Happy National Tailgating Day! Football season is here, and we can’t wait.
The first Saturday in September marks National Tailgating Day. Outside of Christmas, this may be the merriest time of the year for football fans across America.
Whether you are in Gainesville rocking the orange and blue, or down in South Florida rooting for the Miami Hurricanes to take on Alabama, chances are good that football fans share a passion for tailgating.
Burgers and hot dogs on the grill? Check.
Cold beer in the cooler? Check.
Plenty of potato salad and chips? Indeed.
So, when did this great tradition actually begin?
Turns out, it’s a tradition with long roots. Nov. 6, 1869, is the day it all began, when Rutgers and Princeton played the first football game in U.S. history. About a century later, tailgating got serious when people started stepping up their game. Coolers grew wheels, gas grills entered the mix, and big pop-up tents gave everyone shelter from the elements.
We now add cornhole to the mix, which gives us the optimum party time – all before kickoff.
Estimates on how many fans tailgate each year range from 20 to 50 million across America. Its popularity has surged with the presence of ESPN’S “GameDay” crew, which picks out a prominent game to send their popular hosts, including analyst Lee Corso.
Looking for the ultimate tailgating experience in Florida this college football season? Make sure to circle these games and dates. Expect the stands – and the parking lots – to be full.
Alabama vs. Miami, Sept. 4 (Miami) – Nothing like getting the party started on Day One. The Crimson Tide are a prohibitive favorite (18.5 points), but expect the boisterous home crowd to help even things out.
Georgia vs. Florida, Oct. 30 (Jacksonville) — Billed as the “World’s Largest Cocktail Party,” the experience rarely disappoints as two SEC rivals gather for the ultimate football feast.
Miami vs. Florida State, Nov. 13 (Tallahassee) – Although both programs are seeking a return to primetime football relevance, (think national championship or bust), this is a monster meeting between two in-state rivals paired together in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
South Florida vs. UCF, Nov. 26 (Orlando) – Played the day after Thanksgiving, this game features two arch rivals in the American Athletic Conference. It’s been dubbed the “War on I-4″ due to the Tampa and Orlando college towns.
Ready. Set. Grill!