21 April 2011

100 Years of Tradition

College football Homecoming turns 100 in 2011
by MizzMatt - 4/21/11 on Twitter @mizzou_matt_j
Columbia, MO- The tradition.  The pageantry.  The legacy.  The glories and triumphs.  The letdowns and heartaches.  It all had to start somewhere, and it all started here at Mizzou.  The late Chester Brewer (namesake for Brewer Fieldhouse) said two words to Mizzou alumni and faithful, and those two words have turned into one of the greatest traditions in all of college football.  "Come home."  Swap the order of those two words, and you have the tradition of Homecoming.

Many schools claim to have the oldest Homecoming tradition, but the game show Jeopardy!, the board game Trivial Pursuit and even the National Collegiate Athletics Association (the NCAA) have confirmed that Missouri's Homecoming tradition is the oldest.  Like the limestone block 'M' on the North Hill at Faurot Field, it has become a "Tradition set in stone."

First Homecoming game, vs Kansas, 1911 (3-3 tie)
It all started in 1911, before The Zou was even built.  Chancellor Brewer had called for the alumni to "come home" for the season finale against the Kansas Jayhawks.  This was the first time that anybody had centered a reunion around a parade, a spirit rally and a football game, and a host of other universities would follow suit.  The game was played on Rollins Field, which is currently the site of Stankowski Sports Complex, and the beakers and the Tigers battled it out to a 3-3 tie.  Other events have been added to the festivities of Homecoming week/weekend, such as the Guinness World Record's largest peacetime blood drive.

To add to Mizzou's impressive resume of records for Homecoming, Tiger fans packed onto the David R. Francis Quadrangle for ESPN's College GameDay show that has become as much a part of college football game days as Homecoming.
  The former record belonged to the University of Nebraska, of over 15,500; and Mizzou shattered that record with over 18,000 in attendance around the historic Columns.

Since that first Homecoming the Tigers have gone a very impressive 57-37-5 in their Homecoming events, including a 58-0 shutout of Colorado in 2008, and of course, the most memorable of them all- a 36-27 win over BCS #1 Oklahoma on October 23, 2010.

What makes the Oklahoma game so memorable?  Is it the fact that it's the first time Mizzou has defeated a #1 ranked school in any poll, the fact it was the first time that Gary Pinkel has beaten either OU or Texas, the fact that it was just the second time in 20 years that we've beat the Sooners, or is it the fact that we packed 71,004 into Faurot Field for Gahn McGaffie's opening-kick touchdown return?  Maybe it's the most memorable because of Aldon Smith's interception.  It might possibly be because of Jerrell Jackson's go-ahead TD in the 4th quarter, followed by James Franklin's 1-yd TD run to seal the deal.  No matter what your favorite memory of the game may be, it is one that will certainly stick in the minds of not only Mizzou fans, but fans of college football as a whole.  We're even able to relive it every now and then on ESPNU, as they show replays of big games from years prior from time to time.  The College GameDay experience on the Quad is one that I will never forget, and being in attendance at the biggest game of the year is another memory that won't soon be forgotten.

Over the years, there has been many memories made, many dreams come true, and even some dreams shattered at Homecoming, such as the 2009 game against Texas.  This year, on October 15, 2011, the Tigers are slated to face off against the Cyclones of Iowa State for the 100th birthday of NCAA Homecoming.  Get your tickets* now, and join in our history, our tradition, our passion.

*For ticket information, visit http://www.mutigers.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/11-footbl-ticket-info.html

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