08/29/2012 01:00 pm ET Updated Aug 30, 2013

Eight Tips for a Successful Tailgate

By J. Bloomfield, Ohio State University

Football season is just around the corner, and with it comes a classic tradition: tailgating. If you're new to the process or you're just looking to step up your game, you might not know where to start, but here are eight tips to get you started.

1) Start Early. This includes time to set up, cook, eat, play games, and break down before the game. Tailgating should be a fun and relaxing atmosphere, so start early to allow yourself to relax without missing the game.

2) Invite a ton of friends and welcome strangers. "The more the merrier" is certainly the case here. Tailgating is a great way to catch up with old friends or to meet your neighbors.

3) Wear your team's colors. Whether you are going to the game or not, you are a fan! Wear your colors and unite with other fans by supporting your team out on the field. Especially you, ladies -- guys love to see you rocking football gear.

4) Have trash bags ready. Your yard is going to be a mess, so be responsible and use trash cans to avoid a massive cleanup after the game. Cleaning up is not going to be at the top of the list of things you want to do after the game, so clean up as you go.

5) Stock up. Stock up on plates, napkins, food, charcoal, and probably most importantly, beer. You don't want to interrupt your tailgate by having to run to the store at the last minute.

6) Drink responsibly. Don't be a belligerent drunk at the game. Football is a family game and a family event, so be respectful to other fans.

7) Find the grill master. Nothing is worse than terrible food. If you want your party to be a big hit, find the man or woman who will cook up some good meat for everyone. Don't forget to compliment them too!

8) Music!!! Don't forget to play music or to bring a TV outside and get everyone pumped up for the game.  A high-grade music system will always bring more people and more fun.

Now go fire up the grill and have some fun!