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Fans’ Guides to the Best College Game Day

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

Courtesy of The New York Times - Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

College game days are notorious for being where some of the best memories are made. As an opportunity to see friends and family, make new friends, and show your school spirit, game days are great ways to live it up during your four years. There are so many different ways you can spend the day before the game even begins, and each has their own do’s and don'ts as we’ll explore through this post.

If you’re scrambling to find out how to spend your game day, that’s where we come in! As a guide to everything college game days, even including some real student tips, this blog is here to help you.

Prepping Before the Day Starts

Whether you’re going to tailgate with friends and family, a party, or just heading straight to the game later in the day, the most important thing to remember is: stay hydrated! College game days are typically long days filled with a ton of walking and being outside in the sun. Especially for those games earlier in the season, the weather can still be summer-like and HOT. Drinking water is key, not only for before the game, but even during!

Marissa, a junior at the University of Michigan, says her biggest game day tip is to “make sure to drink water…because it gets hot in the stands!” Everybody loves college football, and the stands are always packed, especially if you’re in the student section, as most students are. Being packed in a small space with a ton of people creates a lot of body heat, and combined with the hype, the stands can get pretty steamy. That is why staying hydrated is the most important component of game day.

Courtesy of - AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

The Essentials for Tailgating

Tailgating can sometimes be an all-day activity, so making sure to stay entertained is key. Games like cornhole, cup pong, or just a football or a frisbee are perfect ways to keep friends and family of all ages entertained before the game.

A tailgate playlist is the perfect way to keep everyone active. Putting together a set of hype songs, fan favorites, and even some of your school’s favorite/tradition songs will keep everyone’s school spirit up!

Another one of the most important things you’ll need for the best tailgate is food and snacks. Bringing lots of snack-y foods, like bags of potato chips, pretzels, and some dips to go along with it, is perfect. But, (if you have a small portable grill or stove) you can also cook up some hot dogs, hamburgers, and so much more. Make sure to bring plenty of drinks as well to keep everyone hydrated throughout the day! Having food is important to keep everyone’s stamina and energy going throughout the day.

Bringing trash bags is also a huge plus on game day. Avoiding big messes, or piling up trash is not only cleaner and more respectful to those around you, but also much more safe.

Showing Your School Spirit With Style

Courtesy of UGotACollegeFSU (@ugotacollegefsu on Instagram)

Showing your support and school spirit for your team through your clothing is a great way to support your team, and get pumped up for game day. Wearing your school colors, or wearing a hat or shirt that has your team’s mascot/name is the easiest way to show your team spirit, so make sure to stock up on some college t-shirts, hats, and more.

With style must come practicality, and Marissa has a great way to do both! She says, “Wear pants with lots of pockets, and bring a clear bag/small bag if it’s allowed so you don’t have to carry everything.”

There are so many things you need with you on college game day: phone, ID, wallet or cash/card, student ID, etc. Carrying these all in your hand is not practical, so wearing clothes with the added bonus of pockets is a smart solution, and can also be super stylish! Clear/small bags are also an easy, and recommended, solution. To see our blog about everything you need to know on (clear) bag policies, click here!

Staying Healthy and Safe During the Day

Just like drinking water, eating something is super important on game day. Whether it be a big lunch, or just a snack, having something to eat is essential. Walking around all day, being under the sun, enjoying all the tailgate games and festivities, and cheering in the stands is never easy, and not safe, on an empty stomach. The last thing you want is to feel sick, pass out, get sick, or get hurt because you didn’t eat (or drink water) at all.

Courtesy of - AP Photo/Thomas Graning

Jack, a sophomore at Penn State University, says, “Make sure to eat before drinking because you could be tailgating the entire day.”

This is the most important thing to remember: drink responsibly!

Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had and pace yourself, never drink on an empty stomach, drink water in between/during, never drink and drive, and always say NO if you: are under 21, are pregnant, are taking medicines that might interact with alcohol, don’t want to drink, or if you’re feeling unsafe. Overall, drinking responsibly is a safer, kinder to those around you, way of keeping college game days fun.

Make Memories

One of the most important parts of a tailgate is mingling with those around you. Whether it’s getting to know the other students around you or spending time with your friends and family, being friendly and sharing the fun is an important part of a tailgate. Tailgates are an important part of meeting new people in college, so don’t be afraid to get out there and talk to some new people, while catching up with your own friends and family too!

Remember: the tailgate is just the first part of any college sports game. Using the tailgate to get your school spirit up, sing your school’s fight song, hang out with the people you love, make new friends, get pumped for game day, and so much more is probably one of the best ways to spend your time before the game.

Courtesy of USNews - WVU Photo/Geoff Coyle

On Your Next College Game Day…

…use these tips! Especially if you’re going to or hosting a tailgate, this blog is the perfect guide to all things game day. There's just so many things about a tailgate, or any activity before a game, that make them memorable for years to come, even after you graduate. You can come together to eat some great food, meet new people, catch up with friends, invite your parents to meet your college friends and get acquainted with your college campus, listen to some good music, and so much more, all while cheering on your favorite team.

So remember, on your next game day: hydrate, eat something, stay safe, drink responsibly, and most importantly…get hype, show your school spirit, and have fun!

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