Down South, SEC football is a way of life. Hard-core fans know that whether you’re tailgating before the game, cheering from the sidelines, watching from home or talking shop with your co-workers, the topic of football most definitely dominates, at least through the second half of the year. And while plenty of women are football savvy, most men think they own the topic. Get in the game, ladies. It’s time. And if you don’t know a first down from a forward pass, don’t worry! We’ve gathered just enough ammo to keep you involved in the conversation without sounding like a total newbie. Here’s your ultimate guide to SEC Football with facts you just have to know no matter the year, the city, the team or the Saturday.
A LITTLE BIT OF BACKGROUND
It’s always good to have at least a basic understanding of the topic on which you’re speaking. Here are a handful of quick points to help frame up the picture.
- SEC stands for Southeastern Conference.
- The SEC was formed in December 1932, and 10 of the original 13 teams are still members today. The newest members, Texas A&M and Missouri, joined the SEC in 2012.
- Little known fact: The University of the South (Sewanee), Georgia Tech and Tulane were part of the founding members of the SEC. Sewanee left in 1940, Georgia Tech left in 1964 (after a feud between their coach and Alabama’s coach) and Tulane left in 1966.
- Today, there are 14 teams in the SEC, which are broken into two divisions: SEC East and SEC West. (Check out the SB SEC Cheat Sheet at the end of this article to see which teams are in which category.)
- The SEC is headquartered in Birmingham, AL.
CHANTS, CHEERS and CRAZY GEAR
SEC teams have some interesting phrases and cheers. For example, Ole Miss fans say/cheer “Hotty Toddy.” No one knows what it means, yet it means so very, very much to devoted fans. For University of Alabama fans, it’s “Roll Tide.” It’s not uncommon for two complete strangers to offer a nod and a “Roll Tide” in passing, simply because they spotted the trademark Alabama “A.” It’s sort of like a secret handshake. Here are a few more to keep an ear out for and offer up, should you feel so moved:
- Auburn: “War Eagle!” (or “War Damn Eagle” in times of heightened excitement!)
- LSU: “Geaux Tigers!”
- Vanderbilt: “Anchor Down!”
- Arkansas: “Woo Pig Sooie!”
- Missouri: “MIZ-ZOU!”
- Tennessee: “Go Vols!”
- Kentucky: “Go Wildcats!”
- Georgia: “Go Dawgs, sic ’em!”
- Texas A&M: “Gig em!”
- South Carolina: “Go Gamecocks!”
- University of Florida: “Go Gators!”
- Mississippi State: “Hail State!”
And what better way to show their team pride than to wear it, display it, live and breathe it. A quick “SEC” search on Pinterest, and you’ll have no shortage of team paraphernalia from which to choose. Here are a few items to give you an idea of what you’ll find:
HIGHLY ANTICIPATED REGULAR-SEASON 2016 GAMES
Men like to say that women love drama, but football is chock-full of it! There’s no shortage of rivalries, trash talk and underdogs rising above expectations. All this drama leads to high-stakes games that keep fans on the edge of their seats and, in a few cases we’ve seen, pacing back and forth like caged lions. This year, while all games are worth watching (obviously!), here are three you absolutely should not miss. And, even as this goes to press we’re wanting to add five more, but we’re keeping it to just three ! Impossible to pick …:
GAME: Alabama vs. Ole Miss
DATE: September 17
WHY: These two teams have a deeply ingrained rivalry, which already makes it a highly anticipated game. Fueling the fire this year is the fact that Ole Miss beat the odds and took victory over Alabama last TWO years, which was a GIGANTIC upset. Yes, Alabama, the team everyone loves, except everyone who hates them, and there are so many on both sides, is looking to redeem themselves. This is a game that you don’t want a party with both teams represented … just sayin’ … it’s going to be ugly.
GAME: Florida vs. Tennessee
DATE: September 25
WHY: Tennessee is finally starting to show signs of life after the National Championship program took a beating for quite a while … and the match up against Florida last year was a seeming showcase to their new found way of winning … until they lost. It was bitter. This was likely the most talked about game the entire week that followed, at least in SEC country. Tennessee is looking to redeem themselves as if they had won this game last year, they would have been crowned with the SEC East title.
GAME: Georgia vs. Florida
DATE: October 29
WHY: These two teams have one of the most bitter rivalries in the conference, making this one hell of a game! And last two years, Florida has pummeled Georgia. They meet in Jacksonville, FL, which is a neutral site, and the game attracts huge crowds for some world-class tailgating, nicknamed the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.”
THE ULTIMATE CHEAT SHEET
Now you should have a solid foundation to keep up in SEC chatter, and you know where to look for SEC gifts and garb. You’re covered on the timely stuff —this year’s hot topics, teams, players and coaches. But here’s the ultimate cheat sheet to make sure you’re in the swing of any SEC football conversation, no matter where you are. Study it, print it, pin it … keep it handy. We can’t find another one out there with all this info, actually, so this is definitely your go-to cheat sheet for all things SEC. Go get ’em, girl!