Berkeley, CA – Tightwad Hill
Officially known as Charter Hill, this mound to the east of Cal’s Memorial Stadium has offered prime views to tightfisted college ball fans for nearly a century. Rising around 100 feet above the stadium’s rim, the hill is home to distinctive features including terrace benches, treetop perches, and “The Pit”, an area of broken glass below the lowest seating level. Though some universities might not appreciate the value in allowing fans free seating outside their own facilities, a massive victory was scored for Tightwad Hill in 2006, when Cal agreed to preserve the hill as an important football tradition (and to reevaluate plans for new stands that would have blocked the view).
Boulder, CO – Ralphie the Buffalo
CU-Boulder’s live mascot has frequently been called one of the best in sports, and it’s not hard to see why. Lead by a team of 5 handlers, Ralphie leads the team out onto the field at the beginning of the game and again after halftime. Running horseshoe loops of the field, this is a truly rare sight for all spectators – and it’s not hard to imagine the intimidation factor of a full-sized buffalo charging towards the opposition.
Pasadena, CA – The Rose Bowl
This may be the obvious pick, but we can hardly skip over it. One of the greatest sporting traditions in America, this annual bowl game is played New Year’s Day (or January 2nd, if the 1st is a Sunday) in Pasadena’s stadium of the same name. See the Pac-12 face off against the Big Ten in what may be the most prestigious venue in all of college football. This is an exciting matchup between two of the nation’s top teams, and a game that’s truly earned the nickname “The Grand Daddy of Them All”.
Seattle, WA – Sailgating at Husky Harbor
Every Saturday throughout the fall sees a flotilla of fans floating on the eastern shores of Lake Washington. Husky Stadium sits right on the water’s edge, and it’s a decades-long tradition for fans to arrive to football games by boat – to the extent that a series of docks was established in the 1960s for just this purpose. Many of these seafaring revelers have banded together to establish the Washington Captains Club, complete with their own maritime flag. Between the lake’s crystal blue waters and mountain ranges on the horizon, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful tailgating location.
Stanford, CA – The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band
The tales surrounding the LSJUMB are both wild and endless. Billing themselves as “The World’s Largest Rock Band”, you won’t find neat arrangements and military marches here. When they’re not flat-out mocking the opposition, the LSJUMB put on displays filled with inappropriate formations, hilarious costumes, political and religious parody, and classic rock covers. Their irreverence has won them the undying love of many football fans, and the hatred of many more.