Monday, February 17, 2014
Top five SEC student sections
By Edward Aschoff
The SEC houses some of college football's rowdiest student sections. Rarely do you leave any one of the 14 SEC venues without some sort of ringing in your ears from all those raucous students.
SEC students don't hang out at games for study sessions. Their mission is to not only cheer on their teams below but make opponents as uncomfortable as possible, shredding their vocal cords in the process.
So who owns the SEC's top student sections? It certainly wasn't easy, but we've constructed our list of the top five student sections this league has to offer. We checked out size, in-game antics and crowd volume.
Here's what we came up with:
Death Valley has proven to be one of the most intimidating homefield advantages in the nation.
1. LSU: There's a reason LSU coach Les Miles is 57-7 inside Tiger Stadium. It's just tough to win in Death Valley when you have thousands of unruly purple-and-gold-clad students raining chants, profanities and boos down on you in a stadium that traps sound right over the top of teams. The roar from the students after those three most intimidating notes ("Hold That Tiger") in college sports play from the Golden Band from Tigerland will send shivers down your spine. LSU students, usually sporting those glorious purple-and-gold pom-poms, take up 25 sections inside Tiger Stadium and create the SEC's most electric environment when the lights come on and the sun goes down. Night games are a different animal in Baton Rouge. LSU's students have gotten so out of hand in the past that they've had chants taken away because of improvised, profane additions to songs (returned in 2013) and are no stranger to public reprimand.
2. Alabama: Another section not ashamed to wave its pom-poms proudly. Even though coach Nick Saban challenged Alabama's students to stay at games longer and sections were actually suspended for their poor attendance in 2013, this student section is tough to touch when it's full. If you've ever wanted to hear "Roll Tide" loudly chanted ad nauseam in your face, just take a trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium. You might as well stick around for "Rammer Jammer" when the students let you know that their team "just beat the hell outta you." This section arrives early for big games and keeps the deafening noise going until the clock hits zero.
3. Florida: With the way Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is set up, Florida's students are only feet away from the opposing bench. Steve Spurrier dubbed the Gators' home as the Swamp in the early '90s, and the students have done their best to make sure that "only Gators get out alive" ever since. Florida's students didn't have much to cheer about in 2013 and left some seats empty throughout the season, but there's no question that when they pack the Swamp and get a unified "Gator Chomp" going, it's one of the fiercest environments in the entire country. Since 1990, Florida is second nationally with a home record of 132-20. Students take up most of the north end zone and east side of the stadium, owning one of the largest student sections in the country by percentage of stadium capacity.
4. Texas A&M: You might not find a more active student section in the SEC with all the chants and movements that erupt during games. Oh, and they choose to stand for the entire game! Even before the games begin on Saturday, A&M students deliver a stirring performance during Midnight Yell, which is arguably the nation's most exciting pep rally. You better believe that energy spills into game day. And once those students help create the 12th Man, get ready for hours of thunderous noise and a truly amazing atmosphere that literally shakes the press box when Kyle Field really gets rocking.
5. Auburn: LSU might have the nation's best night atmosphere, but Auburn's student section is something special when it's time to play under the lights. From all those "War Eagle" chants to even more pom-poms than the kids know what to do with, Auburn's students know how to create an amazing atmosphere inside Jordan-Hare. All that blue-(navy)-and-orange movement from the students, who don't know how to stay quiet during games, will leave you dizzy if you're sporting the wrong colors. It's a section that arrives early and will drown you in its cheers for four quarters. One cool tradition this student section has after scores is chucking the football out of the stadium. Pretty cool.