Who are you cheering for this week? Go all out with a few of these tailgate tips.
Who are you cheering for this week? Go all out with a few of these tailgate tips.

Down, set, hut! Football season has kicked off! If you’re like us, this season came up on you like a quarterback sneak, so you might be scrambling to get a tailgate game plan in play. Take it easy, here are a few easy tips from our playbook:

Get going early – If there’s one thing that can totally mess up your tailgate, it’s getting a late start. Those parking spots and nice grassy lawns are first come first serve, and you don’t get the best seat in the house by showing up two hours after sunrise.

If you’re planning for a home game, great. If not, get there the night before so you have the maximum amount of time to tailgate. Have an idea of where you want to park, the best way to get there in crowded game day traffic and pack up well in advance.

(Cow)bells and whistles – Not only will you need a little entertainment at your tailgate, you’ll need plenty of team spirit. Bring your noisemakers, go big, and go themed. If we’re playing the Ducks we do a duck hunting tailgate. Can you guess what’s on the menu?

Respect your fellow ‘gaters – Yes, we just told you to show off your team spirit, but be a good sport. Good tailgaters know this is just a game, and we’re not all born to cheer for the same team (how boring would that be?) Heck, we actually like having an open house setup. We welcome the other team’s fans to join us, you know, as long as they don’t bring up that last second loss in ’97.

Pick your battles – Tailgates get expensive really fast. Consider going all-out for one or two games instead of five or six. You can tailgate every game, but we like to put more of our resources into a few big parties instead of throwing a bunch of small ones. Of course our bigger tailgates are also usually planned about the bigger games for the season.

Remember the basics – You’ll need ice for the drinks (bring more than you thing you’ll need), lots of food (we figure about six to eight ounces of whatever meat you’re cooking up, per person), a good sized grill (nothing worse than doing four burgers at a time for 15 people) and bring plenty of seats.

What’s your favorite tailgating tip? And most importantly, who are you cheering for?

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