By MATT CRANE
Mississippi State University hopes to gain more than just points on the scoreboard this coming football season.
While only 10 days separating ravenous fans from watching MSU face off against Jackson State, a time-honored tradition off kicking off the football season with tents, cook outs and a family of fans will begin earlier in the day when Bulldog supporters return to their second home: The Junction.
Southern Living Magazine recently announced MSU's inclusion in the top 20 schools with the best tailgating celebrations.
In a statement released by the magazine, editor Lindsay Bierman praised the variety of components that go into the tailgating experience.
"Tailgating combines two of the South's greatest loves: food and football," Bierman said. "No one on earth celebrates game day like we do: it's a cocktail party, family reunion, and fashion show all in one."
Along with MSU, universities being honored by the nomination include: Auburn, Clemson, Grambling State University, Hampden-Sydney Collge, Howard University, Louisiana State University, McDaniel Collge, Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M, University of Alabama, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Mississippi, University of Oklahoma, University of South Carolina, University of Tennessee, University of Texas and the University of Virginia.
Supporters of these school have the chance to vote on their favorite tailgating experience until Oct. 1, with Saturday votes counting twice toward the final tally, according to website rules.
Assistant Archivist for the Congressional and Political Research Center Ryan Semmes said catching up with old friends preparing for the game is always an exciting time.
"I love getting to see old friends who have moved away from Starkville and come back for a game," Semmes said. "It's great to catch up, meet their families and just have a good time as we get ready for kickoff."
Semmes said the Junction at MSU provides a great tailgating experience and the actions some fans take to ensure that experience shows the level of support Bulldog fans possess.
"I really get a kick out of the folks who arrive to the Junction on Fridays just so they can save the best tailgating spot," he said. "That shows how dedicated the MSU fans are."
Semmes said MSU fans have created a community of family at the Junction, and the hospitality shows when dealing with visiting fans.
"I recall some fans from the University of Georgia telling me how they had such a great time, everyone was so welcoming and how they admired the Junction," he said. "I think that says a lot about MSU and the people here. We want to beat your team on the football field, but we always have room for you at the tailgate."
In conjunction with the announcement of the top 20 best tailgating experiences, Southern Living has partnered with the SEC to publish "The Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook." The book offers dishes and ideas for each SEC fan base.
For information on how to vote for the best tailgating experience, visit http://www.southernliving.com
Before game day arrives, check out this recipe from the magazine's Sept. issue that is sure to satisfy any fan.
Southern-Style Cuban Sandwiches
1 12 oz. French bread loaf
1 lb. sliced barbecued pork, without sauce
1 oz. provolone cheese slices
1 cup sweet-hot pickles
For Chipotle Remoulade
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Creole mustard
2 Tbsp. sweet-hot pickle relish
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Stir together remoulade ingredients. Cover and chill up to three days before serving.
For sandwiches, cut loaf in half horizontally, and scoop out soft bread from center of each half, leaving a 1/2 inch thick shell to make filling the sandwich easier. Spread inside of bread shells with Chipotle Remoulade. Layer bottom shell with sliced pork, provolone cheese and pickles. Top with remaining bread shell. Cut into sandwiches.
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