Top Tailgate, Party Towns & Pre- And Post-Game Celebrations
The AP, ESPN and the College Playoff Committee have their rankings. And PubClub.com has our rankings.
And it’s not just our Top Party Schools. It’s this other all-important element of the college game, the atmosphere around the game. This is what you can only get by being at the game, not at home watching on TV.
So here’s our picks for the Best of the Rest of college football:
• Best Tailgate Party: Georgia-Florida. It’s not called “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” for nothing. And yes, we still refer to this game by its unofficial nickname.
Runner-up: The Grove, Ole Miss. Hotty Toddy. Those are the only two words you need to know at this glorious spot.
More Than Honorable Mentions: Oklahoma-Texas. Held in Dallas, the Red River Shootout been part of the Texas State Fair forever and is the focus of the festivities. See also LSU, Florida State, Wisconsin, Michigan-Michigan State and USC-UCLA where some people don’t even bother going into the game until the fourth quarter (too busy socializing).
• Best College Party Town: Austin. There are a heck of a lot of great college party towns: Chapel Hill, Santa Barbara, Knoxville, Gainesville, even Athens, Ohio. One of the best is Tuscaloosa. But nothing tops Austin, Texas. If you can’t have a great time in Austin, then you might as well just shut the door and never leave home because you can’t have fun anywhere!
• Best Pre-Game Celebration: Tennessee. UT has the Volunteer Walk (the football team going into the stadium down Volunteer Blvd.); the Pride of the Southland Band’s “Salute to the Hill” where they stop in the street and pay homage to “the Hill,” the original part of campus; they continue marching right into Neyland Stadium and then “split the ‘T’ when the team runs onto the field. There’s nothing like it.
• Best Post-Game Celebration: USC. At USC, there’s a similar celebration after the games. The band plays to the student section and the Song Girls dance to the great Trojan music. This goes on for about 45 minutes. It’s awesome.
There is no other bowl game that gets LSU Tiger girls on a Bourbon Street balcony.
• Best Bowl Game: Sugar Bowl. It’s in New Orleans and that’s really all that needs to be said. Although these days it’s a moving target with the Final Four games. Still, you can’t beat being on Bourbon Street and in New Orleans for being at a game.
• Best Cheerleaders: USC. Hands down. No arguments. Those cotton sweaters and pleated skirts are awesome. Not only that, but they dance and are more precise than half the teams in college football.
Runner-up: Tennessee. Girls have to walk up “the hill” to freshman classes at Ayers Hall, the oldest building on campus. That really builds up their legs, which helps out with all those leg kicks. The cheerleaders are as sweet as soda pop at UT.
• Best Looking Coeds. Loyola Maramount, Playa del Rey, CA. It’s amazing. Smokin’! It’s the only way to describe them. And not just one here and one there. More like nine out of 10. When they go out it’s like a Bud Light Lime commercial. And they go out on Thurdays in Manhattan Beach, CA.
• Best Cheer: “Go Cocks,” USC, University of South Carolina. You have to hear it with the song and in the home stadium with the band playing. Runner-up: “Let’s Go Peay,” Austin Peay in Tennessee. Worst Cheer: The Southern California “spellout” from the West Coast USC. It’s long, not inspiring and dumb.
• Best T-shirt Slogan: “I’d rather Ball U than IU.” Ball State University in a reference to Indiana. The interstate freeway exit for the campus is number 69, by the way.
• Best Nickname: The University of Santa Cruz (CA) Banana Slugs.
• Best Stadium: Neyland Stadium, University of Tennessee. It’s not the Volunteer Navy, the many boats tied up together on the Tennessee River that becomes a dockside party that makes it so incredible. It’s the rocking stadium, which shakes like an earthquake every time the Vols make a big play. Afterward, it’s down to the Cumblerland Ave. Strip for a long night of celebrating. It’s all this combined that maie it the best stadium, although for the better structure, there are better places, such as Bryant-Denny (Alabama) and The Big House (Michigan).
• Best Band: Million Dollar Band, University of Alabama. So named because at one time the football team stunk yet the band was awesome, thus prompting a sportswriter to comment, “At least the band looks like a million dollars.” It still does today. Second-Best Band: Pride of the Southland Band, University of Tennessee. The band marches down the street straight into the stadium, then splits the “T” for the team to run through. Third-Best Band: FAMU (Florida A&M). They do put on a show! Honorable Mention: Stanford, for the political satire and Ohio State because there’s something cool about dotting the ‘i’ in Ohio.
• Best TV Announcer (ever): Mr. College Football. Retired or not, Keith Jackson still acts like a “6-4 soph-o-more from Ala-A-BAMA-a.” Okay, he’s from Georgia and went to Washington State, but he describes a shoestring tackle as “he got him by the hind leg.” Classic!