OU tailgating
(Mike Allen)

Football season is upon us again in the state of Oklahoma. There’s a palpable energy in the (scorching hot) air that smells strangely like grilled brats, and the cities of Norman and Stillwater will effectively double their populations on many Saturdays in the coming months. (Or Thursday evening, as it was for Oklahoma State fans this past week.)

Where fans can be before and after University of Oklahoma home football games has become a matter of logistics — and your wallet. In Norman, OU tailgating on Lindsey Street near the stadium has returned, but for a price. Long gone are the days when anyone could venture over and set up a tent.

In fact, when looking at the OU tailgating map, most of the “free” spots are located quite a good distance away from where the games are played. If Saturday’s home victory against UTEP offered any indication, those who reserved the “private” tailgating areas went all out for the occasion. I guess if you’re spending that kind of money in the first place, why not lock in some luxury?

Norman’s pregame environment has been trending toward exclusivity for quite some time, but I have to wonder if this shouldn’t change with the move to the SEC looming. Tailgating stands as part of the culture in that conference, so why not try to fit in a bit more naturally? If OU finds this new arrangement particularly lucrative, I can’t imagine things changing, but it’s something to think about on your long walk to the stadium.

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