November 27, 2009 - 5:22 PM
Anyone who is familiar with the Big 12 Conference knows that the University of Colorado is located in Boulder, about 45 minutes away from Denver, where I stayed for the Thanksgiving break. While I was home, I attended a Colorado football game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers with my dad and my little brother.
The University of Colorado has one of the prettiest campuses I have ever seen. Folsom Field, where the football team plays, is located right at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Gorgeous red cliffs can be seen extending into the the sky from the east side of the stadium.
When we arrived we took a walk through the stadium parking lot where tailgaters were busy preparing for the rivalry game. The rivalry was much more significant when Colorado and Nebraska were good, but it never dies. The loud, boisterous marching band was at work moving its way through the parking lot, finally stopping in the field house, where the masses gathered to hear the Colorado Fight Song and an array of other energetic rally songs. As game time nears, and the stands are filling, a great Colorado tradition takes place: The running of Ralphie. Ralphie is a live male buffalo that leads the team onto the field before each game. Surrounded by multiple men to ensure safety, Ralphie sprints a lap around the field as the crowd erupts, and finally runs into the trailer that is used to transport him.
As the game progressed, the score remained relatively close until the Cornhuskers were able to put it away with a late score by one of their running backs. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, their three and nine season was nothing short of a disappointment.
As a young kid I always grew up being a Colorado Buffaloes fan. My dad went there, and he took me to many games. While I am in Oregon, I am consumed by nothing more than the Ducks and Pacific 10 football. It is fun to come home because I can go to Colorado football games, and I am able to make a comparison between this experience and the experiences I have at the University of Oregon games. I also enjoy being able to experience different games from two very prestigious conferences known around the nation.
As fun as this game was, I would never trade it for a game at Autzen. As cool as it is to run a buffalo around the field, no other team in American takes the field behind a roaring harley davidson motorcycle. Folsom Field holds about 53,000 people, and it sounds like 53,000 people. Autzen Stadium on the other hand can hold about 59,000 people, but it sounds more like 90,000 on a consistent basis. From my personal observations, Oregon fans are much more passionate about Ducks football than Colorado fans are about Buffalos football. This is probably because of the success that Oregon has had in recent years. There is never an empty seat in Autzen, while Folsom Field struggles to fill all of its seats. A game at Autzen Stadium has been considered by some sports writers to be one of the best college football experiences in the nation. If you want to go to a school with a big time football atmosphere, come check out a game at the University of Oregon. You won't regret it.
November 25, 2009 - 6:18 PM
The Pacific Northwest has always been know for its rainy climate. One thing I love about Eugene is being able to experience a distinct climate that is unique to one area of the country. Being from Colorado, I am used to the snow in the winter season, and the dry, arid heat in the summers. During the winter time, Eugene doesn't experience too much in the way of the snow, but it receives a great deal of rain. I have never disliked the rain, and it is a fun change to be constantly surrounded by it, as rain in the Rocky Mountain region isn't nearly as common. After arriving in Eugene it didn't take me too long to realize that the reason everything around there is so green is because of the excessive amounts of rain. This is something I miss out on in Colorado. In Eugene, all of the vegetation is lush, green, and full of moisture. In Colorado, because of the elevation the air is much dryer, and lacking moisture. Everything tends to be brown, and appears to be dead, because the lack of moisture leads to a very arid, water-deprived region.
I also love cold weather. This is why I love the fall and winter seasons. Because of Eugene's location geographically, the air tends to be consistently cold during this time of the year. This is partly because of Eugene's proximity to the ocean, and partly due to that fact that it is farther to the north than the consistently warmer cities in ares like southern California. I am on and intramural football team at the University of Oregon, and to me, there is nothing better than football in the cold. Our games are at night, when the temperature is significantly lower, and everyone's breath can be seen rising in to the air underneath the lights.
