Adam Kelly, Assistant Editor
Football is arguably the most popular sport in the United States. Compared to other sports, it has the most participants at both high school and college levels, and has the most television viewings.
Out of the top 20 most watched television broadcasts in the United States, 19 spots are taken by Super Bowl broadcasts. As of today, the Super Bowl XLIX is the most watched U.S. television broadcast in history with over 115 million viewers.
These numbers also correspond to the number of fans the American sport has. With millions of fans, comes odd and hilarious rituals performed to show support for their favorite teams. Take a look at seven of the most bizarre or amazing college football traditions.
1. Florida State’s Sod Cemetery
Florida State University has a cemetery full of tombstones with clumps of grass from opponents’ fields buried underneath the headstones. That’s it, though. The tombstones have the specific game, location and date on them representing their biggest wins.
The tradition began in 1962 when a Florida State professor gave a challenge to the team to bring some grass back from their game against the Georgia Bulldogs. The latter was favored to win but Florida State was victorious.
They have been taking patches of grasses from other teams' fields ever since. Today though, there are rules to the ritual: they have to be considered underdogs or their win has to have been in a championship or bowl game.
2. University of Iowa Wave
Attending an Iowa Hawkeyes game will make your heart 10 times bigger, with their simple but heart-warming ritual. At the end of the first quarter, everyone inside Kinnick Stadium waves to the kids inside the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
It’s right next to the stadium so the kids get a great view from the inside. The ritual began with a simple Facebook post suggesting the idea only this year.
3. The Pink Visitor’s Locker Room
The University of Iowa, although less of a ritual and more of a statement, has their visitor’s locker room painted pink. Everything is painted pink. From walls to lockers, even the urinals are painted pink. Recently, feminists have complained about this saying how it’s demeaning to women.
The real reason though, is that Hawkeyes coach Hayden Fry graduated with a degree in psychology where he learned of the calming effects the color pink had on people. It’s worked too, with several coaches hating the color and covering the walls during their time at Kinnick Stadium.
4. Hog-Calling at Arkansas
The University of Arkansas also has a simple but quite bizarre ritual: hog-calling. Fans in the stadium make a hog call in unison, increasing in volume with the inclusion of hand movements. It’s the most popular and famous cheer at the University and there are even specific instructions on how to correctly make a hog call published on their website.
5. Syracuse Burning Shoes
Players of Syracuse University’s football team would burn their cleats at the beginning of a new season to “cleanse themselves of the previous one.” The tradition was removed in 2005 when new coach Greg Robinson took over, but he was fired after four seasons with an abysmal record. Doug Marrone who replaced Robinson, brought back the ritual to cleanse the latter’s former years coaching as well.
6. $2 bills for Clemson
This tradition began 40 years ago when Georgia Tech ended its annual game with Clemson University, although both schools have larger and more intense in-state rivalries.
Clemson fans were outraged, though, and protested by taking several $2 bills from the bank and stamping them with the school’s orange tiger paw logo. Then, they would spend them all over Atlanta, Georgia to show opposing fans how dedicated the Tigers’ were. Some Clemson fans still travel to away games with a $2 bill in their pocket.
7. University of California’s ‘Tightwad Hill’
There is a location where the poorest and biggest penny-pinching football fans go if they don’t want to buy a ticket to a game; and it’s called ‘Tightwad Hill’ for that reason. This spot rises above the stadium, and spectators can get a view of the game from here. The location is also known to bear fans of many personalities, so students can enjoy the view while watching the people around them as well.