Via Mike Needham ’04 comes this piece of work from the good people at SI.com, the apparently cracked-out online sibling of Sports Illustrated. Their Tailgate Nation feature “celebrate[s] the American fan’s passion for the parking lot” by “highlighting various tailgating locations across the country;” a dozen, in fact. The site is gorgeously designed, visually arresting and easily navigable. Sounds pretty straightforward.

Still, you might be asking yourself what this could possibly have to do with EphBlog. As it happens, SI was so taken by the Williams-Amherst tailgating venue that it felt compelled to include it among the 12 most interesting such experiences in the country, rounding off their feature with a brief essay and photo montage about our Eph-tastic tradition.

These are the other 11 teams so highlighted:

Denver Broncos (NFL), Detroit Lions (NFL), New England Patriots (NFL), University of Florida Gators (SEC), Green Bay Packers (NFL), Ole Miss Rebels (SEC), Kansas City Chiefs (NFL), University of Wisconsin Badgers (Big-10), Oakland Raiders (NFL), San Diego Chargers (NFL), Army Black Knights (Div. 1-A Independent).

Williams’ presence among this bunch is a bizarre joke, possibly one designed specifically to tick me off. The shortcomings of recent Homecoming tailgates have been well-documented. Even had Homecoming enjoyment and inebriation levels held steady at a pre-2004 clip, one fine event per year does not a Tailgate Nation-caliber event make. For any number of reasons, Williams does simply not belong on the list.

The idea of including a smaller or lesser-known tailgate among the big boys was a halfway decent idea. But SI showed extremely poor judgment in choosing Williams over, say, an obscure mid-major Division 1 school with a big fan following (Northern Illinois, say) or a more deserving Div. 3 school.

We get plenty of exposure in the media for all of the many things the college does very well. We happen to be very poor at tailgating.

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