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Tailgating Auburn Style in the 21st Century

Last week we talked about how technology has radically changed the way we consume college football. Things are changing so fast that our Saturday's look radically different from just 10 years ago.

Over the past decade we've been introduced to the internet, flat-screen televisions, digital cameras, Facebook, Twitter, satellite television, satellite radio and non-stop college football coverage on both the internet and television. The days of waiting for the morning paper to get your college football fix are way over.

But how has it changed our tailgating experience?

Walk around Auburn on game day and it's no longer a family standing around the tailgate of the truck or SUV. The days of picking up a bucket of KFC and a cooler of beer are over. Stroll around Auburn on Saturdays and you'll see intricate tent cities with all the comforts of home.

One of my favorite parts of the game day experience is to walk through campus and witness what others have done at their tailgates. One of my favorite tailgate spots is right beside the Foy Student Union. I don't know the names of the tailgaters, but I marvel at their effort.

In addition to numerous tents, you'll find up to five televisions lined up side-by-side, attached to a satellite dish. In front of the sets are several rows of chairs lined up with perfect angles to take in the action. And let's face it, you can't really enjoy games on television without being cool. To each side of the "outdoor theater" are cooling fans that go non-stop providing a much needed breeze.

I marvel at the effort Auburn fans put into their tailgating Saturdays. While my family tailgates most Saturdays, our efforts vary from week-to-week. I admit to being somewhat lazy. Only a few times a year do I join my friends in an all-out full blown tailgating extravaganza.

Why? Because on Sundays, I feel like I've just run the New York City marathon and can hardly move off the couch. I tip my hat to those of you who do it weekly. Hauling generators, satellite dishes, televisions, fans, food, chairs and tents, just typing the words exhaust me. There's a lot to be said for walking the bookstores and Toomer's Corner and stopping in for lunch at Acid Reigns favorite haunt, The Amsterdam Cafe.

Perhaps the best deal going is the tailgating program run by a group called, Tailgate Guys. For a flat fee, this company will set up your tent, provide coolers, tables, chairs and even food. You are provided prime tailgating space just outside the East entrance to Jordan-Hare Stadium. Of course luxury tailgating doesn't come cheap. But if money is no object, there's little question this is the way to go.

A recent study of SEC teams and their tailgating habits show that up to 20,000 fans never make it into the stadium on game day. They prefer to ride the game out at their tailgates. I've often believed there was a sizable population who never made it to their seats, but this number surprises me.

With all the technology available to fans today it's no wonder people never leave their seats - that is, their tailgating seats. When you think about it, it's not all bad. You get to experience the game day atmosphere while enjoying the play-by-play on the television. If you need a beer, you just go to the cooler for it.

These fans may be on to something.