One of the things that makes the SEC the best football conference in America, besides of course the total lack of interest in any monetary support for non-football activities, is the unique traditions that each school retains. From War Eagle to running through the T, these traditions make each SEC school special. Except for Arkansas.
What you may not know is that each school also has their own set of traditions for Week 1 of the college football season to help get their fans and players ready for the week ahead. So let’s look at what each SEC fan base is doing this week to get ready for their first game.
In Tuscaloosa, football season doesn’t start until each Bama fan receives a handwritten note from Nick Saban explaining in detail what is expected from them this upcoming year and to pretend to act like their regular season losses matter so no one catches on. If the note isn’t signed, notarized, and returned to Saban by the first game, then he will personally see to it that you aren’t allowed inside Bryant-Denny ever again.
Auburn fans are beginning this season the way they always have, by the annual praise of Gus Malzahn as a world class head coach. This of course turns into the annual mid-season tradition of trying to get Gus Malzahn fired. Which then turns into the annual end of the year tradition of desperately hoping Gus Malzahn decides to return next year. If you’ve never visited an Auburn message board to see this tradition occur first hand, it is an absolute must.
Brett Bielema started a very fun pre-season tradition for Razorback fans, which is when they gather together in mid-August and discuss what it would be like to score more than two touchdowns in a single game. It lets their fans use all of their imagination and really helps them forget about things for awhile.
Florida fans start every year with the awe-inspiring tradition of going to YouTube, clicking the search bar, and typing in “Florida Gators 2006-2009 highlights.” Remember when Tim Tebow jumped in the air and threw a pass at the same time? Remember when Gator linebackers practiced proper technique, like when Brandon Spikes tried to rip a Georgia player’s eye out of the socket? Remember when the SEC title games were so intense that your coach might actually die if you lose? Good times, good times
Georgia fans prepare for the upcoming year by spending the entire month of August communicating only through barks. If you’ve never been to Athens in the late summer, you may have never realized this tradition takes place, but it’s a powerful one that culminates in a midnight seance to attempt to speak to past UGAs. So far this year they have not heard from any deceased mascots, but they were able to conjure the ghost of Rodrigo Blankenship.
In Kentucky, football season kicks off when Mark Stoops is able to sneak into John Calipari’s office to find any money laying around that they can use to fund the program for another year. This year, they were able to lure Calipari out of his office by starting a rumor that Drake was thinking of becoming a Duke fan.
Tiger fans spend the week leading up to the first game by taking sledgehammers to their livers to prepare their bodies for what they will have to endure this season. Last year, LSU supporters thought their bodies were properly prepared for alcohol consumption during games, but when they saw the product Orgeron put on the field, they knew they were not even close. They hope abusing their livers this week will at least make them numb enough to last through the Miami game.
In Starkville, the season begins when fans go to various local music stores to get their cowbells tuned. If the cowbell doesn’t match to the exact tune of a 7-6 season with an appearance in the TaxSlayer Bowl, then it’s not ready and needs to be re-done. The only people qualified to tune an official Mississippi State cowbells are certified professionals who know why it’s called The Egg Bowl.
Mizzou fans start the year by daydreaming about how different it all would be if they were still in the Big12 and then by reminding ambivalent SEC fans to not forget that they made it to two Championship games in a row when they first entered the league. The tradition concludes by explaining why they actually have a pretty good shot of beating Vanderbilt and Kentucky this year.
There’s a new tradition in Oxford that was started by Hugh Freeze where right before the season begins, Ole Miss fans have to Google whether or not they are eligible for a bowl and how many scholarships they are allowed to have. It may be new, but it is certainly as exciting as any tradition you’ll find throughout the conference.
In Aggieland, every day is nothing but a series of endless traditions that have been around for 100 years but seem to have no real meaning or effect. Nevertheless, A&M is as excited to perform them as ever, and Jimbo Fisher is even more excited to find a way to avoid participating in them.
There really is no off-season for football at Tennessee, as the program is just a constant 24/7 crisis whether they are playing games or not. But there is one clear cut sign that football is on it’s way in Knoxville, which is when God sheds a single tear that lands in the Tennessee River and lets Volunteer fans know it’s time to tailgate again.
Football season really kicks off for Gamecock nation when they see their name in the “Also receiving votes” section of the Top 25. That hype is enough to carry them all the way through New Year’s Day when they play in probably the Outback Bowl against probably Iowa.