19 College Football Schools That Should Pay YOU to Tailgate There
Let’s face it, there will always be teams that leave fans scratching their heads at the end of each season. Hopes are high in mid-August—then the teams show their true skills by the end of October.
These teams could offer free parking, free food and drinks and even supply the trucks for their tailgates. However, only the visiting team’s fans would show up for the party.
Here are the top 19 football programs that should pay folks to tailgate—with at least one team from each FBS conference.
No. 19: Virginia Cavaliers
In his first season as head coach for the Virginia Cavaliers, Mike London won only four games.
The Cavaliers must make a statement this season in order to regain the loyalty that was had under former coach Al Groh. The Cavaliers did not always win, but they had respect.
UVA has only won two conference championships since joining the ACC in 1953.
Look to find plenty of good parking spots around Scott Stadium for the first part of this season.
However, if you are looking for the beautiful smell of charcoal and lighter fluid, you may want to head a couple hours southwest to Blacksburg—Yuck.
No. 18: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
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The Knights got our hopes up in the early to mid 2000s, but seemed to have slacked off.
Coach Greg Schiano boasts an average of .513 in 10 years of service to the school.
It may be in Rutgers’ best interest to lose every game by at least 20 points—at least they will make the highlight reels.
No. 17: Washington Huskies
Before beating Nebraska in the 2010 Holiday Bowl, Washington had not participated in postseason ball since 2002.
It looks like the Huskies have made some great improvements under Steve Sarkisian.
However, the fans in Seattle have plenty of other sports to concentrate on.
It will take a couple more winning seasons to get Huskies’ fans off the couch and into the party lots.
No. 16: Temple Owls
It’s obvious that if you get kicked out of your conference because of lack of fan participation, you probably won’t rank high on the best tailgating schools list.
During Temple’s membership in the Big East, the Owls won only 14 conference games and lost 80.
Perhaps this is the year for the Owls.
New head coach Steve Addazio’s willingness to do whatever it takes to win just may cause a massive flow to the parking lots surrounding Lincoln Financial Field.
No. 15: Vanderbilt Commodores
Having nine two-win seasons out of the last 16 doesn’t have the powers that be at Vanderbilt rushing to put together a plan for more parking in Nashville around Dudley Field.
Although Vandy has put together a couple of nice wins this century—Georgia in 2006 and South Carolina in 2007—don’t look for the Commodores to be playing for a conference title anytime soon.
No. 14: UTEP Miners
Miners’ fans must realize that there “aren’t no gold in them there hills.”
Being one of the smaller schools in Texas, it’s hard for UTEP to gain the respect of the bigger schools. Therefore, it is hard to get the talent like the bigger schools.
Therefore, it’s hard to win ball games like the bigger schools.
So don’t plan on seeing tailgate shindigs like the bigger schools.
Maybe if UTEP would pass out some of that gold, they would see true fanfare.
No. 13: Florida Atlantic Owls
Just like the smaller schools in Texas, those in Florida suffer from the big brother syndrome.
Florida Atlantic just can’t seem to get the players it needs to be consistent.
Having only had a football team since 2001, the Owls have done alright.
The fans on the other hand have way too many other sports teams to pay attention too.
It’s going to take some big wins and a lot of them to see the parking lots of Lockhart Stadium filled with jubilant fans and there motor homes.
It can be done. Just ask South Florida.
No. 12: Florida International Panthers
Since coming onto the college football scene in 2002, the Florida International Panthers have had only one winning season—2010.
However, the team has managed to up the average attendance of home football games from just over 8,000 to around 15,000.
With the steady increase in the number of wins comes an increase in the number of fans.
It looks like the Panthers may just rank a little lower on this list in years to come.
No. 11: Baylor Bears
Before getting clobbered by Illinois in last year’s Texas Bowl, Baylor had not seen postseason play since the 1994 Alamo Bowl.
One must come to the conclusion that instead of concentrating on tailgating, the Bears should be more interested in recruiting.
With all of the teams in Texas that have outstanding programs, you’d think Baylor would catch on.
No. 10: Northwestern Wildcats
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With the conference realignment, Northwestern may have a better chance of winning some football games.
