Friday, November 6, 2020
Florida State University is known for its love of football and the tradition that it is rooted in. Like many other powerful college football teams, the fans of Florida State flaunt their team colors, tailgate on game day, scream the team chants at the top of their lungs, etc. However, there is one Florida State tradition that is a bit unusual: the Sod Cemetery.
In preparation for a game against the University of Georgia in 1962, professor and athletic board member Dean Coyle Moore told the players to "bring back some sod from between the hedges at Georgia."
"Team captain Gene McDowell took the statement literally: He pulled a handful of grass from the field after the 18-0 victory, and presented it to Moore at the next practice. Moore and FSU coach Bill Peterson buried the sod on the practice field. A monument was later put in place to commemorate the victory, and the tradition of the Sod Cemetery had begun."
Now, when Florida State marks a win in a road game as the underdog, all games against their rival—the Florida Gators —and all ACC title and bowl games, the team captains are to collect a piece of the sod from the field.
Moore wrote about the tradition and passed on instructions on how to remove the sod, the ceremonies that follow a proper burial (in tiny coffins), and how to place the "headstones."
Visitors can take a look at the the cemetery, which is located outside the gates of the practice field at Doak Campbell Stadium.
See Mom0ja, Sod Cemetery, Atlas Obscura, (last visited November 5, 2020).