If one were to draw a map of where they thought the College Football belt would go, it would be the Southeast. From Arkansas to Florida, from the Delta in Mississippi to the Palmetto in South Carolina, football is a way of life down here. It’s not just our College towns like Jonesboro, Oxford, Starkville, or even Knoxville. It starts in the small towns across the Southeast that shut down on Friday nights just to make sure that everyone can make it to their local High School football stadium to cheer on their hometown kids. From there, the love of football spills over onto Saturday’s where millions of southerners make an annual pilgrimage to their college town.
A lot of time, those college teams and traditions are passed down from generation to generation. Nowhere else in the country will you find such rich history as in the Southeast. Not only is it an SEC thing, but across the Southeast, you have schools like Arkansas State, Tulane, Southern Miss, and so many others that have large and passionate fan bases that make those towns what they are.
For example, Jonesboro, Arkansas, is a medium-sized city with a population of 76,990 in 2018, will see around a 35,000- 40,000 increase on any given Saturday in the fall making, it anywhere between the 2nd to 3rd largest city in the state on any given Saturday in the fall. That’s the case in places like Bowling Green, Kentucky, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and even Monroe, Louisiana.
On any given Saturday in the South, you’ll find people from all walks of life tossing a football around while grills smoke meat galore, and even the whiskey flows like honey in solo cups dawned in the colors of their respected schools. Down here, we might disagree on a lot of things, but we’re all united in our love for football. There’s truly nothing like waking up on a gameday knowing that you get to see lifelong friends, meet new people, and create lasting memories that will last a lifetime.
You see, down here, people only care about a few things, a lot of us don’t have money, a lot of us work long, hard weeks to make ends meet, but at the end of the day, football is what makes all the hard times worth it. Football is the one thing that has transcended generations of southerners and will continue to do so until the end of time.
So here’s the thing, you might not like us down here you might say we’re uneducated, we’re not right enough, or that we’re all hillbillies, but as another College Football season approaches, don’t come crying to us when you’re school gets dominated by a program from the southeast. It’s just the way it is.