The Sock 'Em, Bust 'Em Board Because that's our custom

Unfortunately, no cowbells

What’s great about a game at Mississippi State is what’s great about college football. There is pageantry throughout the tailgate scene as women sashay about in skirts and dresses and the kindest gentlemen cordially invite you over for some barbecue and a sip of something special.

Within the game, fans clang cowbells. While the tradition cannot be traced, it can be as inspirational to the Bulldogs as it is irritating to opponents. West Virginia Coach Rich Rodriguez knew as much before traveling to Starkville, Miss., for last year’s game.

“I had an experience playing them in the Peach Bowl when I was at Clemson in that (Georgia) Dome and you can imagine what 30,000 cowbells sound like. I think all 30,000 were back at our hotel the night after the game still ringing them. It will be very, very loud and what you hope to do is for your guys to try and make enough plays to keep the crowd out of it, particularly early.”

Many Mississippi State fans will travel to Morgantown this week for a nonconference game. Not surprisingly, they’d be advised not to pack their cowbells

From April Messerly, WVU’s Senior Manager of Athletic Facilities.

Our policy is that we do not allow artificial noisemakers, and a cow bell would be considered such, so it would not be permitted.

Meanwhile, the train whistle pumped in through stadium speakers and the yet-to-debut Northside Noise Meter are acceptable…

Don’t blame the Mountaineers. Many opponents have tried and failed to ban the danged banging.

Cowbells decorate offices and homes of Mississippi State alumni, and are passed down through generations of Bulldog fans. But they are not heard at Southeastern Conference games — not legally, at least — since the 1974 adoption of a conference rule against ‘artificial noisemakers’ at football and basketball games. On a 9-1 vote SEC schools ruled cowbells a disruption and banned them.

This has done little harm to the cowbell’s popularity, however, or to prevent cowbells from being heard outside stadiums in which the Bulldogs are playing. They can still be heard at non-conference football contests, as well as other sporting events on campus. And bold Bulldog fans still risk confiscation for the privilege of keeping a unique Mississippi State tradition alive and ringing at SEC affairs.