Sports Journalism Blog

Posted on January 11th, 2016 in 2015-16 College Football Playoff National Championship, Student Work by ztwagner | Tags:

By Zach Wagner | @zachwager22

Sports Capital Journalism Program

With under three hours to go until the start of the College Football Playoff National Championship, the Sports Capital Journalism Program sent graduate student Zach Wagner out to the parking lot with the hope of finding a good tailgate or two.

He found one for each group of fans.

Clemson students Michelle and Michael Dale are Tiger fans born and raised. Their father hasn’t missed a home game in over 30 years, meaning there was no way that their family was going to miss out on seeing Clemson go for its first national title since the 1981 season.

Among the things they discussed included their journey from South Carolina to Glendale, Ariz., a hand-stitched Clemson flag that was on the top of the van they rented for their tailgate, and how they got their hands on tickets to the game.

Zach found longtime Alabama fan Mark Hughes and his setup on the edge of the parking lot outside University of Phoenix Stadium. Hughes spent much of the day entertaining old friends and Alabama graduates.

Hughes described the amount of time it took him to set up, the experience of being at the game, and the inevitable downer of having to leave the game early to take down his tailgate.