DALLAS — As soon as Clemson arrived at its team hotel Sunday evening in Dallas, it went straight to work.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney called the team into a team meeting and then the coaches got together for more game planning. It was obvious the second-ranked Tigers are all business in the Lone Star State as they get set to play No. 3 Notre Dame in next Saturday’s Cotton Bowl Classic.
The Tigers (13-0) arrived at the Hilton Anatole Hotel at 6:45 p.m., where they were greeted by a high school marching band and dancers, as well as the Cotton Bowl Committee and the hotel staff. The band played a version of Tiger Rag and even did the Clemson Cadence Count.
It is the fourth straight year the Tigers have experienced the arrival party for a CFP Bowl. The difference this year was the arrival party was at the hotel instead of at the airport, as it was for the previous three bowl games.
Next Saturday’s game at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington will mean Clemson has played in the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl and the Orange Bowl during its playoff experiences.
As the players were coming off the buses, there was not much laughing or playing around. They came off the buses focused and ready to work.
A lot of the players were wearing very festive suits. B.T. Potter, Alex Spence, Austin Spence and Greg Huegel were all decked out in very tacky Christmas suits, while the Power Rangers—Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence and Austin Bryant—were in very nice business suits. Wilkins and Bryant also sported cowboy hats, which were well received by the Cotton Bowl staff.
While the Tigers came in as a team, Notre Dame did not.
The Fighting Irish arrived in waves and with little fanfare late Sunday to begin preparing for the Cotton Bowl.
Most of the players traveled on their own individually and arrived at the team hotel throughout the day after having a few days off to go home. Coaches, staff and about a dozen players were among the school travel party that flew from South Bend, Ind., on a charter plane to DFW International Airport on Sunday night and then bused to the team hotel.
The Fighting Irish (12-0) will conduct their first on-site practice Monday at AT&T Stadium. The practice is closed to the public with brief media availability.
The Cotton Bowl Classic celebrates its 83rd anniversary next Saturday, Dec. 29. Live Coverage on ESPN is set for 3 p.m. CST, with kickoff slated for 3:10 p.m.