There was a thread several years ago about the LSU vs Clemson thing and there were conflicting posts: (I would link to the thread but it is full of a bunch of IM'ing nonsense)
LSU or Clemson...Who Has the “Real” Death Valley?
LSU not only shares a common mascot with Clemson, it’s often been disputed whose stadium is the “real” Death Valley. I’ve had online forum discussions on this topic with several fans. One attended LSU in the 70’s, and claimed to have followed the team since the late 1950s, said “It was Death Valley when I started school, it was Death Valley as far back as I can remember.” So who has dibbs on the nickname Death Valley?
It is commonly accepted that the original nickname of "deaf valley" was used to distinguish Tiger Stadium from Clemson University's Memorial Stadium which was called “death valley”.
It all sounds plausible, except for the fact that Tiger Stadium opened in 1924 with a seating capacity of only 12,000- hardly deafening. Clemson didn't become known as Death Valley until the late 1940s when the Presbyterian College coach used the phrase about Clemson's stadium.
The late Lonnie McMillian, former football coach at Presbyterian College, told sports writers in 1948 that he had "to take his team up to Clemson and play in death valley" where they rarely scored or gained a victory. The nickname stuck to an extent, but when Clemson Head Coach Frank Howard started calling it that in the 1950s, the nickname really caught on.
Furthermore, Clemson didn’t begin promoting the name until the 1950’s. This time frame is significantly after confirmed reports of Tiger Stadium being known as "Death Valley; therefore, there would have been no need to distinguish Tiger Stadium form Clemson’s stadium.
Former Advocate sportswriter, Carl Dubois, had a story on October 8th of ’07 in which he wrote of the late LSU AD, Paul Manasseh, having insisted LSU’s Tiger Stadium was never meant to be known as Death Valley and, because of the crowd noise, even before LSU added upper decks, was initially meant to be called Deaf Valley.
This line of thinking sits well with fans who believe the ABC Saturday night primetime telecast of the December 5, 1970 massacre of Ole Miss marked the beginning of the new nickname taking root. They claim that during LSU’s 61-17 route of Ole Miss, announcers Chris Schenkel and Lee Grosskupp erroneously referred to Tiger Stadium as "Death Valley,"
The story of announcers’ mistaken reference is supported in the book, Eye of The Tiger - 100 years of LSU football. In it we are told "The name Death Valley was used first at Clemson, and picked up by LSU when the original term Deaf Valley was not properly enunciated, and misunderstood." Most fans accept this belief.
As for Clemson, the term "Death Valley" comes from the fact that Clemson University's Memorial Stadium is physically situated in a valley. Furthermore, considering the university cemetery sits on a hill that once overlooked the field before the upper decks were constructed, it’s easy to see how the name Death Valley could have evolved.
Some things about Tiger Stadium that are not disputed among LSU fans: The preferred appellation is Death Valley. There is no better place to be on a Saturday night than a place that, in terms of general population, would be the sixth-largest city in Louisiana.