It’s Back To School For cDllege Football Tailgating And Tuscaloosa Bars For Alabama-Ole Miss Game
It’s Roll Tide and, yes, even a Hottie Toddie or two as I spend the last weekend of September in Tuscaloosa for the Al-a-BAM-a and Ole Miss college football game.
It’s back to school for me, for I am a Bama graduate – and putting that degree in journalism to good use with this blog and PubClub.com – as I return to campus for one of the few times since graduating.
As good fortune has it, I am the guest of a Southern gentleman who has kindly offered me a place in his box suite – yes, a box suite! – in Bryant-Denny Stadium. I call him the Hugh Hefner of Alabama and I’ll be staying at his palace in the upscale area of Northport, which I have dubbed the Playboy Mansion of Tuscaloosa. Nick Saban lives right across the river.
I know him because his lovely daughter – the “Bama Blonde” as I call her – was once the go-getting president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Alabama Alumni Association. I now live in Los Angeles.
Led by “Hugh Hefner,” it’s a weekend of fun bars – “I’m younger than my daughter,” he explains – the tailgate party on the Quad, the game and the post-game bar scene. Kickoff is not until 5 p.m., local time, and that provides plenty of a build-up frenzy.
One of the things I’m looking forward to is the Elephant Stomp. That’s the cheerleaders and band doing a procession from the Quad into the stadium about an hour before kickoff.
These walks are commonplace among SEC schools and really adds to the pageantry of the event. And in the SEC, football games are most definitely special events. If the Pac-12, which has “SEC jealousy,” really wants to emulate the nation’s best conference, it needs to closely observe these Southern rituals. Living in LA, I see this “SEC jealousy” all the time. That being said, going to Pac-12 games are indeed fun, just a little less intense about the outcome.
One other exciting element is mingling with fans of the opposing team. One of my great life shortcomings is that I’ve never been to The Grove, Ole Miss’ legendary tailgate party. I do, know, however, that to make instant friends of Ole Miss fans all you have to do is give them their party battle cry of “Hottie Toddie!” They will then stick a drink your hand.
Ahh, college football in the SEC. To borrow the slogan of Tuscaloosa’s legendary and best-in-the-world ribs joint Dreamland, “Ain’t nothing like it nowhere.”