50 Schools That Field Better Tailgates Than College Football Teams
So, you need a diversion from Joe Paterno news?
Here you go.
This is a list of 50 programs that have a better tailgating scene than they do a football team.
This does not necessarily mean that the football team is awful, although it could, it simply means the ardor and quality of the partying around the stadium rival and even surpass the quality of the team.
The Wildcats are not known for fielding great teams.
However, they are not the worst program in the country.
Back in 1998 AU posted a 12-1 season, and they have had two eight win seasons since then.
So for the past 13 or so season, they have been mediocre.
Not so for the tailgating.
Its warm, the people are pretty accommodating, and the food is better than you might think.
Throw in the fact that the fare offered ranges from standard burgers and brats to carne asada, and you have a clear winner at this program.
Yale is one of several schools that claims to have originated the tailgate, and since the school has been around since 1701, it's very possible.
Personally, I feel that the first tailgate took place at the first battle of Manassas in the Civil War, but that's neither here nor there.
A crisp fall day in New Haven is a pleasant experience already, but when coupled with the historic Yale Bowl and thousands of smart people roaming around, the tailgating clearly has the advantage over a Bulldog team that can't win in the Ivy League.
The Buffs are having a particularly difficult season this year, and have not been all that successful since the 90's.
So instead of spending your time watching them get crushed repeatedly, visit "Ralphie's Corral".
Check out Ralphie the mascot, just don't grill buffalo burgers in the area, as this is the surest way to anger an animal roughly 7-10 times your size.
Army Black Knights
I have immense respect for the young men of Army who are serving their country, while playing football for kicks.
That said, the team is not good.
However, the tailgating, if just for the scenery, is great.
Take the time for a trip to Trophy Point, and spend your time walking around the post(not campus).
It's an experience not soon forgotten.
Unlike the football team.
Yes, that is the famed "Magic Bus" of Iowa.
The Hawkeyes field some pretty solid teams, however, their tailgating scene is one of the best in the country.
The fans near the stadium in the lots are pretty mild usually, but willing to share a brat or burger.
While the fans in the stadium seem to have pretty good time, it is nothing to equal the party taking place on Melrose and other favorite tailgating haunts.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
Yeah, those are red Raider fans running to get prime tailgate positions.
Not really, but the fervor with which these fans are storming the field is usually transferred into their tailgating, as the team struggles to maintain it's position in the second tier of the Big 12.
Check out this video for a glimpse of the tailgating experience at TTU.
Arizona State Sun Devils
It's in Arizona.
It's warm, fans are avid, and food is great and diverse.
Of course, the football team is up and down, but the tailgate never falters.
Of course, you sometimes have to search hard to find solid parties, as the weather is still extremely hot in September and October, and tailgating can lead to sunburn before noon.
Also, there is no shade.
You try tailgating on asphalt with no shade.
All that said, it's still a better place to party than it is to watch football.
Clemson has a fair to middling ACC team on a pretty regular basis.
That said, nothing beats the tailgating.
The small town college experience is second to none, and you will not find fans that are more avid than in this town.
They paint themselves orange and purple, for crying out loud.
The smoked venison and pork is awesome, make sure you find some if you stop by.
Ole Miss Rebels
Ole Miss may suck on the field on a pretty regular basis, but they have never lost a party.
The Grove is one of the top places to party in the country.
Bowties and sundresses are prevalent, and the people are some of the friendliest you will meet anywhere.
Of course if you wear Mississippi State gear your life might be in danger, but otherwise its a pretty solid time.
Check it out.
The Bruins seem to get just enough wins to keep Rick Neuheisel around, but they still suck.
The tailgating scene, however, leaves nothing to be desired.
Sun, diverse food options, fans that have to be dedicated, or they would not be around, and the beautiful location at a golf course make this one not to miss.
Of course, you may decide to stay out there and miss the game, but you won't be missing a whole lot.
The Volunteers have not had much success in recent seasons on the football field.
Things are headed the right direction, but for now, the tailgating clearly takes this one.
Seriously, that guy is playing a washboard.
You don't see that in the Midwest or on the west coast.
And it actually sound good, and if that isn't enough for you, there is always the "Volunteer Navy", you can sailgate, which is pretty rare at a football game.
Another place where fans can "sailgate".
