I’m from the state of Alabama and I love college football. Most people after reading that introductory statement would probably think that I’m an Alabama or Auburn fan. In all honesty, I’m in the small percentage of Alabamians who root for neither team. I happen to be a Oregon Ducks fan.
My family consists of mainly die-hard Alabama fans. I’m talking about the ones who are not afraid to tell you how bad Alabama is going to beat you at any given moment. I must admit that I liked Alabama early on in my youth, but then I decided to be like two of my cousins, who root for opposite programs. I don’t exactly know their reasons for not following in our family’s tradition, but I do know mine.
Alabama has some heated rivalries and some of my family tends to go overboard during these games. I mean, they didn’t act out like the man, who poisoned the trees, but they do get pretty bad. During the Iron Bowl one year, my uncle literally flipped the bird at an Auburn player, who was on television. Man, that Auburn player can’t see you! It was things like this that made me decide to root for another team.
I became a Oregon fan in 2007. Mike Bellotti was the head coach at the time and Chip Kelly was the offensive coordinator. This was the season where Oregon started running the up-tempo, spread offense that everyone is now accustomed to. Standout players, such as Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart, led the team to a great season where they exploded offensively. After I started watching Oregon, I found college football to be more exciting and more intriguing. Yes, I must admit that the uniforms were a major draw for me, but I also enjoyed their fast-paced play.
Oregon has had a meteoric rise and has become one of the nation’s elite, thanks to the work of Chip Kelly, who became head coach in 2009. He set the foundation and the culture for how the nation sees the program today. In Chip Kelly’s four seasons as the head coach, Oregon won three PAC-12 titles, played in the National Championship game (2010), and had four BCS bowl appearances. He left Oregon to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and also left huge shoes to fill, which I think Mark Helfrich has done well.
Mark Helfrich took over in 2013 and though the Ducks had a slow year in his first season, he has definitely catapulted them this season. They are set to play for the National Championship game again and have a great leader in Heisman winner Marcus Mariota. I really hope they can defeat Ohio State and take home their first National Championship. If they don’t win I’ll still be pleased with this season, especially considering that we won the PAC-12, the Rose Bowl, ended the country’s longest active winning streak, and proved that we’re not a finesse team. It’s good to be a Duck fan and stand out a little bit, instead of being what is the usual norm.