College football Saturday’s don’t begin at kickoff. As soon as the sun rises on game day, we flock to the campus of our favorite team with snacks, coolers of refreshments, radios, TVs and a flood of spirited apparel to embark on one of the most celebrated of traditions: the tailgate. And every school has its own way of doing things. From the extreme to the upscale to the downright uncanny, we’ve listed a few of our favorite tailgate traditions in college football.
The Midnight Yell
Each week before a game, thousands of enthusiastic Aggie fans gather by the masses at midnight to practice cheering on their team. And by cheering, we mean screaming their lungs out! They are even directed by designated “Yell Leaders” that coach students through their raucous cheers. Now that’s spirit!
The Tiger Walk
Two hours before every home game begins, over 20,000 tailgaters rush over to Donahue Drive for Auburn’s treasured tradition, The Tiger Walk. Fans flood the walkway and greet the players, coaching staff and lovable mascot Aubie as they make their jaunt into the stadium. That’s one way to make a grand entrance!
Mirror Lake Dip
There’s nothing like a polar bear plunge in the middle of fall to get fans geared up for a rivalry game! Before the anticipated Michigan matchup each year, Ohio State fans congregate for a dip in the frosty Mirror Lake.
Wine and Cheese Soirees at Harvard
Each year before Harvard plays their archrival Yale in “The Game,” students and alumni gather beforehand for a ritual wine and cheese soiree. Much like a regular tailgate party, fans merely trade brews and burgers for bubbly and cheese hors d’oeuvres — celebrating in elegant fashion.
The Gator Roast
What better way to psyched before your biggest rivalry game than roast and feast on your opposing team’s mascot! Before Sunshine State powerhouses FSU and UF battle every year, the Seminoles whip up an annual Alligator Roast during the pre-game tailgate.