Husky Stadium is in a beautiful setting, and the fans get to enjoy the rare combination of seafood and football.
Sound a little bit like Heaven to me.
The football team is pretty good, but given the unique opportunities presented to the discerning tailgater, I have to lean toward the tailgating as being better than the football team.
They start 'em young in Texas.
Last season was not particularly kind to the Longhorns, and they are going to finish at least third in the Big 12, likely fourth this season.
But it does not matter where they finished, the tailgating is incredible.
All you have to do is find some brisket, and some type of fried food, and you are good to go.
And around DKR, brisket can be found in abundance.
When you say Wisconsin, you've said it all.
This tailgating seen is routinely rated near the top of every list, and why not?
In the cradle of brats and cheese, Badger fans hold sway over some of the most appetizing food found on a grill anywhere in the nation.
Everyone has brats, but not as many as these people.
They literally grill pick-up truck loads of the things.
The football team is worth seeing, but the tailgate will leave you wondering how to become a Wisconsinite.
Iowa State Cyclones
The Iowa State football program does not really move the needle nationally.
That said, they have some pretty dedicated fans who know how to party.
This parking lot is clearly full, which is more than can be said for the stadium.
Just kidding, the fans are loyal, but when you know your team is going to get clobbered shortly, the most fun Cyclone fans can have is in the parking lots.
Hit up Lambert Street for inflatables and free food.
Dress up as minions or the seven dwarves and join the "Breakfast Club".
If you are feeling adventurous, get a peanut butter burger, and follow this up with a game in which the Boilermakers lose.
Thousand do every home game weekend, why not you?
Paul Pasqualoni has not had much success with the Huskies this season.
Of course, they were Big East champs last season without him, but still, the tailgating in Connecticut, of all places, is stellar.
Of course, there is always the run to Cabela's to get warm during the freezing rain, and UConn fans will tell you that they enjoy when Yale/UConn meet.
This is one program that is still getting used to being in the FBS, so they still have some growing today, but given the intensity of their fan base, they should have the support to make it big before too long.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Irish have been living on the vestigial remains of their great tradition and championships for the past decade or so.
That said, this program still has some of the most loyal fans you will find anywhere.
While the football team itself keeps annually disappointing fans across the country, the Irish faithful spend their time on Saturdays grilling, singing and partying with reckless abandon.
What sets them apart, however, is their ability to adapt and tailgate on the road.
No fan base in the country travels as faithfully with as much success as these guys.
The atmosphere around the military academies on game day is always significantly different that what you might experience on any other college campus.
However, it does not change the fact that there are some great places in Annapolis to hang out and get great food and beverages.
Of course, the team is up and down, never even sniffing a BCS berth, but, given the importance of what they do on a regular basis, that is understandable.
Marshall Thundering Herd
You will find people huddled around fires, which are used both for cooking and for surviving the cold weather at a Thundering Herd tailgate.
Sometimes the turnout is pretty abysmal, either due to the temperature or the inability of the team to win games, but those that tailgate do it well.
From burgers to scrambled eggs to biscuits and gravy, there is plenty of food to be had.
Of course, if it came down to a choice between enjoying this type of fare and having to sit through a Thundering herd football game, I think we all know which decision to make.
Colorado State Rams
Ram Town, the place where you can find an incredible amount of food, beverages and good times to be had on game day.
The Rams are miserable, yet again, so any opportunity to be happy before and after the game need to be taken advantage of in order to make the day as a CSU fan a success.
Washington State Cougars
The tailgating in Pullman is gradually getting better, and standard fare can be had near the stadium, along with card games, cornhole and beverages.
The team is atrocious, so pretty much any tailgate would be better than sitting through three hours of watching your team suck.
Paul Wulff needs to go.
Cal Golden Bears
The Golden bears are playing away from home while Memorial Stadium is renovated, even so, the tailgating is a thing to remember.
There is practically none near the stadium, it is all done at local watering holes or parking lots a distance from the stadium.
That said, the food is good, and fans are pretty wild.
The team has not been all that great since I can remember, so taking in this unique experience definitely checks in above watching them.
I could not without a doubt verify that this is not a hoax.
Whether it is or not, Harvard is a great place to tailgate.
