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College football is right around the corner, and that means it’s time for tailgate rankings.
Every year, sports websites devote endless inches and words to tailgate rankings that are misleading and can be detrimental to your fall plans. It’s irresponsible. But fear not–reasonable people are out there and they are going to help you sift through the bullshit so you have a clear understanding of which tailgates are worth visiting and which ones aren’t this fall.
Today we explore the southern region. Each state’s ranking is based upon a complex algorithm that crunches numbers based on football atmosphere, hot girls, alcohol, location, and general experience.
1. Texas A&M
2. Texas Christian University
3. University of Texas at Austin
UT has one of the most fragmented fan bases in the country, both metaphorically and literally. That makes it difficult for any kind of football atmosphere. A&M kills it, and it’s also in the SEC–that’s hard to beat. TCU is new money, but it’s what Texas was in the 1980s.
1. Lousiana State University
2. Tulane University
3. University of Louisiana at Lafayette
LSU is an experience: the food, the people, the humidity. A lot of kids who visit Baton Rouge trek down to New Orleans afterward. Plan to miss a Friday class for that one–and probably a Monday class, too.
1. Ole Miss
2. Mississippi State University
3. Millsaps College
Ole Miss will never be as cool as the people who go there think it is, but in a state with no other viable options, it’s definitely the one to visit.
1. Auburn University
2. University of Alabama
3. Troy University
Tuscaloosa’s most popular college bar, Innisfree, is the Irish pub version of a TGIFriday’s–and it’s a chain. Auburn as a college town is pretty traditional, but the atmosphere at Jordan-Hare and the tailgating that surrounds it is pretty elite in the SEC.
1. University of Georgia
2. Georgia Tech
3. Georgia Southern
Athens is Austin before Austin was corrupted by California. It should probably take the top three spots alone, honestly. Georgia Tech is cool because Atlanta is fun, but it doesn’t graze the surface of what Athens holds.
1. Florida State University
2. University of Florida
3. University of Miami
The farther south in Florida you go, the shittier the state becomes. Tallahassee offers elements of the South, which should not be taken for granted in a state where old people from New York go to die.
1. University of South Carolina
2. Clemson University
3. College of Charleston
Clemson is one of the most overrated college towns in the country, and Columbia is one of the most underrated. Charleston is better than both, but still doesn’t have a football team. It’s a state in disarray.
1. East Carolina University
2. Appalachian State
3. NC State
One of the most unique aspects of North Carolina is the correlation between the lack of football fandom and the institutions’ academic rankings. The smarter the school, the shittier the experience.
1. University of Tennessee
2. Vanderbilt University
3. University of Memphis
Knoxville is cool. Nashville is cool. Memphis is okay. The cool part about Knoxville is that you can tailgate on the water. If you have access to a boat, it makes the experience that much cooler. Neyland with 100,000 strong is a pretty rocking atmosphere when the Volunteers don’t suck, too.
1. University of Kentucky
2. University of Louisville
3. Western Kentucky University
Louisville might be better at football, but it’ll always be a commuter school. Kentucky is a basketball school. You should probably just avoid traveling here until basketball season starts.
1. University of Arkansas
Some states aren’t even worth ranking multiple schools. Arkansas offers good food, hot girls, and a pretty sick location–but Fayetteville probably wouldn’t crack the top half of cool cities in the SEC.
Best In Region: Georgia
Worst In Region: Louisville
Most Overrated: Ole Miss
Most Underrated: South Carolina
Best Bar: Pavlov’s in Columbia, S.C.
Best Football Atmosphere: LSU
Best Beer: Shiner (A&M, UT, TCU)
Best Food: University of Texas. Anything in Austin that is barbecue or Tex-Mex is worth waiting in line for before a football game. Even a shitty burger from Dirty is good when you’re drunk.