The South comes west for day of college football bliss at BCS finale

When Auburn and Florida State fans converge in Southern California, there's plenty of 'War Eagle' shouts, and plenty of Southern hospitality too.

Auburn fans

Auburn fans (from left) Amy Camp, Apryl Camp, Taylor Norris and Paige Davis attend a tailgate party before the BCS championship game between Florida State and Auburn on Monday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. (Christina House / For The Times / January 6, 2014)

A mere three hours separate Auburn from Florida State. But where the Auburn folks come in with their iPhones and expensive sweaters, the Florida State fans show up all chicken-fried — big hair, big personalities. You know you're a Florida State fan, the saying goes, if your wife ever got her hairdo caught in a ceiling fan.

No school should be summed up by its football fans. USC, by all estimates, is a pretty sophisticated place, though you'd never conclude that from walking through campus on game day.

Jim Morrison and Faye Dunaway attended Florida State, for instance, so there's a disconnect right there.

That said, if a Cessna landed on an FSU fan's head 20 minutes before game time, would he even know it, or just start making buzzy airplane noises with his lips?

Look, God bless 'em all. When you spend $1,000 over face value for your ticket, you can do whatever you damn well please. Besides, we can be a little buzzy out here ourselves.

Monday, the South rose again, as it continuously does in college football. The golf course bordering the Rose Bowl was the initial battlefield. One tailgating army on one side, the opposing troops on the other.

A drainage canal — and maybe a lifestyle — separated them but they were all united by their true passion, college football at the highest level.

First-class fans too. Not much jawing. World domination is a wonderful thing, but both sets of fans claimed to be truly happy just to make it here. Said a few nice things about L.A. too.

Our strip clubs, of course, could be better (I apologized and promised to look into it). But the locals are friendly, the fans insisted. And the climate? Not so bad.

"It's 30 degrees in Auburn right now," one fan blurted.

"Not nobody wants to be anywhere else right now," another Tigers fan assured him.

By the way, are you as confused by these War Eagle chants as I am? Auburn is the Tigers, right? Yet up and down Colorado Boulevard for two days, the Auburn faithful have been yelling "WAR EAGLE!" over and over.

Patsy Lagen explains it, in a Rose Bowl parking lot, while her husband, Bob, basks in the sunshine nearby.

According to Patsy, in 1892 a Civil War vet unleashed his pet war eagle at an Auburn-Georgia game, and it proceeded to fly 'round and 'round the stadium during an Auburn rally.

Ever since, they've been doing this whirligig motion and yelling "WAR EAGLE!"

Even if it's not true, you want it to be.

Sunblock, beer, random acts of blindness, that was the Rose Bowl tailgate scene before Monday's BCS finale. No sign of a polar vortex here. Lambeau what?

As usual, the corporate tents were the worst places to be, all that free liquor and false friendship.

Better to be in the parking lots, with Bob and Patsy, or Emerson Lee and his buddy Brandon Montalto, who flew in from Destin, Fla., to root on their beloved Seminoles.

"Save the vodka!" Montalto says as they stash their cooler before entering the stadium.