Posts Tagged ‘Penn State’

Great College Gridiron Traditions…

There’s lots of great college gridiron today!  Nothing beats the college stadium atmosphere and the fierce loyalty that students, alumni and fans hold for their teams.  That passion is unparalleled in all of sports.  The tailgates, cheers and mascots help make up the “threads” of the multi-colored college football tapestry.  So as we get ready to drown ourselves in our Saturday addiction, we thought it would be fun to look at some of the best college football traditions in a few of today’s match ups.

Auburn vs. Georgia

Auburn has one of the coolest traditions in all of college football.  Though their mascot is the Tiger, a live eagle soars above the 90,000 cheering fans as the stadium blares out its official fight song “War Eagle”.  Click below to see this great Auburn tradition!

The Georgia Bulldogs do not have an eagle circling their stadium, but they do have a real, live bulldog named Uga (pronounced UH-ga).  Donning a spiked collar and red jersey, Uga paces the sideline expressing the deep loyalty that only a dog can possess.  Just last month, the latest Uga (#8) was introduced to the crowd after the previous canine passed away last year.  The university reveres their bulldogs so much that deceased Ugas are actually interred in an on campus mausoleum, near the stadium. 

Penn State vs. Ohio State

Penn State’s program is rich with tradition.  Before each home game, as the band marches down the field, the drum major gallantly leads the procession and does a flip in mid-air. Another tradition occurs at each home game as students yell out the “We Want the Lion, We Want the Lion” chant.  The mascot runs to the loudest student section and is then passed up above the heads of frenzied students – all the way from the bottom row of seats to the top!  “Paternoville” is a more recent tradition. Students set up tents outside the stadium and live there for days before the games to try and get the best seats in the student section!  Joe Paterno and some of his players often stop by to visit these dedicated fans, especially for big games, where students often camp out the entire week in anticipation.  Below is a video clip of one of the Blue Band’s drum majors performing his pre-game traditional flip…

The Ohio State Buckeyes marching band forms the word “Ohio” in script letters at their home games.  The letter “i” is then “dotted” by a famous alum, a dignitary, or most often, a sousaphone player.   Another Buckeye tradition occurs on the Thursday night prior to their matchup with arch-rival Michigan.  Thousands of students gather on campus at Mirror Lake and jump in the frigid waters to show their enthusiasm and zeal about the upcoming game.

Clemson vs. Florida State

Since the 1960s, Clemson players have rubbed their hands over a rock, named Howard’s Rock, before each game.  The rock is named after legendary coach Frank Howard.   Part of the tradition is also running down “The Hill”.  The players gather around the rock and then run down “The Hill” into the stadium, where more than 80,000 screaming fans await them!

Florida State’s famous flaming spear is another crowd-pleaser!  At home games a student, dressed as the famous Seminole Chief Osceola, charges down field on a horse named Renegade and thrusts a flaming spear in the middle of the field.  Click below to see this spectacular Seminole tradition.

UNC vs. Virginia Tech

UNC is known more for its basketball, rather than football, prowess.  The program has been making strides, however, and it won’t be long until the Tar Heels develop some sort of pre-game ritual that eventually becomes tradition.  But, UNC’s contribution to football is significant, as they are credited with creating the forward pass!  In an 1895 game against the UGA Bulldogs, the Tar Heels punt was about to be blocked, when the punter suddenly lobbed the ball to his teammate who went on to score and win the game!  It would be a much different game without passing, so in our opinion, that’s a pretty good tradition to have started!

We have saved the BEST for last!  Yes, the best ENTRANCE in college football belongs to Virginia Tech!  The tradition begins as players assemble in a tunnel and jump up to touch the Hokie Stone as they enter Lane Stadium.  As Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blasts throughout the stadium, over 70,000 screaming Hokies jump up and down, creating a wild, frenzied venue.  Unless you have experienced the thrill and goose bumps firsthand, words alone do not do this amazing tradition justice.  To see what it’s all about, click below.

Breaking News!! JoePa Wins #400!!!

Penn State’s Joe Paterno made history today with his 400th victory!  In a wild game against the Northwestern Wildcats, where PSU trailed 21-0 at one point, the Nittany Lions were determined to deliver a win for their beloved JoePa! 

Trailing 21-0, the Lions put together a 9-play, 91 yard scoring drive just before halftime to make it a 21-7 game.  The Lions came out in the second half looking like a different team!  Building on the momentum before half time, walk on QB Matt McGloin orchestrated a 14-play, 84 yard drive to make the score 21-14. 

The Lions defense stepped up and prevented Northwestern from scoring in the second half.   The Beaver Stadium crowd could sense the come back and helped rally the Lions. A touchdown pass to receiver Derek Moye tied the game at 21-21.  A Silas Redd touchdown run gave the Lions a 28-21 lead late in the 3rd quarter.  Evan Royster ran for a touchdown in the 4th quarter, making the final score 35-21.

After the game, in typical JoePa form, Paterno attempted to downplay the milestone victory.  Instead, he said he prefers to look ahead, not back.  So, for about 30 seconds, the legendary coach allowed himself to absorb the frenzy in Happy Valley, as fans stayed to celebrate Paterno and his incredible 400th win.  Meanwhile, Joe was already concentrating on his next game with the Ohio State Buckeyes!  Congratulations, JoePa!!!

