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Gameday in Mississippi: Ole Miss

Mississippi fans approach college football games with a passion bordering on religious fervor. Saturdays in the South are often planned around football schedules from September to November’s end. Teams may win or lose games, but Mississippi always triumphs at tailgating.

The home games for SEC football teams often achieve national attention, both for the zeal of the fans and for the size of their pregame soirees. But when it comes to the action both on and off the field, Mississippi colleges and universities are a great place to enjoy the fierce rivalries on the gridiron, and the fun and inviting tailgating experience.

Visitors to any of our universities will want to experience Mississippi’s distinctive tailgating styles. Here are a few tips to help you tackle a football weekend in Mississippi:

Cheerleaders on the fields midgame at the Ole Miss Vaught–Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi Thomas Graning, Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The Tradition

Vaught-Hemingway stadium may house the main event on game day, but the action begins and ends at The Grove. You’ll marvel at the chandeliers, antique silver platters and flat screen TVs glowing under otherwise unassuming tailgate tents. Pro tip: Bring a cup of your own or a red or blue Solo cup.

What to Wear

This is not your T-shirt-and-jeans crowd. Ole Miss fans have been known to dress to the nines, as in designer dresses, high heels, sport coats and ties. To play it safe, dress for a night out on the town.

The Chant

Students cheering on the Ole Miss football team. Thomas Graning, Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

If you’ve never heard the Hotty Toddy chant before the game, you’ll know it by heart after an hour in The Grove. It’s the only appropriate response to “Are you ready?!”

The Team Tradition

The arch of the Walk of Champions on the Ole Miss Grove. Kevin Bain, Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Ole Miss football players and coaches begin their traditional journey to Vaught Hemingway stadium by way of a brick sidewalk bisecting The Grove. Known as the “Walk of Champions,” the fan favorite begins about two hours before kickoff, and fans crowd both sides of the walkway to cheer on the Rebels.

Off-Campus Place to Be

The courthouse square is Oxford’s epicenter. Game days transform the busy town square into Oxford’s upscale version of Bourbon Street. Square fixtures like City Grocery, Ajax Diner and Bouré offer fans a superb repast. Visit the Burgundy Room above City Grocery Restaurant to enjoy a drink and spot famous Mississippians who frequent the watering hole.