The SEC has always been known for their great football talent and their tremendous tailgating experience that most all programs provide each and every home game.

I know, I lived in Nashville for 4 years and experienced venues from Rocky Top at the University of Tennessee, the Grove at Ole Miss and others along my travels.

Outside the SEC there are certainly other spots across the country that have been known for a tailgating experience that fans crave every college football season.

I would be willing to bet that Iowa State University would be able to stack up against any tailgating experience in the country.

Jeff Thurn ESPN 99.1

Fans start ascending on Jack Trice Stadium and the adjacent parking lots the day before the game and by Saturday morning, it looks as if you are at a outdoor music festival with all the tents and RV's.

Plus, in all three of my encounters at ISU for tailgating events before a football game, Cyclone fans were always accommodating to me and others, welcoming folks in regardless of affiliation to enjoy the pregame festivities.

The last two seasons have been the only two years that I have been to games in Ames and both years, the football team has really struggled on the field, losing more than winning, leading you to believe that the number of fans would significantly diminish.

Quite surprisingly, that isn't the case.   I was there for a Kansas State game earlier this year, the week after they lost to FCS foe North Dakota State and there was more fans than last year at their home opener in my opinion.  Add to the fact that I just returned from the Oklahoma game where the Cyclones entered the year with only 2 wins and the parking lots were nearly as full as the Kansas State game.

Jeff Thurn ESPN 99.1

Obviously the crowd wasn't there after the game with OU routing the Cyclones at home, but the pregame celebrations were on par with what I would expect from this tailgating gem and throw into the mix the cold weather in Ames on Saturday, the crowd was once again surprising to me.

Whether you have a love for ISU football or not, a trip to Ames and Jack Trice Stadium is something that you need to do as a sports fan.


Make sure that you either make appropriate accommodations to tailgate yourself or get there early, start a conversation with one of the nice Cyclone fans and enjoy a fun Saturday of football on the campus of Iowa State University.