Neutral Site Games

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Neutral Site Games

This Saturday feels special for many reasons. The season opener is always special. Playing a national power and an SEC opponent always feels like a big game. But it also feels like a big game because it is in a neutral site in a great venue.

I was surprised to see Clemson has played 123 neutral site games through the years. Clemson's record is 63-53-7 in those games.

In recent years most of the Tiger's neutral site games have been bowl games. Last season was the second conference title game in school history on a neutral site.

Last season, 2009, 2008, 2006 and 1991 were the only seasons since 1971 where Clemson played two neutral site games.

This Saturday will mark the second time (2008) Clemson will open the season in the Georgia Dome.

In the last 40 years Clemson has played regular season neutral site games in Atlanta, Charlotte and Tokyo, Japan. The Tigers played Alabama in Atlanta, Temple in Charlotte, and Duke and Wake Forest in Tokyo.

In 1971 Clemson played Duke in Norfolk, VA and the following week played Virginia in Richmond.

In 1955 the Tigers played Virginia Tech in Roanoke, VA and Auburn in Mobile, AL.

In 1954 Clemson played Florida in Jacksonville and Wake Forest in Charlotte.

In the 1940s Clemson played Auburn in Mobile and Montgomery, AL. They also played NC State in Charlotte three times.

In the early days of Clemson football it was not strange to see the Tigers play in Florence, Anderson, Greenville or Orangeburg.

The point is that Clemson has a history of playing regular season neutral site games and I believe this is a positive for the program. In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing the Tigers play a regular neutral site game each year.

Playing in the Georgia Dome can't hurt recruiting in Atlanta or the state of Georgia. Playing in Charlotte can't hurt recruiting in the Charlotte area or the state of North Carolina.

Oklahoma plays Texas in Dallas each year in the Red River Rivalry and as a result the Sooners have recruited well in the Lone Star State for years.

Georgia and Florida play each year in the game formerly known as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party." I know the Georgia people think it helps their recruiting efforts in the area.

This year Alabama and Michigan are playing in Arlington, TX. LSU and Oregon played there last year and Texas Tech and Baylor are playing there this season. NC State and Tennessee play in Atlanta the night before Clemson and Auburn get it on in the same building. West Virginia is playing James Madison in Landover, MD and Virginia Tech and Cincinnati will also play there this year. Notre Dame and Miami are playing in Chicago this season. Syracuse and Southern Cal are playing in East Rutherford, NJ while Colorado and Colorado State play in Denver. Oregon and Washington State are playing in Seattle. And Army and Navy will battle once again in Philadelphia.

South Carolina and East Carolina played in Charlotte last season. Missouri and Illinois have played in St. Louis recently.

Heck Notre Dame and Navy are playing in Dublin, Ireland this weekend.

Neutral site games give fans a reason to get excited. It gives fans a new venue or a new place to go see their team.

Therefore, I would not be opposed to see Clemson participate in one neutral site game each season. It could be a regular game like playing Auburn or Tennessee in Atlanta each year or NC State in Charlotte each season.

Revenue is an issue. The nine game conference schedule of the ACC really hurts any chance at this happening in the near future though. Schools have to have seven home games in most years in order to pay for the olympic sports. But if the money can be worked out, mark me down as in favor of one neutral site game a year. If not, maybe every other year. The excitement generated appears to be worth it and it is a trend that many schools seem to enjoy.

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