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Where I Come From: Tailgating Traditions

This post sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.

College football would be awesome enough all by itself.  Cheering your school on in a packed stadium against a hated rival -- or even a hopelessly overmatched patsy -- is a four-month-long high that we can't get enough of and look forward to the minute it goes away.

But as awesome as college football is, it is enhanced tremendously by tailgating.  Whereas you may be restricted regarding how many of your close friends you can sit next to during the game itself, tailgating gives you the ability to hang out with as many of your buddies as you have chairs for.  It lengthens and enhances the game experience.

We all know that feeling you get when you get into Manhattan on game days.  There's something in the air that tells you "today is not just another day."  And when you get to the stadium and see row after row of cars, trucks, RVs, and every other type of vehicular transportation, with the flags waving and food cooking, you just let the feeling wash over you.  It's game day.

At K-State, we are blessed with a tremendous tailgating scene.  Large blacktop lots on the east and west side of the stadium provide ample parking for those lucky enough to have a parking pass, while nearby satellite grass lots are usually more than sufficient to handle the rest of the crowd.  With everyone packed in so tightly, you can smell the food cooking from a long distance, the sweet combination of ribs, brats, steaks, burgers, hot dogs, brisket, and whatever other dead animals people can throw over an open flame.  There's the good-natured (and not not-so-good-natured) ribbing between the home crowd and the visitors.  Washers clink and footballs fly.  Solo cups "conceal" adult beverages from the wandering eyes of the dreaded Kansas ABC and law enforcement.  The fans mop sweat or bundle up against the cold, depending on the time of year.

I'd like to tell you I have a tailgating routine and traditional setup, but that's just not the case.  It was only last year that I moved back to Kansas City, and I haven't been able to get a routine set up just yet.  In an ideal world, I'd show up about four hours prior to gametime with the BOTC editorial crew and a few other good friends.  Fire up the grill, throw on some food, play some games to pass the time, discuss the team, the matchups, and college football in general, and watch the other big games of the day on a TV with satellite access (yes, that's my ultimate tailgating dream, to have a TV so I can watch the other games while waiting for K-State's).

So that's what I see as K-State tailgating.  What are your traditions?  Favorite recipes?  Best spots?