C'mon, Y'all—Yay-ell! Why cheering on football teams is one of the South's great gifts.

West Virginia Mountaineer Cheerleader
Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

There's something both magical and musical about the way Southerners adapt the Queen's English to suit our own purposes—especially when we're cheering and chanting for our favorite team. We bend, blur, and abbreviate words, all with the subconscious goal of smoothing the rough edges so that our thoughts flow with ease and glide soothingly over the ear. It's the difference between, "I am preparing to go to the supermarket" and "I'm fixin' t'go t' the store"—the subtle nuance between "victory" and "vic'try" on the gridiron.

When we take shakers or cowbells in hand, don our school colors, and head for the football stadium, we carry with us not only this built-in sense of rhythm, but also a flair for the colorful turn-of-phrase. We are powerhouses in the cheering department.

From the Crimson Tide:
Rammer jammer yellow hammer
Give ‘em hell, Alabama!

Not to be confused with Auburn's . . .
Bodda getta, bodda getta, bodda getta, bah
Rah, rah, rah—sis boom bah
Weagle, weagle, War Damn Eagle,
Kick ‘em in the butt, Big Blue! Hey!

Our agrarian roots make us especially comfortable in the animal kingdom:
Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie!
Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie!
Woooooooooo, Pig! Sooie!


Sic ‘em, Bears! (Baylor)

Sic ‘em, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF, WOOF!!! (UGA Bulldogs)

And because we were "raised right" in the Bible Belt, our spiritual leanings sometimes bubble up when we're deeply moved by a big touchdown or interception:
Tigers! Tigers! Leave 'em in the lurch!
Down with the heathens!

Up with the church!
Yea, Sewanee's Right!

We have eclectic taste in cheers, sometimes opting for the classic but direct:
Push ‘em back, push ‘em back, WAAAAAAY, back!

Go! Fight! Win! (That sort of says it all, don't you think?)

Score, [YOUR TEAM NAME HERE], Score! (Because they sometimes need that gentle reminder.)

Then again, we can appreciate the whimsical appeal of nonsense:
Hey, hey, babba-reba!
Hey, hey, babba-reba!
Hey, hey, babba-reba!
Let's have a vic'try tonight!

And we do love our poetry:
Hotty Toddy, gosh almighty,
Who the hell are we, hey!
Flim flam, bim bam
Ole Miss by damn!

(We know that swearing's a sin, but Mama sometimes turns a deaf ear during football season.)

Perhaps the best Southern football cheer EVER is an oldie but a goodie, associated not with any SEC team but with those high school warriors fighting their way down the field on Friday nights in small towns across the South. We like it because it brings together our culinary traditions, our flair for language, our determination, and our deep and abiding love for all things pigskin:

Pork chop, pork chop, greasy, greasy; *
We can beat your team, easy, easy.

(Performance Note: It's important to pronounce "greasy" as "greezy" so as to capitalize on the rhyming effect.)

Football season is upon us, people. Break out your fan gear—your T-shirts, ball caps, face paint, what have you—and start vocalizing. Those fellas need us to raise a ruckus at the stadium.

Ready? O-KAY!
Rammer, jammer, bodda getta bah,
Flim flam, bim bam, sis boom bah,

Woooooooo, SIC ‘EM!
Woof, Woof, Woof, Woof!!!!