Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen has never entirely come out and said it, but Clemson might be his favorite road trip in the ACC strictly from the standpoint of someone who enjoys college football.
It's a football school.
It has passionate fans.
It plays in a huge, often filled (or nearly filled) stadium.
It's the only show in town --- or within nearly two hours.
Overall, it's a pretty good combination.
"I just think Death Valley is a great, great place to play football," Friedgen said. "To me, it's what college football is all about. If you get to know the Clemson fans, they're really great fans. They're very enthusiastic about their team, but they're not belligerent. You talk to our fans that go to the game, they're as friendly a [group of] fans as you'll see. I think their sportsmanship is very outstanding, but as far as playing there, it's not easy."
While all of this is true, it's also impossible to ignore Friedgen's fairly impressive level of success in trips to Clemson over the last 25 years.
Overall, his teams as a player, assistant and head coach are 7-10, including a 3-1 mark as Maryland's head coach. But Friedgen's walked out of Memorial Stadium with a win in seven of 10 tries since 1985:
1967: Clemson 28, Maryland 7
GRADUATE ASSISTANT (0-2)
1969: Clemson 40, Maryland 0
1971: Clemson 20, Maryland 14
1973: Clemson 14, The Citadel 12
1976: Clemson 10, The Citadel 7
1978: Clemson 58, The Citadel 3
1983: Clemson 52, Maryland 27
1985: Maryland 34, Clemson 31
1987: Clemson 33, Georgia Tech 12
1989: Georgia Tech 30, Clemson 14
1991: Clemson 9, Georgia Tech 7
1998: Georgia Tech 24, Clemson 21
2000: Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 28
HEAD COACH (3-1)
2002: Maryland 30, Clemson 12
2004: Clemson 10, Maryland 7
2006: Maryland 13, Clemson 12
2008: Maryland 20, Clemson 17
Yeah, a few of those victories (especially some of those absurdly good Georgia Tech-Clemson games from Friedgen's second stint in Atlanta) probably help the way he remembers Death Valley.
Friedgen, though, is right about the hospitability factor, too --- even if his teams haven't frequently repaid it of late.