Few things beat a good countdown. When your food is almost ready in the microwave, and you sit there waiting and hit it at the 0:01 mark to avoid the obnoxious beeper going off. When Ryan Seacrest counts down from 10 on New Year’s Eve and you realize you only have seconds left to deal with the horrible NYE activity you got roped into. How about The Final Countdown by Europe? That sound honestly just flat-out slaps.
My favorite countdown of all, however, is that to the beginning of the college football season. I no longer have to care about baseball divisional races. I have an excuse to be antisocial all weekend long. I also get to immerse myself in nothing but college football and try to pass it off like it’s a healthy hobby. Luckily for me, my wife is fully on-board. We have a tradition every year where the Saturday before college football starts, we know it is her last day with my full undivided attention for a few months. Want to go rock climbing? Sure. Go hiking together? Why not. Want to walk the equivalent of a marathon through each aisle of Costco? Let’s go nuts. Because when college football Week 1 (or Week 0) roll around, I don’t care if it’s Ball State and Schenectady Tech, I am affixed to the TV.
One of the absolute best parts about college football is the entrances. There are unique ones across the country, and if they do not get your blood going, you will have to explain that at the Pearly Gates one day. I consider myself a bit of a college football entrance aficionado. I’m kind of like a sommelier except instead of wine pairings, I can tell you which live mascot sprinting through the gates will give you a natural equivalent to six Red Bulls. And because I believe there is just not enough list journalism going today, here is my top 10 list of the best entrances in college football.
Jordan-Hare is one of the most electric stadiums in all the country. Do some people say they have too many mascots? Sure, but Aubie, the eagle, and Charles Barkley all bring something to the table, so it works. Seeing the eagle swooping in between 90,000+ on a gameday is a sight to behold.
Few things get the people going quite like seeing a colossal animal sprinting onto the field with a couple of art majors thinking, “am I about to see someone go to the hospital today?” I do not know the origins of the name Ralphie so if it’s sentimental, I’ll wear that, but if not, what an absolutely ridiculous name for a buffalo.
8. East Carolina
Jimi Hendrix? Pirates? Need I say more? Sure, Greenville is a place where kids from New Jersey come to party before going back up north to casually drop “y’all” around their friends like they are Mark Twain by proxy. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a tremendous entrance, which is hard to do considering it means gearing up for an AAC game.
There are few things in college football cooler than seeing the Hurricanes emerge through the smoke. Thinking of Canes come and gone from Al Blades to Ed Reed, it gives you chills thinking back to those days in the Orange Bowl. Unfortunately, those days are seeming further and further away. This entrance alone is worth hoping the Canes are officially back.
You have a guy in a f***ing duck costume riding a motorcycle onto the field? I’m all in for this. It’s simple, it’s to the point, it’s reminiscent of D-Day from Animal House. It’s perfect.
5. Georgia Tech
This one is underrated because for so long you just thought, “who the f*** wants to watch the triple option?” Regardless, seeing an old-timey car come out, draped with players and cheerleaders as they take the field is just fantastic. Sure, no one in the crowd has ever been invited to a party before they got to college, but who cares, the Ramblin’ Wreck is top notch.
4. Florida State
When Chief Osceola and Renegade hit the field, it’s goosebump time in inland-Florida. Just a little tip to anyone trying to add some pizazz to their entrance: you can’t go wrong with live animals or fire. FSU has both, so they’re at No. 4.
I have always told my wife I am both fascinated and terrified by killer whales. The same can be true about the Haka. Do I want to watch? Yes. Am I worried my soul has now left my body via island warrior voodoo? Funny enough, also yes.
2. South Carolina
The Gamecocks hit you with a two-fold approach. Not only do you have Space Odyssey getting the people riled up, but you hit them with Sandstorm? Columbia, South Carolina may as well start manufacturing extra brick walls, because it makes me want to run through some.
- Virginia Tech
I mean, come on. Obviously this is the pick. How does Virginia Tech ever lose a home game? If I was an opposing player and I walked out and heard this, I would just walk right back in. Metallica in a sea of Thanksgiving Day colors jumping around shaking the stadium? Unparalleled.