By Cory McCartney, SI.com
ATLANTA - An hour-and-a-half before kickoff, the S.W.A.T. team was already parked outside the Georgia Dome ... well, not that S.W.A.T. team.
"Saban's Wild Alabama Tailgaters" kicked off the new season the only way they know how, with food, beer, cornhole and a game on a 32-inch TV attached to the back of a small bus.
The S.W.A.T. bus, owned by Dana Proulx, a former Crimson Tide equipment manager with the 1992 national championship ring to prove it, debuted at last season's LSU game. Proulx has it all. Well, almost. "We just need to get our hands on some tickets," he said.
He isn't the only one that had that problem. Just before kickoff, some tickets on StubHub were still as high as $7,500 -- a piece.
Among the other sites and sounds outside the Georgia Dome before Alabama-Clemson:
· Alabama fan Clint Moore's hair is cut into a Mohawk, which he dyed silver. His head is painted maroon with a No. 12 on each side. It's 'Bama gone punk. Moore is a member of the Air Force and is shipping out to Afghanistan next week. "It the only game I'm going to get to this year, so I figured I'd go all out," Moore said
· Picture this: An Alabama fan wearing a Crimson Tide-colored Tide box with a helmet made to look like a drinking hat posing next to a Clemson fan with his hair dyed orange wearing an orange overalls and a purple Tigers jersey. Who says there's no love between the ACC and SEC?
· They say it's going to be 50/50 'Bama-Clemson, but based on the amount of fans piling into the stadium, this looks like a pro-Tigers' crowd.
One random side note: If you saw the Army Black Knights parachute Lee Corso's headgear in on GameDay this morning, get ready for a repeat performance. A member of the Black Knights told me they'll be doing it again in two weeks for Ohio State-USC. No word on whether Corso himself will be the one skydiving.