HOT TIGER TIPS: A Clemson Fan's Guide to the Bay Area

The Clemson Tigers clinched a victory in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Saturday, December 29, and have advanced to the College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship at Levi’s Stadium.  Mark Purdy, a longtime Northern California journalist and Bay Area 2019 contributor, offers helpful specific advice to Tiger fans who follow their team to Santa Clara and are looking for things to do before the game.

Must-Attend Championship Weekend Activity: Extra Yard For Teachers Summit At San Jose McEnery Convention Center.  Clemson University is the highest-rated education college in South Carolina and is among the top four education schools in the Southeast, according to U.S. News and World Report. The school also produces the most junior high and high school math and science teachers in the state. So it would stand to reason that some of those graduates would make their way west for the big game. They can pass time before kickoff by attending the summit, organized as part of the College Football Playoff Foundation’s main philanthropic effort, Extra Yard For Teachers. On Saturday and Sunday, the summit will feature expert speakers, workshops and prize giveaways. No registration is necessary for the summit.  Any teacher or school administrator can gain free entry with a current school ID.

Must-Visit Historic Local Site: Former location of Candlestick Park: Clark, one of Clemson’s favorite sons, was among the Bay Area’s most beloved athletic personalities before he passed away last summer at age 61 from ALS, often known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. After a modest college career as a Tiger, he was a 10th-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1979. But he bonded with another rookie, quarterback Joe Montana, and the two men created one of the most famous plays in NFL history. In the final minutes of the 1981 NFC title game, Clark made “The Catch” for the winning touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys. That happened at Candlestick Park in San Francisco but after the 49ers moved to Santa Clara in 2014, they wanted to immortalize Clark’s moment at their new home. The hope was to complete the sculpture before he died but the dedication occurred in October of this year on the stadium’s north plaza. Clark’s likeness, suspended in mid-air, is joined by one of a touchdown-signaling Montana 23 yards away – the exact distance the two were apart that day in 1981. The infamous fur coat that Clark wore in the Super Bowl parade two weeks later can be seen inside the nearby 49ers’ museum.

Recommended Local Hangout: Poor House Bistro.  South Carolinians love their oysters. The Poor House serves up a dynamite oyster po’ boy sandwich.  The live blues music on the covered patio every night just adds to the ambience. Fancier oyster dishes can be found at Scott’s Seafood, located not far from Chavez Plaza, with a top-floor dining room view of the Championship Campus. For traditional southern cooking, think fried catfish, the local spot is Lillie Mae’s House of Soul Food on Meridian Avenue, what is not far from Playoff Fan Central. And if Clemson visitors are seeking Blenheim Hot Ginger Ale for their tailgate parties, the BevMo store on Stevens Creek Blvd. near Santana Row carries the famed Carolina soft drink.