Top Tailgating Schools

by nixforsix on September 9, 2011

in links


This month’s copy of Tailgater Magazine includes a ranking of the top 20 tailgating schools. You can read the full article here with snippets about each school. People love to complain about the top tailgating lists,and I certainly have my issues with this one. But to me, you can only rank what you’ve experienced. Which means only a handful of people in the nation can really create a definitely list. In my opinion there are three aspects that should be ranked. Size, Uniqueness, and the actual Game. Any campus that isn’t jam packed with tailgaters gets pushed down. You need a unique food, tradition, or setting. And finally, the game needs to mean something. The stadium, the competition, everything must be an event. So many years from now when I’ve crossed off 20-30 campuses, I’ll present my thorough list. Until now, settle for Tailgater Magazine’s:

20 UCLA
19 Georgia
18 Penn State
17 Colorado
16 Michigan
15 Oklahoma
14 Arkansas
13 Texas
12 Wisconsin
11 Alabama
10 Oregon
09 Auburn
08 Notre Dame
07 LSU
06 Tennessee
05 Ohio State
04 Washington
03 Clemson
02 Florida
01 Ole Miss

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Georgette September 29, 2011 at 6:42 PM

UF is the number 1 tailgate? You get arrested if you drink on public property, and I mean you actually get hauled off to jail if you’re from out of town. Had to bail my niece and nephew’s friends from Baton Rouge out of the clink on game day where the cops were taunting them telling them their expensive tickets were going to go to waste because they were going to keep them locked up until after the game. That’s a hell of a tailgate alright! Maybe someone should actually go tailgate in these towns before putting this stuff on the internet.

Auburn John October 14, 2011 at 11:11 AM

I read this a while ago and should have commented then, but here are my thoughts on the places I have attended. *UPDATE* After going through these, I realize I have a propensity to think more highly of small town schools then urban campuses.

20 UCLA – UNKNOWN. Not sure about this. I discount any place where the stadium isn’t on-campus. And this stadium is 30 miles away from campus.
19 Georgia – Should be a hell of a lot higher. While it’s not a part of the tailgating experience downtown Athens is unique and part of post-game Athens. Unlike Auburn, you can get a drink in Athens after a game.
18 Penn State – I’d probably have higher. Great college town. Great fans. They do tailgate in an open field though.
17 Colorado – UNKNOWN. Definetely plan on attending a game here. But there has to be quality play on the field for that to happen.
16 Michigan – I actually really enjoyed the trip to Ann Arbor. It was an introduction to northern football (and northerners in general), but it was insightful. Everyone grilled (probably to keep warm) and everyone played games. This was in 2006 and before the onslaught of cornhole and ladder golf and washers. Probably should be higher on the list considering they’ll screw up a golf course to allow for tailgating.
15 Oklahoma – UNKNOWN.
14 Arkansas – UNKNOWN. One of now three SEC schools I have yet to attend. (Completely unknown, but shouldn’t A&M be on this list?)
13 Texas – Needs to be higher. Being in the capitol hurts, but you do get 5th street, plus the campus is sectioned off and completely unique from everything else. Finally, cowgirl boots.
12 Wisconsin – UNKNOWN. Dying to go for a game in November. Hopefully in 2012.
11 Alabama – I see nothing different here than in other SEC towns, and that includes Auburn. Girls probably dress up a little more for the games than Auburn girls.
10 Oregon – UNKNOWN. If they continue this dominance streak, then Eugene will be the next Pac-12/14/16 school we visit.
09 Auburn – Honestly, I love Auburn, and maybe it’s because I’ve attended so many games and this is my benchmark, but I think it’s a little overrated. Obviously Tiger Walk was once uniquely Auburn, and you can’t beat the eagle at pregame. I guess it’s also unique since it’s a complete college town that comes to life 8 Saturdays each year.
08 Notre Dame – Other than having a bar in the stadium parking lot, I saw nothing that made ND an exceptional tailgating experience. It’s a B1G school.
07 LSU – Should be higher. Respect. Different experience.
06 Tennessee – Like Florida, I only went during college so my take on it is limited. I haven’t been able to tailgate on the river, which has to be a very unique experience and worthy of pushing this higher on the list.
05 Ohio State – Going this November.
04 Washington – UNKNOWN; I’ve only heard great things, but I’m waiting for a return to glory for UDub.
03 Clemson – UNKNOWN; unfortunately I have not been since it’s so close to Atlanta. But I guess to these people, adding a lake to Auburn moves you up 6 spots.
02 Florida – I had a great time, but I don’t think it’s worthy of No. 2 on the list. I’ve only been once and that was in college, so I probably didn’t get the full experience.
01 Ole Miss – If you see a list where Ole Miss is not No. 1, then the list is invalid.

Places I have attended not on the list:
Vanderbilt – It’ll never make a list, but I absolutely love Nashville.
South Carolina – Again, not a fan of off-campus stadiums, but USC is unique due to the fair grounds and Cock-a-booses. Other than that though, the tailgating is done in an industrial park.
Virginia Tech – I can’t really complain since security was so lax that we were able to walk into Lane Stadium – twice! Probably not the case anymore, but to any Hokies out there on the Internets, perhaps you should not let randoms walk down the team tunnel. It appeared to be a cross between northern and southern tailgates. They were in the top 5, so everyone was out in full force. My dad observed that it was Auburn circa 1975.
Mississippi State – Less Cowbell. Honestly, I’ve thought before that MSU is a poor man’s Auburn. Like a desperately dirt-poor man.
Georgia Tech – What seems to me to be the quinessential urban campus. Outside of a trip to the Varsity, nothing makes this unique or enjoyable. But maybe that’s just me.
Florida State – Somewhat surprised this isn’t on the list. I’ve only been once, but I had a blast. It’s more SEC tailgate than ACC, and if a school like Clemson is No. 3, FSU should at least make the list.
USC – While it’s off campus, it’s not really off campus. It was definitely a different experience being in LA and being three time zones behind. Tailgating was meh.

Dylan August 22, 2012 at 10:44 AM

3 words: West Virginia University

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