Hawkeye fans.

Here are several of the top game-day traditions at Michigan State:
  • Zeke the Wonder Dog: These Frisbee-catching canines have been the traditional halftime entertainment for Michigan State games since the late 1970s.
  • Third quarter cheer: Between the third and fourth quarters, the drum line of Michigan State's marching band shows off its skills in the southeast corner of the stadium.
  • Go Green/Go White cheer: Just like it sounds, one group of fans will yell "Go Green!" and get answered with "Go White!" You'll hear this at every Michigan State sporting event, home or away.
  • The Series march: Named for the percussion beat used by the band on its way to the stadium, fans will line the Kalamazoo Street bridge to cheer for the band as it marches on by.
  • Spinning the 'S'/MSU shield: When the band plays the fight song before the game, it creatively shifts into a hollow block 'S' formation and marches down the field for the chorus. The band also will form the MSU shield out of nowhere to delight the crowd.
  • The Spartan Walk: Fans line the path from the Kellogg Center to the stadium as the team makes the 10-minute walk over.
  • Thunderstruck: AC/DC's hit plays through the Spartan Stadium as the team makes its entrance before games. Clips from the movie "300" have been added to the introduction.
  • Sparty statue/Sparty watch: The Spartan statue is one of the most famous parts of Michigan State's campus, and many will touch it before every game. During the week before the annual rivalry game with Michigan, members of the MSU marching band guard it to prevent vandalism.
TESTIMONIALS

N.K. from Santa Cruz, Calif.: Hey Adam, this is for BT game-day traditions: Michigan State University. As the section leader of the 2004 Michigan State University Drumline, I played for all MSU home games and many away games. The crowd in East Lansing is louder than in any other place that I have been, including Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame. The MSU Marching Band's pregame Run-On is amazing. Also, the drumline's Third Quarter Cheer is unparalleled because it combines difficult beats, a large acoustic-electronic drum rack, cymbal tosses and the dance team. The drumline's game-day routine on Grand River Avenue in front of the Student Bookstore is epic. We are known as the best college marching band and drumline in the Big Ten because of our rich traditions.

Andrew from East Lansing, Mich.: Hey Adam, I know you already have most of the stuff done now for traditions but here are the ones I have: Zeek the wonder dog at halftime catching frisbees, Sparty planting the flag at midfield, touching the Spartan statue before every game and camping out next to it for big games, the "go green" "go white" cheer, the landslide after scoring a touchdown, and most importantly the best tailgate in the Big Ten.

Maureen from Boston: Hey Adam, I'm going to guess that some of my fellow Michigan State alumni have written to you about including Zeke the Wonder Dog in your feature on game-day traditions. I attended MSU in the early 80s when the original Zeke did his awesome frisbee tricks in Spartan Stadium at halftime. I think there is a YouTube video about the current Zeke and his trainer. Always a fan favorite and a great Spartan game-day tradition.

Robbie from Philadelphia: As an MSU alumnus and third-generation Spartan, my love for the green and white is true (and has driven several girlfriends away with my maniacal behavior during MSU football games). I have to weigh in on game-day traditions, since I have always thought this is what makes college football so great. Now that I am no longer a student, tailgating with the students at the tennis courts is not so appealing. However, many students and alumni will gather and drink beer while watching the band warm-up at Walter Adams Field. From there, with about an hour and a half before kick off, the band marches (probably a quarter of a mile) to the stadium. Notable on this march, while the percussion performs the cadence, is the high step that the band engages in as they cross the bridge over the Red Cedar River. From there, they pass the Spartan Statue, which I am sure has been mentioned already that during the Michigan game week is heavily guarded by members of the band. During the game, in between the 3rd and 4th quarters, two band members, one carrying an MSU flag the other carrying the flag of the opponent, race around the sidelines of the field. Of course the MSU flag always wins. This is followed by the drumline and dance team performing in front of the student section.

BT game day traditions: Penn State

February, 23, 2010
2/23/10
1:15
PM ET
There's a reason why Penn State fans are a bit miffed by the Big Ten's policy that prohibits November night games. Night football at Beaver Stadium, particularly for a whiteout/whitehouse, is one of the greatest atmospheres in college football. In reality, football at any time of the day or night is pretty special in Happy Valley.

