BYU Fans ROC the Marriott Center
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Basketball on Friday, football on Saturday. Can it get any better than this? On top of it all, mother nature blanketed Provo with a fluffy, white layer of snow. Hopefully a harbinger of a decent winter to come.
In case you missed it, basketball season is upon us! Friday night BYU fans were treated to a great home opener against Tennessee State, a team that barely missed the NCAA tournament last year. This year, with an NBA prospect in Robert Covington and most of its players back, Tennessee State is expected to do great things again.
The game opened with a BYU dunk-fest (yes, I did just write that) and featured Tyler Haws setting the school record for consecutive free throws made (50) while demonstrating there is no rust left in his game after a two year hiatus. Brandon Davies put on a clinic down low, and Josh Sharp may have earned the award for “most improved”. The game wrapped up with the Cougars earning valuable time breaking the full-court press, against which they struggled last year, and cruising to a comfortable win.
In other words, it was a perfect season opener. Except…
What the heck is the ROC? The 16,283 of us in attendance all saw the large blue sign saying, “Welcome to the ROC.” And probably all 16,283 of us had to ask, “What does ROC stand for?”
My father guessed it stood for “Retired Old Cougars”. That didn’t seem to fit with the students sitting in the section, but perhaps the students were upset about being relocated.
Turns out, ROC stands for “Roar of Cougars.” It’s an okay name (except Cougars don’t roar. Actually, they kind of squeak but that’s beside the point.) but it doesn’t really move the enthusiasm needle.
The biggest problem with the student section’s new designation is that it isn’t particularly inspiring, nor is it in the least bit organic.
It seems like a marketing ploy to accompany the change in student seating. And like many such ideas thought up in sterile marketing board rooms, it comes across as flat, unfitting for BYU, and confusing. After all, if you have to explain it to someone (or several thousand someones) then why are you doing it?
I’ve heard “Royal Army” tossed around as a nickname for BYU students. That one seems to fit the school culture and conjure up images of a flood of fans overwhelming opponents’ composure.
Maybe the name will grow on me. I’ll leave the jury out for now, but in the meantime here are some of the designations for other school fan sections, just to illustrate what could have been at BYU…
- Arkansas – The Trough
- Duke – Cameron Crazies
- Florida – Rowdy Reptiles
- Gonzaga – Packed home crowds and rabid fans but no designated moniker for their student section. Proving that you don’t need to name it.
- Illinois – Orange Krush
- Kansas – Like Gonzaga, this student section has no name. Do you think opposing players notice that with full-throated fans going nuts in the stands?
- Kentucky – eRUPPtion Zone. This is Kentucky’s standing-room-only student section in the Rupp
- Louisville – The Nest
- Minnesota – Barnyard. Hey, they have a Gopher for a mascot. I guess it works.
- Michigan State – Izzone
- Missouri – ZouCrew. Missouri plays in Mizzou Arena.
- New Mexico – The Pit. Technically, this name refers to the entire arena, not just the students. It is still one of the most difficult places to play, as BYU can attest.
- Nittany Nation – Formely known as Nittwits, this is one example of when the school named the section (in 2003).
- Ohio State – The Nuthouse
- Pittsburgh – Zoo
- Purdue – Paint Crew
- San Diego State – The Show
- Wake Forest – Screamin’ Deacons
- Washington – The Dawg Pack
- West Virginia – Mountaineer Maniacs
- Wisconsin – The Grateful Red
- Utah – MUSS. Taken from Utah’s outdated, old fashioned fight song.
- Utah State – The Hurd. Utah State has built quite a reputation for crazy costumes, singing random songs like “I’m a Little Teapot” and intimidating visiting teams. The name links to the Aggies’ agricultural ties. And as a staunch Cougar fan I still feel no shame in admitting I’m hoping BYU students step up their game and match the Aggies’ intensity.
What are your thoughts on BYU’s student section? If you could change the name, what would you call it?
Want to hear the real roar of the cougar? Check this out: