Smell something wonderful in the autumn air? It's the spicy scent of crabs boiling before football games at Louisiana State University, brats sizzling on the grill around the University of Wisconsin and pork being cooked low-and-slow at University of Mississippi and University of Tennessee home games. Here are the college football teams that score big time when it comes to tasty pre-game, pre-funking.
1. University of Mississippi
The legendary Grove is party central with groups staking out spots for elaborately decorated tents — some even have chandeliers and huge flat-screen TVs. Leave it to the fine folks who love this school in Oxford, Miss., to bring on the big flavors before the home games, serving comfort food faves like Southern fried chicken and 7-layer dip, along with pulled pork sandwiches. Mmmmmm, and go Rebs!
2. Louisiana State University
While Tiger boosters would have a tough time naming just one signature tailgating dish, beloved regional favorites make regular appearances. That'd be gumbo, red beans and rice, even fairly elaborate crab and shrimp and crawfish boils are part of the feastivities before the games start, and at the after parties, too.
The Vols take great pride in the spreads laid out at more than 400 tailgating tents, where barbecued pulled pork is king — finished in sauces that lean more toward the vinegar-based North Carolina traditions — plus Nashville-style hot chicken, washed down with a cocktail called the Ice Pick. That's sweet tea, lemon and vodka or whiskey. When the SEC rival Florida Gators come to Knoxville, fried alligator is on the pre-game menu.
4. Ohio State
This team's clever fans actually created a treat named after the team's mascot, the nut from the official state tree. Most Buckeyes are some kind of combination of peanut butter and and chocolate. Sweet!
Those Bulldogs boosters go big time for warm Vidialla onion dip, along with heaps of barbecue and chicken dishes galore. For an awesome collection of tailgating recipes by UGA alum extraordinaire Loren Smith, check out Spread Formation from Whitman Publishing. It includes recipes from coaches and players including Archie Manning and Roger Staubach.
More than 1,000 bratwursts are snarfed up before Badger home games at the official Bash, organized by alumni. There's also a crazy popular beer garden called State Street Brats that does a bang-up pre- and post-game job of satisfying sausage fans.
Trojan fans are more about the post-game celebration, hitting up vendors outside the stadium for the ubiquitous Sonoran-style hot dog. That bacon-wrapped wiener's definitely a winner.
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