Week 2 of the college football season presented a relatively weaker schedule, but still managed to give us plenty of what we truly love about being a fan: The tailgating.
Week 3 presents what is probably the biggest opportunity to throw down this season: Alabama at Texas A&M. College Station is always one of the rowdiest places to be on a Saturday, but with the defending national champions and ESPN’s College GameDay coming to town this one is going to be utter mayhem. However, it won’t be the only place fans will be winning the game outside of the game this weekend. Wisconsin is headed to Arizona State for a big-time out-of-conference showdown, Tennessee heads way out west to Oregon and, of course, Louisville takes on Kentucky in a battle for in-state supremacy
We’ve ranked the top 10 places to be for some of the best tailgating nationwide and, yes, we’ve got our “B’s” in a row (beers, brats, burgers, BBQ, booze, babes, etc.) - hopefully you do too.
Just Missed the Cut
- Vanberbilt at No. 13 South Carolina – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 7:00 p.m. EST, ESPN
- No. 4 Ohio State at Cal – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 7:00 p.m. EST, FOX
- No. 21 Notre Dame at Purdue – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 8:00 p.m. EST, ABC
- Mississippi State at Auburn – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 7:00 p.m. EST, ESPN2
10. No. 24 TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Tech Red Raiders – Thursday, Sept. 12 @ 7:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
In this Thursday night special, an excellent TCU squad rolls into Lubbock to take on walk-on true freshman quarterback Baker Mayfield and Texas Tech. Red Raiders fans got their first home look at Mayfield last weekend, but that was in a blowout over Stephen F. Austin.
TCU provides the first real, proven test for Mayfield and first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury, and that will be reason to celebrate with a massive tailgate. Horned Frogs fans can easily make this trip, meaning parking lots, grass fields and bars should all be packed for the nationally-televised showdown.
Talk about kicking off the weekend’s tailgating right.
9. Tennessee Volunteers at No. 2 Oregon Ducks – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 3:30 p.m. EST, ABC
Following a blowout of the Bobby Petrino-led Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Tennessee sits proudly at 2-0. The Ducks, with their dominant, track-meet style rushing attack, are also 2-0. In 2010, Oregon traveled down to Rocky Top and absolutely pounded the Vols, 48-13. That was the only time these two programs have met.
Suffice it to say, Oregon fans will be out in droves for the opportunity to watch their squad potentially demolish any and all SEC opponents. Combine that with the fact that Vols fans know how to travel and how to get blitzed, and the Pacific Northwest should be out of control for this one.
8. Kent State Golden Flags at No. 8 LSU Tigers – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 7:00 p.m. EST, ESPNU
How can you keep an LSU night game off this list? You can’t. Like flies flocking to stink on you-know-what, Tigers fans descend upon Baton Rouge for night games in Death Valley with more intensity than most other fan bases can imagine. Zach Mettenberger set a record with five passing touchdowns a week ago, and new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron seems to have the entire unit finally headed in the right direction.
Before the season began, Kent State looked like a really strong MAC opponent for an LSU team on the rebuild. However, with the offense finally clicking in Baton Rouge, fans should be riled up to make Death Valley deafening.
7. No. 16 UCLA Bruins at No. 23 Nebraska Cornhuskers – Saturday, Sept. 14 @12:00 p.m. EST, ABC
What promises to be one of the best and most competitive on-field matchups of the weekend loses some tailgating value with a noon kickoff. This is not a natural rivalry (like Louisville-Kentucky, which we’ll be getting to), but rather just an excellent out-of-conference matchup between two programs looking to boost their respective strength of schedule.
Of course, fans are going to be pumped. There will be bags (cornhole for those of you out there that want to play a game with your family called “cornhole”), beers, brats, the whole nine.
Back to the kickoff time: COME ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE MAKERS (I.E. ESPN), YOU ARE RUINING THE FUN
6. No. 19 Washington Huskies at Illinois Fighting Illini – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 6:00 p.m. EST, Big Ten Network
For the second straight weekend, Illinois brings a highly rated out-of-conference foe into town, and for the second straight weekend, the Illini will be looking for a win. Coach Tim Beckman’s team blew away a very good Cincinnati team a week ago, meaning this fan base will be frothing at the mouth for another “W.”
Illinois has been rated among the top five party schools in each of the last several years. You don’t think they will bust out those partying habits for a good football team, or at least a good football matchup? Soldier Field is going to be rocking for this one.
5. No. 7 Louisville Cardinals at Kentucky Wildcats – Saturday, Sept. 14 @12:00 p.m. EST, ESPN
Now, generally speaking, noon games receive a huge points deduction from us – you just can’t get enough tailgating in before kickoff to compete against the night games. We specifically dropped UCLA-Nebraska and Oregon-Tennessee in the rankings due to game time. In this case, however, we had no choice but to put Louisville-Kentucky at No. 6. These rival fan bases absolutely despise each other. The Cardinals are one of the best teams in the nation, and Kentucky’s fans are excited to see what first-year coach Mark Stoops brings to the rivalry.
Most importantly, however, ‘Cats fans are pumped to show their Loo’ville counterparts who can really tailgate the hardest – no matter the kickoff time.
4. No. 25 Ole Miss Rebels at Texas Longhorns – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 8:00 p.m. EST, Longhorn Network
Unfortunately, we had to move what could have been an amazing tailgating session down to No. 4 after the Longhorns’ embarrassing loss to BYU last weekend. Had both of these teams entered their Week 3 showdown undefeated, the parties would have been almost too wild to handle. Instead, folks will definitely be having a great time, but things may be just a tad bit more subdued than usual.
With so many great tailgating and partying opportunities happening this weekend, having to use the word “subdued” is definitely not a good sign. That being said, Ole Miss fans will travel anywhere for a good tailgate, and there will still be tens of thousands of Horns fans ready to grill them.
3. Iowa Hawkeyes at Iowa State Cyclones – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 6:00 p.m. EST, Fox Sports 1
Forget the win totals or the 2013 season projections for both of these clubs and focus on what’s important here: The fans. Since both teams are going to be grasping for four or maybe five wins this season, there is only one thing for these fans to do: Out-party their dreaded in-state competition.
There isn’t too much to do in Aimes except drink and watch football. With both of the state’s big-time programs in town for the night game, there will be plenty of both going down on Saturday.
2. No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers at Arizona State Sun Devils – Saturday, Sept. 14 @10:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
This game nets such a high tailgating rating for several reasons, the first being that the folks at Arizona State know how to make it happen. Sun Devils fans harbor hopes of a Pac-12 title this year. Wisconsin fans have seen a team play two full games but not allow a single point thus far. This huge, out-of-conference showdown will be a great benchmark for both teams. More to our point, however, Badgers fans know how to travel, and they know how to drink themselves silly – especially when warm weather is involved.
Sun Devils girls out in droves combined with Sconnie Nation teaching the world how to Bucky? Count us in.
1. No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide at No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies – Saturday, Sept. 14 @ 3:30 p.m. EST, CBS
Forget the Game of the Week, this is set up to be the Game of the Decade. The college football world descends upon College Station this Saturday, but the parties are already raging. Expect some of the most intense drinking and grilling you have ever seen if you find yourself in this neck of the woods.