The Grove. The Big House. Between the Hedges. Toomer's Corner. Hook 'Em. White Out. Roll Tide. The Swamp. Jump Around. Howard's Rock. The 12th Man.
The words are more than mere places, sayings and traditions; they're iconic, catalysts for connections that run true and deep, and just a few of the many reasons why we love college football. The sport is filled with passion, pageantry and a unique culture unlike anything else in American sports. It's our version of international fútbol.
College football games are more than 60 minutes of on-field excitement. They are contests marked on calendars for months, events that often involve food, adult beverages and an undying devotion to one's school. In the south, where college football is placed in the same hierarchy as family and religion, it's unthinkable to schedule a wedding on a Saturday in the fall. And if it lands on the day of a home game? That's the ultimate fail.
To capture the life and flavor of college football, Sports Illustrated is launching Campus Rush, a vertical dedicated to covering the programs, players, fans and eccentricities that make the sport so special. Campus Rush will be more than a website; it will be a living, breathing digital community.
Campus Rush will feature surprising untold stories, scenes from game days, road trips, a tailgating tour and exclusive access in locker rooms and across campuses nationwide. It will showcase what's happening at schools from coast to coast, with campus correspondents—student journalists—at every Power Five conference school, plus Notre Dame and BYU, 66 in all.
On Saturdays the site will feature an interactive social wall, where fans from across the country can share photos, videos and tweets from tailgates. The social wall will be curated and moderated by SI's team of editors; on Sundays we will pull out the best content from the weekend and break it up into categories.
There won't be instant analysis or breaking news on Campus Rush—you can still find that and plenty more on SI.com's college football section—but the DNA of what has distinguished
Sports Illustrated for the last 60-plus years will shine through: exquisite storytelling, unparalleled access and dogged reporting.
SI's deep and talented staff of college football writers—Pete Thamel, Andy Staples, Thayer Evans, Brian Hamilton, Lindsay Schnell, Joan Niesen and Zac Ellis—will be among the regular contributors here, as will many others. Staples's popular Punt, Pass & Pork column will appear every Monday; Thamel and Evans will take a deep dive into the nation's top programs with The Inside Read every weekday throughout the season; and Schnell will write about the stories of walk-ons in a brand new weekly feature.
Each day a handful of campus correspondents will chime in with reports from their schools, both in written form and through video. To that end, video will be a large component of the site, bringing the best of the college football experience to life.
College football offers remarkable action on the field. Yet so much of what separates the sport occurs off it. You'll find all that and more on Campus Rush. Check it out, and share your traditions, experiences and passion. Get ready for another season and welcome to our community.
B.J. Schecter is an executive editor at SI.com and the editor-in-chief of Campus Rush.