By now you guys know I hit at least one massive college football game per season, usually trying to make it the biggest regular season game of the year. Last year I was in Columbus for that glorious day when Harbaugh went back to Ann Arbor 0-2 against Ohio State. It was a beautiful day. The bars were out of control. The tailgating scene was incredible for the end of November. It was an ideal BC trip even though I didn’t blow money to go into the stadium.
That’s one of the biggest changes for these trips that I make. I’m starting to prefer not going into the games. Did it last year in College Station for the Tennessee game. Prices were out of control and the Houston hood rats were selling fakes so dad and I tried to bribe a gate guard to let us in. It didn’t work so we went and pounded BBQ after getting lit up at GameDay.
That brings me to the 2017 schedule. Time to find us a target game for this season.
Before we get to the list, I should note some of the rules for these trips that I make:
- Major preference given to campus games. Florida State-Alabama looks good on paper, but the tailgating scene won’t have a campus flavor so it gets a major downgrade. Plus, it’s on Labor Day weekend in Atlanta. I don’t feel like frying my balls off & maybe sucking down beers at some bar I could not care less about. In fact, Labor Day is totally out for me. I’ll gladly sit by the pool and watch games.
- Prefer GameDay locations. The atmosphere is so amped up. The locals feel like they need to put on a show. I’m thinking back to LSU-West Virginia like 4-5 years ago. Morgantown was LIT and then they got blown out and it was real quiet. Still, that parking lot pregame scene was memorable. Find a cooler, grab a beer.
- Give me an incredible 3:30 kickoff (or 2:30 CT) and I’ll fall in love with your game; The 8 EST kicks are killing me the older I get. These are marathon days. Give me that 2:30 at Ole Miss and I’m back to the blackjack tables in Tunica by 8 max.
- Weather: mid-October is the perfect time to make these trips. Trust me. Doesn’t matter which part of the country.
- Avoid the Pac-12 at all costs unless it’s USC. I just can’t get into the gameday atmosphere and yes, I’ve been to Autzen twice. It’s boring.
- I normally avoid Ohio State games because it’s an easy game to catch. However, the Big Ten is good again and these games actually mean something in 2017.
The 2017 list:
• Auburn at Clemson Sept. 9 – Night game, possible GameDay spot since this is on ESPN, but Oklahoma-Ohio State is on ABC. Not really sure I want to experience Clemson tailgating. I’ve seen how boring Clemson fans are during GameDay. I’ve heard the party doesn’t exactly get ramped up.
• Oklahoma-Ohio State Sept. 9 – ABC game, Columbus will be electric, Baker Mayfield brings his circus to town, Ohioans have been waiting to tie on an all-day drunk since that tough Clemson blowout; Content City for a blogger. I’ll probably go down for this one.
• Louisville at Florida State Oct. 21 – Look at that date…trust me, you want to get to Tallahassee at this time of year. Thank me later. You roll in on a Friday and wake up Sunday trying to remember what the hell happened over the last 40 hours. It’s a legendary environment to experience. The tailgating spots behind Checkers is where you want to be. Plenty of action. I remember taking a leak in some flop house building that opens up for gameday for tailgaters (below). Wild times. Legendary Indian Village is across the street. It’s the heart of everything.
• LSU-Alabama Nov. 4 – I’ve seen Bama at LSU, but never LSU at Bama. Need to make that happen to see the wild LSU fans roll into Tuscaloosa to cause problems. I’ve heard all the stories, the claims. Now I need to see it.
• Georgia-Florida Oct. 28 – Never been to the biggest cocktail party. I know it breaks one of my cardinal rules for games at neutral locations, but I have seen enough pics and videos from this game to know I need to see it. Let’s say Florida somehow finds enough talent to be undefeated by this game (neutral against Michigan, home against LSU, home against TXAM), this one will be huge. And I love the afternoon kickoff time. (See photo, top)
• Penn State-Ohio State Oct. 28 – Let’s say Florida turns out to be a disaster…this becomes the game on Oct. 28…pre-Halloween in Columbus…Penn State is clearly back…this one will be electric. Weather could be a disaster. Really can’t tell this time of year in Ohio, but the bar scene will be fun.
• LSU-Ole Miss Oct. 21 – I know, I know. Ole Miss is in a disaster situation, but it’s LSU in town…in the Grove. Never forget: Ole Miss has never lost a party and until you see it in action you just wouldn’t understand. They might lose by two TDs to LSU, but I can guarantee the Grove will be a party well into the night. Can’t go wrong with a trip into Oxford this time of year.
• Texas-West Virginia Nov. 18 – Texas might be below .500 this late in the year, but West Virginia might be in a position for a HUGE game against Oklahoma a week later. Add it all up and the animals in Morgantown should be out of control for this one. Thing I like about Morgantown is how relaxed the tailgating is. It’s completely redneck. Nothing formal. Just madness. Get out, slam some beers, try to stay on your feet.
I took this pic back in the day.
• Georgia-Tennessee Sept. 30 – I’ve been to this game in Knoxville — it’s worth your time. Spend the money and tailgate on a house boat. Get a meal at Calhoun’s. Cruise the tailgating under the bridge outside the restaurant (below). Just look up Volunteer Landing. That’s a full weekend right there. It helps that Eason will be in town. This just smells of a 3:30 kick on CBS.
• Ohio State-Michigan Nov. 25 – Not going to lie, I hope they’re both undefeated. I’ll be there at some Michigan tailgate right outside the Big House. Michigan tailgating is lame, but these local guys claim they have a fun tailgate. They also have a five-game losing streak and have three series wins in the 21st century. I can catch this one and be home and sleeping by like 5:30.