Well, it was the Super Bowl yesterday, featuring two teams that for some reason aren’t the Patriots. Still, despite the absence of the only team worth watching the Super Bowl is a cultural touch-stone and a great chance to hang with your friends. With that in mind, here are five tips that will set you up for a successful Super Bowl.

1. The Set-Up

What are you working with?

You’re going to need, at minimum, a TV with reception (don’t count on an internet stream for the most-policed event of the year) in addition to some couches or chairs. That’s the basics. Your friends, frankly, come second: they aren’t going to want to huddle around a laptop that says “Loading…” over some German pop-up filled site promising “SUPERB OWL TIMES!”

Get your place set-up properly as best you can, because you aren’t going to want to have to deal with problems later. Similarly, a last-minute venture to a sports-bar is going to be a lot less fun when it’s crowded beyond belief.

2. The Materials

You’re going to need food and drink. That’s a pretty classic pair for everything, but for football and hosting, it’s even more crucial. Because of the length of the game you’re going to be hungry and, guess what? Everyone in the universe is ordering pizza and wings today. Hope you like a four-hour wait for a pizza that turns into a circle of soggy bread.

Similarly, the game is boring. Sorry. Without the Patriots (the only team ever) in it, you’re just watching a lot of standing around and “awesome” commercials that involve a lot of bears hitting guys in the crotch with Doritos or whatever. If you want to enjoy that, you might want a beer or two.

3.  The People

You want your friends, and you want the right number. Around eight or so seems to work for me. In larger groups, there’s a pressure to supply real food, like chili (although it’d be cool if you made chili, yo), one person will be too drunk, one person won’t be drunk enough, and you’ll have a guy who wants to invite his girlfriend, Kelsey, who, let’s be honest, isn’t even his girlfriend, she’s just some girl he knows from Twitter.

In a smaller group, there’s less of a chance of distraction, annoying friends-of-friends, or weirdos named Asa who cook all your eggs and then complain that you’re eggs aren’t good enough. Instead in a smaller group you can focus on the important things, like the ads where the bear hits the guy in the crotch with Doritos. Doritos: if cheez-whiz made a tortilla chip.

4. The Broader Plan

What are you going to do after? If you’re planning to get work done, don’t drink too heavily. Are you down to keep drinking with your friends? Then see if they want to keep it going in advance, lest you be the only guy trying to get a post-game chug going. Do you or your guys have monday classes? If so, be aware. If not, take advantage. Whatever it is, the game is in the middle of the day, meaning you need to plan your morning (a healthy breakfast to prepare for the unhealthy snacks) or the postgame (homework or partying!)

Either way, making a broad plan is going to help you out later (and earlier) in your day. The game’s only for a few hours: what areyou going to be doing at 9:30?

5. Mourn The Patriots

We could’ve had it allllllllllll…catching in the deeeeeeeeeeeep…