Welcome to the 10th stop on the Tailgate Tour, Auburn. I ventured to Auburn for their November 13th game against the Georgia Bulldogs. Auburn came into this game undefeated, ranked #2 in the country, and looking to clench the SEC West and secure a spot in the SEC Championship game. If that was not enough, earlier in the week Auburn’s QB, Cam Newton, was in the midst of an alleged recruiting scandal. Here is what I found during my weekend in Auburn.
Upon arriving in Auburn on Friday afternoon, I went to campus to see what it looked like the day before the game. Already there were parking lots filled with RVs and trashcans set out for Saturday’s game. I did find it strange that everywhere I looked I saw people sitting in chairs and just standing in grassy areas. They looked like they were waiting for something.
At 4 o’clock I found out what they were waiting for. All across campus, people pulled out rolls of neon plastic ribbon and began marking off large rectangles. The purpose of taping off an area is to claim that tailgating spot for Saturday’s game. A taped spot is not a guarantee you will have it the next day, but generally people respect your claim to the area.
These rectangles would not stay like this for long. The next morning they would transform into this.
As I was walking around campus, I noticed dozens of people headed towards one particular building. I was curious as to why, so naturally I followed them.
What I found were hundreds of people waiting next to two charter buses. Fans were standing and cheering for the football team to come out of their practice facility. The team stays in a hotel the night before the game, so the fans were there to give them a send off! Apparently this crowd was much larger than usual. Hearing this, it definitely made me excited for Saturdays tailgating. Would I get to see an Auburn win?
The next morning I arrived on campus around 7:30 am and found many fans tearing down the tape and setting up their tents.
Kickoff was at 2:30 leaving me plenty of time to wander Auburn’s campus. I learned a few things when it comes to tailgating in Auburn.
The first is that there are a lot of RVs. I only had time to check out one lot, but there were many more. As I was driving in on Friday I passed by them, but I could only be in one place when it came to game day, so I was unable to make it to all of the lots.
If RVs aren’t your style then the other option was on the grass! In Auburn, the majority of the tailgating took place on grass. The white tents you see above could be yours on Saturdays, but they will cost you. These tailgating tents come with a parking lot and valet service that will bring your tailgating gear by wagon right to your tent. This is one way to go, but a pricey option.
Anywhere that had grass and you taped out the night before was fair game.
My favorite area, and where I spent the majority of the day, was at the Amphitheater.
As soon as I saw the stone steps, I realized why it was called the Amphitheater.
This is where I tailgated, but more importantly here is what I discovered. If you were hungry, there were plenty of options. How about…
Low country boil ?
or do you have a more cajun craving?
Deep fried turkey?
Something off the grill more your style? Well, Auburn had that as well. Not only did they have delicious grill items, but they had some of the coolest grills I have seen yet. They were as simple as
an old oil drum, or became a little more complex with a converted pickup…
These were cool, but this was the coolest grill I saw during the day.
Once an old dairy tank, this 5 ft in diameter grill sits on top of a re purposed blazer frame and is a true tailgating piece of art. Complete with an ice chest and keg that provides running water, this tailgating grill looks the part, but looks are not everything. What I wanted to know was, “Can this thing actually grill ?”
I am going to say yes. Other than the grilled chicken in the bottom right of the last picture, this super tailgating grill cooked everything you see.
To wash down all that food, bourbon and soda was a common choice.
Similar to Ole Miss, porta johns were tough to find. These upscale bathrooms were placed throughout the tailgating areas.
Attire at the Auburn game was similar to Tennessee and LSU.
Anything ranging from dresses and button down shirts to football jerseys. As long as you are wearing a combination of navy, orange and white you are dressed appropriately.
Hats were quite popular as well…
This guy wins my award for best outfit.
Orange pants and a navy shirt were common, but his accessory of unicycle and jump rope set his outfit apart.
Even fan’s canine friends showed their Auburn colors.
Of course there were of course plenty of t shirts as well.
As you can see, the majority of the T shirts were related to Auburn’s QB, Cam Newton. I am not going to dive into the details or give my opinion about the issues surrounding Cam Newton, but they involve alleged violations that occurred during his recruitment to Auburn. This was a hot topic throughout all the tailgates that I visited, but there was one commonality I found. Everyone one that I talked to was in full support of Cam, and had his back with whatever the NCAA and school decided.
2 hours before the game, I was able to take part in an Auburn tradition, The Tiger Walk.
This ran along Donahue Drive and ended at the stadium. The cheer leaders and players walked along the double yellow line on their way to the stadium. There are barricades set up closer to the stadium, but where I was there were none.
As you can see, thousands of people showed up to greet the team.
Thanks to this lovely group of fans who explained to me the ins and outs of the Tiger Walk.
I have seen similar walks at other SEC schools, but the Tiger walk was definitely at the top of the list. As the players would walk down they were greeted by hi fives and hugs form the fans. Auburn cheers and applause filled the air. I have no allegiance to Auburn, but for those 15 minutes or so during the walk, I definitely felt as though I was a member of the Auburn family.
After the Tiger Walk, fans began entering the stadium. These pictures of students were taken at 8:30 am. 6 hours before game time and students were already waiting to get the best seats. Most people left for the stadium around 45minutes before kick off.
With Auburn’s 10-0 record so far this season, there were dozens of people looking for tickets to this game.
When the game started, plenty of fans watched the game from the comfort of their tailgates. I usually leave when the game starts to head back to Charlotte, but at Auburn there was a tradition I had to stay for.
This is Toomer’s Corner. The tradition at Auburn is that after every home win, the trees on this corner are rolled with toilet paper. The only way for me to know if this would happen, was to wait through the game.
I think you probably figured out the result of the game. Auburn won and clenched a berth in the SEC title game. The trees in Toomer’s Corner are completely white by the time fans are done with them. Was this worth staying for and getting back to Charlotte at 3am? I am going to say yes. This was an awesome tradition that I am glad I could have been a part of.
The traditions at Auburn on game day were some of the best I have seen so far on this tour. Thank you to all of the fans that I met for their hospitality and letting me join them in their tailgating!
I am headed to Tuscaloosa this afternoon for their Thursdays night game against Georgia State.
On a side note, I have an announcement to make.
With two stops left in the Tour, you might be wondering what I am going to do with this amazing adventure I have been on this fall. Well, I am writing a book. I am currently working on the proposal to publishers (any publishers out there interested? ), but if all goes according to plan you will be able to find the Tailgate Tour as a book on bookshelves next August. This book will contain some of what you have seen on the blog and many more pictures and stories that I have not yet shared. There will be recipes for my favorite tailgating food as well as bonus coverage from post season tailgates that I am going to visit. In addition, you will be able to find my rankings of the tailgates I have been to.
Yes I am going to rank the 13 tailgates I have been to this fall and tell you who I think has the best tailgating scene in the country.
I will keep you updated on if this will happen. Thanks again for stopping bye!