The ultimate college football game is almost here and fans from No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama are all set to converge on Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. Of course the arrivals began earlier in the week, and school officials are estimating that there will eventually be 140,000 people in and around campus this weekend. If you are planning to be one of the 140 grand, here are five things you need to know to get ready for what is being hyped as the biggest game in SEC history:
1) Work The Quad
This is truly a unique experience for tailgaters because no vehicles or trailers are allowed in this 20-acre plot in the middle of the University of Alabama campus. This not only affords more room to pack in more people and tents (and more food and even more beer), but it keeps the area as clean as possible for future tailgates. Coca-Cola is sponsoring the “Kickoff on the Quad” three hours before kickoff and includes vendors for food and merchandise, as well as activities for the children. Many families set up shop here, and several touch football games take advantage of the open space and grass surface. Electrical cooking equipment is not allowed on the Quad, and gas-powered generators are also prohibited because of both the noise and the fumes. All that being said, these people still know how to get it done within the rules (charcoal grills and unloading trailers from the sidewalks) and this party rages before, during and after the game, especially if Alabama gets the victory. And with Daylight Savings Time on Saturday night, Tide fans get an extra hour to party.
2) Tailgates Made to Order
Game Day Tents and Gameday Done Right both pay the University to run their businesses of setting up (and more importantly, cleaning up afterwards) for tailgaters that want to bypass the preparation and get right to the partying. For a price range of $400 to $1,200, you can purchase a package consisting of tents, grills and HD television sets under the shadow of Bryant-Denny Stadium. However, GameDay Tents sold out all their spots in The Quad for the entire season and Gameday Done Right reportedly sold 100 packages for the LSU game in the Presidential Park tailgating area just a stone’s throw away from The Quad.
3) Sweet Dreams
The aforementioned tailgating services also cater food from Dreamland Bar-B-Que, a restaurant that many of the locals swear is the best barbeque on the planet. The meats of choice are pork and ribs, but Dreamland also specializes in sausage and hickory-smoked chopped chicken. The restaurant’s hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on game day, and they even accept “Bama Cash” for all the real-cash-strapped Alabama students. They also take online orders to ship anywhere via UPS. For more information, connect to Dreamland BBQ.com.
4) Get Fired Up
There are countless traditions and superstitions that come with being a Crimson Tide fan in addition to “Roll Tide” and the marching band’s “Elephant Stomp.” But we found one ritual that is quite bizarre, but could be the reason for Alabama’s recent success. During the 2008 season, alumnus Allen Mallory started a tradition where hundreds of students sign their names on a hat of the opposing team on that given day. Exactly 15 minutes before kickoff, Mallory burns the hat for good luck. Considering Alabama has a 24-1 home record since the start of 2008, the hat burning won’t likely cease anytime soon.
5) For Your Information
No matter what you think about the state of Alabama, everybody can agree that people in this state REALLY know their football. And because game-day rituals are so important to people around Tuscaloosa, the Tide have one of the premier informational websites out there. From parking to traffic flow, to maps of campus and available lots, UA Gameday.com is the best reference for everything happening on campus this weekend.