Some final BCS Thoughts
I’m sitting at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix waiting for my flight back to Seattle. It’s been almost 24 hours since the BCS Championship game so I’ve had time to read plenty of post game articles, talk to those who watched the game, and of course reflect and analyze the entire experience myself. Here are some final thoughts/reflections from the weekend:
* I was surprised how loud the stadium was before and during the game. As I tweeted before the game, Duck fans were clearly outnumbered – probably in the range of 65%-70% being Auburn fans. And the closed roof made it very loud when those fans were cheering. It was practically a road game for the Ducks when they had the ball.
* It’s passe’ to rip on AT&T and their horrendous coverage but this trip pushed me way past the brink. It was literally impossible to pick up a signal at any event of any significance all weekend. Scottsdale was a huge dead zone for AT&T subscribers. It was impossible to send/receive text messages, make/receive phone calls or use any social media application such as Twitter and Facebook. It was even worse at the game yesterday. My friend Bob has a Blackberry on the Verizon network and he was able to send/receive texts and make calls – while my iPhone consistently had a “no service” signal. Completely unacceptable. Verizon and Apple announced today that the iPhone will be available on the Verizon network beginning in February and I can’t wait. I’m done with AT&T forever.
* We were seated in a section that was predominantly Auburn fans and they couldn’t have been any nicer. There was no trash talking, no insults and a sincere congratulations on an entertaining game at the conclusion. They showed a lot more class than their thug Defensive Tackle Glenn Fairly.
* It was fun for me to watch the Auburn fans and their bands with all of their traditions, songs and cheers. Clearly, they have a lot more practice (and have taken it a lot more seriously) than us Oregon fans. But I have to say it was a little creepy hearing them singing “Glory, Glory to old Auburn…” Still, Auburn clearly represented old school SEC football and the Ducks looked like the new kids on the block with the neon green shoes/socks and our two puny cheers: “Let’s Go Ducks” and the shorter version: “Go Ducks.”
* I’ve been asked many times what I thought about how well I thought the Ducks played and what went wrong – why did they lose? I won’t use this space for a boring, long analysis so I’ll sum it up by saying that as is usually the case when one team beats the other in such a close game, it was just a lot of little things that added up that cost the Ducks. They had two opportunities when they had first and goal inside the 10 yard line that resulted in only 3 points. That was a killer against a team like Auburn. Throughout the season, the Ducks were nearly automatic for touchdowns when they had first and goal situations. It cost them. There were other mistakes – too many missed tackles, costly penalties and a missed call or two by the officials. At the end of the day though it just means that the Ducks didn’t play well enough to win the game.
* Flying home after a big loss in the BCS Championship Game (or last year after the Rose Bowl) is much worse than a typical loss during the season because you’re constantly surrounded by fans from the other team. It’s not that the fans trash talk (or even talk to me at all) – its just the reminder of the loss by seeing Auburn shirts and hats everywhere. I’m ready to get back to the Northwest.
* Random note: After seeing Donavan McNabb in the front row of the 2nd deck (right above us), I’m going to go on a limb and bet on him landing with the Arizona Cardinals next season. Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt is a fan of veteran QBs and resusciated Kurt Warner’s career. I could see him trying again with McNabb.
* University of Phoenix Stadium is a gem. The seats were very comfortable and the sightline was great. Very well designed – getting in and out of the stadium was easy – great flow throughout the aisles and concession areas. The only minor complaint I would have is that the video boards weren’t quite as big as I would expect for such a facility. It seems to me that the board at Autzen Stadium is bigger – but I could be wrong.
* Even though the Ducks lost, the experience was well worth it. It’s impossible to capture or describe the excitement felt and shared with friends and fellow Ducks fans since my arrival Saturday night. In the best of worlds, sports should serve as an escape for us from daily hassles (and in this weekend’s case, tragedies)
* Will this turn out to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Time will tell. The Ducks are loaded with young talent so they will be the favorites to win the Pac-10 again. Can they make it back-to-back undefeated seasons? Highly doubtful. But one never knows. At this time last year, few (if any) Ducks fans could have envisioned Oregon running the table up to the BCS game (especially while breaking in a new QB). Stranger things have happened – but in the meantime I think that the Ducks (and us fans) will take some time to lick our wounds, reflect on an amazing season and then get excited for the 2011 season.