College Game Day: Easy Hosting Ideas

It’s fall and that means football season is in full swing! If you’ve followed along for awhile, you know we love football in our house! Every year I go all out for hubby’s fantasy football draft, we’ve hosted fun tailgates, and I’ve even been known to decorate our fireplace in a football theme!

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This year, we thought it would be fun to host our friends to watch our favorite college team, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, during an away game. With a last minute idea, we wanted to get the invites out quickly, but still capture the football theme! This was the perfect occasstion to try out Paperless Post.

Paperless post football invite

Paperless Post has tons of free options to send out fabulous invitations by email and text message, but you can also purchase “coins” to customize a number of options like upgraded backgrounds, envelope colors and liners, and other design choices. I received some free coins to test out the experience and it was really fun to choose some of the fancier details available. The invites went out without a hitch and it was super easy to track our RSVPs. I loved the polka-dot liner for our envelopes!

Although I was given complimentary coins from Paperless Post, all of my opinions and feelings about their products and services are 100% my own. I only work with brands that I would recommend to others!

Paperless pot green envelop with polka dot lining


I have a tendency to go all out for many of my gatherings, but having friends over to watch a game doesn’t have to mean a full day of setting up! Choose an area nearby the TV and make that the focal point. In our case, it’s the bar in our basement here, but you can use a 6 foot table or your kitchen island. We’ve loved using our bar for lots of sports entertaining throughout the year, like March Madness.

Using a linen tablecloth in one of your team’s colors can quickly add some team spirit. I had been eyeing a maroon tablecloth on Amazon for quite some time and finally bought it! They have just about every solid color at such reasonable prices. Plus, you can wash an re-use for future events! I can see this one making an appearance at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

College game day hosting ideas

Next, I created a backdrop with some buffalo plaid poster board. This was on sale for less than $1 at Hobby Lobby. I always like grabbing items like this that can be used for backdrops or projects, especially at that price!

Buffalo check backdrop for a football chili bar

To add more dimension, I pulled out one of my new favorite craft supplies, Wooly Sheep Dots. I first used them as a part of my 4th of July mantel this year and I loved how easy it was to string them onto a banner. Now for a quick side story.

As avid readers of the blog know, I am HUGE Dollar Tree fan. I may have found the best find yet— a Minnesota Gophers commemorative book with all kinds of vintage replica items in it. It had a list price of more than $50 and I got it for just ONE WHOLE DOLLAR! It was amazing! The book included these vintage replica postcards from past homecoming games and they made the perfect addition to the banner. I love a good find!


The rest of the decor included some DIY signs that I made to show some Gopher Pride. Even printing a few logos off and framing them can have a big impact in a small area.


Keep it simple! I love a big spread just as much as the next person, but when you are having a casual get together, you can take the pressure off with an easy menu. We stuck with chili and stocked the bar with toppings right before our guests arrived. Some of our favorite chili toppings include:

  • Saltine Crackers

  • Chili Cheese Fritos

  • Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt

  • Shredded Cheese

  • Chives

College game day chili bar

If you want to get really fancy, make some cornbread as well. Have some beers, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages on hand and you’re set!

Minnesota Golden Gopher bar


I am a huge sucker for Target’s Bullseye’s Playground, but fall gets me every time! Not only do they always carry the most amazing fall and Halloween decor, but now they’ve added football items! It’s hard not to buy it all. This year, they had some fun socks in mens and womens sizing and I knew these would be the perfect little party favor for our guests. At a $1 a piece, it didn’t break the bank. I made my own little printable tags to cover the original tags and set them out on the bar. Our coach is a big believer in being ELITE, so I had to make a little pun-ny sign that said “Keep Your Feet, Elite.”


And, that’s it! The best part? A Gopher win!

Minnesota Gopher themed bar