Welcome to the 11th stop on the Tailgate Tour. Last week I visited Tuscaloosa,AL, for a Thursday night game between The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia State Panthers. This was my first trip to Tuscaloosa, and I was very excited to see what game day was like. I realize that a Thursday night game against an FCS opponent in their first season was not going to be the same as a Saturday game day against an SEC opponent, but I still feel as though I got a good taste for what tailgating in Tuscaloosa was like.
I arrived on campus around 10:30 a.m. and parked in the grass lots over by the soccer fields. On the left is what it looked like when I arrived and on the right is what the lot looked like when I left. I said it before, and I will say it again. I realize that this was a Thursday and not a true impression of what tailgating in Tuscaloosa can be. With the way TV contracts are set up college football on Thursday nights are a regular event. Earlier this season I visited Pitt on a Thursday night while en route to Penn State.
Tuscaloosa is a small college town with a very large football stadium. Game days take over the town. Traffic patterns are changed and temporary parking is created everywhere. Football has such a large impact on the campus and city that Alabama canceled classes for this Thursday night game.
Similar to The Grove at Ole Miss, The Quad at Alabama is the tailgating location.
On game days, the Quad is filled with tents and tailgaters. The white tents with red chairs are reserved for those who pay a a company to have them set up.
There are also plenty of tents set up by individuals.
On the far end of The Quad is Denny Chimes. Denny Chimes is a bell tower that is probably the most recognized feature on Alabama’s campus. Around the base of the chimes are the hands and footprints of past Alabama football team captains.
I realize that I was unable to see The Quad at its peak, but I did get an idea what it could be like. The grass on the left is what grass on non tailgating area looks like. On the right is what the majority of the Quad’s “grass” looked like. Thousands of people invading the Quad on Saturdays definitely takes a toll on the grass.
As you can see The Quad is right across the street from the stadium.
Bryant- Denny is home to the Crimson Tide football team. This stadium is massive. It is not the largest capacity stadium I have been to, but with it being in the heart of campus it is impossible not to notice.
Did you know that Alabama has won 13 national titles in football? If you didn’t know that before visiting Bryant- Denney Stadium, you will definitely learn that before you leave. In front of the stadium there are statues immortalizing Alabama’s past coaches and their national championships. The current coach, Nick Saban, has yet to receive his statue, but you can still take you picture with Frank Thomas, Gene Stallings, and of course the legend Paul “Bear” Bryant. Bryant won 6 national titles in his time at Alabama. Today he is probably more famous for what he wore on the field.
The houndstooth hat. Bryant’s had a larger print than this, but this is very similar to what he wore. The Houndstooth pattern is a signature of Alabama football and the fans wear it in a variety of forms to honor Coach Bryant. At Tennessee and LSU I saw dozens of Alabama fans, but today I finally get to share with you all the forms Houndstooth comes in.
This is only a small sampling of what was out there, but you get the idea all of the forms this print was worn in.
The print was even seen as a part of cornhole.
To go with your Houndstooth accessories red pants on guys and crimson jerseys on girls were incredibly popular.
An unexpected surprise for me about Tuscaloosa was the similarities between it and Madison,,WI. When I tailgated in Madison, I showed you how students lived across the street from the football stadium, well the same occurs in Tuscaloosa. Instead of student housing, there are fraternities right across the street from the front of the stadium.
Student apartments were also found right behind the stadium.
Wisconsin has Mickies Dairy bar, but Tuscaloosa has Rama Jama’s. Rama Jama’s is right next to the stadium and serves great breakfast and burgers with a side of true crimson tide atmosphere.
The inside of Rama Jama’s was lined with Alabama paraphernalia. The ceiling tiles are even replaced with ones listing Alabama’s national championships. I arrived too late for breakfast, so I went with..
a delicious large cheeseburger.
Unlike The Grove, The Quad does allow for grilling. I saw the usual of burgers and chicken, but I was really excited to see a gas powered blender again!
Similar to other SEC schools, Alabama has a walk that their players take to the stadium. This is what it looked like about 45 minutes before the players arrived.
After the players walked past, I headed back over to the Quad where Alabama’s band was playing.
In front of Denny Chimes I was able to see why Alabama’s band is nicknamed “The Million Dollar Band”. They were pretty amazing. The show didn’t stop there.
On the other end of The Quad, the rest of the band was warming up.
They played a few songs on the steps and then…
The entire band marched from The Quad to the stadium.
With the band and team in the stadium, the fans began to do the same. Although this was not a Saturday in Tuscaloosa, I was definitely impressed with what I found. This weekend I will be at Ohio State, but Tuscaloosa will be at its peak. This weekend is the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama. These two schools are bitter rivals and I can only imagine what the Quad will look like when the Tigers come to town. Here is a shirt that Alabama Fans will enjoy and Auburn fans will not like.
Have a great Thanksgiving!