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Tailgating in the Big East

September, 26, 2008
9/26/08
11:27
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Tailgating in the Big East is as diverse as the league's scattered geography.

At South Florida, fans bake in the Tampa sun and some women wear bikini tops to the game. It's usually too cold to tailgate much at Syracuse, which is why they play indoors.

Seemingly the entire state of West Virginia loads into RVs and sets up shop outside Milan Puskar Stadium for hours of partying (and sometimes unfortunate burning of furniture). Connecticut has only been in Division I for a few years, but fans have figured out how to have a pregame take off around Rentschler Field, which sits on an old airfield.

Well-connected Louisville boosters tailgate in train cars outside Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, while average folks enjoy the parking lot party so much that the team had to publicly urge them to get in their seats before kickoff.

Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium is tucked right into the middle of campus, not leaving much room for tents or campers. But there's something cool about chilling and grilling in a pure college atmosphere. Same goes with Rutgers, if you can beat the New Jersey traffic in time to get set up. Pittsburgh fans, on the other hand, can keep the tailgate going from Panthers games on Saturdays until the NFL's Steelers play on Sunday at the same Heinz Field.

If I could go to only one tailgate party in the Big East, I'd probably choose West Virginia for its sheer size and passion. But I'd bring a fire extinguisher just in case.

And there's one other good thing about tailgating in the Big East: The conference has no policy against alcohol sales in its stadiums, so at most places you can keep the good times flowing following kickoff.

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