Ah, college football. It's the greatest time of the year for sports. It combines the love for America's most beloved sport with the passion fans have for their school. Fans get to show off their school pride and enjoy one of the greatest sports of all during the games themselves, but what is a football game without a good tailgate?
While students and alumni all love the game, tailgates are a timeless game day tradition sending fans flocking to the tailgating fields by 9 am for a 8 pm kickoff. Why so early? Why, to start drinking, of course. It's the favorite American pastime. As much as people love watching the games, they crave the tailgate.
Some university tailgates are infamous. These fans don't kid around and will pull out all the stops out with food, music, games and drinks. Some families even make tailgating a bonding experience by visiting their kids on game day, simply to chug some beers and hang out with them and their drunk college friends.
Although everyone agrees nothing goes better with football than a nice beer, tailgating is all about bringing the community together to rally around the team. It's a special time where students, alumni and fans can all hangout and get excited for the game.
It's time we honor those schools who truly know the importance of tailgating:
University of Texas
Texas is known for doing everything bigger, and tailgating is no exception. With deep football history, it's really no surprise one of the best schools to tailgate is the University of Texas.
Down in Texas, football is not just a sport — it's a lifestyle. And tailgating is part of that lifestyle choice. These fans are passionate about the team, BBQ and drinking on a Saturday.
All the passion the Longhorns have is maximized at the tailgates. There's UT pride everywhere you look, with each group trying to out-tailgate each other. Some of the best parts of any tailgates are the food, and Texas takes just as much pride in food as they do their love for football.
With the Longhorns, they truly show that everything in Texas is bigger and better. There's plenty of food, beer, live animals and most importantly, Longhorn pride.
University of Wisconsin
Representing the Big 10 schools, Madison, Wisconsin is one of the best college towns in the north. The fans are always buzzing with game day excitement, and are always showing off their school pride before the game. The streets are packed with students, and the bars are full to capacity with red and white.
For those students not going to the game, the bars in the town all go nuts for the Badgers. Places like the The Red Zone, Lucky's and Jordan's Big 10 Pub all are legendary places to tailgate if you want to watch the game on the big screen.
With Wisconsin, there's a tailgate for everyone. Since the nature of the Wisconsin people is hospitality, it's a place where whether you know them or not, you're inviting them to the tailgate. Known as a top party school, the red and white treat tailgating like it's a holiday specifically celebrating football and beer all around Camp Randall.
These fans don't just show energy during Jump Around, as soon as the morning hits on game day, it's time to tailgate.
Although the weather isn't ideal, Notre Dame fans are some of the most loyal and die-hard fans around. They don't just love the Fighting Irish, they live for them. And they want to honor that pride with some tailgating.
The campus is absolutely beautiful enough before adding the proud student atmosphere. The entire university has great some truly great scenery to check out on your walk to the game. Additionally, it's the only college known for having a touchdown Jesus, which is the start of the notorious player walk to start every game.
The Fighting Irish are full of football traditions. From the Friday night pep rallies, to the post game Alma Mater, there's plenty of tradition that sinks into these tailgates.
Although Notre Dame isn't the craziest of schools, what makes the tailgates unique is the perfect combination of crazy, passionate fans, and the historic tradition of excellent athletics. Drunk or sober, the school demands attention for its' dedication to their game day rituals.
Another Big 10 school, the Penn State Nittany Lions in Happy Valley treat every game day like national a holiday. The entire town shuts down to celebrate the boys in blue, and the fans have no problem waking up and shotgunning a beer to start their mornings.
The pride of Penn State fans is unmatched. They love the team and will stand by them no matter what (quite literally, seeing that they stand for the entirety of the game, with the exception of halftime). They take tailgating very seriously and are always down to celebrate their school pride with others.
Also, let's not forget to mention Beaver Stadium is one of the best football stadiums to play in, with space for 108,000 fans and foes alike. In fact, it's one of the biggest college football stadiums in the country.
With Penn State having one of the largest student and alumni associations in the US, what separates a Penn State tailgate from the rest is the fact that rain or shine, Happy Valley is flooded with fans on game day. It's been proven that on game day, State College becomes the third most populated city in Pennsylvania (following Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) and that's simply due to all the fans gathering around Beaver.
With such a large alumni group and student body, students past, present, and future always share the pride of the blue and white on game day to create an experience unlike any other.
University of Mississippi
Football is the pride and joy down south, and Ole Miss is no exception. These fans know how to throw down a tailgate and make sure they look their best while doing so.
The Grove is famous in the of world college football, and rightfully so. It's an absolute stunner, and on game day it's flocked with fans all ready for Rebels.
Ole Miss takes tailgating so seriously, it's sometimes more important than the game. Better yet, it's the best social gathering of the week. These students put on their game day best attire and proudly show off their school pride.
At the end of the day, every university in the country has their unique way of celebrating their team. What matters most is we all make the most of these memories, since it's a far too proven fact that college doesn't last forever.