November 23, 2012

A sampling of rituals and traditions at USC, Clemson

Just how the USC and Clemson football teams stack up on the field will be settled during Saturday’s big rivalry game.

Just how the USC and Clemson football teams stack up on the field will be settled during Saturday’s big rivalry game.

But there are plenty of other ways to measure how USC and Clemson stack up.

This week, we’ve been looking at fun facts about the two universities. And today, we’ve got a sampling of rituals and traditions, both on and off the field.


2001: Called one of the most exciting pregame entries in all of college football, the playing of “2001 – A Space Odyssey” at Williams-Brice Stadium is enough to give even opposing fans goose bumps. At just the right moment, Gamecocks burst onto the field0, and tens of thousands of fans go wild.

Tiger Burn: Each year, before the big game, Carolina students build a giant effigy of a Clemson Tiger and hold a mock funeral during this pep rally and bonfire.

First Year Reading Experience: Started in 1994, this tradition provides all first-year USC students with a common academic experience. Students read the same book before classes start in the fall, then participate in discussion groups or other activities such as author lectures throughout the semester.


Howard’s Rock: Named for legendary coach Frank Howard, the rock was brought to Clemson from Death Valley, Calif., by 1919 alumnus S.C. Jones. It was first placed on a pedestal at the top of The Hill in 1966. Before a game against Wake Forest in 1967, Howard told his players that if they would give 110 percent, they could have the privilege of rubbing the rock. The Tigers won that game 23-6. Today, all Tigers football players rub it for good luck before the start of each game.

First Friday Parade: A longstanding tradition, the First Friday Parade has been held the Friday afternoon before the first home football game since 1974. Students assemble and operate floats through campus and along S.C. 93. The parade concludes with a pep rally.

Senior Sidewalks: A tradition that dates to the 1950s, graduating seniors each year raise money to engrave their names on bricks and help build sidewalks as a way to give back to the university and leave behind their legacy. Today the names of more than 53,000 alumni can be seen on sidewalks throughout the campus.

Compiled by Mindy Lucas

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