College football fields are often revered as holy ground. Just ask the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, one of whose brethren famously defended the ground at Kyle Field in the 1980s by brandishing his sabre at what was, I’m sure, a very threatening SMU cheerleader who dared to step on the hallowed field. However, this past Saturday, when the Aggies upset the No. 1 Alabama Crimson time for the first time in College Station, there was no worry about defending the grass. Rather, there was nothing but exultant jubilation and mass hysteria as thousands of Aggie faithful rushed the field. And that’s how it should be.
Rushing the field in college football is one of the most exciting opportunities that happens in the sport. It often follows the fall of Goliath after David dares to smite him with his sling. Over the past six weeks, we’ve seen fanbases storm the field on many occasions, as there have been countless upsets and historic victories.
Many fans decry when other fans rush the field after a victory, but that is folly. Usually, the people who bemoan fans running onto the field following a victory have a favorite saying: “Act like you’ve been there before.” But this ignores the simple fact that most of the time, the team rushing the field hasn’t been there before, or at least not in a long time.
As mentioned earlier, this past weekend was the Aggies first win ever over the Crimson Tide at Kyle field. Earlier in the season, Arkansas fans stormed the field after their first win over Texas in Fayetteville since 1981, a win that would launch them into the the top-25 for the first time since 2016. Two weeks ago, the Kentucky Wildcats beat the No. 10 Florida Gators in Lexington for the first time since 1986, all the more exciting considering they play the Gators there every other year. This past weekend, Iowans stormed the field at Kinnick Stadium after the Hawkeyes beat top-five opponent Penn State, moving the team to 6-0 and placing them as a serious playoff contender.
All of these games have historical significance to these programs and these fan bases. These are the kinds of games and wins that you sell to recruits, and the kind of memories that you sell to students and alumni, regardless of the fines levied against you. While I’m sure most of the athletic director’s for these universities would say the fine that they are charged (most of which are 6-figures) is worth the moment of beating a top-five or top-10 team, it’s ridiculous that these teams have to pay.
When teams win a big upset in college football, storming the field is not only an appropriate response, but should be the expected response. Why? Because it’s a tradition, and tradition is the hallmark of the sport. There has not been a single fan who has rushed the field that hasn’t remembered it for the rest of their life or who regretted doing so. It places a seal upon a victory that otherwise would just become another good game.
So next time you find yourself in the presence of a great victory, with your team finding a way to beat a vaunted opponent in a come-from-behind victory or on a last second field goal, don’t think about it. Just make your way down to the field and take in the revelry with the rest of your rooting kin-folk. You won’t forget it, and neither will the rest of the college football world.