Thanksgiving is a nice break because I get to make a transition back to the climate that I have been raised in my entire life. The snow that Eugene is lacking is more than made up for in the Denver suburbs. The area in which I live at home tends to receive a decent amount of snowfall annually, due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains. As stated in an earlier blog, one tradition of Thanksgiving for me is the Turkey Bowl, a football game at my high school. The field is usually covered in snow, and the ground is as hard as a rock. Some might find this to be miserable, but over the years I have come to love it, and I would be rather upset if I was to ever play a Turkey Bowl game on a dry field.
As I write this from the cabin of a US Airways jet en route to Phoenix, Arizona, where I connect to return to Denver, I can't help but wonder what weather will be waiting for me. I am always fascinated with how different the weather is when I get off of a plane than it was when I got on it. I am one who appreciates nature, and going to school in Eugene allows me to experience two climates and weather systems that are significantly different from one another. Eugene, like Colorado, is very diverse in that the summer months are warm and sunny, while the winter is cold and full of moisture. If you enjoy being exposed to different weather from season to season, you'll love spending your college years in Eugene at the University of Oregon.
November 22, 2009 - 12:32 PM
According to Chris Morrison, a writer for Sports Illustrated, "Droughts are a fact of life in the desert, but a frustrating one could soon end." Morrison was referring to the fact that the Arizona Wildcats are the only team in the Pacific 10 Conference that has never gone to a Rose Bowl. But, this year they had a shot. All they had to do was win their remaining three games, including a David and Goliath battle in their own stadium with the number 11 Oregon Ducks.
On Saturday, with a negative vibe still looming over Arizona Stadium, the Ducks made the trek down to Tucson to play the Wildcats, in what turned out to be one of the most incredible football games of the year. The game had had stars circled around it for weeks, as many were finally able to realize that up to Saturday night, the Pacific 10 Conference title was still up for Arizona to grab. College Gameday made their scheduled appearance, just to up the stakes a little more.
The game started out as the analysts would have expected, as the Ducks drove down the field with little difficulty on their first drive of the game. After a Masoli touchdown, the Ducks went up 7-0, which quickly turned into 14-0 to nothing after a touchdown to Jeff Maehl, and many began to think that Oregon might run away with it. Wrong. The Wildcats were able to make a push, bringing their deficit to only four at the end of the first half. The Wildcats came out and scored to open up the second half. The momentum from this score carried on, and all of a sudden the Ducks found themselves down by ten. After fighting back to tie it up, Arizona was able to complete a screen pass that went for 70 yards to put them up by a touchdown with seven minutes left to play. As time wound down, Oregon found itself with the ball, down seven, with less than a minute to play. The Ducks drove down the field, converting at least one fourth down play to keep the drive alive. Finally, with six seconds remaining in regulation, Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was able to find Ed Dickson for a touchdown that tied the game at 31.
In the first overtime, Oregon received the ball first, and again, Masoli was able to find Jeff Maehl in the Back of the end zone for a touchdown, giving Oregon the lead back. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles answered back completing a quick out route for six points.
With the game tied, and moving into a second overtime, the roles were switched, and Arizona took the ball first. After three plays and no progress, the Wildcats were forced to kick a field goal putting them up by three. This put the Ducks in position to win the game with a touchdown. With confidence and ease, the high-powered offense rolled toward the end zone, and Jeremiah Masoli ended the game as he started it with a run for six.
This Oregon victory means one thing: The Civil War in Eugene this year is for the Rose Bowl, the winner of which is projected to play Ohio State. There is nothing better during the fall term than following Oregon football. Hopefully we can pull it out against the Beavers so I can make a trip to Pasadena.
