Make the right calls and find the best parking spots in college football this season
honed television into high definition, but a separate truth still stands: Seeing is one thing; beholding is another. College football in America is an experience far beyond instant replay, and tailgating immerses us in the culture of the sport. Where we can hear the roar of the crowd. See oceans of people in opposing colors. And taste the best food every fanbase has to offer. Make no mistake: Tailgating is the perfect RV sport. So whichever banner you display in whatever conference your team *currently* plays (looking at you, Oklahoma and Texas), your RV is the perfect vehicle to travel into the sacred grounds of college football’s richest cultures. This short guide will help you do just that for the rest of the regular season. We’ll breakdown the game plan, then tour across the country to find the most roadworthy destinations on the fall schedule.
Get the Scouting Report
Take your tailgate one game at a time, like a real Nick Saban acolyte. Every game, every stadium, and every university parking situation is just a bit different. (Sometimes wildly.) So you’re gonna need to spend some time in the film room. (Or, you know, maybe Google some stuff.) Doing your research will keep you from getting surprised when you show up, which could put you in poor field position. A prime RV spot has space to set up and spread out while keeping you near enough to the stadium to enjoy the crowd noise. Prepping your cooking playbook can be another fun wrinkle in your game plan. Sure, you can always just stick with tried-and-true regulars like burgers, chicken, hot dogs, and chili. That’s Woody Hayes’s three-yards-and-cloud-of-dust approach. Simple and effective. But, hey, you may just have more fun cooking up a local dish, like smoking a turkey leg among the Hokies in Blacksburg. And because you have a kitchen, you have options.
Enjoy the Home Field Advantage
Tailgating in your road abode means you’re basically playing at home. Before, during, and after the game, your fellow fans and attendees are going to be searching for a place in the shade where
they can eat, drink, sit, and watch TV. But not you. You’re as safe as Pete Carroll in the Coliseum (which should keep your win average around 93 percent). With your RV on-site at the game, you get all the game-day atmosphere. But you can still watch the game in HD just steps away from your kitchen or under the shade of your awning. Portable satellites like the DISH Outdoors Tailgater Pro make the lack of Wi-Fi a non-issue. So, expect to make some friends. Speaking of which …
Show Good Sportsmanship
Hospitality and tailgating go hand-in-hand. Whether that’s ribbing a rival over cornhole or sharing a cold one with your friend of five minutes, embrace the spirit of game day. The more inviting you are, the more fun you will have. True, it may cost you a few lagers from your Oktoberfest stash, but that stat won’t change the score.
Let’s Hit the Road
NOTRE DAME @ VIRGINIA TECH
ESPN’s Chris Fowler calls “Enter Sandman” the rockingest entrance in college football. Hold onto that smoked turkey leg—the earth may shake.
IOWA STATE @ KANSAS STATE
Let the wrestling over the remains of the Big 12 begin! With Oklahoma and Texas leaving the conference, the Cyclones and Wildcats vie to be the new top dog.
OREGON @ UCLA
Is it the Rose Bowl or the Chip Kelly Bowl? Current UCLA coach Chip Kelly looks to exact revenge on his former team. He was only three points shy last year.
Also Consider: Clemson at Pittsburgh, USC at Notre Dame
GEORGIA vs. FLORIDA
Formerly called “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” that title has since been dropped (but not the party). The 50-50 SEC East crowd is one-of-a-kind.
LSU @ ALABAMA
The last two national champions. Nick Saban and Coach O. All the bragging rights in the vicious SEC West. Yeah, circle this one.
MICHIGAN @ PENN STATE
Remember the four-overtime finish in 2013. Yep, we do too. We’re already praying for a White Out, so dress accordingly.
Also Consider: Miami at Florida State, Arizona State at Washington
SMU @ CINCINNATI
One of the best Group of Five matchups of the year, this is a chance for both teams to make a statement to the CFP Selection Committee.
OHIO STATE @ MICHIGAN
They call it “The Game.” We call it, “A good test for your all-weather camper”. It may be now or never for Harbaugh, but the rivalry is timeless
Also Consider: Alabama at Auburn, Oklahoma State at Oklahoma