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Tailgating is a Southern football tradition, especially among the DawgNation

Top 10 ‘must-haves’ for a home tailgate for football games

Nick Cole

Tailgating is one of the best things about college football. Nothing quite matches the joyful anticipation of your favorite team’s kickoff on a fall afternoon.

And that is just as true whether you’re in the parking lot near Sanford Stadium or enjoying the game from your own backyard.

Since many of us may be stuck at home this football season, DawgNation is here to help make sure you don’t fumble on your home tailgate preparation.

Here are the 10 things you’re going to want to make sure you have before kickoff on Saturdays this fall:

#1 A quality canopy tent

Let’s call this “command central” for your backyard tailgate. It is where the magic will happen.

PROTECTION from the elements– such as rain, wind, snow or the blistering Georgia heat– is the key to a good tailgate. 

You’ll need protection for the people, the electronics and the bountiful feast you’re going to be serving. Protection, protection, protection.

The folks at Academy Sports and Outdoors even have a Georgia Bulldogs-themed canopy tent available for purchase. Wouldn’t that baby look good in your backyard this season?

Oh, and a word of advice from an experienced tailgater: Make sure you anchor the tent down with some sturdy stakes to avoid any weather-related mishaps.

#2 An outdoor TV with streaming service

No one wants to huddle around your cell phone or iPad. Besides, we’re supposed to be six feet apart. Remember?

The first thing you’re going to want to make sure you have on hand is a television that is big enough for the whole group to enjoy and also is equipped to deliver a crystal-clear picture of the Dawgs TV broadcast.

Speaking of the broadcast, you’re also going to need to make sure that you can login to your live streaming service– such as Sling TV or YouTube TV– with a reliable internet connection (via WiFi or cell service) so you can pick up the game on CBS, ESPN or SEC Network.

#3 Bluetooth speakers for your pregame and postgame entertainment

Sure, you’ll all be glued to the television while the Dawgs are playing, but what about the rest of the day?

You’re going to be moving about in the yard, which means you’re going to need some entertainment for your ears.

Whether it be your favorite pregame hype music, the Georgia Bulldog Radio Network or ***SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT*** the wall-to-wall gameday coverage from DawgNation, you’re going to want to have something a little more powerful than the speaker on your cell phone. 

#4 Appetizers

It’s time to talk about food. While the game is important, keeping everyone’s belly happy is also a key factor for a successful tailgate experience. 

Spinach & Artichoke Jalapeno Dip

Our friends at Kroger have all you’re going to need to make some killer appetizers for pregame snacking. From the ingredients to the recipes.

Here’s a few tasty appetizer ideas from Kroger:

If you’re a not-so-talented player in the kitchen, might we suggest some takeout appetizers from our friends over at Marlow’s Tavern instead? 

J.T.’s Kettle Chips or Marlow’s Famous Hummus are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

#5 A grill to prepare the main event

Appetizers can be made in the kitchen, but the main course of a tailgate feast should be prepared in its proper place: On the grill.

Whether you prefer the original flavor of a charcoal grill, the convenience of a gas-powered machine or the fanciness of a premium smoker, this is a necessary piece of the tailgating puzzle.

Here are a few recommended grilling options:

Another pro-tip from an experienced tailgater: Make sure you schedule your preparation of this meal in advance of kickoff. There’s nothing worse than having to worry about manning the grill while your team is attempting to convert a critical fourth down play.

#6 A “good” cooler

I’m not saying you need to spend a mortgage payment on the latest-and-greater cooler that will keep your ice from melting for 3 months, but I am saying you better be able to keep everyone’s beverages chilled all day long.

Adult beverages and kid drinks alike taste better ice cold.

Check out these tailgate supplies to shop around for a cooler and some other game day essentials. Oh, and don’t forget to buy the ice.

#7 Cold beer

You know what belongs in that fancy cooler you just bought? Some ice cold beer.

College football tailgates and craft beer go hand-in-hand. Like peas and carrots, or something like that.

When writing down a list for football party supplies, you’ll want to make sure you pick up a 12-pack (24-pack?) while you’re shopping for appetizers and grilling supplies.

Oh, and if you want to get fancy, you should definitely bring some Classic City Lager from Creature Comforts Brewing Company to the party.

#8 Yard games

An afternoon in the fresh air with football on the TV and food on the grill is great. 

But if you want to go to the next level, you’re going to need to get those competitive juices flowing with some yard games.

Cornhole is an all-time classic tailgate game. You’re going to want to feature that at your backyard tailgate. If you really want to win over your crowd, you can get a Georgia Bulldog-themed boards from many places.

More fun yard games include washers, horseshoes, spikeball and many others. Something as simple as throwing the frisbee around is an easy one, too.

Take a poll of those participating in your tailgate and pick out a couple of games to set up in the yard. It’ll be worth your time.

Oh, and for the safety of all involved, please keep your lawn darts in the attic. (Kids, ask your parents about those!)

#9 Desserts

Don’t forget the desserts. The only thing sweeter than a win on Saturday is a home-made treat to seal the deal.

And, conversely, there’s not that will melt away the pain of a tough loss.

What I’m trying to say is: You’re going to want to have dessert on hand no matter the outcome of the game!

Here are a few that sound perfect for a tailgate:

#10 A high-quality pigskin

This may seem basic, but I’ve seen this mistake happen before.

You can’t have a proper tailgate without a good football to toss around the yard. 

You’re going to be in the mood to send one of the kids on a pass pattern during the commercial breaks. Trust me.

There’s a wide variety of footballs available online or in stores from $9 to $99, so you’re likely to find the right fit for the seriousness of the pigskin tossers at your tailgate.

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