November 18, 2009 - 12:54 PM
As students begin their college search as seniors in high school, they can essentially take their pick from a vast majority of schools across the country. From enormous division one schools to the smallest of community colleges, each student can find the school that fits them the best. One of my favorite things about the University of Oregon is that our teams are all division one, which gets us notoriety around the country, and we have one of the most unique mascots in all of college sports. After graduation, people love to be able to represent their college and its mascot with pride. The college experience at a smaller school might be a great time, but it isn't as fun to represent a mascot that no one has ever heard of. I love being able to go home decked out in my University of Oregon attire. From my jersey to my hat to the bumper sticker on the back of my car, I love to be able to brag about the U of O. Because of the national recognition that Oregon receives, most people are familiar with the Ducks and the athletic success that they have displayed in the past, and specifically on the football field. Whenever I go home for the holidays, people always ask me what it was like during a specific football game, like when the Ducks beat USC in 2007 and set a record for decibel level within an outdoor stadium, doing so with no more than 59,000 fans. With a mascot originally created by Disney, Oregon is associated with one of the most well known symbols in college football. The University of Oregon is renowned for many reasons, such as the fact that the founder of Nike is a graduate. For this reason, some have referred to Oregon as "Nike U," as Phil Knight, also known as Uncle Phil, supplies our athletic programs with outrageous donations to help make them some of the best-known in the country. Why else do you think the Ducks can wear a different uniform for every game?
The Ducks will receive even more national recognition this weekend as they head down to Tucson, Arizona to take on the ever dangerous Arizona Wildcats. This game is being nationally televised due to its importance in the Pacific 10 Conference. College Gameday, the renowned Saturday morning football show that featured the Ducks on Halloween, will again feature a game involving Oregon as it too has decided to make the voyage to Tucson. The Ducks are currently ranked number 11 in the nation, and their remaining games against the Wildcats and the Oregon State Beavers could very well be the biggest factor in deciding who will represent the Pac 10 in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl. All three teams are hanging tough, and unfortunately for Oregon, a dark cloud still looms over Arizona Stadium where all those watching in 2007 saw our national title hopes slip away as Dennis Dixon was sidelined for the season.
The game this week is very important, and hopefully the pieces will all come together so I will have something else to brag about over winter break...like a Rose Bowl birth perhaps.
November 14, 2009 - 10:58 AM
Homecoming at the University of Oregon is always a fun-filled weekend. There is always a home football game, but this weekend is much more than that, as Eugene is full of many parents who haven't seen their sons or daughters since September. Homecoming weekend gives parents a chance to come visit their students and take a look at campus life at Oregon.
The festivities begin on friday afternoon with a parade. The parade follows a path that is intertwined throughout the campus, wrapping around the dorms and finishing by the EMU. The parade consists of a bundle of floats that are constructed throughout the week. Many of the fraternities and sororities partner up to create a float, and determine a theme for it. The parade itself isn't themed, so it is up to each float to establish a theme for itself. This year our theme was disco fever. We decorated our float with fake disco balls, spray paint, and lots of shiny material to give our float a disco feel. Everyone on the float was responsible for dressing as disco as possible. Tight pants and flashy accessories were a popular choice.
No two floats are the same. Some simply decorate their cars, while others go as far as pulling a trailer behind a truck. We went with option B considering how many people were going to be on it. One of the guys in our house happened to have a trailer at his house in nearby Junction City, while another had a large truck, hemi equipped of course, to pull the trailer with all of us on in. We were even able to hook up a sound system on our float, by means of a gigantic generator, which enabled us to blast disco music as we drove around.
Many people gather for the annual tradition. Many parents and residents of Eugene line the sidewalks on both sides along the path where the parade takes place. At the culmination of the parade, sitting in the EMU is the marching band and the Oregon cheerleaders. The band plays, and cheerleaders lead the gathered crowd in chants and cheers to get everyone excited for the big game.
The grand finale of the weekend is the football game beginning at 7:30 tonight. This year the Ducks take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. As the Sun Devils happen to be struggling this season, the last time they made a visit to Autzen they were undefeated at eight and zero, and they had worked their way up to be number five in the nation. The Ducks were able to win, but those who watched also know that this was the same game that Oregon great Dennis Dixon sustained his knee injury, which eventually led the Ducks to fall out of national title contention.
This year our Ducks seek to avenge last week's loss in Palo Alto, doing so without losing a quarterback. The Ducks are currently number 13, still holding on to a chance to make a visit to the Rose Bowl.
Homecoming weekend is always a great time, and truly one of the best weekends of the fall term.