Missouri Tigers' Football Traditions: Plenty of Time-Honored Rituals

Yahoo Contributor Network

The Missouri Tigers football team starts a new tradition in 2012 by competing in the Southeastern Conference for the first time. Fans such as myself see the move as a positive step upward, despite the challenges playing in a higher-caliber league than the Big 12.

Some football traditions are here to stay in Columbia, no matter what conference the team plays in. Others will disappear now that Missouri has moved onward and upward.

1. Tiger Walk: Many teams have a tradition where players walk together as a team. At Faurot Field, the entire football team walks across the pedestrian bridge and into the south tunnel before gametime. The squad then suits up for the game in the locker room.

2. Granite M: Every year as the fall semester begins in August, volunteers and students paint a huge "M" at the north end of Memorial Stadium. Made of granite rocks, the 95-foot tall letter has gotten yearly whitewashes since 1927. During the 1950s, some Nebraska fans painted some of the rocks to look like an "N" instead of an "M" before groundskeepers and students changed it back to its original form.

3. Homecoming: MU was credited with started the tradition of homecoming in 1911. Although other homecoming-type celebrations preceded Missouri's, the annual gathering began with the game against the University of Kansas (of course).

4. Fight song: The fight song is unique to every university. "Fight Tigers" has been sung for decades.

5. Big 12 traditions now gone: There are many trophy traditions against Big 12 rivals that may be disappearing now that Missouri may not play old rivals as often. The winner of the Missouri-Kansas game got to take home the Indian War Drum (which Missouri now has). A bell was given to the winner of Nebraska vs. Missouri. A peace pipe was exchanged at halftime of the Oklahoma-Missouri matchup. The winner of Missouri-Iowa State got a telephone trophy.

6. Tailgating: Tailgating starts as early as 8 a.m. on gameday. If the game starts at 7 or 8 p.m., fans can be in the parking lots as late as midnight or 1 a.m. the following morning. With the arrival of the SEC, look for tailgaters to take the game up a notch.

7. Artificial turf: A new layer of OmniTurf was laid down over the summer. The first artificial turf surface wasn't too kind to the Tigers. From 1985 to 2003, the Tigers had a losing record on the first artificial surface installed on the field.

8. Winning: The overall record of the Tigers over 121 years is 627-523-52. Mizzou is one of 39 schools with over 500 wins, as of 2006.

9. Truman the Tiger: Truman the Tiger has been the mascot since the 1960s, but didn't officially get a name until 1984.

10. Faurot Field: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium was built in 1926. The name of the place comes from Don Faurot, the legendary coach from the 1930s into the 1950s.

William Browning is a lifelong Missouri resident originally from St. Louis. He attended the University of Missouri in the late 1980s and is a fan of all Mizzou Tigers sports. He currently resides in Branson.

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