From the pickled herring consumption of the St. Olaf College Oles to the Midnight Yell heard on Texas A and M’s campus, tailgating traditions are a big part of the American college experience.
Business Insider recently released its list of the 50 Best College Tailgates In America. The list was comprised of Scott Backstrom’s rankings of the best college tailgates throughout the country where fans come together to eat, drink, and have fun before losing their minds at a football game.
Backstrom, creator of the famed TailgateMaster.com, earned his nickname “Tailgate Master” by knowing just what it takes for a school to have a successful pregame party — and it’s a little more than having just one or two weird traditions.
Here are some of the factors that Backstrom takes a look at when determining which schools make the list of the best college tailgates.
Grilling and eating
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 79.1 million Americans reported grilling at some point in 2016. A tailgate isn’t complete without the smell of grilled meats present. Because of the importance of grilling, a big Texas school like Texas Christian University (TCU) cracks the top 10, coming in at number eight on the list.
“The rise of tailgating among the Horned Frogs is something that we hope continues,” Backstrom said. “Huge smokers, grills, and fan vehicles are common. This tailgate is full of purple tents and a cornucopia of food choices.”
A lot of tailgaters go just for the tailgate and head home when the game starts (hopefully to watch the game). A good tailgate has plenty of food and drinks but also has fun activities. West Virginia University, coming in at 24, makes the top 25 because of its large tailgating space and plenty of fun abound.
“Make your way through the blue and gold lots for a little piece of tailgating heaven,” Backstrom added.
Tailgating isn’t just about drinking and eating — it’s about showing support for the team and school. A good tailgate should be filled with plenty of positive energy and a sea of color supporting the team. You can certainly expect to see plenty of that at the number 10 tailgating school on this list: Clemson University.
“Super friendly fans make this one of the best Saturday games you will ever enjoy,” said Backstrom.