So You Say You Wanna Tailgate..?

I’d be lying if I told you that for the past eleven months, I’ve thought about anything other than that first beer bong, zooming down the American flag-printed funnel at an unprecedented rate, in the early morning of Saturday, August 31, 2019. Lukewarm Bud Light, streaming through the plastic tube and into my huge mouth, heating it up for an afternoon of recklessly spewing profanities into the clouds above Beaver Stadium when someone lets a no-name receiver from the Idaho Potatoes Vandals slip through his grasp.

I’d be lying because it is in fact, the only thing I have thought about since I last tailgated for a college football game.

“But Caroline, don’t you have a job?” Yes, yes I do. But my brain does not register that seemingly important detail. It’s just there so I don’t get fined, and I can continue to blow money on football tickets and alcohol.

So here we are, on another perilous Monday. Albeit, a bit less perilous than the last. For the first time in what may as well have been forever, two real college football games await us on Saturday night to reward us for our week of troubles. My life is series of events that I partake in so that I can kill time until the next football game is on. The next tailgate I attend and subsequently forget bits and pieces of.

My friends, we have made it. And since we’re such good friends, I’m going to share the best of the best tailgating tips with you, which also just so happen to be my own. Sometimes, I prefer to stay home on a college football Saturday, so I can watch all the games at once, and also get a better view of the receiver that just dropped a routine pass, so I can yell at him. But with my expertise, if you nail down your tailgating skills, you may never want to stay home again.


Get loud or go home

Often overlooked, the key to throwing any rager of a tailgate is music. And I don’t just mean the types of songs that are being played. It’s scientifically proven that all music is good music when you’re drunk. So if you’re about to open your mouth to complain about it, take another shot instead, and loosen the heck up. This is supposed to be the fun part before your team rips your heart out.

I’m talking about getting that music loud. You may think that your small, apartment party speaker does the trick, but if there are annoying loudmouths at your spot, who are bouncing off the walls after one drink like me, it’s not gonna fly. Back in the heyday of my tailgating years, we’d hook someone’s phone up to my mom’s car, let it run, and make that thing shake. If not, just find the biggest, most obnoxious Bluetooth speaker that you can without breaking the bank. Or just smash it with a hammer. It’s tailgating, it’s important.


Practice makes perfect

My keyboarding teacher in middle school used to stress that perfect practice makes perfect, but when it comes to drinking games and activities, we’ll take what we can get. If you’re a college kid that parties more than he or she spends performing school-related tasks, then you get plenty of practice in this area. If you’re old and decrepit, and spend your nights with either IcyHot or a heating pad on your neck while playing Madden (definitely not me), this tip becomes much more pertinent to the situation. We can’t all be as talented as Baker Mayfield, and I’m not referring to his elite sideline crotch-grabbing abilities.

If it’s been awhile since the last time you shotgunned, took shots, played beer pong, or flip cup, it’s not the worst idea to brush up on your skills before potentially embarrassing yourself in front of a herd of rowdy college students that are much cooler and full of life than you are. The last time I took a first-time-in-a-long-time attempt at shotgunning at Penn State’s spring game, I tilted the wrong way and half of the beer spilled out into the grass. I am not the same girl that once swiftly completed the task after Saquon Barkley bit a hole in the can for her to do so (my biggest regret in life is losing this can afterwards).

Don’t be like me. Don’t be too proud. Practice, then dominate. Be the one that everyone wants on their flip cup line. Not the embarrassing old folk that holds the whole thing up. Heroes are made in the off-season.


For the love of Trevor Lawrence (God), eat 

I don’t care what it is (well I actually do, but more on that next), but please, I beg of you, have a bite of that delicious tailgate food before/while you are actively decreasing your ability to form coherent sentences. It’s the least you can do for yourself and whoever has been designated as your caretaker, should you end up hanging over the edge of a port-a-potty later, surprisingly yakking from something other than the putrid smell.

I know, I know, you get drunker faster if you don’t eat. I know that some of you get so excited that you “forget” to throw down a quick breakfast sandwich. I personally wouldn’t know from experience, because I eat incessantly throughout the day, and still end up embarking on a treacherous journey in order to make it into the game on time. But this is what I have observed over the years, and I will never understand it.

Tailgate cuisine > a Michelin star restaurant. Feast on it. Inhale it. Your friend’s mom worked hard on that mac & cheese. Your own mom worked hard to give birth to you ungrateful animal. Don’t die, on gameday nonetheless, from lack of sustenance — for the sake of both of those poor women.


BDE is out, BCD is in

Whether you’re the host or an attendee, the end goal remains the same: it is crucial that a portion of the food you eat that day is none other than buffalo chicken dip. (Did you just hear the heavens singing too? K. You’re lying.)

The extreme to which you take your consumption is not important — in fact, I suggest that you learn from me and do NOT consume half of the monstrous dish, because the lumpy rock that will sit in your stomach for the next week does really not help while you’re already mourning the second straight one-point loss to Ohio State in a devastating comeback fashion.

While it’s best served in its warmest and gooiest state (I’m sorry, that sounds kinda disgusting, but I’m not deleting it), you can honestly eat it at any temperature and still need a napkin to wipe the uncontrollable waterfall of drool from your mouth.


Look alive, people

Avoid falling asleep during the tailgate, even if it’s in your mother’s nice, warm car and out of everyone’s way.

You look weak, and it may decrease your chances of making it into the game. If you weren’t planning on going in anyway, that’s almost worse. All you came to do was tailgate and you couldn’t even keep it together enough to do that. If you are planning on going in, you’ve just slept off some of your drunkenness you that worked so tirelessly to build, which is also a disappointment.


Have fun

It’s the best time of the year, so enjoy it.



If you go stand in line for entrance into the College Gameday pit at 2 A.M., go to sleep before midnight. You’ll be riding a high for awhile, but you will fall asleep in an RV before the game and also during halftime and most of the third quarter. It’s a blast, though. Regardless of what my brother’s face says. I think that was just his body’s natural reaction to being in my presence for an extended period of time.