Did you ever notice how much the home team fans love their traditions in college football? Few activities inspire the crowd more than the familiar sight of what generation after generation holds as dear to the old Alma Mater. It seems there are some which drive followers of the opponents raving mad, and below is a list of those particular traditions.
10) Penn State's roaring Nittany Lion - Described by one Pittsburgh alumnus as "sounding like a man belching." Maybe Paterno should get him some Alka-Seltzer.
9) Clemson Tigers rubbing a rock on a hill - What does this mean? Why don't they have a Tiger walking around like LSU? Seems it is the late Frank Howard's final jest on "the administration that gave him a lifetime contract, and then declared him dead."
8) Southern Cal's Trojan horse and band - Who says Trojans dressed like Greeks? What is the proof these outfits are accurate, or are they just cool to wear? Why do they have a white horse—wasn't the Trojan Horse a bad thing that allowed the Spartans to slip in at night and conquer the men of Troy? Maybe they should avoid playing Michigan State.
7) Ohio State's dotting of the i - How did this become important? Seems like it would be a bigger deal at Mississippi. Why not have two band members cross the t? Maybe it's to take away attention from the fact the mascot is a nut.
6) Colorado's Buffalo - Holy Cow, what would happen if this tank-like creature escaped? Should we really trust the kids with the rope and chain leading it around?
5) Texas' Longhorn Bevo - See No. 6. Run!
4) South Carolina's Rooster crowing - The piped-in sound is frightening to friend and foe alike the first time you hear it. Incredibly loud, it is said that it can be heard four miles away. The opponents' bench often looks to the sky as if they were being attacked by supernatural creatures. One man reportedly fled the stadium the first season it was used.
3) Florida State's Indian Chief - Maybe the most recognizable of all the traditions in the past quarter century, we have the Seminole throwing the spear into the ground before the kickoff. Impressive and entertaining, it actually inspires the home team along with the fans. Now, if they could just get the players they had in the 1980s and '90s, they'd be all set.
2) Tennessee singing Rocky Top - Oh, it must be heard and experienced to be believed. Thousands of people standing and singing an old folk song doesn't sound intimidating, but when you're on the receiving end of it, you know you're in trouble.
1) Stanford's Tree - The worst tradition is one of the newest traditions—the stumbling, staggering Stanford tree. Prior to the early '70s the Palo Alto teams were known as the Indians. This was deemed offensive to native Americans, and so a choice was made that would offend no one—the cardinal. Not the bird or the clergy official, but the color.
In order to have a "live mascot," an earth-friendly symbol of a tree was chosen. Apparently none of the mascots over the years can see out of the outfit because they have all walked around like drunken sailors and have sometimes fallen down to the ground. Eerie and strange, if you're not familiar with this symbol you can watch the game and wonder, "What is that thing that looks like a man in a tree costume?"
There you have it. A tongue-in-cheek review of what we all hold dear. If your school didn't make it, it just could be that your tradition doesn't irritate opponents. If that's the case, congratulations.
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