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Where I Come From: Tailgating Traditions

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This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011

Tailgating. How can anyone talk about college football and NOT talk about tailgating? For many, it's a rite of passage, a religion if you will. Outside of a handful of NFL teams, it's probably the one big difference between college football and the NFL. Sure, there's tailgating at some NFL games, but it doesn't get anywhere near the level it does for college football.For a lot of people here, especially college students, they do the tailgating and don't even bother going to the game.

While I realize that ISU isn't quite on the level as most of the SEC, and teams like Wisconsin, I think they do a fine job in the Big 12, probably top 3 in the conference or so, based on what I've heard.

I do enjoy a quality tailgate, but I'm not an expert at it. I really do like it, but I've never quite owed the ideal ride or equipment to really be a leader on the tailgating scene. Typically I'm rolling over to somebody else's tailgate, bringing some of my own food, and doing it up like that.

I'm a man without a tradition. I like to think of tailgating as something that evolves over time, so I evolve with it over time. When you were a freshmen, you're just trying to sneak booze, not get caught by DPS, and trying to talk to some wasted girls. From the looks of it, when you're 50+ AND can afford that six figure RV, you bust that out, along with a carpet and picnic table from outside, you arrive no earlier than 2-3 hours before the game starts, and you spend 90% of your time in the RV. If you're 50+ but are poor, or are a normal person, you are in midlife crisis mode and are doing what you did when you were 18, only now you're macking on your kid's friends. Funny how that all works, huh?

So I'm tradition-less, and to many that's different, possible even sad in their eyes. Instead, I thought I'd talk about my favorite tailgating meal, because you know you gotta eat something before the game.

My absolute favorite tailgating meal are breakfast burritos. I'm such a sucker for burritos in general, and I love eggs, hashbrowns, etc., that it makes complete sense. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but the trick is to beat the eggs and store them in a container in advance. Bringing the cheese, tortillas, salsa, etc., is easy. I like to throw in some Sriracha or some Green Tabasco sauce if you want to add some kick and some flavor to it. Don't get anything too spicy, otherwise you're going to be spending the 2nd half the game going in and out of the restroom. You get those frozen hashbrowns if you want to cheat. It's really very easy, but there's something special when you combine it all. All you do is bring out a skillet, some tin foil containers, and you're solid. Pair that up with a bloody mary or five, and you've got the breakfast of champions.

I know many ISU fans that dislike those 11am kickoffs. I'm telling you, eating some breakfast burritos combined with some bloody marys is much more desirable at 5 or 6am than trying to slam some keystones that early. Maybe I'm getting old, but a beer before 10am is just hard for me to do. This is the ideal way to cope with the early kickoffs if you dislike them.

For the record, I like the 11am, because I can watch the Cyclones, go home and catch most of the 2:30 games, and then all of the evening games. But I'm a college football fan like that. Others don't want to get up that early after just rocking it on WoW until 3:30am and are crashing after their energy drink binge, but that's just them. 

What about ya'll? What do you do when you get the chance to tailgate before the game? Favorite recipes, things you do to prep the night before, is all fair game. If I can chill with my burritos, some bloody marys, and throw the ball around for a couple of hours, I'm good to go. I'm a laid-back-tailgater, because I try to give it all that I've got (below a level that embarrasses my wife) when I'm in the stands.

Tomorrow we're going to talk about our favorite Cyclones of all-time!