Penn State fans had the strongest response to my request for game-day traditions. Nittany Nation is extremely proud of what takes place on fall Saturdays in State College, and they deserve to be. I've never seen a more cohesive student section than the one at Beaver Stadium.

Here are several of the numerous game-day traditions at Penn State:
  • The whiteout/white house: Fans are asked to wear white for a big game, usually for a night contest against a name opponent. The result is one of the coolest crowd visuals you'll ever see.
  • We are ... Penn State cheer: It's one of the most recognizable cheers in all of college football, as one group of fans (usually students) yells "We are!" and gets answered with "Penn State!"
  • Zombie Nation: There aren't many earthquakes in central Pennsylvania, but the stadium shakes every time Zombie Nation comes on the loud speakers. Fans even incorporate the "We are ... Penn State" chant into it.
  • Other Beaver Stadium songs: Penn State's in-game entertainment is second to none, and fans go nuts as songs like "Don't Stop Believin'," "Sweet Caroline," "Hey, Baby" and "Livin' on a Prayer" are piped into the stadium.
  • Tailgreat: The Penn State marching band holds its final rehearsal several hours before kickoff, marching from its building to the Bryce Jordan Center. The cheerleaders, dance team and Penn State notables attend the performance.
  • Paternoville: Students set up tents and camp out next to Gate A so they can secure prime seats in the student section for games. Head coach Joe Paterno, assistants and players usually stop by throughout game weeks. Students will camp out the entire week before big games.
  • Drum-major flip: Since 1971, drum majors for the Blue Band have done flips at games. The two front flips take place during the band's pregame performance and delight the crowd.
  • Nittany Lion crowd surf: Penn State's Lion mascot surfs through the student section toward the top of the stadium.
  • S-zone student section: The seniors' area of the student section forms a giant 'S' that can be seen around the stadium and looks great on TV.
  • Victory Bell: The bell, which returned to Beaver Stadium in 2009 after a 20-year absence, is sounded after Penn State victories. Former coach Rip Engle first brought in the bell as a way for students to welcome back football players after away games.
TESTIMONIALS

Mike from State College, Pa.: As part of the game day at Penn State, I think some great traditions are obviously the We Are...Penn State cheer and whenever they play notable songs like "Don't Stop Believin'" or "Livin' on a Prayer" or "Sweet Caroline" the whole stadium sings along and it really is amazing. Also the basket tosses, where the student section usually gets into groups and tosses a person in the air for how many total points we have in the game. the White Out and White House are of course great too. TailGREAT in the Bryce Jordan Center is really cool too. As is when the football players arrive on the signature blue busses and walk through the crowd into the stadium. There also is the "We want the lion" cheer where sections of students will call for the Nittany Lion and whichever section gets it will pass him up from the field to the top of the stadium on his back.

Mike from Bethlehem, Pa., writes: Adam! Your blog gets me through my day at work. Thanks for the diligence in Big10 reporting. As far as game days go, Penn State has easily the best atmosphere in the Big10, and the country for that matter. I've attended game day at Wisconsin, U of M, and OSU, none matching the excitement that surrounds Beaver Stadium on a Saturday. Perfect example: the Iowa at PSU game in the Fall of 09, it didn't matter how much rain was going to fall that day. As far as you could see there were people tailgating from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., it's what Penn State is all about! Nothing fancy, just good ol' fashion tailgating with fellow fans and a lot of opponents fans.During the game, Zombie Nation and the Whiteout. Guido D'Elia (our director of communications and branding) started Zombie Nation at Penn State and it has taken over the country! Beaver Stadium's steel frame literally bends when the crowd jumps. The Whiteout was started at Penn State (as far as college sports go) and how cool is that?! Penn State IS tradition, not only on the field, but off of it with the enourmous fan following and passionate spectators.

