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Clemson, LSU Schedule Home-And-Home Series

Graphic announcing the upcoming Clemson vs. LSU series.

Amazingly, Clemson and LSU have never played in the college football regular season. That is coming to an end.

Earlier this month, reports emerged that the two teams of Tigers, both of whom play in stadiums known as "Death Valley," were working on a series.

Today, it became official. And luckily for fans, it is a true home-and-home slate of games, unlike the recent LSU deal with Florida State, which will have games in Orlando and New Orleans.

Clemson and LSU announced the series today.

A theme of this series will almost definitely be about which stadium deserves the name "Death Valley." Clemson takes ownership of the name in its tweet, while LSU is more diplomatic.

According to a recent article by The Post and Courier's Grace Raynor, Clemson had the nickname first.

Back in the 1940s, it was tradition for the Clemson football team to open its season against the Presbyterian Blue Hose, whose coach at the time was Lonnie McMillian.

In 1943, Presbyterian defeated Clemson, 13-12. A year later, Clemson avenged the loss with a 34-0 victory. In 1945, it was even worse for visiting Presbyterian — a 76-0 defeat.

That’s when McMillian, who had visited Death Valley, Calif., on his way to Los Angeles for the 1932 Olympic Games, coined Clemson’s Memorial Stadium as college football’s Death Valley. He noted that the stadium, which is located in a natural ravine and built of concrete instead of metal because of shortages during Wold War II, is brutally hot in early fall and one of the toughest places for visiting teams to play.


Blackman and Bourret say Clemson’s coach at the time — Frank Howard — liked the nickname and proudly embraced it. When a jovial, good-natured Clemson graduate, Sam Jones, took a trip to Death Valley, Calif., in the 1960s, he brought back a rock from his travels that he gave to Howard.

In fact, according to a former LSU SID, the school borrowed the nickname for its own Tiger Stadium after the two teams met in the 1959 Sugar Bowl, a 7-0 LSU win.

According to Bud Johnson, the SID from 1966-71, LSU only started calling itself Death Valley after the SEC Tigers swiped it from the ACC Tigers following the two teams’ meeting in the 1958 Sugar Bowl.

LSU referring to itself as “Deaf Valley” before it became Death Valley originates from a gas station in the adjacent commercial area not far from LSU’s campus. Crowe Peel, a former LSU boxer and 1949 national champion, named his gas station “Deaf Valley” because of the noise that boomed from Tiger Stadium.

“I’m an LSU fan but I side with Clemson,” Johnson said. “I believe that LSU’s creative enough to do their own thing. I think there’s enough of creative strength on that campus and enough tradition here.

That Sugar Bowl, played on January 1, 1959, was the first match-up between the two programs. All three have come in bowl games.

In 1996, LSU beat Clemson once again, this time in the Peach Bowl 10-7. Clemson picked up its first win in the battle of the Tigers in 2012, with a dramatic 25-24 Chick-fil-A Bowl victory.