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Here's Why Homecoming Is So Important To Mizzou

Mizzou looks for its first SEC win this weekend - it could be the perfect occasion.
A general view of Missouri's football field.

COLUMBIA , MO - SEPTEMBER 5: A general view of at Memorial Stadium during a game between the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks and Missouri Tigers in the third quarter on September 5, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

Homecoming is one of the most important traditions to take place each year on the University of Missouri campus. Alumni from all over the world come back to Columbia to witness their Tigers play. Each year, a parade takes place in front of thousands of Tigers fans and a blood drive precedes the event the week before, raising tons of money and even getting into the Guinness Book of World Records. Many other events take place throughout the week and over the weekend in order to celebrate one of the truly great college traditions.

So why is Homecoming so important to the University of Missouri? Because we started it! The Homecoming tradition originated all the way back in 1911 right here in Columbia, Missouri. A game was scheduled against the hated Kansas Jayhawks. This specific game against kU was significant because it was the first time that the Border War Showdown would be played on Mizzou's campus. The series was previously played at a neutral site, but a conference rule that season made it where all games had to take place on a collegiate campus. Chester Brewer, MU's athletic director at the time, wanted to make sure that the Tigers proved why they were so much better than the Jayhawks, so he invited all Mizzou alumni to come home and pack the stadium. Around 10,000 fans showed up for the game, which resulted in a tie. The University had a parade and a spirit rally to welcome home the alumni and with that, the first Homecoming was born.

The University of Missouri has not looked back since that first Homecoming in 1911. Every single year since that first invitation for alumni, the Tiger faithful have returned home for one game to cheer on their Tigers. Last season marked a very significant day in the Homecoming tradition for Mizzou when the school celebrated its 100th Homecoming. The event that started as a simple invitation in an attempt to bolster a huge college football rivalry has lasted 100 years and has become a tradition for schools all around the nation. Mizzou celebrated the Centennial Homecoming in style last year, culminating with a victory over Iowa State.

The year before, however, might go down as the biggest and best Homecoming in the history of Missouri. For the 99th Homecoming, the Tigers welcomed the alumni in town for a game against the No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners. The Tigers were also highly ranked at the time and undefeated. To add to the festivities, College GameDay chose Columbia as its home for the weekend. No one outside of the state gave Missouri a chance to win the game, but those people didn't realize how strong the Mizzou Homecoming tradition really was. The Tigers took to Faurot Field that night and shocked the Sooners, giving all the alumni that came back home that week a historic Tiger victory.

This weekend marks Mizzou's 101st Homecoming Game. The Tigers will take on the Kentucky Wildcats in a game at 11 a.m. on ESPN U. Even though the Tiger football team is struggling this season, you better believe Mizzou alumni will be back in full force, packing Faurot Field to continue the great Missouri Homecoming tradition.