By Matthew Waxman
Also: The Best Weekends, 1-10
Penn State head coach Joe Paterno prepares to bring the team out at halftime as they took on Temple in their home opener.
11. OHIO STATE
Pros: The dotting of the i in the script Ohio by the sousaphone player is the granddaddy of all football traditions. The Shoe fits 101,568 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. And don't miss Skull Session, a peprally featuring the band and coachJim Tressel. Con: It's Columbus.
The football has been terrible for decades, but there's no more idyllic a setting than West Point on a crisp fall day. From the Corps of Cadets parade to the boisterous students clad intheir Saturday best, we salute theirattention to detail.
Huskers fans are arguably the most polite in the country. You'd put on a happy face too if your team had played in a bowl game for 34 straight seasons.
Fans start tailgating on the Loveliest Village on the Plains as early as Wednesday; the weekend ends with a two-ply rolling of Toomer's Corner.
High marks for Hook 'em Horns, the Hell Raisers and a dance team hotter than the Texas sun. Points off for the view of the local highway. Don't forget the rockin' good times on Sixth Street after a win.
Pad along on the paw prints from the pregame party at the converted gas station, the Esso Club, over to the Hill for "the most exciting 25 seconds in college football": the players' rubbing Howard's Rock before charging down to the field.
For a unique pregame experience, check out the Ducks' indoor practice facility, the Moshofsky Center, which hosts a giant tailgating party.
18. PENN STATE
The sight of JoePa, with his Coke-bottle glasses, leading the boys in blue makes you wax nostalgic about a simpler time ... when Penn State was a powerhouse.
Have a Big Ass Turkey Leg on your way to old-school Kinnick Stadium, a rickety structure in its 75th year. After every Hawkeyes touchdown, lose your voice doing the famous four-cornered "I-O-W-A" chant.
20. FLORIDA STATE
Head to the Village to see students batter a car painted in the opposing school's colors. Then watch Chief Osceola, on his horse Renegade, fire his flaming spear into the field.
Best known for the floating tailgate party and the scenic views of Lake Washington. One of the few places where we'll tolerate the Wave, as it originated here in 1981.
22. OLE MISS
The Grove is beautiful, the ubiquitous "Hotty Toddy" chant sublime, but how seriously can you take a school where Miss Americas outnumber Heisman Trophy winners 3 to 0?
23. SOUTH CAROLINA
Fans "railgate" on the Cockaboose Railroad, a line of train cars stationed outside Williams-Brice Stadium. At $200,000 a suite, it's not exactly student-friendly.
The Big House is chock-full ofhistory -- 11 national titles, 40 Big Ten titles, three Heisman winners, the most wins in NCAA history -- and, perplexingly, of one-hand clappers (picture below notwithstanding).
The darkhorse choice. In Missoula, site of A River Runs Through It, fans sip Moose Drool and Trout SlayerAle while tailgating along the Clark Fork River. Grizzly Stadium hosts the I-AA powerhouse as well as Monte, a motorcycle-riding, break-dancing bear named National Mascot of the Year in 2003.
Also: The Best Weekends, 1-10
Issue date: September 16, 2004