400 Fever at Beaver Stadium!

On Saturday Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, affectionately known as JoePa by any true PSU fan, has the chance to get his 400th victory.  There are only 2 other coaches who have achieved such a milestone.  John Gagliardi of Division III St. John in Minnesota has 476 wins and the late Eddie Robinson of Grambling had 408.  In typical JoePa style, the 83 year old legend dismisses the hype and media build up that surrounds this weekend’s game in Happy Valley.  Instead he puts the focus on his players and the game plan against Northwestern.

JoePa’s commitment to his players and to Penn State is well-known.  He has remained true to his old fashioned values in a world that often has a “me first” mentality.  PSU players do not have their names on their jerseys, as Joe stresses the importance of team, not individual, play.  Perhaps that is why he easily shrugs off questions about joining the exclusive 400 club. For Joe, it has always been about the team, not his personal achievements.

As his 400th victory looms near, we want to highlight some of Paterno’s remarkable accomplishments.  He has been the Lions head coach for 45 seasons and before that was a PSU assistant coach for 16 years. How is that for dedication? Since he became head coach in 1966, there have been 860 coaching changes among head coaches in major college football!

 JoePa is older than every major college football conference except the Big Ten, which was established in 1896.  He is also older than the Heisman Trophy!  At 83, Paterno still impatiently paces the sidelines and runs on and off the field with his young players.  Watch him during a game and it is evident that this Brooklyn native’s passion for the game still burns bright.

That drive and commitment has brought Penn State great success.  Here are just a few of Paterno’s accomplishments…

  • Under JoePa, PSU won two national championships (1982 and 1986)
  • He is the only coach to have won each of the four major college football bowls – Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta
  • Paterno holds the record for the most bowl wins (24)  and most bowl appearances (36)
  • PSU has had 5 undefeated seasons and 3 Big Ten championships under Paterno’s leadership
  • The American Football Coaches Association awarded Paterno Coach of the Year 5 times

 

These football achievements are remarkable, but what makes JoePa a football icon are the feats he has performed for others outside of football.  Paterno and his wife have personally donated over 4 million dollars to the university.  They are actively involved in the Special Olympics and each June hold the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Summer Games on campus.  The Paterno’s have recently announced a 1 million dollar contribution to the area’s local hospital, the Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Joe’s influence on his players extends far beyond Beaver Stadium and the locker room.  Paterno consistently stresses the importance of academics to his student-athletes. The NCAA’s latest Graduation Success Rate report lists PSU football player’s graduation rates at 84%, well above the national average of 67%.  He initiated a campaign that raised nearly 14 million dollars to expand PSU’s aging Pattee Library, yet another sign of his commitment to academic excellence.  Paterno has coached 45 Academic All-American players, with PSU ranked third in Academic All-Americans among major college programs and first in the Big Ten.

Paterno’s refusal to compromise his principles has made PSU one of college football’s elite programs.  He expects his players to be respectful and emphasizes integrity and other life lessons that help players long after they hang up their cleats.  After four decades as head coach, he has coached 26 father-son combinations, a real tribute to the trust former players place in him to help guide their sons. 

One of his Joe’s notable quotes, “success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good” truly epitomizes his philosophy.  Unlike many other top football programs, Penn State has never been on probation and has never violated recruiting regulations.

Joe Paterno’s contributions to Penn State are so vast they are simply immeasurable.  What can be measured, though, are his wins.  So as Pennsylvania experiences 400 mania, we pay tribute to this legendary coach in the rolled up khaki pants, black sneakers and thick, black-rimmed glasses.  Although he will attempt to disregard the attention that 400 wins will bring, there is no hiding the legacy that Paterno has built in Happy Valley.

Costumes Are Not Just For Halloween…

Halloween falls on Sunday this year, which means a whole weekend of Halloween festivities!  At a party last night, I saw some imaginative and original costumes, as well as the same tried and true get ups that never seem to lose popularity.  There were countless Jersey Shore characters, Lady Gagas, and other pop icons, including some Chilean miners who were oh-so-happy to be above ground!

As I sit here watching college football today, I am reminded that avid football fans don’t need Halloween as an excuse to get creative with their appearance!  Each week, fans paint their faces, wear brightly colored wigs and dress in all kinds of crazy garb!  In honor of Halloween, we decided to highlight three of our favorites!

Penn State is notorious for its loyal fans.  Beaver Stadium consistently hosts over 110,000 screaming Nittany Lions and annually holds the “White Out” where fans are encouraged to show their team pride by dressing in white.  The aerial shots are a sight to behold as the ENTIRE stadium is blanketed in all white, except for the senior student section, which forms a giant blue letter S! 

This group of dedicated fans appears at every game and is one of our very favorite examples of passionate Penn Staters!

                                                                      

Another favorite of ours is New York Jets devotee, Fireman Ed.  Since 1986 this REAL NYC FIREFIGHTER has been leading the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets chant.  His “costume” is not outrageous or crazy, but we do admire his fanaticism for Gang Green!

The Hogettes, a group of 12 men who wear ladies dresses, hats and wigs are some of the most famous fans in football today!  The Hogettes wear pig snouts in honor of the nickname, “The Hogs” given to Washington Redskins offensive line players.  What is most impressive about this group of fans is their work outside of the game.  The Hogettes have raised over 100 million dollars for charities like the Children’s Miracle Network, Ronald McDonald House and more!  Fans like the Hogettes are a great example of the good that can come about through sports and we applaud their incredible selflessness and generosity.

As a football fanatic, you don’t have to wait until Halloween to wear a costume.  Strap on a silly wig, dip yourself in body paint and head to the game!

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