We love college football, and something we love most about college football is the culture. Yes, it is important to be a good team and win games, but that’s not always what it’s about. College football means fall, friends, fun, traditions, team spirit and tailgating, and some schools have an awesome football culture!
Here is our list (in no particular order) of the 10 best college football teams with tradition!
UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO
The University of New Mexico Lobos compete in the Mountain West Conference. To date they have played in 11 bowl games holding a record of 3-7-1. This year they hope to have a breakout season, being ranked #6 in the conference and #96 nationally. Being a Lobo means being a part of many long standing traditions. When the football team began in 1892 they simply called themselves “The University Boys” or “Varsities” and this remained until 1920 when the football manager and editor of the school newspaper suggested that they be called the “Lobos,” which is the Spanish word for wolf. The Lobo nickname stuck and has been the school mascot for over 70 years.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
The University of Michigan Wolverines football team is a NCAA Division I team in the Big Ten Conference, one of the toughest and most competitive conferences in college football, and the team always does well. The University of Michigan is rich with tradition including the history of their rivals who include Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State. Game day for the Wolverines is a big deal. Before each game, the University of Michigan Marching Band takes the Big House field and plays the “’M’ Fanfare,” “Varsity,” and “The Victors,” which is the schools fight song. The fight song was written in 1898 by a University of Michigan music student, Louis Elbel, after the football team won their first Western Conference football championship.
LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
Louisiana State University Tigers football is a staple in the south. LSU participates in the Southeastern Conference and this year they hold a strong roster ranking #15 in preseason. LSU team colors are purple and gold, and the colors spark some controversy. One story states that when the football team was founded in 1893 that they had no school colors. The coaches went to the local market to buy colored ribbon to decorate the team uniforms and found that because Mardi Gras was right around the corner the only color ribbons they had were purple and gold, and they bought out the entire stock. The other story is that when the LSU baseball team beat Tulane for the first time in 1893, the baseball captain specifically hand picked purple and gold to be the school colors, which was later picked up by the football team. Which ever story is true, the purple and gold still stand strong in Baton Rouge.
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO
The University of Colorado Buffs may not be known for their winning records, but they definitely have team spirit and strong traditions. The team competes in one of the hardest conferences, the Pacific-12 Football Conference. Attending a CU football game is tons of fun and fans look forward to the tail gating, marching band performances, and the running of Ralphie. Ralphie is the resident real live buffalo at CU and also the football teams mascot. A group of 5 student athletes known as “Ralphie Handlers,” run Ralphie around home games at Folsom Field in a horse shoe pattern before each half of the game.
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
The University of Maryland Terrapins is another team that plays in the Division I Big Ten Conference. The UMD Terps play their home games in Byrd Stadium and the games really know how to get the fans involved. “Get Your Keys Out” is one of the well known University of Maryland football traditions. The point of this is for fans and students to jingle their keys in the air in order to keep the noise down (cheering is too loud) during important offensive plays. “Move Those Chains” is another tradition that gets the fans in the game. When the Terps make a first down the crowd chants “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Move those chains!” while doing the first down signal, reminding the sideline chain crew what to do.
TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
Texas A&M University Aggie football has too many traditions to count. The team competes in the Southeastern Conference as a Division I NCAA team. Probably the most recognized and most talked about Aggie tradition is the tradition of the Twelfth Man. This tradition came about in January 1922 when the Texas A&M football team battled against the then #1 ranked team in the country, Centre College. After going through all of the teams reserves, the coaches called upon a former football player who was no longer on the team. The player suited up and stood on the sideline to support his team, although he never entered the game. The Aggies won the game 22-14. The tradition continued and in the 80’s the coach started the 12th Man Kick-Off Team composed of regular students through open tryouts. Today, one representative from the open try-outs is allowed on the 12th Man on the kick off team.
UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
The University of Oregon Ducks compete in the Pacific-12 Conference. In their 2014-15 season the Ducks made the first ever College Football Playoff, and beat FSU, the defending champs, 59–20 in the semifinal 2015 Rose Bowl. The were also runner up, losing to Ohio State, in the National Championship Game. One thing is for sure, the Ducks have spirit and the fans love their football team. The Oregon Duck, based on Walt Disney’s Donald Duck, became the mascot with a deal made by Walt Disney himself and the Oregon Athletic director in 1947. The Duck is known for doing push-ups whenever UO scores a touchdown or field goal, once doing 506 in one game! The Oregon Ducks have one of the most lovable and well known mascot in college football.
UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA
The University of Nevada Wolf Pack football team plays in the Mountain West Conference and holds one of the biggest rivalries in college football against UNLV. To date, the Wolf Pack comes out on top with a record of 24-16 over the rivals. One of Nevada’s coolest traditions is the recently created Blue Crew. The Blue Crew is the official student spirit club of the University of Nevada Wolf Pack Athletics and was created in 2003 to bring out team spirit in current students. The Blue Crew strongly promotes silver and blue and creates a fun and interactive atmosphere for both the fans and players at home games.
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
The Florida State University Seminoles compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference and in recent years have become one of the best teams in college football. FSU fans bleed garnet and gold. The football program was declared a dynasty in 2000 which only adds to the many Florida State traditions. FSU has created some true legends, including three Heisman trophy winners. In 1993 Charlie Ward won the Heisman and was also awarded every award he was eligible for as a senior quarterback at FSU. Charlie went on to play in the NBA, passing up a football career. Chris Weinke won the Heisman in 2000 under head coach Bobby Bowden. Chris was the oldest player to receive the award, at age 28. Most recently in 2013, Jameis Winston won the trophy at age 19, the youngest player to receive the award. Jameis now plays professionally for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
The University of Alabama Crimson Tide is a well-known and well-loved football dynasty that plays in the Southeastern Conference. The Alabama Crimson Tide mascot is an elephant named Big Al. The elephant mascot first came to be in 1930 when Alabama played a tough game against Ole Miss and ended up winning. A sports writer wrote an article about the game describing the Alabama team as an “elephant.” The writer, Everett Strupper, described the team as big, fast, aggressive, toned in fundamentals and the best blocking team seen yet in the 1930 season. The Crimson Tide term came to be when another sports writer wrote about the game between Auburn and Alabama in 1907, describing the red mud on the white jersey as crimson tide.
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