Players join fans after the game for burgers and brats, and the feel is more personable than at some of the larger football schools.
The stadium is beautiful, but the team stinks, and tailgating is, well tailgating.
There is not much that beats it.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Junction is the premier spot to tailgate in Starkville, if you can survive all of the cowbells being flaunted everywhere in sight.
Oby's provides a great place to eat, with a pretty cool atmosphere.
The fans are knowledgeable, intense and loyal.
But the Bulldogs just can't get over the hump.
They consistently under-perform making the tailgate the highlight of the weekend in Starkville.
If you choose to go to Lexington during football season and go to the stadium, you either bleed bluegrass or are a diehard Ashley Judd fan.
You certainly don't go for the football.
But tailgating is great in L-Town.
You can enjoy time at the track, find somebody who will share burgoo, barbeque or burgers, and follow that up with a late night visit to one of the many fine eateries nearby.
Typical SEC tailgate full of passionate fans, overall a solid experience, unlike watching the Wildcats pretend to play football.
North Texas Mean Green
Since when have the Mean Green been relevant?
That's right, no one is certain.
With a vehicular device such as this being used for tailgate fun, it is pretty obvious why one would like to party with these people.
Its like Optimus Prime met the Hulk and this is their brainchild.
Troy has routinely been one of the better teams in the Sun Belt conference.
Until this season.
However, fans still have the tailgate to look forward to.
Along University, near the Quad and the Armory, you will find plenty of avid fans of this small school.
Many schools have some sort of "walk" with their team prior to the game, but the "Trojan-walk" has to be seen to be appreciated.
The nearest NFL team is thousands of miles away.
Football fans in Hawaii follow the Warrior, and they do so with impressive fervency.
There is no arguing the fact that the Warriors generally have an entertaining offense, but even at it's best, all the team could do was give BCS-Busters a black eye in a whooping by Georgia.
Even so, there are few places that offer a more diverse, interesting tailgating experience.
Its Hawaii, that is all that needs to be said.
The team was the whipping boy of the Big Ten for years, but have shown some serious improvement in recent seasons.
The tailgating scene is very similar.
Fans are more and more apt to be found in parking lots and open areas instead of skulking in alleys and backyards.
Stop by if you want to be thoroughly embarrassed by conversations way over your head.
Yes, the Hoosiers are the worst team in the Big Ten on a fairly regular basis.
Therefore, it does not take much of a tailgate to beat the team.
Even so, these fans go all out.
Hoosier Village is filled with alumni and fans eager to party, as their team does not do much entertaining.
Oh well, I guess it must be because Indiana is a basketball school...
The Tigers are the best team in the country in 2011.
The tailgating is better than that.
Cajun/spicy/Creole food is like a party in your mouth.
LSU fans are extremely ardent in their support for all thing pertaining to the Tigers, and there is nothing to compare with crawdads and corn on the cob.
If this doesn't appeal to you, try the gumbo, duck, jambalaya or any other of the several assorted stomach pleasers.
It's like the Basking-Robbins of tailgating.
These fans have to be loyal to watch a team that bad wearing a color scheme so atrocious.
No offense to Maryland residents, but the whole flag thing does not translate well to uniforms.
Cornhole and ladder golf are scattered intermittently through the landscape, and Terp Alley is a good place to hang out and find something for your taste buds to enjoy.
And don't forget to try the different varieties of chili when it gets colder.
Look, any place where fans are brave enough to grill squirrel and rabbit reeks of desperation.
Those are some brave, or inebriated, tailgaters.
As for pigs, they can be found whole at times, cooking slowly over a fire.
There may not be as many Baylor fans as there are fans of other schools at tailgates, but they make up for it with there willingness to try anything.
Even at the peak of the Tigers' success earlier in the century, they were not an elite program.
Therefore, even the mild tailgating activities that take place at Faurot Field easily dwarf the team by comparison.
While standard tailgating fare, consisting of burgers, brats and various assortments of casseroles and barbecued meat can be found in abundance, the thing that makes this place rock is the people.
Missouri fans are a lively bunch, who seem to know they have no reason to be arrogant, and no reason to be bitter.
They accept what the team is, and while pulling for a victory, are very realistic about the outcome.
There may not be a team that is annually as awful as Kansas.
