Top 5 College Tailgate Traditions
This article pairs well with our Classic Threads.
If you’re reading this, there’s about an 80% chance you’re either supporting a college football team that isn’t going to be more relevant than “Little Caesar’s Bowl participant” or you’re obnoxious to everyone around you (looking at you, Alabama and Ohio State fans).
But it doesn’t matter!
The beauty of college football is that even when your team sucks, they’re still fun to watch. Because you got drunk at the tailgate! However, not all tailgates are created equal. That’s why we went ahead and found five college tailgates around the nation that really take things to the next level.
Ohio State Mirror Lake Jump
Each year, Ohio State students get ready for their annual rivalry game against Michigan by talking a lot of trash about Michigan fans and not having a sense of humor when they return the favor. Wait, no, well, they do that too, but they also take the Tuesday before the game to hold a midnight party/tailgate session and leap into Mirror Lake. Considering that the game takes place in November, it’s a pretty jarring and cold experience. Of course, if you drink enough, you’ll probably hardly even feel it.
Cal’s Tightwad Hill
Usually tailgating and watching the game take place at two separate times, since tailgates occur in parking lots, and colleges still think it’s a good idea to not let you drink during their games. That’s why University of California, Berkeley’s 90-year tradition of Tightwad Hill is a relief for daydrinkers and cheap football fans alike. The hill offers a free view of the California Memorial Stadium for all who want to climb it (with beer coolers in tow, no doubt).
University of South Carolina’s Cockaboose Railroad
In 1990, a developer decided to buy some land outside the stadium of the South Carolina Gamecocks, where he set up 22 private train cabooses and sold them off to fans as a tailgate space. They sold out almost instantly, and the last time one of these luxury train cars went on sale was 2013, with an asking price of $300,000. Still, for those lucky to know the right people, it’s just about the most unique and classy way to get drunk before a football game.
FSU’s Gator Roast
Good food is an integral part of a great tailgate, but Florida State University manages to mix food with, well, mascot desecration. Whenever they play in-state rivals Florida, fans of FSU kill and roast a gator of their own, in the hopes that their team will roast the gators on the field. It’s a great way to get into your opponents’ heads, and a tasty one to boot.
Harvard’s Wine and Cheese Tailgate
Harvard and Yale might not matter much to most football fans, but among students and alumni, the annual battle between snobby football teams is the biggest game of the year. Harvard uses this game as an opportunity to embrace every Harvard stereotype imaginable, replacing the standard beer-and-brat fare of a traditional tailgate with cheese and wine. Just because it’s snotty doesn’t mean it’s not delicious.
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