Northwestern University has been ranked as one of the best college football tailgates in the United States of America, in a recent article by Spoon University. This is not a drill. This is a real take. Just in case you’re too lazy to click the hyperlink, here’s a photo of it:
WE’RE NUMBER ONE! Actually, it appears this list was in “no specific order.” Yeah, okay, but Northwestern is first, which must mean we’re one of the best, if not the best. Yes, in this ranking of the top 25 college tailgates in America, Northwestern University’s tailgating is as good or better than Michigan, Ohio State, USC, Arizona, Ole Miss, Syracuse, Arizona, LSU, Penn State, Iowa, Georgia, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Clemson, Texas, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Florida, and Illinois.
Alright, let’s roll with it! Northwestern really does have the best tailgates in the country. The first rationale for Northwestern being the best tailgate in the country is that we’re in the Big Ten. That’s huge, and also true. The next claim is that you can find fans tailgating in the parking lot. This is also 100 percent true, although the fans in the parking lot are usually middle-aged people and families from the Evanston area. SOUNDS LIKE A ROCKIN’ COLLEGE PARTY TO ME!
Think of all the great college football tailgating atmospheres. There’s “The Grove” at Ole Miss, the area surrounding Camp Randall, “Nittanyville”, etc. But, as you all know, the West Lot at Ryan Field tops them all. And don’t even get me started on the pleasant confines of the nearby golf course.
Next, the author claims people “get rowdy at bars.” This is...false.
Let’s move on to the final claim, which is that Northwestern has great “early morning frat darties” (day-parties, for the layman). This is one of the most absurd claims I’ve ever seen, but if you think about it, it’s true. Who doesn’t want to start drinking at 9 AM because the Big Ten always schedules our games at 11 AM because there isn’t enough national exposure for the Wildcats? This is the best part of my Northwestern student experience, actually, not the classes, clubs, or even writing for Inside NU. It’s actually the parties held in crowded Evanston backyards that have no food, nothing to drink, and smell bad. That’s #mytruenorthwestern.
The best part of the student experience is waking up early and hanging out in typically cold weather with a bunch of fraternity brothers. Think about it, who likes crowds anyway? Northwestern, with its 8,368 undergrads, has a lot of room to improvise, plenty of space to move around and actually talk to people. The streets aren’t filled. The neighborhoods aren’t choked with people and cars and the smell of good food. It’s comfortable, sanitary, and great, because this is THE BEST DAMN TAILGATE IN THE COUNTRY (according to Spoon University, in no specific order).
I recently had a conversation with an Inside NU contributor about the visiting fans who tailgate at Northwestern. Truly, there is no better place in college football for visiting fans to have a great time. Spend the day before or after in Chicago! Catch a Cubs game, and then tailgate in one of our many high-tech parking lots. The contributor and I agreed that the visiting fans’ tailgate is a really fun experience. You get a truly cosmopolitan tailgating experience at Northwestern that you won’t get anywhere else. There are always thousands of Nebraska/Iowa/Wisconsin/Ohio State/Michigan fans to mingle with and get to know better.
Northwestern’s tailgating scene isn’t as enormous as Penn State. It doesn’t have the great weather of Arizona or USC. It doesn’t have that many people. It doesn’t have a lot of students who attend the football game afterward. Our school doesn’t have the biggest stadium, or the best football team in the country, or more than a few bars and good eateries within comfortable walking distance of the stadium. But we have heart, and that’s why we’re the best.
(Disclaimer: I’m pretty sure the original Spoon University blog started at Northwestern University. Because the author writes for Spoon Loyola, we can reasonably posit that Northwestern may be one of the only tailgates the author actually attended.)