The Wildcats are 1-9 in bowl play and 476-619-44 overall.
They have had some recent conference championships. However, the last was in 2000.
I admit it’s a tough league, but NU has a lot of catching up to do if they expect the fans to attend the games for more than the hot dogs.
No. 9: Duke Blue Devils
Coming off a 3-9 season, the Devils are definitely “blue.”
Duke has not been in the Top 25 at season’s end since 1962—No. 14 in the coaches poll.
The Blue Devils haven’t even been to a bowl game this century.
Needless to say, unless there is a brownish colored, round ball involved, don’t show up early for the fanfare.
No. 8: Alabama-Birmingham Blazers
Before its reconfiguration in 2004, Legion Field—home to the UAB Blazers—had a seating capacity of 81,000.
There are now just over 71,000 seats at the stadium in Birmingham.
The Blazers have never had a crowd over 45,000.
That either says little about the football program or a lot about the tailgating.
I am guessing the former.
Drive across campus on game day and you just may catch a glimpse of head coach, Neil Callaway—15-33 overall—trying to tune in to a certain Tuscaloosa radio station.
No. 7: Wyoming Cowboys
The Cowboys seemed to have been breaking from their armadillo shell in 2009, going 7-6 and winning the New Mexico Bowl under new head coach, Dave Christensen.
However, Wyoming countered that with a 3-9 outing in 2010.
Have the folks in Laramie even heard of tailgating?
I suppose if you get two or more horse and buggy combinations gathered together on a Saturday morning, it would be considered a good roundup.
No. 6: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
The Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech have not won a conference championship since 2001—first year in WAC.
Before that, the last title came in 1984 while the Bulldogs were in the Southland Conference.
LA Tech is 1-1 in postseason play since joining the FBS in 2001.
About the only chance of seeing a major tailgater in Ruston is when former Bulldogs quarterback Terry Bradshaw is in town—well maybe three or four would show up.
No. 5: Idaho Vandals
With a seating capacity of 16,000, The Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho, is home to the Idaho Vandals.
The Vandals boast a 437-548-26 all-time record.
With such a low seating capacity and winning percentage, Idaho isn’t tops on the list of places to look for a good game of Cornhole.
However, expect the Vandals to be painting more lines for parking spots in the future.
No. 4: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
When your biggest rival is the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, you might be a…poor crowd pleaser.
The University of Louisiana-Monroe may have beaten Alabama in 2007, but that is where the history stops.
It is very possible that there was a tailgate party following that game, but don’t expect to see and hamburgers and bratwursts roasting anytime soon.
The Warhawks have not had a winning season since joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2001.
No. 3: Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns
There again, when your rival is a team such as the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks, you probably won’t be having any major tailgate activities on Saturdays.
However, the Ragin’ Cajuns did share the 2005 Sun Belt conference title.
Perhaps if there is a showing—on the stadium big screen—of highlights from the 2005 season, we may see a curbside grill set up in the vicinity.
No. 2: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Since joining the FBS in 2008, Western Kentucky has a record of 4-32.
Prior to the move, the team had several consecutive winning seasons.
Fans of the Hilltoppers will more than likely stay in the hills until WKU can find a way to compete with the big dogs.
It may be in the school’s best interest to retreat back to the FCS.
No. 1: Buffalo Bulls
Yes, there is a football team at the University of Buffalo, however, not much of one.
It is rumored that there are not even any parking lots on which to tailgate around UB Stadium.
Although, in 2009, the University of Connecticut invited the fan(s) of the Bulls to tailgate with them before the International Bowl—UConn won 38-20.
There’s a first time for everything. Hopefully, someone will tell that to the Buffalo football team.
There You Have It...
So there you have it.
There are several more teams that could probably use a pep talk like this, but I have no more room.
Let’s face it, not every team can have great tailgating like West Virginia and Penn State.
Win or lose, those teams’ fans will be out bright and early for the big parking lot jubilees.
Many times the fans don’t even have tickets to the game, they just want to tailgate and support their great teams.
Therefore, if you are looking for some fanatics before or after the big game—don’t use this list as a catalyst.