MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tailgating and football go hand in hand, especially here in the Mid-South.
Now I know, I grew up in Mississippi and have had the privilege of traveling around this region and seeing some of the best gameday atmospheres.
One that I'd never seen before was Tiger Lane for a UofM football game.
With UCLA in town Saturday, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to see what UofM football tailgating is all about.
It was the biggest non-conference game of the year for the Memphis Tigers with an 11 a.m. kickoff against UCLA.
One of the tailgating spots I stopped was at Gary Rhodes' popular tent. So naturally, I asked him what the key is to good tailgating.
"Well the key to tailgating is good friends," Gary said. "Lots of Tigers fans, and then what we do is we all set up these six spaces. Different families come in here. Friends join in and we have this Tiger tailgate over here. It's set with TV and Satellite. All the good breakfast food we're having."
Gary's tailgate is known as one of the more impressive ones, and it has some impressive refreshments.
"We always have a specific drink," explained one tailgater. "Like today we're having Bloody Marys that are right there, and sometimes we do mimosas. We'll do champagne, cocktails, just different things. That's one of those things. We have a theme. This is Chick-Fil-A, one of the girls made muffins. This is hashbrown casserole."
I then met up with UofM Game Day Coordinator Lauren Kendall, who said their Greek Row tailgating stands out in Memphis.
"Many Greek organizations across different campuses are super clique-y and everything," Kendall said. "Here at the University of Memphis and at the Tiger Bowl everybody is welcome to go do whatever they want. Everybody is so welcoming here. It's an awesome place and an awesome environment."
Eventually, we met up with some UCLA fans in the midst of the Tiger fans.
"It's an impressive setup," said one UCLA fan. "People are dedicated. They're here early. It's a lot of fun activities. People have been very kind. They seem to take tailgating very seriously."
Overall, I had a great time out in Tiger Lane. I got some great food, and I got to see some amazing sights out here.
Truly one of the best places to tailgate in the country.
The Memphis Tigers would go on to defeat UCLA 48-45, knocking off the No. 25 ranked team.