By Jessica Klinner
College football season is upon us, and there’s no better place to be than the South. There are four seasons here: winter, spring, summer, and football. We are crazy about the teams to which we pledge our undying allegiance. If you do not spend every Saturday watching your team along with all the other SEC teams, you’re seen as strange. Northerners don’t understand our madness. Heck, sometimes we don’t even understand it ourselves. It’s just how things work. Here are the 10 Reasons College Football Is Better In The South.
1. Fans are louder and crazier.
Never underestimate the love a fan has for their favorite college football team. While most support their favorite team all year round, football season is when all the elaborate decorations are pulled from their storage space in the attic and placed in yards, on cars, and throughout the house. Inflatable mascots, house flags, signs and mailbox covers adorn the houses of every subdivision. “Roll Tide,” “War Eagle,” and “Hotty Toddy” become the normal greetings between fans. Fights break out with one mention of how Team A is going to beat the living daylights out of Team B. Yeah, we might be a little crazy, but college football is religion down here and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. Tailgating is an all day event.
Bring on the food! Tailgating at any college in the Southeast is an experience like no other. If you think there’s a lot of food at your Thanksgiving table, just wait until you see the amount of food at a home game tailgate. Didn’t bring any food or a tent to tailgate under? No worries! Walk up to almost any tent and you’ll be invited in like family. Most tailgaters don’t even have tickets to the game. They come to enjoy the atmosphere and socialize with their family, friends, and fellow fans. After all, that’s what it’s all about.
3. Every college has their own traditions.
Tradition is a tremendous part of why college football in the South is such a big deal. It’s years and years of rivalries, championships, and award winning players. When talking about tradition in SEC football, most people think of the Toomer’s Oaks at Auburn, tailgating in The Grove at Ole Miss, and the Million Dollar Band at Alabama. Tradition doesn’t only affect the game of football, though. It also involves a family tradition. You pull for a team because your parents did and their parents did, as well. It’s like an old family heirloom that gets passed down through the generations.
4. No one else understands the method to our madness.
It is seen time and time again when people from all over the country enter into our sacred realm of college football that they are scared, confused, and a little concerned. We aren’t the easiest people to figure out. We have weird accents, fry everything, and curse anyone who wears an opposing teams apparel to our teams game. For instance, when you arrive in the state of Alabama, you are forced to choose between Alabama and Auburn. It doesn’t matter if you went to Michigan and your mom teaches at Florida State. We just want to know which of the two you are going to pull for. This will determine what friends you have, what parties you’re invited to, and possibly who you date and marry. So if you’re moving to Alabama anytime soon, beware of what’s coming. Also, no one seems to understand how we can have businesses that run solely off the sale of college football apparel. We love our t-shirts. What more can we say?
5. Nothing beats being in a SEC college town on game day.
While it’s nice to sit at home and enjoy the game sitting in your big, comfy recliner, nothing beats being in a college town on game day. Being surrounded by thousands of strangers somehow makes you feel right at home. But you don’t have a ticket, you say? No need. Just find any bar or open tailgate and enjoy the game. If there’s a win that night, you’ll be glad you didn’t stay at home where the only person willing to celebrate with you is your dog. Not good enough.
6. We completely dominate any and every team outside of the SEC.
Let’s take a look at the last seven national champions: Florida, LSU, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Alabama, Alabama. Well, would you look at that? All SEC teams! There’s really no need for me to go any further. We are the best of the best and everyone wants to join in on the action. Sorry, we don’t accept losers in this conference. What is that, you say? Auburn had their worst season in 60 years last year? Ole Miss never wins anything? Okay, calm down there sport. Even if an SEC team has a bad year, it doesn’t matter. They’re still better than most ACC, Big 12, and Big Ten teams. Don’t hate us cause you ain’t us, okay?
7. The team colors are a fashion statement.
Showing allegiance to your team goes far beyond cheering and going to games; it’s a fashion statement. 90% of the year purple and gold does not go together, but come September they are the only colors to wear for LSU fans. It doesn’t matter how awful those blue pants look with that bright red shirt; you’re wearing them together because it’s game day in Oxford. But let’s be real, that awful Tennessee orange will never be okay. Ever.
8. We treat the mascots like celebrities.
What is sweeter than seeing a little kid posing for a picture with Aubie or Smokey? Nothing. Mascots are the image of a team. They can get away with pretty much anything they want. Do you think a security guard is going to stop Big Al from crowd surfing? No way! Mascots are the entertainment for when games get too boring or stressful to continue watching. We treat them as if they’re celebrities because in our eyes they are.
9. The rivalries can divide families, friends, and co-workers.
Rivalries are the most exciting part of college football in the South. There’s nothing like watching your team dominate their rival, especially on their home turf. The winning fans not only get to watch their rival fans groan in anguish after the game, but they also get bragging rights for the rest of the year. Most rivalries are between in-state teams, but sometimes they can just be the only team who beat you last season (Looking at you Texas A&M!).
10. The players are treated like royalty.
College football players are just like you and me, except they’re not. While they may be in your classes and eat at the same dining hall as you, they’re considered royalty by a lot of people. Their autograph on a football can sell for hundreds of dollars on eBay. They’re under the watchful eye of the press at all times because one wrong move and they’re off the team. We love keeping up with what they’re doing outside of the football stadium: who they’re dating, what restaurants they like to eat at, what kind of car they drive. We want to take pictures with them because one day they’re going to be famous NFL players or bank tellers (not everyone can be so lucky). We idolize them because the fate of the team’s season rests in their hands and feet and just their body in general. They’re the Justin Timberlake’s and Jay Z’s of college football and we support them no matter what.