Touring Tiger Town: A Georgia Fan's Clemson Travelogue

About the game itself, I have little to offer beyond what I already have offered; my reaction to the momentum-shifting botched attempt at a would-be game-tying field goal was to think (metaphorically, not literally): "Kevin Butler is dead, and I don’t feel so good myself." That, in essence, was all she wrote.

However, after the fashion of DavetheDawg’s and vineyarddawg’s Mizzou travelogue of a year ago, I thought I would offer a brief recap (composed mostly of pictures) of a whirlwind Labor Day weekend, which began for me on Thursday, when I made radio appearances with Chris Beckham on WVGA News Talk 105.9 in the studio, Tony Barnhart and Wes Durham on 790 The Zone over the telephone, and Phil Jones on WJEM The Jock 1150 in the studio. Also on Thursday, I spoke to the Valdosta Bulldog Club and taped the following segment for Fun Channel America:

On Friday, after checking in with Daniel Shirley on Fox Sports 1670 by telephone, I checked my son, Thomas, out of school and headed up I-85 toward the Palmetto State. This was not our first father-son foray to Fort Hill for the purpose of seeing the Georgia Bulldogs take on the Clemson Tigers in an intercollegiate sporting event, but, the last time we went, we were there for a baseball game; this was Thomas’s first college football road game---the 2010 Liberty Bowl was a neutral-site outing---and it marked my first trip into Death Valley since I attended the 1995 Georgia-Clemson game that inspired Fighting Like Cats and Dogs. This was kind of a big deal.

We spent Friday night in Commerce, where Thomas did battle with a mozzarella stick:

In order to avoid the parking problems vineyarddawg encountered, we lit out for Clemson early Saturday morning and found a suitable patch of grass near the corner of Cherry and Perimeter Roads. From there, it was a bit of a hike, but we got to tour the campus, which was worth the walk. (Because Memorial Stadium, like Sanford Stadium, sits down in a bowl, however, a university with an enrollment of roughly 21,000 has done a remarkably effective job of hiding the location of its 81,500-seat stadium.)

Naturally, we visited the set of "College GameDay":

From there, it was off to the Mellow Mushroom, where we shared a pizza topped with applewood-smoked bacon and I appeared on The Tiger Pregame Show on WCCP Talk Sports 104.9:

Our leisurely, and lengthy, stroll across campus brought us to the Robert Muldrow Cooper Library, in which I spent many hours researching Fighting Like Cats and Dogs:

We also happened to be walking alongside the right road in order to see the Bulldogs’ team buses pulling into Clemson:

In due course, the time rolled around for us to enter the stadium, which appears from the highest reaches of the top deck to slope upward at an impossible angle, as evidenced by this vantage point:

In case you were curious, yes, we were located at the edge of the upper deck in the end zone from which fireworks were shot off every time the Tigers scored, which was often. Despite the outcome of the game, the experience was a pleasant one; in my several visits to Fort Hill, I invariably have encountered welcoming, accommodating, and cordial fans. Although a pregame mishap caused the flag to be raised only to half-staff, they got the problem fixed before the game ended, and at least they know that flags fly at half-staff, not at half-mast, when one is on a continent rather than on a ship. Also, it was cool to be on hand to see Danny Ford inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor, which was richly deserved and long overdue. Finally, before the game began, we spotted a famous person in our section:

It was all downhill from there (you should excuse the expression), but still the experience was worth the trip, the durability of the rivalry was confirmed yet again, and all on hand saw a good game, even if we visitors were less than pleased at the result. I’m glad this game was played, I’m glad my son and I went to see it, and I hope I will be afforded additional opportunities to see the Bulldogs take the field against the Tigers by the shores of Lake Hartwell.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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