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Saturday, September 17, 2011
Welcome to Tiger Town, S.C.

By Chris Low

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Seeing Auburn and Clemson square off in football is a lot like watching two cousins scrap.

There are so many similarities that it’s hard to count them all.

We dubbed this the Lewis Grizzard Bowl a year ago in memory of the late Southern humorist, who once quipped, “Auburn is Clemson with a lake.”

Both are heavy agriculture and engineering schools. Both are located in small towns out by themselves that aren’t the easiest places to get to on game day. Both campuses are sprawling with greenery and two of the prettiest places you’re going to find.

Even their shades of orange are almost identical.

And, of course, they’re both the Tigers.

They both have famed pregame rituals.

At Auburn, it’s the flight of the War Eagle. And at Clemson, it’s the touching of Howard’s Rock just before the team runs down the hill into Memorial Stadium.

At Auburn, the place to hang out is any number of establishments on Toomer's Corner. At Clemson, it's the Esso Club, which is an old gas station-turned tavern.

The first three coaches in Clemson history were Auburn graduates. John Heisman was not an Auburn graduate, but he came to Clemson from Auburn. Heisman actually coached for both schools in the series. He defeated Clemson for Auburn in 1899 by a 34-0 score and then defeated Auburn as Clemson’s head coach by a 16-0 score in 1902.

There are also similarities in the two teams this season.

Auburn’s Barrett Trotter and Clemson’s Tajh Boyd are both first-year starting quarterbacks, while both defenses have struggled the first two weeks. Clemson is ranked 90th nationally in total defense (411 yards per game) and Auburn 111th (489.5 yards per game).

This could easily be one of those games where the first team to 35 points wins.