It had been a while since I had seen such a special, electric game-day atmosphere in the ACC, but when Florida State hosted Oklahoma in 2011, and ESPN’s "College GameDay" crew was in Tallahassee, there was truly a sense of big-time college football hovering around Doak Campbell Stadium. It was like a two-day tailgate. It’s that kind of excitement and anticipation that makes college football so special, especially at a storied program like Florida State.
Every school in the conference has its game-day traditions, but some Saturdays are simply better than others because of the atmospheres the fans create. From The Hill at Clemson, to the "Enter Sandman" entrance at Virginia Tech, the ACC has several must-see stops on any given Saturday. Fortunately, I’ve had the privilege of seeing all of them. Today, though, I’ll give you my top five picks for best game atmospheres in the ACC -- that’s the total package, from pregame to postgame -- and give you the chance to vote your No. 1. Here are my picks:
1. Virginia Tech: The "Enter Sandman" entrance is certainly an experience to be a part of -- especially if you’re standing on the field, or in the shaking press box -- but it’s the fans, not the music, who make game days in Lane Stadium special. Giant turkey legs, the Hokey Pokey, the team walk, the boom of “Skipper” the cannon, “Let’s Go! … Hokies!” … and Thursday nights are what it’s all about.
2. Clemson: What’s so great about Howard’s Rock and The Hill is that neither one had to be generated by a marketing department. They are both part of the history of the program. Plus, the Tigers have one of the most passionate fan bases in the ACC, the Esso, Tiger Rag, and it’s a great tailgating scene.
3. Florida State: Osceola and Renegade are arguably the top game-day traditions in the league, and when Doak Campbell is packed, this is the place to be. The spear, the Marching Chiefs, war chant and tomahawk chop are trademarks of the program, and the Downtown GetDown gets it all started.
4. NC State: “WOLF!” … “PACK!” … Rumor has it that in 2008, president Barack Obama learned how to make the sign of the wolf while on campus. The Walk of Champions, the awesome wolf statue outside the Murphy Center, the bar-b-que!
5. Georgia Tech: What’s the good word? Yep, you know it. The Jackets have plenty of great game-day traditions, starting with, of course, the entrance of the Ramblin’ Wreck and the mandatory stop at the Varsity. Oh, and yes, I’m a glee club fan, and the Jackets have one of -- if not the best -- fight songs in the ACC.
Now it’s your turn to vote: Who has the best game day atmosphere in the ACC?