TAMPA – It’s 4:30 am the night of Clemson’s first national title since 1981, and the crew at the hotel bar is showing no signs of slowing down. The bartender announced last call almost two hours ago, and he simply shrugs and keeps on pouring. He’s not passing up the chance to see this thing through, and neither are any of the people proudly wearing bright orange who are just as loud as they were at Raymond James Stadium when they saw DeShaun Watson dump the ball to Hunter Renfrow for a two-yard score and a place in college football history.
One man, he never bothered giving his name and nobody was in any mood to ask him for it, took a group up to the Presidential Suite he reserved a year ago – days after Clemson lost to Alabama in the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship – and let everyone admire the view of the river and the buildings downtown. Moments later, he changed his mind.
“We’re all going to the casino,” the Tigers fan exclaimed. “Call some Ubers. We’re playing craps the rest of the night. I’ve got a flight at 10 a.m., but if I miss it, I miss it. Anybody coming along, I’ve got your $15 chips.”
The crowd took the elevator back down, and all that orange disappeared through the sliding doors and into the night. That guy probably missed his flight. And given the situation, he probably didn’t care. Clemson was here to party, and Tampa was more than willing to oblige.