“It’s a great day for a ball game. Let’s play two.”
– Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer
Ernie Banks had the right idea. And even though he was referencing baseball, his quote applies equally well to football tailgating.
Every year there are always a few GREAT weekend getaways where you could pick up a college and pro tailgate in the same weekend. Through multiple regression analysis, identification of several Top Ten lists and the use of the Flux Capacitor, I’ve identified the best double-header combo college/pro weekends out there for 2010.
The Top Five Weekends and one honorable mention are listed. If you’re ambitious enough, have a private jet and extra Advil you could actually attend each of these weekends.
First though—the criteria . . .
- Either the Pro Team or the College Team has to be on one of the Top 10 Tailgating lists that show up on a Google search.
The Pro Team and the College Team have to be reasonably close.
- In order to account for a reasonable drive time and the likelihood of a noon NFL kickoff. Penn State and the Philadelphia Eagles have mind blowing tailgates, but with 194 miles between the two you probably couldn’t make this work. The Tennessee Titans and Tennessee Volunteers missed the cut as well since they are 180 miles apart. 2 hours is the max drive time for this list.
If you don’t have a Pro Team, you can’t be on the list.
- Some would argue that UCLA is the College Team and USC is the Pro Team, but until Roger Goodell says otherwise there still isn’t pro football in Los Angeles. This also kept Ole Miss and Alabama off the list.
- You have to have the games on back-to-back days (read: no Monday Night Football or College Football Thursdays). With a tip of the cap to Dave Lamm of San Diego Chargers Tailgating fame and Marshall Faulk of the San Diego State Aztecs (parenthetical aside–I wonder if Dave ever thought he’d legitimately be referenced in the same sentence with Marshall Faulk?) a San Diego combo couldn’t work. Even though the Chargers are in the Top 10 in the NFL in tailgating they do NOT play a back-to-back with the Aztecs. Not even a chance to make it happen.
Before the list, first an honorable mention . . .
Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team
With apologies to the ghost of Mark Mangino, Kansas football doesn’t make the list. The Jayhawk basketball team does though. The 2010 basketball schedule isn’t out yet; however, the Chiefs have home games on November 21, December 5 and January 2nd. Kansas City is one of the nation’s top tailgate towns and you can’t beat the tradition of Jayhawk basketball.
#5-The Houston Texans and Texas A&M Aggies
The Texans are #1 on the Forbes Travel Top 10 list. Add in the tradition of Texas A&M and you have a great weekend. For those considering the Longhorns—too far for this list @167 miles. Plus after you lock arms with the stadium and “Saw Varsity’s Horns Off” four times during the game you’ll understand why the Kyle Field experience is much better.
Check out the last 20 seconds of this video to get a feel.
The games: November 6th – Oklahoma @ Texas A&M. November 7th – San Diego Chargers @ Houston Texans.
Distance: 99.7 miles.
#4 – The Miami Dolphins and The University of Miami Hurricanes
One city. A guaranteed great time. The Dolphins are a Top 10 Tailgate team and you can’t beat THE U.
The games: October 23rd North Carolina @ Miami. October 24th – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Miami Dolphins.
Thanks to a bye week, Big Ben will still be suspended. Creative tailgaters will find a way to work it into the mix though. Check out more details about Miami Hurricane tailgating with Mary — one of the writers here on Tailgating Ideas.
#3 – The New Orleans Saints and the LSU Tigers
LSU is on the Top 10 of many lists. The Saints aren’t, but Bourbon Street changes all that AND everyone in New Orleans seems to be in a good mood since the Saints are now Super Bowl Champs. Seriously, who isn’t smiling? Until recently, no one. Now the only ones that might be a little down are the people associated with the oil rig disaster. What a mess. It’s like watching a hurricane hit in slow motion.
The games: September 25 – Virginia Tech @ LSU. September 26 – Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints.
Distance: 80 miles.
#2 – Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers
Green Bay and Wisconsin are both on the respective Pro and College Top 10 Tailgating lists. Wisconsin will be worked up for the big game against Ohio State and you can’t go wrong with the Packers.
The games: October 16 – Ohio State @ Wisconsin. October 17 – Miami Dolphins @ Green Bay Packers
Distance: 119 miles
#1 – Denver Broncos and Colorado Buffaloes
You’ll be at altitude and with a live, running Buffalo pregame and the wildcard Tim Tebow factor on Sunday, it’s a can’t miss combo. Plus you can find out how many people will actually buy and wear Tebow jerseys in Denver? It’s amazing how much attention this guy will bring as a back-up.
The games: September 18 – Hawaii @ Colorado. September 19 – Seattle Seahawks @ Denver Broncos.
Distance: 28 miles
If you can’t make these dates always remember what Joe Cahn says, “The best place to tailgate is where you are.”