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.

SEC football — in the Grove

Here they are setting up at The Grove, where perhaps the most legendary tailgating occurs most Saturdays in the fall at Ole Miss. Photo credit: Trey Clark

SEC Football Beginners’ Guide

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.
SEC football — Here is a visual map to the 14 SEC teams. Image credit: MemphisSport.com

Here is a visual map to the 14 SEC teams. Image credit: SEC12.com

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:

 

SEC football — "1969 SEC Family Portrait" | Image credit: <a href="http://theantiorangepage.com/aogallery/Books-Mags-Photos-Stuff/Photos/1969-SEC-Family-Portrait" target="_blank">theantiorangepage.com</a>

“1969 SEC Family Portrait” | Image credit: theantiorangepage.com

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!

SEC football — Cheat Sheet


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