“Only in the South” Football Moments (and a Giveaway!)

October 11, 2013 | By | Comments (21)
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Photo: Hector Sanchez

We all know that college football in the South exists in a league of its own—from the amazing game-day noshes to our very own Tailgate Creed. As someone who only moved down to Birmingham a few months ago, discovering the cult of Southern football has been nothing short of enchanting. I can honestly say that I have never seen this level of enthusiasm above the Mason-Dixon line, whether it is the intense rivalries or the decked out cars and houses. Of course, I still have much to learn when it comes to game-day traditions. To that end, I’ve recruited the help of a few our experts on staff to bring you a short list of our favorite “Only in the South” football moments.

Caroline McKenzie, Associate Editor for Travel & Features:

  • Nowhere else do couples plan their weddings around a football schedule. If a bride wants to avoid guests huddled around a flat screen at her reception—or worse yet, mailbox full of RSVP regrets—she better schedule her big day on a non-gameday.
  • Nowhere else will you find tailgates full of kids named after past players. At Tennessee there are plenty of Peytons (as in Peyton Manning). And at Alabama there are enough Pauls, Bears, and Bryants that the folks named after legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant have an annual get-together before the first home game.
  • Nowhere else is “Sunday Best” trotted out one day early. Here in the South sundresses and pearls, blazers and bow ties are as common place at a tailgate as they are a cocktail party.

Erin Street, Senior Editor, Travel & Integrated Contact:

  • Nowhere else is a battle cry an acceptable greeting/hello/goodbye under any circumstance. In the South, team mottos like “Roll Tide,” “Hotty Toddy,” and “War Eagle” are accepted substitutes for “How are you doing?” and “Hello there.”
  • Nowhere else are people frequently asked, “Who is your team?” In fact, this one is asked as much as other quintessential Southern questions such as, “Where are your people from?” and “Where do you fellowship?”
  • Nowhere else do babies receive smocked, monogrammed team color attire before they are born. Down South, you don’t just choose your team—you’re born into it!

Here are a couple of my favorites from Sports Illustrated writer and Southern Living contributor Andrew Lawrence:

  • Nowhere else do football games register on the Richter Scale. On Oct. 8, 1988, LSU trailed Auburn at home 6-0 with less than 2 minutes left when LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson found tailback Eddie Fuller in the end zone for the winning touchdown. The score whipped the crowd of 79,431 at Tiger Stadium into a frenzy that reverberated in Baton Rouge. A day later the stunned campus geologists discovered the moment had registered on the Richter scale. Tiger stadium hasn’t played host to any official seismic events since, but its crowds have produced enough intimidating ones to keep opponents quaking in their cleats.
  • Nowhere else is tailgating a military exercise. Alabama has its RV army, whose troops converge by the hundreds on Crimson Tide games. And Tennessee has its Volunteer Navy, a fleet of various vessels that collects in equally impressive numbers around Neyland Stadium–one of only two college football venues accessible by water.
  • Nowhere else are animal mascots part of the family. Texas has Bevo the longhorn, Oklahoma has twin ponies Boomer and Sooner, and Arkansas has Tusk the razorback.

Now it’s your turn! What are your favorite football moments that could only exist in the South? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win one of five $200 Publix gift cards. Official rules here. 


  1. Venetian bathroom Blinds

    Sometimes spots get on blinds and you can see the vertical stripes, one on one side, and the camera automatically stitches them moisture resistant blinds patterned

    October 21, 2013 at 7:47 am
  2. Jessica B.

    Nowhere but in the SEC does your place of work have official college football affiliations. The free stuff with the business name and number also has the UT schedule. All conversations with customers on Mondays start with game commentary from Saturday.

    (I live in a VERY divided football county. Vols v. Tide, mainly, with a smattering of Auburn and Vandy and a solid Ole Miss fanbase.)

    October 18, 2013 at 9:49 am
  3. livivua

    no where but in the south will you wear college football gear to an upscale restaurant or think it is okay to wear your football gear anywhere and at anytime

    October 16, 2013 at 4:10 pm
  4. Robin Ennis

    One of my favorite memories is of the first Auburn-Alabama game in Jordan-Hare. I was a senior at Auburn, and I don’t think anyone went to class the two days before the game! People were packed in, and you didn’t leave your seat to even go to the bathroom. I had not heard that noise level in Jordan-Hare before that day, and haven’t really heard it since. Stopping the Tide offense when they were about to score (and facing the Auburn student section!) was the stuff of football legend.

    October 15, 2013 at 11:09 am
  5. Joan Oben

    Only in the South are you proud to admit that you graduated from USF only after they got a winning football team! Go Bulls!

    October 14, 2013 at 10:49 pm
  6. Samantha Duggan

    Only in the South do your Saturdays revolve around College Gameday in the mornings, planning the perfect Fall color-coordinated outfit for tailgating, and spending cool mornings and afternoons tailgating until minutes before kickoff. Even though our team has been down for the last few years, at the University of Tennessee, we have an unrivaled pregame ceremony that will give you chills, no matter how bad the humidity may be! Win or lose, our tailgates continue on into the late hours of the evening with satellite-operated TV’s showing other SEC games, spiked cider, and great conversation with friends and family. Southern football traditions are the best around!

