Town: Clemson, SC
Head Coach: William "Dabo" Swinney
Football Stadium: Memorial Stadium "Death Valley"
Colors: Clemson Orange and Regalia Purple
Traditions: The Hill, Howard's Rock, Tiger Rag, First Friday Parade, Tigerama, The Esso Club, The Alma Mater Salute/Rat Caps, Banging the Drum, Two-Dollar Bills, See more traditions here.
Famous Alumni: William "Refrigerator" Perry (Former NFL defensive lineman, Superbowl XX Winner, 3-time NCAA All-American 1982-1984), Jeff Bostic (NFL Center, 3 time Superbowl Winner), Brian Dawkins (NFL defensive back, 5 time pro-bowler) Lucas Glover (2009 US Open Champion), Strom Thurmond (Former US Senator), Harvey Grant (Former Mayor of Charlotte, first African-American student at Clemson), and Robert H. Brooks (President of Hooter's)
Biggest Rival: South Carolina, Georgia
Where to Stop for Food: Calhoun Corner's ($$$), Pixie and Bill's ($$$), Blue Heron ($$), The Esso Club ($), Paw's ($), and Mac's Drive-In ($)
Where to Watch the Game if You Don't Have a Ticket: You will find the people at Clemson to be some of the most inviting in the country. You will constantly be asked to join tailgates, eat, drink, and watch the game if there is a TV. If you want to sit and be immersed in Clemson sports history head over to The Esso Club, just across from campus.
Where to Party After a Win: The Esso Club. Period.
When I was asked to do this blog post I was a little hesitant at first. How do I fit everything about Clemson, football, and tailgating into one post? I have been going to Clemson football games since I was two years old (my dad was class of '68) so it has been part of my life as long as I can remember and has given me so many memories. But I can honestly say there is no other place in the world like Clemson University, especially on game day. As many alumni say, "There's something in these hills."
The crisp smell of the cool air coming off Lake Hartwell in the morning is the perfect start to a Saturday in the upstate. Dawning your tailgating gear the day starts early in Clemson (tailgating begins at 6:00am for noon games). One thing that many Clemson alumni talk about is "The Clemson Family." This sense of family is real and palpable, especially on game day. Moving from tailgate to tailgate you will see family, old friends, and make some new friends along the way, all the while enjoying good food and cold drinks.
Clemson fans and visitors are all welcomed to tailgates on game day. Many a day my family and I have fed opposing fans while engaging in a little friendly smack talk. The game itself is an experience in of itself. Running down "The Hill" has been described as the "Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football." Rather than write an essay describing this experience, I'll let the video speak for itself:
Game day ends with the sun setting that gorgeous Clemson Orange over Lake Hartwell while the lights of downtown turn on. Many famous Clemson spots such as The Esso Club, Tiger Town Tavern, and Sloan Street Tap Room are gathering places for Clemson fans to reflect on the day and those Tigers they love so much.
FIGHT TIGERS, FIGHT TIGERS,
FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!
My close friend, Richard, was kind enough to help me with this post this week. Despite our rivalry, we have remained friends. In all good fun, we give each other a hard time with friendly jabs here and there. We just put our friendship on a temporary hold around Thanksgiving each year.