From the food and cocktails to the style and traditions, nobody does tailgating quite like Southerners. To celebrate the top college team in true Southern style, editors at Southern Living named the top 20 Southern schools with the greatest pregame celebrations and let readers determine the winner. Over 510,000 votes were cast and the results are in—the University of Mississippi can proudly claim second place in the “South’s Best Tailgate” by Southern Living.
Ole Miss, whose game day fanfare is featured in the new hour-long “Southern Living Tailgating Playbook” program on the Great American Country channel, is honored for its upscale tailgate at The Grove including chandeliers, candelabras and linen napkins. From blazers with bow ties to sundresses with pearls the Rebels enforce a strict dress code on game day: high style.
Fans were encouraged to rally around their favorite home team and vote online or via smartphone using the Digimarc Discover app from August 15 to October 1. One vote per day was counted toward the final tally; votes cast on Saturdays counted twice.
The ultimate winner of the “South’s Best Tailgate” will be announced on Monday, October 15 and Southern Living will crown the winner at a home game on campus by November 10.
The Southern Living roster of schools considered for “The South’s Best Tailgate” includes:
Auburn University: Boasts an entire Wikipedia page devoted to pregame rituals.
Clemson University: Caps off pre-gaming with one of the best player entrances in college football.
Grambling State University: Turns its rival match up into a weeklong extravaganza.
Hampden-Sydney College: Inspired a Brooks Brothers ad with its well-dressed “Hillgaters.”
Howard University: Sports the styles that have earned students mentions on best-dressedlists.
Louisiana State University: Enlists RVs and crawfish boils to cook up a massive tailgate.
McDaniel College: Houses the nation’s only drive-in stadium.
Mississippi State University: Treats its friendly fan base to ice cream made on-campus.
Southern Methodist University: “Boulevards” instead of tailgates with stylish barbecues.
Texas A&M: Wakes the school up at midnight on game day with “The Midnight Yell.”
University of Alabama: Packs tents 1,000-deep on the Quad each Saturday.
University of Arkansas: Claims two football stadiums in different cities.
University of Florida: Hosts annual tailgate-turned-block party occupying nine acres.
University of Georgia: Welcomes more than 100,000 tailgaters per game.
University of Mississippi: Is home to The Grove – chandeliers, candelabras, linen napkins and all.
University of Oklahoma: Starts with “The Land Run” to lay territory claim before each game.
University of South Carolina: Tailgates in Cockabooses, 22 train cabooses turned game day suites.
University of Tennessee: Unites 150 houseboats and yachts nearby for a massive “sailgate.”
University of Texas: Co-hosts annual Red River Rivalry in Dallas at the local State Fair.
University of Virginia: Tailgates against the backdrop of Charlottesville’s Monticello Mountain.
Southern Living chose the roster of schools vying for “The South’s Best Tailgate” based on the following criteria:
· Most Spirited: Schools that turn “fan” into “fanatic.”
· Traditionalists: Schools renowned for game-day rituals.
· Powerhouses: Southern schools with a history of winning on and off the field (chosen by the most bowl victories).
· Style Setters: From sundresses to cake stands, these schools showcase true splendor in the grass.
For the first time ever, Southern Living teamed up with the SEC to publish The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook, just in time for the first games of the 2012 football season. From the Ole Miss Ole Fashioned to Rocky Top Popcorn, Southern Living developed menus and tailgating ideas for every fan base. The 256-page cookbook features over 150 game day recipes and special sections highlighting each of the 14 SEC schools’ game day traditions, character and hometown flavor.
This fall, Southern Living and the Great American Country channel collaborated to produce “The Southern Living Tailgating Playbook,” an hour-long TV special that will air on Great American Country on Wednesday,October 17th at 8:00 p.m. EST. The program will re-air throughout the fall football season.