Clemson hasn't been to the Orange Bowl since 1982, so its fans want to make sure south Florida knows it was there long after the game ends.
To do that, Clemson fans have spent the past week in Miami spending $2 bills with orange paw prints on them. Roy "J.Roy" Pennell, a Clemson fan who brought $200 worth of $2 bills with him to Florida, told the Miami Herald that the goal was for Clemson fans to "leave their mark" on Florida and show Clemson's buying power, which will come in handy if they're ever on the bubble for another BCS bowl. The school has tangible evidence of how Clemson fans can affect the economy of a particular city. Clemson players and coaching staff also have joined in on the tradition.
It's like Clemson's version of scribing "Clemson wuz here" on the side of the Miami Gardens Chamber of Commerce.
The tagging and spending of $2 bills is not a unique idea to the Orange Bowl — some Clemson fans do it every time they go to an away game, and local banks stock up on $2 bills in December in anticipation of the rush. A few even have a paw stamp themselves at the bank. According to the Associated Press, the tradition started 35 years ago in Atlanta:
The Clemson tradition of using paw-printed $2 bills on trips began in 1977. Georgia Tech wanted to end the annual matchup against Clemson in Atlanta, and George Bennett, then head of Clemson's booster club, came up with the idea of painting the city orange, literally, to show how much money the city would lose if the series ended.
Georgia Tech dropped Clemson from the schedule anyway, but the tradition continues.
Clemson and West Virginia will play each other for the first time in 22 years tonight and this will be Clemson's first Orange Bowl appearance (and BCS bowl appearance) since winning the game and subsequently the national championship 30 years ago. That game is still considered the greatest moment in Clemson sports history.
Wonder if there are still any $2 bills floating around from that visit.