South's Best Tailgate: The Case for Ole Miss

Rebels tie for the number 1 spot.

Ole Miss Tailgate Food
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

For those of us perpetually faced with the prospect of an almost-champion-but not-quite team, ritual trumps score. Pregame hope needs a spiked lubricant. Postgame hurt requires a whiskey soaked balm. It means The Grove, the ne plus ultra of tailgating tradition. So ingrained is this Saturday-afternoon custom that I still root for the Rebels, shouting "Hotty Toddy!" from the couch in our Brooklyn apartment or flying home to Oxford , Mississippi, to revel every couple of years. I don't really care so much about football. What I care deeply about—being someone who enjoys good food, copious drink, and any opportunity to watch humankind peacock— is the Mississippi experience.

Unlike at other schools, especially my comparatively slovenly alma mater in the Rockies, game day in Oxford is a runway event: tweeds from Neilson's and dresses from Cicada or other local fashion-forward boutiques.

As The Grove has become nationally known, game day at Ole Miss has transcended from mere social gathering to outright spectacle. And what good is a spectacle unobserved? "Hell Yeah! Damn Right!" Stay for the game, but come for the party.

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