Although numerous colleges have picked up on this tradition, it is believed that Missouri was the first to come up with the idea of homecoming. The head coach of the school actually thought of it in 1911, while trying to stoke up the competitive spirit between his team and Kansas. Since then, every year the college invites their alumni along with family and friends to attend the biggest football game of the year.
These days, Homecoming has become one giant party. Alumni don’t only get a chance to reconnect and show their school spirit, there is an activity-filled weekend which includes everything from a parade to a visit at Bearfest Village. The kids even get the chance to have breakfast with Boomer, the Bears’ mascot.
University of Notre Dame
A part of the school’s marching band, The Irish Guard is comprised of 10 students dressed in a traditional Scottish kilt and the famous Notre Dame tartan, who lead the Band of the Fighting Irish onto the field during home games.
The guard was formed in 1949 and it is not as easy to join as you may think. There are yearly tryouts and the guardsmen who are accepted must know how to march, show love for the school and serve as examples of decorum. After some bad conduct in 2014, a requirement was added that members of the guard had to have spent at least one year in the marching band to be eligible. This did not go over well with the student body who don’t understand the connection between being able to play an instrument and marching.
University of Oklahoma
Whenever the Oklahoma University Sooners score, they pull out the old Sooner Schooner. The wagon, which is a replica of those used by the original settlers of Oklahoma, races across the field in an arc and almost reaches the 50-yard line. It is pulled by two white ponies by the names of Boomer and Sooner.
The name Sooner Schooner comes from the slang term for these type of wagons "prairie schooners" and for “Sooners”, the term used for the settlers who sneaked into the Territory before it was officially allowed. The Schooner has been the official University of Oklahoma mascot since 1980 and is driven and maintained by the school’s all-male spirit squad, the RUF/NEKS.
Not all of the Florida State sports traditions are quite as morbid as the burial at Sod Cemetery. This one definitely keeps the fans fired up though. During home games, Chief Osceola and his trusty steed Renegade race down to midfield with a burning spear which is then planted into the turf.
Osceola, who is named after the famous Seminole Indian and his Appaloosa horse Renegade, have been symbols of the FSU team since 1978. Over the years, six different horses have played renegade and a whooping 16 different students have played Osceola. The use of a Native American themed costume was approved by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, although some people are still unhappy with the portrayal.
Rumored to be the first-ever living mascot, Yale’s bulldog Handsome Dan is the official mascot of the university. The first Handsome Dan took on the role in 1889 and was chosen for his ability to tolerate loud noises and children and to dislike the color crimson and tigers (which represent the athletic teams of rivals Harvard and Princeton respectively).
Handsome Dans throughout the years have either retired or passed away. The current Handsome Dan is number 16. The bulldog is an important part of Yale lore and even has his own menu item at the New Haven branch of the Shake Shack. A concoction of beer-battered deep-fried onions served with two kinds of cheese.