Texas A&M-Clemson

Jay Thompson (right) traveled from Charleston to see Clemson play Texas A&M on Saturday. His friend, Davis Adams, graduated from Clemson and is now a Texas A&M grad student. Grace Raynor/Staff

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Davis Adams was making his way around Texas A&M’s campus Friday afternoon as a Ph.D. candidate in the university’s aerospace engineering program when the Georgia native made a detour from his daily routine.

ESPN’s College Game Day was coming to town Saturday morning, the Aggies were set to play in a primetime matchup Saturday evening at Kyle Field and Adams wanted to make 100 percent certain his tailgating spot would be secure in plenty of time.

So he arrived to set up his tent at noon on Friday, a full 30 hours before kickoff.

After all, this wasn’t just a regular game for him.

“I’m all Clemson,” he grinned. “Don’t get it wrong.”

This one had been on the calendar for a while.

Adams, who graduated from Clemson in May and is now a graduate student at Texas A&M, was among the thousands of fans flocking to the Aggies’ scene Saturday for an electrifying day of fanfare that is right up there with the best of the best in college football.

His pal, a government contractor for the Navy and new Charleston resident, Jay Thompson, drove 18 hours from the Lowcountry to check out just how they do it in Texas. Ten of Adams’ closest friends and family members jammed into his small house in College Station for the weekend to get a taste, too.

And certainly, the atmosphere did not disappoint. In fact, far from it.

Though it was muggy, muddy, rainy and scorching hot in Texas on Saturday, those Clemson fans who made the journey to College Station certainly got their money’s worth in the atmosphere portion of the day alone.

The College Game Day signs from the crowd were some of the most creative the program has seen:

“Dabo Swinney Uses Straws,” one sign read, referencing the national debate over the plastic facilitator.

“Dabo Swinney eats at Long John Silver’s,” another said, referencing the cheap seafood cuisine.

“Kobe is still the best passer named K. Bryant,” one read, with a picture of Kobe Bryant attached to mock Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant.

And last but not least: “Dabo thinks Jim was better with Karen,” another one read, referencing the ever-popular hit TV series “The Office.”

While Adams wouldn’t go so far as to say the brisket-smelling, uber-friendly tailgates of Aggieland were better than what he experienced at Clemson, he did admit he had to give his new school credit for the tradition.

The Texas A&M cadets had Clemson fans in awe, the friendliness of the campus had Tigers fans feeling mixed emotions. Everywhere anyone went, a chorus of “Howdy’s!” rang out.

It seems the Tigers’ fan base was well received, too. For the Aggies’ part, while most of them were hopeful Jimbo Fisher would get the best of Dabo Swinney on the field, outside of it, the day was all in good fun.

“I’ve been working in the Corps Center and we’ve gotten so many Clemson guys coming in being so supportive and so friendly,” said Ethan Ritchie, a Texas A&M cadet who will do physics work with the Navy after he graduates in 2020. “They’ve been really, really friendly. I’ve really liked them.”

Follow Grace Raynor on Twitter @gmraynor

Grace is the Post and Courier's Clemson reporter. She graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in journalism.