Tradition is much more evident and important in college football than it is in the NFL.
There are hundreds of schools playing college football, from Division I to NAIA, and all have their own unique quirks and traditions.
Every school has a fight song, and the team’s fans know it by heart. It’s almost always sung after every score. Some of the most famous include Michigan’s “The Victors,” USC’s “Fight On!,” the Naval Academy’s “Anchors Aweigh,” Texas A&M’s “Aggie War Hymn” and Notre Dame’s “Victory March.” In contrast, very few NFL teams have a fight song — the Eagles are one — and they are generally not well-known or important.
Songs just don’t mean fight songs, either. Many schools have traditions involving singing other songs, such as West Virginia singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” before every game and after victories and Texas fans belting out “The Eyes of Texas.” Ohio State players and fans sing the first verse of “Carmen Ohio” after every home game. Alabama fans have “Rammer Jammer.”
College football is rife with other storied and treasured traditions besides songs.
Student volunteers at Notre Dame apply a fresh coat of paint to the school’s signature golden helmets every Monday before a game, and the paint contains flecks of real gold.
The Irish slap their famous “Play Like A Champion Today” sign before heading out onto the field.
Nebraska’s defense is known as the Blackshirts. Mississippi State fans demolish your hearing with cowbells. Wisconsin fans give civil engineers a heart attack when they start screaming and jumping in unison to “Jump Around,” causing the upper portion of Camp Randall Stadium to sway.
Cal’s student section is famed for the sign displays they make for games. The annual Army-Navy game features the Cadet March, in which each academy’s cadets march out in formation to be presented before taking their respective seats.
Clemson players touch “Howard’s Rock” before running down a hill to enter the stadium.
Auburn started a tradition since copied by many schools in which fans line the paths leading up to the stadium and cheer on the players as they arrive at the field a few hours before the game.
Before every home game at Florida State, the school’s mascot, Chief Osceola, rides an Appaloosa horse named Renegade to midfield before thrusting a flaming spear into the grass.
The Colorado State University marching band’s trombone section engages in the “Trombone Suicides” before each half.
Texas A&M fans have made up the 12th Man since the 1920s and show up at midnight the night before a game for the Midnight Yell where students are led through a number of cheers and the fight song.
As you can see, tradition in college football takes precedence and much more importance is placed on the value of it within the sport. Tradition will always be a very important cultural part of the college football game that could never be replicated in the NFL.