Lifestyle

Maria Taylor of ESPN's <em>College Gameday</em> Describes the Perfect Tailgate Party

Maria Taylor grew up tailgating at football games in Atlanta and watching Coach Corso every Saturday on College Gameday. Now, she’s making history as the first African-American woman to host the show.

This week marks Taylor’s fourth week on Gameday, and she’s feeling good—but not without the pressure that comes with being first.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

“If I’m not successful, then who knows when the next minority female is going to get the chance.”

“You want to honor that position and do it really well so that someone else will be able to move into the same spot,” she says. “If I don’t do well, or I’m not successful, then who knows when the next minority female is going to get the chance.”

Taylor’s goal to succeed will not happen by following in the footsteps of the men ahead of her, but by being her own self.

“At the end of the day, I’m a 6’2” African-American female who is a former athlete that likes to wear sneakers when I do sidelines at college football games. I have to own all that and be very, very confident in it,” she says.

It’s working. The energy emanating across campus and through stadiums when Gameday is in town is as strong as ever.

The Gameday tailgates, which often start as early as 6 a.m., are just as wild, too. With a live show to tape, Taylor can’t participate in the parties, but she knows the signs of a good one. Here’s what she’s learned from a lifetime of celebrating football.

Allen Kee / ESPN Images


What supplies to bring:

“You have to have a satellite TV, because I’m going to need you to be able to watch the game. But you also need a radio just in case satellite fails. True tailgaters have back up on back up. You definitely have a generator, because you’re gong to be grilling something, you’re obviously going to be playing music, you’ve got a lot going on. If you’re a true tailgater, you’re bringing power to the tailgate. Then you have a huge tent, and you’ve been grilling since 5 a.m. You’re smoking meat, you’re making ribs—something that is falling off the bone by the time kickoff actually happens.”

What food to grill:

“Definitely burgers and hot dogs. They can just sit out and you can keep on using. Don’t need any sauce—maybe some ketchup.”

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

What drinks to serve:

“You need Gatorade, and then you’re also drinking adult beverages. You gotta hydrate, too. You can’t cramp up on tailgate day.”

“If you’re a true tailgater, you’re bringing power to the tailgate.”

What gear to wear:

“If you’re not representing some school, then please don’t come. At least just rep something—some kind of color. And if it’s a white-out, please also be in the color that your school has designated. I hate the person who shows up for a black-out and they’re wearing white or red.”

What music to play:

“I honestly think the TV is just on, which probably no one wants me to say from a broadcasting standpoint. You’re watching the game, and it’s also a party. You’re rocking out, the game is on. We’re still getting that rating, but I would be okay if you had like, the new 2 Chainz album on too. Apple Music, they do the best playlists ever. The one that I would listen to is the hip-hop A-List.”

Show More

Related Articles