Virtual Tailgating: Making the Most of Your Tele-Tailgate Party
Prior to 2020, the idea of virtual tailgating was left to the poor schmucks who moved out of SEC Country and craved a taste of college football Saturdays from back home.
Now, thanks to things largely out of our control, many SEC diehards are left gathering via video calls instead of outside their favorite school’s stadium.
That stinks. No sugarcoating it. But we’re here to help you make lemonade out of the lemons that 2020 has dealt us.
Let’s get started by assessing what you’ll need to do prior to game day to ensure you have an enjoyable virtual tailgate:
- Secure a good internet connection. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the value of a solid internet connection. You’re going to be on video with your friends for hours, so make sure you don’t become “that guy” who has a fuzzy video feed and audio that cuts out every third word. Typically, connecting your device directly to the modem will net you the fastest speeds your connection has to offer. But if you’re using WiFi, make sure you’re as close to your router as possible.
- Agree on a platform and create a meeting time. Are you a Zoom user? Does your buddy prefer Microsoft Teams? Have that one friend who refuses to use Facebook Messenger’s video chat? And you know there’s going to be someone who insists the whole thing go down on an Apple platform because it suits their iPhone. Getting everyone on the same page for the meeting time and virtual venue is an important task. Take charge and build consensus on the best service to use. Bonus points if you send a calendar invite to your party in advance with the link to the virtual hangout attached.
- Choose your device wisely. College football games are like a four-hour event, so you’re going to want to make sure you’re comfortable. Pulling the video chat up on your 5-inch phone screen might seem like a good idea during the pregame chatter, but by the time the fourth quarter rolls around you may be complaining of neck pain and eye strain from putting your friends on your handheld device. Instead, see if you can use a device with a bigger screen that may allow you to see all of your party at once. Try your laptop or desktop computer, an iPad or maybe even a Facebook Portal for this.
- Make sure your cable or streaming service actually offers the channel the game is on. SEC fans are spoiled in that their entire menu of games usually air on one of: CBS, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or the SEC Network. If you have access to all of these with either a cable subscription or a streaming password, you should be set for virtual tailgating in the SEC.
Once you have all those basics in place, it’s time to get creative for the tele-tailgate party.
Here are some ideas for games, contests or themes to make your virtual tailgating a little more exciting:
Signature Drink of the Week
You may not be there to share a cooler with your buddies, but one of the easiest ways to feel like you’re all together is to make a pact to drink the same thing during the party.
An easy suggestion for this is to come up with a beer of the week and a liquor of the week. That way, it’s flexible for those who prefer one or the other.
We recently dove into the best cocktails for tailgating season, so maybe you could comb over that list to get inspired for Saturday’s choice.
Halftime Trivia Contest
We all have that group of “know-it-alls” in our circle of college football friends. The ones who think they know everything is to know about Georgia football, the SEC and college football in general.
Halftime is a great opportunity to get those competitive juices flowing, test our brains and earn some bragging rights before the second half kicks off.
I’ll leave you to your own devices to create the format for your group, but I have some loose suggestions if you’re struggling.
- Designate one person as the trivia host to ask all questions.
- Use 5-10 well-researched (or stolen off the internet) college football questions.
- Devise a simple points system for correct answers to help determine a winner.
- Use a time limit so no one cheats by Googling the answer.
- Make the contestants write the answers down on scratch paper and reveal at once!
Bonus points if you have the Final Jeopardy music playing in the background.
Team-Themed Drinking Game
Inspired by the drinking games that take place during big events like Presidential debates or the Super Bowl, you could develop your own drinking game that caters to your favorite college football team.
Did the camera catch the get-back coach having to pull Kirby Smart off the field? Take a drink.
Did we fail to convert a 3rd-and-1? Take a shot.
You get the idea.
Bonus points if you create bingo cards for those in your party to play along. Now that’d be some dedication to the game!
“Strict” Dress Code Required for Entry to the Virtual Party
You’d never let your friends wear orange to a UGA football game at Sanford Stadium, so why in the world are we letting that nonsense into the virtual tailgating atmosphere?
This may seem silly, but it really can set the tone for your time together. Everyone wants a sense of normalcy during these games, and Uncle Ron in his pajamas on a Zoom call is a far cry from normal.
Make it fun, but stand firm.
Dress in your game day best for this virtual tailgate. No team colors? No entry.
Once you have everyone on board for dressing the right way, you could even turn this into some sort of a virtual fashion contest. Best dressed, worst dressed, goofiest looking outfit? Use your imagination.
So this one is tough because you can’t pass the dish around for everyone to try during a virtual tailgating. But we’ve all be to enough tailgates to know a well-executed appetizer when we see one.
Wow your friends with that recipe you’ve always wanted to try. But be careful. If it looks good and you say it tastes good, you know they’re going to demand that you bring it to the next in-person gathering.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, we recently dove into some of the top appetizers for backyard tailgates this season.
Do you have some ideas that have worked for your tele-tailgate? We’d love to hear about them on the DawgNation message board!