How did you choose the university you enrolled in? College credentials? Majors offered? USA Today rankings? … Or was it because of elements not pertaining to the educational realm? Each year, students all across the country are choosing their collegiate destinations based on their future returns in social relevance. In most cases, one can find high correlations between a university’s athletic stature and party scene.
College football is what every major university’s population bases their weekends around. Epic tailgates are an integral part of any college student’s experience. When you discuss college, everyone’s first reaction is typically something that has to do with football.
For those of us who have had the privilege of attending a big-time athletic university, we can see how unifying a school's athletic success can be: students draped in their school’s colors, face paint, and even those select few students willing to go to extreme lengths to get their 15-seconds of fame on ESPN. Let’s take a look at some of the country's most epic student sections.
Penn State Nittany Lions
This student section has been ranked #1 before, and there is no confusion why. Call me biased, but I don’t really care. These students used to chant "Sweet Caroline" on the reg; however, Sandusky gave a whole other meaning to “touching you, touching me,” forcing the University to ban the song from games. #douchebag. However, you can still hear the "WE ARE" chants and the "Zombie Nation" chorus well into the parking lots during games.
Texas A&M Aggies
When your student section is known as the "12th man" on the field, then you know it's poppin'. The Aggies have one of the most dedicated fan bases in the country, and they prove it every Saturday during the fall. But just how serious does it get? Well, the students hold a midnight "yell," where they practice their gameday yelling in the middle of the night. Now that's dedication. And with Johnny Football at the helm once again this season, expect the students to turn up like never before.
Not only does Michigan have the biggest stadium in the country, the school also has the most dedicated fans. Cheering in the Big House for a top football team is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You won't find students who work and play as hard as they do at Michigan.
Ohio State Buckeyes
From the stained glass in the grand foyer to the infamous fraternity “Block” rituals, Ohio Stadium, more famously known as The Horseshoe, is described by the Buckeye faithful as their football cathedral. What takes place inside The Shoe for seven Saturdays each calendar year could also be described as a religious practice, one with no limits. You are in for a treat when entering Block O, as it's packed with students holding copious amount of alcohol in their systems and nachos that become a form of currency here.
Although the student section is the peak of rowdiness, don’t mistake this for Hoosier football, as winning always takes precedence and rally towels are not needed. A section where students once donned sweater vests has now become a sea of windbreakers, as Urban Meyer assumes his role as the minister of college football deep in the heart of Columbus, Ohio heading into 2013.
Florida State Seminoles
I hear it's rowdy, but if you remember anything after the tailgate, you’re not doing it right. Just imagine a sea of garnet and gold, Chief Osceola on his white horse renegade, holding a burning spear and galloping to the 50-yard line and throwing it into the ground. Watch every fan participate in the Nole Chop while the war chant erupts from their lips after every single defensive play, giving the other teams nightmares.
There’s nothing like being back at Camp Randall Stadium after a summer away from Madison. As you stumble to the student section (many times just for the 3rd quarter), you proudly enter an overwhelming sea of red. What’s better than being completely blackout screaming profanities, such as “Eat Sh*t’ and “F*ck You” to other sections? Oh that’s right… jumping your ass off to House of Pain’s “Jump Around” blasting from the loud speakers. There really is no better student section around.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Once you step into the stadium, you feel like a big family of mountaineers. Everyone is united when half the stadium chants "Let's go!" The other side will always chant back "Mountaineers!" At the end of the game, win or lose, "Country Roads" always plays and everyone will link arms and sway. There's nothing better than football season at WVU - one of the only college stadiums where you can legally drink inside. Enough said -- party on people, party on.
For any team visiting Death Valley down in Louisiana, they're just hoping to make it out alive. That's because they have a caged tiger waiting to greet opponents as they walk on to the field. Talk about intimidation factor. The fans are as a rowdy as any school in the country with their infamous "Neck" chant, which goes a little something like, "Oooh-weeh-oooh. Suck that tiger dick, bitch." These students are reckless, and while school administrators have banned this chant, you better believe they still do it.
Boasting some of the best student section views in the country, Auburn is always a great place to take in some college football action. And after winning the 2011 National Title game with Cam Newton running the show, you better believe that the atmosphere in Alabama is electric every Saturday. Once you hear the "All I Do Is Win" chant, you know the game is a wrap.
If their top-notch facilities and fly as f*ck uniforms aren't enough to propel the Ducks to a win against every Pac-12 opponent, then surely their student section will get the job done. Known as the Oregon Pit Crew, NBA legend Bill Walton calls them the most organized student section in the country. Hell, they even have their own Twitter account with nearly 5,000 followers to prove it! And if that's not enough, Nike has provided the "Crew" with matching gear, including shirts and their very own shoes. It's that serious.
LSU isn't the only "Death Valley" on the college football map. Clemson, South Carolina also holds the title and for good reason. From the team running down the hill and touching Howard's Rock, to the kickoff of the game, you can expect the student section to be in a frenzy.
For any opposing team driving towards the students section, they'll have a hard time hearing calls and audibles, as the Tigers have one of the most raucous fan bases in the country. If this "Zombie Nation" cheer isn't enough to distract you, then you are defying all odds.
Come early; stay late; wear orange. The Texas Longhorns are a must-see for college football fans. From tailgating, to throwing the horns up, to singing "Jump On It" and shaking the stadium, the sea of 100,000 burnt orange fans is an exciting atmosphere with the eyes of Texas upon them.
Michigan State Spartans
The Wolverines aren't the only team in the state of Michigan that is an absolute nightmare for opposing opponents to visit. Spartan stadium in East Lansing is every bit as electric, especially whenever UM comes into town. This is upset city, as some of the highest ranked teams have fallen into the trap of one of the greatest homes in college football.
Alabama Crimson Tide
If being the best team in college football year in and year out wasn't enough for Alabama, they also have one of the best stadiums and student sections in the country. Bryant-Denny Stadium is one of the biggest in the nation, and with all of the recent renovations, it is now one of the nicest. In addition to their massive upgrade, the students make sure to keep up the tradition with classic chants, such as "Roll Tide."
While the Men of Troy may not be as prominent in the college football scene as they once were just five years ago, they still have some of the best, and more importantly, good-looking student sections in the country. Located in beautiful southern California, opponents always have a hard time when all they see is hot blondes in the crowd, and they start to question why they chose their university.
A Gator game day is equivalent to Christmas morning. This hot, sweaty mosh pit of awesome is what every fan looks forward to upon waking up. There's nothing quite like waking up at 6AM to grab 96 beers to fuel five people for a noon kickoff. As you immerse yourself in the wild crowd, you can hear the fans screaming "ORANGE" and "BLUE" all the way through the stadium.