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Tailgate Preview: Cyclones vs. Pantherhawks

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Ah, the tailgate. A preparation of the mind, body and soul for receiving of the gift of football. Prior to every game this fall, WRNL will bring you a "Tailgate Preview." We promise to focus very little on the opponent or football in general, and instead turn our efforts to how to get the most out of your tailgating experience. After all, it's common knowledge that Iowa State is more known for tailgating as opposed to football prowess.

Any Cyclone fan worth their well-worn Seneca Wallace jersey knows that game day is incomplete without the feasting, drinking and camaraderie of the tailgate event. In this recurring article we'll highlight the weather, a drink, a dish, and something to keep you busy between sips. So sit back, pop a top or crack a bottle, and enjoy the beginning of tailgating, er, football season.

Weather: Hot and Sunny

The forecast for Saturday's festivities looks lovely: partly cloudy with a high of 88 degrees, and, of course, it'll be windy (this is Iowa, after all). While there is no chance for rain, there is a 100% of the following: the SEZ looking amazing, folks getting way too drunk due to the late start time, UNI fans wearing Hawkeye apparel, Smoke on the Water being the team's entrance song (unfortunately), and have I mentioned the SEZ yet?

While it looks to be a lovely day in central Iowa, the temp and sunshine could be a bit of a concern for tailgating groups. Early season games in the Midwest are usually very warm, especially when the sun is out.

What does that mean for the average tailgater? Be sure to hydrate before/during/after the game. Hydration drinks of choice: Gatorade, more alcohol, Pedialyte (which is apparently James Bond's go-to), and water. Final forecast for Saturday: heavy drunkenness with a chance of football.

The weather should also be a factor in your drink of choice, which for this week is....

Drink: BEER

Ahhhhh, beer. Where would civilization be without beer? It's beloved around the world, and is an essential part of any tailgate's alcoholic arsenal. On a warm Saturday in September, there's no better way to pass the time than enjoying an ice cold beer. Not too cold though - those ones are tough to shotgun.

Beer of choice for Saturday: any light beer. Light beers are wonderful because they don't fill you up unless you drink more than a dozen, which is very likely for many readers of this fine website.

Light beers like Bud Light, Busch Light and Miller Lite, to name a few, are also smart to drink on a hot day due to their ability to hydrate you along with getting you drunk. It's the perfect combination, if you ask me.

Now, just because we recommend light beers doesn't mean you get a free pass to consume the proverbial bottom feeders of the light beer world: though beers like PBR, Keystone (drink of choice for college freshman), and Beer 30 may be cheap and hydrating, they taste like they were brewed with water from Lake Laverne.

The reason beer is perfect for your tailgate bender is its ability to wear multiple hats. Beer can be sipped, swallowed, gulped, chugged, shotgunned, and bonged. It can be used in cooking, to ice a wound, for drinking games like boom (more on that next week) or flip cup, and is required to be held at all times during games of corn hole or beersbee. It's also easy to carry, and requires no mixer or chaser (though adding orange/tomato juice is always a viable option).

As the great Johnny Cash once said: "The beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had 20 one more for dessert".

If you'd like a real beer recommendation, check out our UNI game preview, where KnowDan gets to do what he does best: be a beer snob (love you, KnowDan).

Food: Burgers

In the coming weeks our food recommendations may be more advanced, but for now, let's stick to the basics. Burgers go together with football like peas and carrots, cocaine and waffles, a dog and a fire hydrant, and Hawkeye fans and Walmart. Not only are they tasty and made of beef (which this the best food on the planet), but they're easy to cook as well.

Related: Build your own Iowa State tailgate smoker!

All you need to do is fire up the grill, flip them once or twice, and take the burgers off before they look like hockey pucks. If they end up looking less like burgers and more like the charcoal you bought that morning, you should put down the tongs, finish your beer, and wait out the rest of the tailgate in your car.

While your basic hamburger really only needs fixin's like cheese, ketchup, mustard and so on, here's a recipe for Beer Can Bacon Burgers if you want to get fancy. If not, I suggest buying some cheap burgers and buns, and focusing the remainder of your money/energy on drinking.

Game: Flip Cup

Flip cup is a tailgate/party staple, as it involves competition and provides players a chance to consume large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time. Sounds perfect for a tailgate, right?

This game is very simple and fun, two things that are important as a day of tailgating drags on and the hours become harder to count (literally, because of the beer). Here's how you play: split up your group into two different teams of new fewer than four, but no more than 10. There really isn't a limit, but most tables won't hold much more than that. Each team matches up players across the table, and each person gets a solo cup. This solo cup can filled with whatever is handy.

In my time, I've seen the following used with varying levels of drunkenness as a result: wine, Lime-A-Ritas, Mad Dog 20 20 (why?), mixed drinks of all sorts, and the the most common of course - beer. Cups can also be filled with as much as a person likes, which leads to girls filling them with 1.5 ounces of Michelob Ultra or Miller 64, and makes full-cup flip cup a very real (and disastrous) option.

Two people, one on each team, start by drinking their cup, and then proceed to try and flip the cup upside-down onto the table. The next person can start only when a clean flip has occurred, which can be a challenge for all of you uncoordinated folks out there. The first team to flip all their cups is the winner, though the winner gets no prize whatsoever.

Remember, if you can't figure out how to play or forget the rules (too drunk, can't think), find an undergraduate and get them to teach you.

To recap, we obviously aren't fans of Cyclone Football for a winning tradition. The reason we all make the trek to Ames season after season is for the friends, family and fun that comes with football each fall. The best way to celebrate this gathering of friends, family, and complete strangers who just happen to be fellow Cyclone fans, is to tailgate.

Let the party begin!

PSA: WRNL has a tailgate in log G7, and you're welcome to stop by! We'll have a breathalyzer, plenty of booze, and of course, your favorite writers from this fine website. Also, please bring donations of beer, baked goods, cards and flowers, etc. We're not too picky.

Also, if your group manages to come up with some food pictures, feel free to Tweet/Facebook them to either myself (@MNelson_ISU) or WRNL's social media accounts, and they might be used in next week's tailgate preview!