The term "back to school" means different things for different people. It can mean the end of carefree summer days, but also the start of an exciting new year. For college football fans, getting back to school means the start of a brand new season and a full schedule of action-packed college football games.
Traditions: If you ask college football fans why they love the sport so much, they'll usually say something about their favorite team's traditions. From the mascots to game day rituals, today's college football teams have a strong connection to teams of the past. For many generations, players at the University of Notre Dame have touched a sign that reads "Play Like A Champion Today" on their way out of the locker room on to the field. At halftime during Ohio State home games, the marching band spells out the name "Ohio State." A senior band member, or sometimes a special celebrity guest, will serve to dot the "i" in "Ohio," which is one of the biggest honors in college football. At Clemson, players have rubbed "Howard's Rock" for good luck before games since 1967. The sport of college football is full of these types of traditions.
Alumni: For years and years after they graduate from college, alumni will keep coming back to campus to watch their old school play football. These fans consider it a thrill to visit their old college on a crisp Fall day, grill up a good pre-game meal and watch a good game. Every Saturday in the fall, fans across the country follow their teams' games.
Rivalries: In very few sports are the rivalries as long-lasting and heated as they are in college football. Each year, these rivalry games are some of the most important games of the year. The Army-Navy Game has taken place 109 times since 1890. Alabama and Auburn have been playing their in-state rivalry game since 1893. Harvard and Yale have played each other in The Game since 1875. The Red River Rivalry features Texas vs. Oklahoma, and started in 1900. The annual game between Ohio State and Michigan, also known as The Game, started in 1897 and is one of the most anticipated games of the year.
Traditions, rivalries and the enthusiasm of alumni are just some of the reasons why college football is one of the most popular sports in the country. These reasons help explain why every Saturday, during the fall, almost 100,000 people will fill stadiums across the country and cheer for their favorite teams.
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