Answers to a tailgating survey... Who's the best?

July, 22, 2008
7/22/08
12:16
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Got a note from the ESPN Magazine marketing department this week about its "Gridiron Blowout special advertising section for the 8/25 college football preview edition."

Better known as the GBSASFT825CFPE.

They were running a Q&A survey of various college football folks at the WWL. Here are the questions and my answers.

First, though, a qualifier. This is the Pac-10 blog. This is where we enjoy tweaking other conferences, particularly the SEC.

But, as a former SEC writer, I had to be honest about the merits of a Southern tailgate. Hope I don't offend any of you. I've certainly enjoyed -- more often longingly observed -- fantastic tailgates across the Pac-10.

And feel free, of course, to try to change my mind.

Q: What's the best tailgating campus in the country and why?
Me: There are so many variables here -- even what constitutes "best." Food? Party atmosphere? The social scene? The surrounding beauty and landscape? When I was single, I had one overriding priority that was completely different than today. But if forced to choose, I'd go with the one and only: The Grove at Ole Miss. The Rebels don't often win the game, but they almost always win the tailgate. A single guy could fall in love 20 different times here, too. I mean, come on. Great Southern food, too. And Southern booze, which often advances beyond a keg of Bud.

I must admit I started thinking about LSU. And the food. And the all-day affair before a night game... but I'll stick with The Grove.

Q: What's the best tailgating conference?
Me: SEC. Period. Anyone who suggests otherwise either is lying or doesn't know what he's talking about. It's a combination of passion, weather and lifestyle.

Q: What's your must-have tailgating dish?
Me:
 Saw fresh lobster at Michigan. Perfect steaks at many places. Some folks go full-on French Laundry. But the best tailgate is the one with a whole pig that's been roasting overnight... got to have a good sauce, too. And Jack Daniels or his friend Mark Makers also should be present.

Q: Which do you prefer: Warm weather or cold weather tailgating?
Me: How warm and how cold? That's a tough one. There's something about coeds in jean shorts in Gainesville or Tempe, but it's also fun to see your breath over a cup of joe while the food is cooking. Sunburn and heat stroke aren't fun, but neither are chapped lips and blowing your nose every two minutes. I'll split the difference: How about a nice fall crispness -- 60 at kickoff.

Q: Burgers or dogs?
Me: Burgers... and don't skimp on the beef or offend the tailgating gods by using premade patties. And if you're going dogs... got to be a Johnsonville Brat.

Q: Better pregame activity -- football toss or horseshoes (or anything else)?
Me: Horseshoes?... throw the football! Of course, I prefer finding a comfortable chair.

Q: One must-have tailgating accessory is....
Me: Other than optimism, creativity and space? Charcoal. If you don't use charcoal, you're not grilling. An RV with a bathroom isn't a bad thing, either.

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