The Jayhawks are absolutely unbearable to watch in their ineptitude.
Thank the good Lord for tailgating.
Fans can settle down and prepare for their team's woes before the game, or try to forget about their performance following a loss.
September can be a bit warm, but later in the season, the fall weather is pleasant.
In spite of their mild run of success thus far this season, the Cavaliers are one of the more mediocre teams in the nation.
Not so for their tailgating scene.
Wahoo fans swarm to tailgating sites, prepared for a day filled with beverages, brats and mediocre football.
As surely as the Cavaliers will find a way to lose several of their games, the orange-clad faithful will be found partying in expectation of the upcoming contest.
It's in Florida.
The Bulls are struggling this season, but in a climate like that, the party never stops.
As evidenced from the photo, t-shirts are acceptable and comfortable attire, while in some of the tailgating scenes farther north, nothing sort of a fur-lined parka will suffice.
The food is not that bad either.
East Carolina Pirates
The color scheme at Pirates' tailgating is interesting.
The yellow and purple of the team can be found sprinkled with a plethora of "jolly rogers."
The atmosphere around Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is intense, and the food is plentiful.
Just be aware that you will see grown men acting like pirates for the greater part of the day.
What is better than a free ticket to the ball game?
Free food, of course, and Temple students get to enjoy both of these.
Given the Owls' history of losing in the past, they are doing the appropriate thing by giving away tickets.
For the rest of us, there are plenty of Philly cheese-steaks to go around.
That is all that's needed.
Yes, that is a "Huskie-mobile."
Fans party in and around these things pretty regularly at NIU games.
Chandler Harnish has provided an entertaining spark for the Huskie faithful, but after his departure, they will likely return to the mediocrity from whence they have arisen.
So enjoy the atmosphere outside the stadium, because the team isn't going to be that great inside.
The Gators are struggling again this season in Will Muschamp's first year at the helm.
Not so outside the stadium.
Sights ranging from this vehicle, to "jorts" to orange and blue accouterments in all shapes and sizes can be seen in a visually stirring panoply of support for the Gators.
Enjoy burgers and brats?
Want some gator or shrimp?
And it's in Florida.
It's warm until December...
South Carolina Gamecocks
For some of the most luxurious "tailgating" available, look no further than the "Cockaboose Railroad".
No SC tailgate is complete without some form of fried chicken or smoked meat, and you can't forget the cards or cornhole, or whatever game suits your fancy on that particular day.
The team is making strides, and has been enjoyable for a short time, but it appears that this season they will take a step back, leaving it wide open for tailgating to take over again.
The Bulldogs are playing really well right now, but are not always equal to the tailgating around the stadium.
It has gotten more expensive to park near the stadium over recent seasons, but this has not dampened the ardor with which fans fry okra, barbeque meat and guzzle beverages.
Plenty of UGA look-alikes clutter the landscape, so watch where you step.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Sure, the football team has been very good over the last decade or so, but the tailgating is absolutely ridiculous.
Mountaineer fans are some of the most intense, loyal people you will meet, and they sure know how to get ready for a football game.
Pepperoni rolls, enough said.
Fresno State Bulldogs
Not the most beautiful town in the state, but the tailgating scene is great.
Bulldog fans are ridiculously loyal, and the mantra of head coach Pat Hill: "Anyone, anywhere, anytime" could hold true for tailgaters.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Nevada is enjoying a place atop the WAC, even without star quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Fans keep on partying, the team keeps on winning.
Food and beverages, however, win out over a small conference football team.
My apologies to the Wolf Pack and Chris Ault.
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
The Hilltoppers' young FBS team is enjoying it's best season since starting to play with the big boys.
The team is bad, but the fans know how to tailgate, and you will likely see "Big Red" wandering around the campus.
(What he has to do with a "Hilltopper" I have yet to figure out)
For their relative youth in the FBS, fans are nearly pros at grilling and various styles of preparing tailgating favorites.
Holy Jambulance, Batman.
Toledo fans party in style.
The time they would spend watching the game has been spent renovating this piece.
Check it out.
They paint their nails gold and black.
They set up tents, light up grills and bask in the warm Florida sun for hours.
Central Florida fans have it so tough, don't they?
The team leaves something to be desired, but the time spent outside the stadium easily makes up for any shortcomings.