‘This ought to be a classic:’ Clemson revved up for second Death Valley showdown this season
CLEMSON — Clemson senior Katie Barnes hasn’t seen the campus buzzing like this all season.
And that includes the week leading up to Georgia for the season opener.
“I mean, there was a lot on the line then, but I think there’s more on the line for this game,” Barnes said of Saturday night’s clash between the No. 3 Tigers and No. 5 Florida State.
ESPN’s College GameDay is all set up on Bowman Field once again, a historic feat for Clemson. It’s the first time the popular pregame show has ever appeared on one campus twice in the first eight weeks of a season.
A little challenge from FSU quarterback Jameis Winston aimed at Clemson’s crowd has added even more to the buzz.
“Especially with what ‘Famous Jameis’ had to say about the crowd noise, I think we’re going to surprise him when he gets here,” said Barnes, who is featured on Clemson’s “Death Valley Live” weekly video segment played at Memorial Stadium.
ABC/ESPN producers wowed a national audience Aug. 31 with its six-minute pregame presentation of the Clemson football team’s excursion from the locker room onto the buses and through the streets surrounding Memorial Stadium to the top of The Hill, which they run down to punctuate one of college football’s most famous entrances.
The Tigers won that game 38-35, despite entering a 3-point underdog to Georgia.
Little did the TV networks realize Clemson would so quickly host an even bigger game, seven weeks later, when Florida State and the Tigers face off for ACC supremacy and serious contention for a BCS national championship berth. The 8 p.m. game will be televised nationally on ABC (WCIV).
How to top that Week 1 project? On television, viewers will witness a similar pregame ritual. Only this time, it will be complete with cameras stationed on the buses so fans can see and feel what the Tigers experience in those final few moments before the balloons and fireworks light up the South Carolina sky.
Cameras will also go inside the FSU and Clemson locker rooms. The Eminem song ‘Not Afraid’ will serve as background music and play-by-play announcer Brent Musberger will reprise his famous introduction, “Ladies and gentlemen, the most exciting 25 seconds in college football.”
If fans, players, coaches and TV executives have their wish granted, the most exciting 60 minutes in college football will follow. The FSU-Clemson winner has been fueled to the ACC Atlantic division title each of the past four years, and it’s been the home team coming out on top in all four matchups.
Florida State is favored by three points, even as the visitor and lower-ranked team. The Jameis Winston-Tajh Boyd quarterback matchup will be closely monitored by Heisman Trophy voters.
“We’ve got a heck of a football team, Florida State’s got a heck of a football team,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “This ought to be a classic.”