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Ranking The SEC Tailgates

Posted by Peter On October - 27 - 2011

Sundresses, tailgate tents, and fried food have an all too common theme at tailgate parties down South. This conference is very top heavy and there are a lot of similarities between each school (which made it tougher to sort schools that were close).  Hopefully one can get a taste of every school from this article. Happy tailgating!1. LSU: Known for their exciting atmosphere and a huge array of craw fish, gumbo, jambalaya, alligator, frog, chicken, beef…all with a Cajun twist. LSU has huge parking lots right outside the stadium with massive RVs and converted trucks. A lot of LSU fans setup the night before and a lot really get decked out in LSU gear, body paint, etc.  A unique twist to Saturdays is the ability to visit their mascot, a live white Bengal tiger! LSU fans love to party all day long and they have plenty of unique vehicles, grills, outfits and food to make your head spin right off.

2. Mississippi: Has the grove and Oxford square (which is beautiful). There is Hotty Toddy and plenty of folks dressed in sundresses and suits sitting down at mixed tailgates. The Rebels M-O is the Grove and it doesn’t disappoint. It can blow one away when they first see it as the amount of people and tents is massive. The Grove is known to be several different tailgate parties rolled into one. The Rebels do a great job of tailgating and can stretch their parties from Friday night to Sunday morning.

3. Tennessee: Has the “Vol Navy”, a bunch of tailgaters who tailgate on the Tennessee River surrounding the stadium. During the warm part of the season people are even swimming in the river as tailgates are going on inside the boats. Don’t think that the impressive school spirit stops with “sailgating”. The river next to the stadium makes parking very limited so people tend to get there early. There is usually a sea of orange and besides party boats, I’ve also seen a converted garbage truck – that is insane.

4. Florida: The mecca for converted buses, heck they even convert golf carts. Florida is known as one of the top party schools in the country but they have a strict policy on open containers.  There is RV parking  all over campus. Orange and blue seem to be on every car, truck, tent, cup, plate and shirt that you see. There is lots of school spirit with how the fans dress up, also a lot of” jorts”. Women are very good looking and everyone of course loves to do the Gator chomp. The Gators bring a mix of beautiful women but also some strange folks.

5. Alabama: Alabama sweet tea, ribs and “roll-tide-roll” are a fixture at Tuscaloosa tailgates. Alabama is another SEC tailgating scene that goes all out with tents, catering, you name it. Lots of rich traditions go on at Alabama, and I emphasize the word rich. Dreamland BBQ is one of those old style hole in the wall BBQ places down south that is definitely worth a visit. One can also visit the Bear Bryant museum to checkout some Bama’ history to kill some time before the game.

6. South Carolina: Parking for the regulars can be a mixed bag. The one impressive thing they have is “cockaboose’s surrounding the stadium. Cockaboose’s are old train caboose’s that are reconstructed and fully loaded with folks tailgating in before the game. That might be the most unique thing in college football tailgating.

7. Auburn:  Known for War Eagle flying before the game and the celebration at Toomers Corner afterwards. It’s a little creepy but I saw a picture of an Auburn grill made out of a casket! Apparently there was a new rule put in place a few years ago that got rid of a lot of free tailgate spots for the Tigers. Lots of fans like to setup tents and TVs and will party all day and watch the game outside if they don’t have a ticket.

8. Arkansas: The Razorbacks like to specialize in BBQ and pig roasts. Platforms built on pickup trucks, decks on bus roofs also make appearances on Saturdays. I didn’t know that the Razorbacks sometimes play in two different places in Arkansas and that leaves the fans split on which location is better. Fayetteville has really improved their tailgating though. “The pit” is the place to go as a lot of tailgaters congregate there.

9. Georgia: A legendary music scene with a beautiful campus backdrop. The Bulldogs have some weird tailgating restrictions though that really hinders how successful tailgating could be. Sure they have the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party, but that’s in an off-campus location and doesn’t count for their on campus atmosphere. Georgia has a nice combo of relaxed and upbeat tailgating but nothing really unique.

10. Mississippi State: The Cowbells are a staple with Mississippi State (even though they’ve been ruled illegal for at least 25 years) The downtown bars have a cozy feel to them but the place to tailgate at is “the Junction” a historic landmark at MSU that is the epicenter of every home game.

11. Kentucky: Some of the locals call it LexVegas. One of the neat things to do is to take in a football and game and then go to the race track and bet on some horse racing if that’s your thing.  There is plenty of parking and very prideful tailgating. They have a chant that is a pure carbon copy of Fireman Ed’s J-E-T-S chant, but that’s okay.

12. Vanderbilt: Traditional tailgating is tough because of the urban atmosphere so if you’re lucky enough to draw a noon game make a stop at Pancake Pantry. Most of the tailgating is done in parking decks. However, there is “Vandyville” which is a growing tailgating spot.  The school recently started enforcing a rule to Greek life that they had to fold up their tailgates 30 minutes early and head to the stadium, so it’ll take a few years to see how that changes things.

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