I’ve been to a lot of games there. It was out of hand before 2010 when the SEC stepped in and threatened to take them away. To their credit, the fans do a pretty good job collectively of not ringing them during the plays. That’s not to say some don’t, but the vast majority rings them between plays. That’s a tradition they don’t want to lose.
And there are several teams that use artificial noisemakers in stadiums. Oklahoma State has those paddles they hit against the walls, many teams user clappers and a lot blare music when the opposing offense is on the field.
There is a little known Supreme Court decree that allows them to ring dem bells. It was granted when one of those country lawyers successfully argued that entire generations of rednecks had spent their entire lives using those bells to call their girlfriends in for dinner. Since none of them can speak decent english, the court concurred that banning the bells would violate their right to communicate. I hear John Grisham is writing a novel about the incident.
I don’t think it matters any more. You say sure it matters. No one else does that. Actually, they do. With the loud speakers cranked up, who needs cow bells to make the place noisy. If you don’t have it loud in your stadium, then you are not trying. I think it was louder at TCU and Auburn than it will be at Starkville this Saturday and that’s because of the way the sound systems are used. Arkansas does it now, too.