Clemson recently made headlines for placing an Alabama tombstone, among others, inside a mock graveyard outside its practice fields on campus.
The Tigers’ graveyard commemorates notable football triumphs such as the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game.
The fans at one of Clemson’s rival schools, Florida State, are upset at the amount of attention the Tigers’ graveyard is receiving because they insist Clemson stole the idea from their school. Former Seminoles quarterback Danny Kanell will tell you that.
Oh…you mean the "tradition" they stole from FSU??? https://t.co/GgDBT4ZFAJ
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) March 21, 2017
Is this tombstone tradition at Clemson fair or foul? pic.twitter.com/vY4s8mNQov
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) March 21, 2017
The whole situation is ironic. A tradition built on stealing something from someone else (sod) is now being publicized for being stolen. Nonetheless, the debate is on and we are diving in.
Undeniably, Florida State began its cemetery tradition long before Clemson’s Graveyard, starting with an 18-0 win over Georgia in 1962. Seminoles players took a chunk of sod from ‘between the hedges’ in Athens and marked it with a tombstone outside its practice field.
Clemson, on the other hand, didn’t start collecting sod until 1989 in a game against, not coincidentally, Florida State. This, however, is the only time that Clemson has ever actually taken a piece of their opponents’ field; the rest of its victims are marked by tombstones alone.
This lone instance of thievery was payback for FSU’s “puntrooskie” victory and sod collection at Memorial Stadium just one year prior.
The two programs also have similar guidelines for acknowledging such games. Per Seminoles.com, the FSU Sod Cemetery qualifications are as follow:
- Road games in which Florida State is the underdog
- All road games at the University of Florida
- All ACC Championship and bowl games
Florida State designates a player to be its ‘sod captain’ for each applicable game, making him responsible for collecting the piece of field to display in the cemetery. He is also responsible for gathering the team before such games and expressing the importance of the tradition.
Clemson follows similar rules with one additional qualification:
- Winning over a ranked team on the road
While all evidence thus far points to Florida State being the originators of the tradition, Clemson has one last lifeline to grab. Clemson has always had a graveyard overlooking Memorial Stadium. This actual cemetery dates back to the early 1800s and sits atop Cemetery Hill.
Is Clemson’s graveyard a ripoff of Florida State’s sod cemetery? Who you root for on Saturdays most likely shapes your opinion.
(You can follow Jordan Spina on Twitter @JSpina904)
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