    October 14, 2013 at 9:08 am
  7. Anna robertson (@Reddirtword)

    I was a student when Auburn was “the best team on the radio.” That is to say we were banned from TV by the NCAA and had an undefeated season. The Auburn-Alabama game was one of the most sought after tickets in the state that year but as a student I was set with my season pass and breezed through the festivities of the weekend and took my seat in the student section to watch one of Auburn’s most amazing victories. My mom and aunt, also both Auburn alums planned a weekend in Auburn just to be around all the excitement. They had no tickets or plans but unbeknownst to me, landed 2 tickets on the 40 yard line and were actually at the game too. I found all this out at the post victory party at Toomers corner when, while rolling the trees with my friends I caught site of my mom and aunt swooping up rolls of toilet paper and hollering with all us youngsters. Only in the south are family and tradition rooted in those memories that also define your individual self discovery. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

    October 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm
  8. Ashley H

    I’m from South Carolina so only in the south will you see a family argue over which color to wear on Sunday, orange (Clemson) or garnet (USC).

    October 13, 2013 at 11:04 am
  9. Sandra Stone

    I was attending St. James Major High School in New Orleans when I went to my first college football game. I was ecstatic. My mother even game me permission to go on a blind date to the game. The football game was nothing like I had ever seen before. The crowd was cheering and chanting and singing loudly as the game took place. The noise was deafening. I couldn’t help but be drawn into the camaraderie with the other fans in the crowd. At halftime, the St. Augustine Band came out and riled us up even more. The crowd was in a frenzy. Although my blind date was cheap and didn’t even get up to buy any drinks or food and embarrassed me when he started yelling like Tarzan, I managed to have the best time of my life. Near the end of the game, my blind dated turned to kiss me, so I quickly excused myself to go to the restroom and made a quick exit to the payphones to call someone to pick me up. My first college football game was fun, full of frenzy, and fantastic!

    October 13, 2013 at 9:47 am
  10. Judy Zerbe

    The south is the heart of NASCAR! There is no place like Daytona Beach. It has NASCAR, motorcycles and the Best beach!

    October 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm
  11. Sarah Nesbitt Artecona

    Alabama homecoming was last weekend and I was thrilled to be back again on the Quad, Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gallettes, Harry’s, stadium dogs and brunch at my sorority house. RTR!

    October 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm
  12. Pam Stogner

    When we brought a big screen TV to a tailgate at Clemson and a sofa was a fun time a few years ago. Pick me to win your contest pls!

    October 12, 2013 at 8:17 am
  13. Alex Wright

    Nowhere else would I expect devoted fans to bleed crimson & white. I’m from Florida and I went to school at Alabama. I started visiting my family in Tuscaloosa while I was in High School. I can honestly say there is nothing in this world like Alabama Football. From tailgating on the quad or marching by the President’ Mansion, you will find shakers shaking and Roll Tides flowing freely from everyone. What Alabama has is tradition and I can honestly say that 4 generations of my family have been so lucky to experience it. There’s something special about the tradition and how the fans embrace it. There’s also nothing like the SEC. It is a league of it’s own. But back to Alabama. Hearing the Million Dollar Band and seeing the Bear talk on the jumbo tron pregame or yelling Rammer Jammer after a win will run chills down your spine. I hope that everyone will get to experience what I have. I truly bleed crimson and white and always will. Roll Tide.

    October 12, 2013 at 7:34 am
  14. Jane Goldenberg

    Nowhere but in the South do you remember what you wore to a Rival Football Team Game and scream to your voice is hoarse!!!

    October 11, 2013 at 8:03 pm
  15. Nicholas Waters

    The Red River Rivalry: OU vs. Texas at the Dallas State Fair

    It’s more than a football game; it’s a celebration of history, tradition and geographic bragging rights.

    “Hook ’em Horns!” and “Boomer Sooner!” flood the airwaves as fans fill The Cotton Bowl, literally, with 50 percent Crimson and Creme and 50 percent burnt orange.

    October 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm
  16. Ron king


    The Georgia Bull Dogs games are a experience of high excitement for young and old. Families fly and drive to Athens for the game day tailgate parties, from over the eastern United States. Football is the form that brings friendships together than any other sport in America. The Tail Gate Party is gathering place, for a mass celebration, before the game with food and drink.. It is euphoric in nature and plus the sea of RED clothing is like no other(Bull Dog Pride)!

    October 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm
  17. Sharon

    The Southern tradition of noshes and nothing can take precedence on that day. Nothing is more important, vital and a celebration for our family and friends.

    October 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm
  18. Hannah Benak

    Nowhere else are flower arrangements considered acceptable in a tide box accompanied by two toilet paper rolls.

    Nowhere else but SEC territory do folks get a good laugh at phrases like, “Oh. MY”‘, “MY. Goodness” along with consistently mistaken player names from Verne and Gary.

    Nowhere else can people walk up to each other in late August with giant grins and say, “It’s back!” without having to imply football season.

    October 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm
  19. Ginger Hinners

    Only in the South, do people say “Roll Tide” in place of “hello and goodbye”!

    October 11, 2013 at 3:32 pm
  20. Danna Leaphart

    Since I’m originally from South Carolina and my family is a divided family. Some of us follow the wonderful, spirited, fighting Clemson Tigers. The other side follows the chickens…aka Carolina Gamecocks. Game day when these two Carolina teams play, is very intense. Family members will not even answer their phones if the other team wins not wanting to hear the play by play events that led to a win. We’ve left team songs on answering machines, team colors on doors, anything to get the point across on who won the game!

    October 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm
  21. Kim Landers

    In winter in the South, you may see T-shirts that say “This Marriage is Interrupted by Hunting Season”! In my household from September to January… Everything on Saturday is put on hold for the SEC and Alabama Football… Roll Tide!

    October 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s