College Football: The Grove, the Golf Course and the 12 Coolest Tailgate Spots

Tom PerryCorrespondent IJune 16, 2011

College Football: The Grove, the Golf Course and the 12 Coolest Tailgate Spots

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    COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 27: Ohio State Buckeyes fans tailgate in a parking lot outside Ohio Stadium before their game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on September 27, 2008 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    There are fans of some schools—most notably the SEC programs—who have made tailgating an art.

    Specialty foods, cornhole and Jackorades (think Jack Daniels and Gatorade) can help almost anyone get ready for the big game.

    But have you ever thought about the best locations for tailgating?

    Ohio State is a great place to fire up a grill, but if you had to pick the best location outside Ohio Stadium, where would it be?

    Keep reading for the 12 best locations to tailgate.

Special Mention: Cockaboose Railroad (South Carolina)

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    Since this is more of an elite spot than other tailgates, it doesn't quite qualify for the list.

    But it's too cool to overlook.

    If you have money, it would be worth trying it at least once. For about $250,000 you can buy one of about 15 rail cars (if someone will sell it to you) on an abandoned rail spur.

    They are used only on game day, so you can't sleep in them after the game.

12. The Blue Lot (West Virginia Mountaineers)

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    The Blue Lot is now called "The Pit," and you can find about anything and everything going on in it.

    Maybe there are youngsters throwing a football or more likely an underage coed doing her first keg stand.

    The Blue Lot is not on the admission tour, but it is where many West Virginia students become adults.

    It gets loud in The Pit, and you'll hear the fans start the "Let's Go Mountaineers" chant about 1,000 times before kickoff.

11. Breeze Terrace (Wisconsin Badgers)

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    Breeze Terrace is next to the engineering department and right across the street from student housing.

    Probably the best part of living at Breeze Terrace is you could tailgate about 20 steps away from Camp Randall. It's almost like tailgating in the stadium.

    Wisconsin fans are among the elite in the nation at tailgating, so this is just one of many great spots.

10. Happy Valley (Penn State Nittany Lions)

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    There doesn't seem to be that one place at Penn State because it seems everyone who is there for the game is partying outside of Beaver Stadium.

    You will actually find close to 200,000 fans tailgating, while there are only enough seats for 107,282.

    So what do the others do during the game? That's right, they keep tailgating while watching the game on TV outside the stadium.

    When the opposing team arrives at the stadium, the first thing the players see is a sea of Nittany Lions fans who are ready for the big game. It can be extremely intimidating.

    Penn State fans rival any SEC fans in passion for their team.

9. Lake Washington (Washington Huskies)

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    Have you ever been boatgating?

    Apparently it is the chic thing to do if you're going to a Washington Huskies game.

    There can be upward 12,000 more people out on Lake Washington next to Husky Stadium, some of whom stay on the lake the entire weekend camping out.

    And the Huskies even have a special twist to make this even cooler: Members of Washington's rowing team offer shuttles from the boats to the docks for the game.

    Is it an NCAA violation to tip the rowers?

8. Boats on the Tennessee River (Tennessee Volunteers)

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    Okay, this is very similar to what is going on at Washington.

    But "Rocky Top" is blaring, there's Tennessee cuisine and crazy orange-clad fans that give the Volunteers an edge in this category.

    Plus, there are just more Tennessee fans than UW fans.

7. The Quad (Alabama Crimson Tide)

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    The Quad is a great location for a tailgate, but it's also a bit corporate now as well.

    The corporate part comes for the Kickoff on the Quad festivities that include food vendors, merchandise and the parent-approved activities for the kids.

    But the Quad is one of the great traditions in the SEC, and every fan should experience it once.

6. Schottenstein Center (Ohio State Buckeyes)

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    Since the demise of Hineygate at Ohio State, the next best place to hang out is the parking lot by the Schottenstein Center.

    This is where the RV's congregate, and the tailgating is at its finest.

    There's pulled pork, brats and hamburgers to go with the cornhole.

    The OSU cheerleaders will definitely make an appearance, and the "O-H...I-O" chants never get old.

5. Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club (Michigan Wolverines)

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    While the rules have gotten tougher at the Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club in recent years, it's still the best place for a Michigan fan to eat, drink and socialize before a game.

    The regulars set up their tents and grills in the same place for each home game, and everyone around them quickly becomes friends.

    Michigan's fans are generous as well, sharing the grilled or smoked fare.

    During the Rich Rodriguez era, the most fun any Michigan fan could have was at this tailgate.

4. The Junction (Mississippi State Bulldogs)

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    The Junction at Mississippi State was transformed from a quagmire outside of Davis-Wade Stadium into a one-of-a-kind tailgating experience.

    The Junction actually pays homage to the former site of the railroad that transported students to campus early in the 20th Century. On game day, the open space becomes crowded with tens of thousands of maroon-clad fans, who have much more to cheer about since Dan Mullen arrived.

    Visiting fans should take the time to get to the Junction for the quintessential Mississippi State tailgating experience, if not the best in the SEC.

3. RV Parking Lot (LSU Tigers)

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    Really, anywhere near an LSU home game is a great place to tailgate.

    But the RV Parking Lot is where the serious partying is taking place.

    You will find some of the best Cajun food in the world, especially the gumbo and jambalaya.

    Since LSU plays a lot of night games, the pregame celebration can feel like two days (in a good way).

2. The Grove (Ole Miss Rebels)

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    The Grove is legendary.

    It's 10 acres with oak, elm and magnolia trees. From the outside it looks like one huge party, but in reality it is bunch of different gatherings—family reunions, company gatherings, cocktail parties, picnics, dinner parties, as well as your typical fraternity parties.

    By Friday, The Grove could also be called "Tent City," but in a good way.

    Whether Ole Miss wins or loses, the party runs at least three days from Friday to Sunday.

1. Brookside Golf Course (UCLA Bruins)

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    UCLA's football program hasn't experienced much success in recent years, but the Bruins still boast the best tailgate location in the nation.

    Welcome to Brookside Golf Course, which has also been the site of some sweet Rose Bowl tailgates as well.

    The place is packed with gorgeous, tan students who would love nothing more than to have a team worth cheering for each week.

    At least they get the tailgating part right.