Football Student Section

Saturdays Are for the 'Canes

By Dale

Saturdays Are for the 'Canes

By Dale
It’s the most wonderful time of year here at UM. No, I don’t mean the holiday season. I’m talking about football season!


It’s the most wonderful time of year here at UM. No, I don’t mean the holiday season. I’m talking about football season!

Nothing compares to the atmosphere of the student section at football games, surrounded by other ’Canes we cheer on our football team. Few football programs are as historic or rich with tradition, and we’re lucky to have the games as part of our student life experience. Some of my favorite UM memories have been at Hard Rock Stadium, like witnessing the insane levels of hype when UM beat Notre Dame 41-8 in 2017. 

If you can already see yourself sitting in Hard Rock Stadium, face covered in orange and green paint, chicken tenders in one hand and a giant foam finger in the other, I don’t blame you. But, before you get there, there’s a lot you’ll need to know. Don't worry, that’s what I’m here for!


Our biggest sports rival is Florida State University. The UM-FSU rivalry is one of the most iconic rivalries in all of college football, and there have been years where the game decides who plays for the national championship. Both teams recruit heavily from Florida high schools. This means that players on both teams have often played together or against each other before doing so in college as well, which adds to the excitement. UM leads the series 32-30, and has two more national championships under its belt (5>3). Fun fact: both teams have better win records in the other team’s home stadium. 

Our other major in-state rivalry is University of Florida. We haven’t played them since 2008, but we’re set to play them during Labor Day Weekend in 2019. It’ll be played at a neutral site in Orlando, which means it’s the perfect road trip distance from campus (wink wink, nudge nudge). UM leads the series 29-26. Fun fact: while many see the FSU rivalry as our biggest one, our rivalry with UF predates it by 10 years!

Within the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), our biggest rival is Virginia Tech. We’re in the same division in the ACC, and Virginia Tech is usually our toughest competition for the Coastal Division championship. The Coastal Division champ goes on to the ACC championship, so the pressure is always on in this rivalry. UM leads this series 21-14. Fun fact: the two teams have been rivals since they were both in the Big East Conference.

Of course, no list of rivalries would be complete without mentioning Notre Dame. UM-Notre Dame was one of the most famous college football rivalries of the ’80s, and for good reason. There were years when one team would cost the other the national championship, and in 1988, both teams entered the rivalry game undefeated. Notre Dame leads the series 18-7. Hey, can’t win them all. Fun fact: this rivalry is so closely followed that ESPN made a 30 for 30 special about it focusing on the 1988 match-up.


Win or lose, there are a lot of spirited traditions that ’Canes always follow. Before games begin, you can hear the student section chanting along with the fight song, led by the Frost Band of the Hour. 

At the end of the first quarter, students will disperse throughout the stadium. When Sebastian the Ibis gives them their cue, they set off fire extinguishers that blow smoke over the crowds. It’s a photo op that everyone loves to participate in, and the sign-ups for taking part in this tradition are known to go fast.

Throughout the game, you can also catch Sebastian the Ibis hyping up the crowd. One of his go-to traditions is the ’Canes spell-out, which is when he uses his body to spell out C-A-N-E-S. What can’t our mascot do? *swoons* 

During the fourth quarter, look around and you’ll see the crowd holding up four fingers. This symbolizes the belief that no matter what the score is, the game is won in the fourth quarter.

Once the game is over, resist the temptation to run to the shuttles going back to campus; stay back a while and sing the alma mater, led by the Frost Band of the Hour. (Perfect singing voices not required.) 

Bragging Rights

There’s a lot to be proud of when it comes to our team. We’ve won five national championships (six if you’re still upset over the 2002 game and that pass interference call); have three ESPN 30 for 30 specials about our program, and have set records in the NFL draft (the Hurricanes are 11th overall when it comes to producing NFL draft picks).

But there’s also a lot to say about our team beyond the field and in the community. They’re #1 in community service hours across the entire Football Bowl Subdivision of college football (which includes over 120 teams!) – no easy feat. Hurricanes football players visit elementary schools and exchange letters with the students, help run youth football camps over the summer, hold donation drives for food and clothing, and do so much more.