The SEC is the most tradition-rich conference in the country. The fans are more passionate than any in the country and every community that calls an SEC school home is so interwoven into the identity of that school and team.
It’s these traditions that make college football the best sport in the country and the SEC the best conference.
Here is our list of the SEC’s best traditions that every college football fan should add to their bucket list:
Yell practice began as a post-dinner activity in 1913, when different corps companies would gather to “learn heartily the old time pep.” It was not until 1931, however, that Yell Practice became what it is today. It was held the night before the Aggies played rival Texas. A group of cadets were gathered in a dorm when it was suggested they should fall out and meet on the steps of the YMCA at midnight. Senior yell leaders could not authorize it, but said they may just show up. Word spread and freshman began to show up and Midnight Yell was born. Today, Midnight Yell is held at Kyle Field the night before an Aggie home game and at the Grove on Thursday night before away games.
The words “rammer jammer” are derived from the name of a defunct student magazine that was published for several decades beginning in the 1920s. According to Kathleen Cramer, a former Alabama cheerleading sponsor, the cheer was created on the bus ride back from a game at Mississippi State and was modeled after Ole Miss’s famed cheer “Hoddy Toddy.” In thinking of symbols related to the state, Crimson Tide cheerleaders came up with yellowhammer, the state bird, because it rhymed with rammer jammer.
Woo Pig Sooie
The origin and date of first use of calling the hogs are not known, but the tradition is said to have formed in the 1920s when farmers attempted to cheer on a Razorback team that was losing.
We are the Boys
Around Gainesville, the story goes that the song was written in 1919 by Robert Swanson and John Icenhour, two UF students at the time, for their barbershop quartet. It began to be played at Gator sporting events in the 1930s while Gator fans lock arms, sway and sing in unison. In the early 1970s, two Florida cheerleaders went to the band director and requested that the song be played between the third and fourth quarters. Since then, it has become one of the greatest traditions in college football.
Former Gamecock coach Joe Morrison was looking for a way to add to the game experience in the 1980s and an idea came from the way Elvis took the stage during one of his tours. Thus, a tradition was born as the Gamecocks began to take the field to the theme song “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It’s become one of the most electric entrances in the SEC.
A relatively new Carolina tradition, it’s become one of South Carolina fans’ favorites. The song was first played at Williams-Brice on a day when South Carolina was on the verge of upsetting then-No.4 Ole Miss. Today, “Sandstorm” plays at key moments throughout the game and inject energy into the Gamecock faithful.
How the cowbells precisely came to popularity in Starkville is unclear to this day, but the best records say the cowbells gradually began to show up at Mississippi State sporting events in the 1930s and 1940s prior to World War II. Legend has it that during a game between State and archrival Ole Miss, a jersey cow wandered onto the field. The Bulldogs whipped the Rebels that day and the cow was adopted as a good luck charm. After bringing the cow was banned, students opted for bringing the cow’s bell instead.
War Eagle dates back to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park in 1892 during Auburn’s first ever meeting against Georgia. In the stands that day with a veteran of the Civil War was an eagle he found on the battlefield. According to witnesses, the eagle broke loose and circled the playing field. As the eagle flew, Auburn embarked on a touchdown drive to beat the Bulldogs. Celebrating the Tiger win and observing the eagle’s flight, Auburn fans and students began to yell, “War Eagle!” Since that day, an eagle has been present at Auburn home games and takes flight over the field during pregame ceremonies.
Likely the most beautiful place in the South, The Grove’s beautiful collection of oak, magnolia and elm trees sits on a 10-acre plot adjacent to Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Tailgating on The Grove has been happening since Ole Miss football began, but became the Holy Grail of Tailgating in the 1950s. Everyone wins at The Grove.
The Vol Navy is a beautiful setting nestled on the Tennessee River in heart of east Tennessee on fall Saturdays. The tradition came about when former Vol broadcaster didn’t want to sit in traffic and instead traveled by boat down the Tennessee River to Neyland Stadium