To Tailgate or Not to Tailgate

The south is known for being the best at football without a doubt. School colored tops or dresses accessorized with cowboy boots and hats add to the southern charm. Many high schoolers, college students, and alumni meet up with friends to watch their favorite team win.

    It all started in the late 1920s when 23 schools across 10 states started the Southern Conference. When the conference grew too big in the 1930s, the teams located west and south of the Appalachian Mountains would then form the Southeastern Conference.

   According to, “Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt have been members since the formation of the SEC in 1933. The Conference has twice previously expanded, adding Arkansas and South Carolina in 1991, followed by Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012.”

    Founded in 1994, the big 12 conference is separate from SEC and includes teams from the Universities of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, as well as Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Christian, Texas Tech and West Virginia universities.

     While not part of the SEC until the year 2025 in July, Texas and OU are known to be the biggest rivals. Red River shootout is the showdown of Longhorns verse Sooners, and everyone goes all out supporting their team. Started in 1929, the State Fair of Texas has hosted the annual Red River Showdown in the Cotton Bowl. It usually happens the week of Oct. 10, and this year Oct. 9.

     “Texas and OU have always been rivals. I went to Texas because my parents were Boomer Sooner fans, and I wanted to make them mad,” Ms. Smith said.

     Now college football is not just for the alumnae and students at university, high school students are more involved.

     Senior Montse Spencer cheers for the Penn State Lions. “I love their school spirit and I’m excited for insane white out themes for game day.”

     As college acceptances start to come out, students in the South get their gear for game day where cowboy hat and boots are necessities.

    Tailgating is a popular form of pre-game or after party celebration in the South where fans hang out in parking lots or near stadiums to grill up some food.

      UT Austin alum Ms. Melinda Smith states, “It started in parking lots and small independent gatherings, nay in many universities, tailgating services are involved, which takes out all the fun and individual expression.

    Additionally, tailgating has changed over the years and has become more commercialized with private vendors and grander gatherings.

     Senior Emma Sweeney comments, “Tailgating for Texas Christian University is very specific. You order your own tent and have signs with your name on it. There’s an option to order a TV in the tents if you want to stay in your own tent. They serve chick-fil-a and breakfast tacos. It’s called “Frog Alley” and vendors come to serve food, and you can play games to win prizes. The tailgate is located next to the stadium. Everyone is very spirited. There are different themes such as a purple out and student’s wear nice clothes: purple dress and cowboy boots.”

     Different colleges have different themes according to the school colors. For example, at Southern Methodist University the first game of the year is white out and the home side is flooded with students wearing white dresses and t shirts.

    College football allows fans to hang out and enjoy the game either at the stadium or at home. There is a lot of excitement and tension while watching which gets the adrenaline up. Football is one of those things that can either bring people tears of joy or sadness. Everyone can suit up their favorite jersey and cheer for their team.

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