Jim from Kutztown, Pa.: Penn State's pregame intro with the Blue Band should be atop your Big10 traditions list. The drum major landing two flips, Floating Lions, and then when the team comes out, Let's Go P-S-U! Not to mention the thunderous roar of 110,000 during a "We are..." chant.

Greg from Washington, D.C.: Hey Adam, this is a list of some of my favorite football traditions at Penn State...there are a lot so I'll make them short and sweet. 1."We Are...Penn State" chant 2. Drum Major flip(s) 3. Nittany Lion Crowd surf through the student section 4. The "Rock and Roll" as the players come out o f the tunnel 5. The Cowbell P-S-U chant 6. Zombie Nation "Bounce" 7. Nittany Lion pre-game crowd pump up 8. Singing "Hey Baby" 9. Student section crowd push ups after scoring 10. Post-game bell ringing

BT game day traditions: Ohio State

February, 22, 2010
2/22/10
3:30
PM ET
As expected, the feedback for the game-day traditions series has been outstanding. Keep sending in your suggestions during the next few days.

Let's kick things off with Ohio State. If you haven't been to Columbus for a game, I strongly suggest you make the trip, as the atmosphere around The Shoe is tremendous.

[+] EnlargeOhio State Buckeyes marching band
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireThe OSU marching band spelling out "Ohio" is a cherished halftime tradition.
Here are a few of Ohio State's top game-day traditions, according to you folks:

  • Script Ohio and dotting the 'i': The Ohio State marching band spells out a script Ohio and a fourth-year sousaphone player dots the 'i' pregame or at halftime.
  • Skull session at St. John Arena: The band holds its warm-up performance just north of Ohio Stadium at St. John Arena, usually drawing crowds of more than 10,000 fans. After becoming Ohio State head coach, Jim Tressel brought the football team to the skull session on their way to the stadium. Both Tressel and a senior address the crowd.
  • Hang on Sloopy: Named the official rock song of the state of Ohio, the 1965 hit from The McCoys is played at the end of the third quarter and at other points during the game.
  • O-H-I-O cheer: Each side of the stadium is responsible for a letter as Buckeyes fans spell out the name of their state.
  • Victory Bell: After every Ohio State win, the victory bell in Ohio Stadium is rung for 15 minutes (or a little longer after beating Michigan).
  • Singing of Carmen Ohio: Few folks leave the stadium immediately after Ohio State games, as the coaches and players will sing the school's alma mater.
  • Mirror Lake jump: Not technically a game-day tradition, but around midnight on the Thursday night before the Michigan-Ohio State game, tons of Ohio State students jump in the lake on campus.
TESTIMONIALS

Eric from Columbus, Ohio: Adam, I know you are looking for GameDay traditions but I think it should be extended to general football traditions. In that case, jumping into Mirror Lake (part of OSU's campus) every year on the Thursday before the OSU vs. Michigan game is by far the best tradition. Although there are a lot of different versions as to how the tradition started, it has become the highlight of the football season for many students on campus, and one of few nights where the majority of the student body joins together in a single event. You can search it on YouTube and find plenty of good videos. By the way, it is far colder than it looks! Is there any other any Big 10 school tradition that shows more dedication than the student body jumping into freezing water? That's why I think this should be included in your list. Go Bucks!

John from Boston: I'm sure you've already gotten a lot of comments about Ohio State traditions... but heres another anyway:-Script Ohio (of course.. but did you know it was first performed by the Michigan Marching band? -Dotting the I (only 5 non-band members have ever done it)-Gold Pants-Senior Tackle-Mirror Lake jump (which is changing to Tuesday next year from the traditional Thursday, due to Thanksgiving)-Hang on Sloopy at the end of the 3rd quarter-Victory bell in the corner of the Shoe-The Back bend (Drum Major touching his plume to the ground)-Stadium cheer O-H-I-O-Buckeye Grove-The Varsity Cluband of course the 2 most important traditions:-Beating Michigan-Winning

Deven from Richmond, Va.: hey adam, on a response to the post on your blog about traditions in the Big Ten, I would put Ohio State's Skull Session in the discussion too. The marching band always does a fantastic job and gets all the fans ready for the game. Also their Victory Bell is a big tradition too.

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