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Traditions and pageantry are central to the excitement of college football. A video of Western Michigan coach, P.J. Fleck, promoting his school’s “new game day traditions” has recently gone viral, sparking the debate on if traditions can be created or if they can only happen organically. Luckily the bowl has two partner conferences, the Big 12 and Pac-12, which are rich with exciting traditions.
West Virginia University
After its release in May 1971, the song “Take me Home, Country Roads” helped propel singer John Denver to international stardom. He was on hand to sing the hit at the opening of West Virginia University’s new football stadium, Mountaineer Field, in 1980. From that day on, the song has been considered the game-day anthem for all Mountaineer fans. In this clip, the West Virginia University Marching Band masterfully creates the outline of the state of West Virginia while performing the song.
University of Texas
On Thanksgiving Day in 1941, the University of Texas Longhorns were set to travel to Kyle Field to face off against Texas A&M University. Unable to win a game at Kyle Field since 1923, Longhorn students took the matter into their own hands by consulting local fortune teller Madam Augusta Hipple, who instructed them that they could put a hex on the Aggies if they burnt red candles the whole week leading up to the contest. This hex was successful and ended the 18 year jinx with a 23-0 win over the No. 2 ranked Aggies. This tactic was used in years following when the Horns were set to face off against difficult opponents and was officially added into the book of Texas traditions on November 18, 1986, the Monday before UT was set to battle A&M once again. Even though A&M has since left the conference, Texas faculty, students and alumni still continue to “hex” their Thanksgiving Day opponents at the yearly Hex Rally.
Texas Tech University
It is common knowledge around the Big 12 that the craziest, wildest fans hail from the dusty land of Lubbock, Texas. The Red Raiders of Texas Tech are a lively and creative bunch as shown by their affinity for throwing tortillas on the field during games. This game day tradition began sometime in the early 1990s and has continued sporadically since. While this tradition might cause its share of delay of game penalties, you have to give the Red Raiders props for their quirky tradition and spirit.
Kansas State University
The number one fan of Kansas State University is Willie the Wildcat, the beloved mascot of the university. However, Willie the Wildcat is a lot more sneaky and secretive than previously assumed. The student who is bestowed with the responsibility of playing Willie is chosen yearly by a panel and in true Wildcat tradition is kept a complete secret from the student body. While Willie’s life is one of mystery and intrigue, one thing is for certain, he’s the one and only heart throb of K-State!
University of Oregon
The Oregon Duck mascot enters every home game unlike any other mascot in college football. This well-known, stylish mascot leads the procession of Oregon football players from their team hotel to Autzen Stadium all while atop a massive Harley. Check out this video, which gives you an all-access pass to the Oregon Duck’s time on the hog.
University of California and Stanford University
Originally used by Stanford Yell leaders in 1899, the Axe is the physical manifestation of the rivalry between Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. In 1899, the first theft of the Axe from Stanford by Cal students occurred and the capture and recapture of the Axe between schools continued until 1930. It was then that both schools decided it would be the trophy awarded to the winner of the Big Game, the Stanford vs. Cal face-off, each year. This year’s Big Game is set to take place on November 23rd.
University of Colorado
While many college football programs have live animal mascots, Ralphie the buffalo from the University of Colorado has to be one of the most majestic. Ralphie made his first appearance on field in 1967 and since has been kidnapped by the Air Force Academy and even voted homecoming queen by the student body. Ralphie is escorted on field each home game by five senior student-athletes.
University of Washington
The Washington Huskies take tailgating to a whole new level—a Sailgating level. Husky Harbor, the go-to spot for tailgating on water, is located a comfortable hop, skip and a jump from the newly rennovated Husky Stadium and the docks there can accommodate boats up to 100 feet long. The stadium is only one of two major college football stadiums that can be directly accessed by boat. When coupled with the tradition of Husky football, Washington Sailgating becomes a one-of-a-kind pregame experience.