If you are new to the South, you may be surprised at how seriously we take college football! Tailgating is synonymous with SEC football- it has evolved from its original incarnation (hanging out around a pick-up truck bed) into full-fledged parties. While each school and its fans have their own style and traditions, they usually all agree on one thing: Sometimes, the pre-game is even more fun than the game itself. 

It is often joked that when you move to Alabama, you must pledge your allegiance to either the Tide or the Tigers- here are a few facts to help you pick:

University of Alabama Crimson Tide
Colors: Crimson & White
Mascot: Big Al the elephant
Location: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

On “The Quad,” the centerpiece of Alabama’s tailgating events, it is not unusual to see three or four generations of family celebrating the Crimson Tide together. Most often, they’re cooking up Alabama BBQ, filling the air with hickory-scented smoke and preparing their tailgating feasts. With so many folks traveling to T-Town on football Saturdays (there can be close to 100,000 fans at the big games!), you’re likely to see multiple big-screen TVs hooked up and blaring the game from many of the tents, since not everyone can get a ticket.

Claim to Fame: A given at any Alabama tailgate is hospitality. The Tide Nation has become known for the kindness it extends to visiting fans. Just cheer, “Roll tide!” and you’ll fit right in.

Auburn University Tigers
Colors: Orange & Blue
Mascot: Aubie
Location: Auburn, Alabama

RVs and campers from all over the Southeast descend upon the “loveliest little village on the plains” each Friday evening during football season, claiming their spot for the weekend. Students and fans not rollin’ in RVs mark off their chosen patch of grass or parking lot with tape. They’re all anxious to be part of Auburn’s most hallowed tailgating tradition: The Tiger Walk. On game day, the team bus arrives about two hours before kick-off, and team members are led through the crowd of fans by the pep band, cheerleaders, and their beloved mascot Aubie.

Claim to Fame: The hallmarks of Auburn tailgating include inviting strangers to share some snacks or sit in the shade, as well as greeting fellow fans with a hearty, “War Eagle!”