It’s homecoming week at the University of Missouri, or “Mizzou,” as students and alumni like to say.
While other schools claim they invented homecoming, Mizzou made the tradition what it is today. The school holds the largest student-run homecoming in the nation, with a parade, blood drive, talent competition, tailgate, and campus decorations, according to Chancellor Bowen Loftin.
Full disclosure: Amanda Macias bleeds black and gold. MIZZOU Rah!
Mizzou is located in Columbia, Missouri, and is almost equidistant from St. Louis and Kansas City. The rivalry with Kansas dates back to pre-civil war days, making it the oldest college rivalry west of the Mississippi. Here's an aerial view of the gorgeous campus.
Mizzou owes the homecoming tradition to former football coach Chester Brewer who in 1911 invited alumni to 'come home' for the annual rivalry game against the University of Kansas.
Around campus the buildings are decorated with Mizzou's black and gold colours. Here is a giant tiger tail coming out of the student bookstore.
Homecoming decorations don't just stay on campus. Students are welcomed to paint the storefront windows downtown.
The night before the homecoming game, Mizzou's Greek Town unveils their 'house decs,' an elaborate handmade background used for pep rally skits.
Impressively, the house decs are largely made out of construction paper that's tightly rolled and glued to the board. After Homecoming, some of these designs are burned in a celebratory bonfire.
Hours before the homecoming game, Mizzou hosts a parade throughout campus and downtown Columbia. Here is 'Marching Mizzou' performing in the streets.
Now it's time for the annual homecoming game! As you can see Mizzou fans are serious about wearing school colours to the game. Here's what the stadium looked like last year against Vanderbilt.
In order to sit in the first row of 'Tiger's Lair,' the student cheering section, you have to get painted up, sing, chant, and stand throughout the game. And that is never a problem for Mizzou fans.
During the national anthem, fans get a flyover from our friends at Whiteman Air Force Base, which is the only permanent base for the B-2 stealth bomber and about an hour from Mizzou.
Mizzou's mascot, 'Truman the Tiger' is named after Missouri-born President Harry S. Truman. Each game he rides into the stadium to the Guns and Roses song 'Welcome to the Jungle.'
Rip 'em up Tigers! Here's an aerial view of Faurot Field which was expanded for Mizzou's entry into the SEC. When fully completed, 'The ZOU' will hold 106,000 fans.
During the game Mizzou students shout 'M-I-Z' across the field to the alumni section. The alumni respond with 'Z-O-U' until the students stop chanting. This is what it sounds like.
Last year Mizzou won against Vandy! 24-14! Players join the students to sing the school fight song. This year, Mizzou will host Florida.
Other campus traditions revolve around this row of six columns on 'Francis Quadrangle.' In 1892, Academic Hall was lost in a fire and all that remained were these columns.
Once on the other side of the columns students are served 'Tiger Stripe' ice cream produced by Mizzou's agricultural school.
Board members wanted to knock down the columns and give the school a fresh start after the fire. Missouri's then Governor David Francis, decided the columns should stay on the Columbia campus. This is a bust of Francis on Francis Quadrangle.
Francis' buffed bronze nose comes from the student tradition of rubbing his nose for good luck before an exam. I rubbed his nose for the football team's game against Florida this weekend.
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