Finally, Game Day is here!!January 10th, 2011 at 8:44 am by Rob Lehocky under FOX10 Sports
SCOTTSDALE, AZ — Flags are flying all over the Phoenix area — Auburn and Oregon flags, that is. The rental cars out here are filled with fans and car flags from both teams on the eve of the big game — and rental cars are completely sold out by the way. At shopping malls, restaurants and the airport, you can hear fans shouting “War Eagle” or “Go Ducks,” and it seems like both sides are pretty friendly with each other.
Thousands came out for the team pep rallies Sunday. They were both held on the Scottsdale Waterfront across the street from Scottsdale Fashion Square shopping center in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona. The Tigers went first, followed by the Ducks. Word is, the Ducks pep rally was so crowded, they had to turn fans away. Sunday night, a lot of the Auburn Nation went to parties. Auburn alum Charles Barkley, who lives in nearby Paradise Valley, hosted a couple parties this weekend. I wasn’t invited.
COACHES HAVE LAST WORD
At the coaches’ press conference Sunday morning, cameras were at least six deep with everyone trying to get that shot of the trophy. Auburn’s Gene Chizik talked about a wide variety of subjects, fielding questions covering just about everything. He said the team is not only trying to bring home the title for this year’s team and fans but also for past teams like the 1983, 1993 and 2004 teams. Oregon’s Chip Kelly said they’re playing for the University of Oregon, and it’s not about the conference. Despite what Kelly said, Pac-10 fans and SEC fans have long debated which conference is stronger. This will be their first bowl meeting in 22 years.
Oregon and Auburn did their walk-thrus Sunday. New grass is on the field since the Fiesta Bowl on January 1. It’s interesting how they do that. The field literally slides in and out like a drawer. We heard the grass is slippery, so they may have to reconsider their choice of cleats. Those walk-thrus were closed to media and fans, but, more than 74,000 people will fill the University of Phoenix Stadium (previously Cardinals Stadium) Monday. A lot of fans are talking about how that will break down come game time (remember the ticket issues for some Auburn fans and rumors that Nike’s Phil Knight — big Oregon booster — bought up a whole bunch of tickets early on).
KOBE AND THE LAKERS
After walk-throughs, Auburn had a quiet team dinner. It’s been a busy week for the Tigers. They hit a Phoenix Suns/L.A. Lakers basketball game earlier this week — you may have heard Cam Newton was courtside doing interviews. The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (a Nike guy like Oregon) took time to talk to the Ducks before the game.
Tailgating and pre-game stuff start early Monday. It’s supposed to be a pretty typical January day in Phoenix — sunny and temperatures in the 60s. We could play this game outside and it wouldn’t be any problem weather-wise. But, it sounds like the roof at the stadium is going to be closed, so we’ll just have to enjoy the weather early on.
LET’S PLAY FOOTBALL!!!
It’s going to be a long and busy day for us. Our live coverage will start with FOX10 News in the morning and go on all day and through the game. It should be a pretty good match-up. Auburn’s a slight favorite as it tries to bring home the fifth straight title for the SEC — and, the second in two years for the State of Alabama. The last time a Pac-10 team won was back in 2004 when USC beat Oklahoma 55-14. The following year USC was the AP champ and LSU won the BCS — so they basically split the national title. Too bad USC and LSU didn’t play each other. That would have been a good game to watch.