From a football standpoint, I couldn’t have picked a better four-year span in which to attend the University of Oregon. Aside from trips to the Rose Bowl and BCS title game, ESPN’s College GameDay came to Eugene not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES in my four-year career. (Or at least, it will have come three times after Saturday.)
In what amounts to a pretty slow college football weekend, the GameDay crew will come to Eugene on the heels of Saturday night’s Oregon-Arizona State matchup. Will it carry the “must-win” atmosphere of last year when they came before the Stanford game? No. (Even though this could be a Pac-12 championship preview, neither team comes in undefeated like the Ducks and Cardinal did last year.) But it’ll still be wildly exciting.
Probably the best part about all of this? It’s pretty much happening in my backyard. While the setting from the past two years – near the Casanova Center with Autzen Stadium in the background – was picturesque and exciting, construction in that area has forced GameDay to our Memorial Quad on campus. It’s just a few blocks from my house, and I couldn’t be happier to avoid an early-morning trek to Autzen. (Sidenote: I’ve never once heard someone refer to our quad as “memorial.” It’s always been ” the quad” to me. Am I the only one who thinks this?)
GameDay host Chris Fowler tweeted a picture of the setting this evening (the tweet was wordless, consisting only of a link to the picture):
Watch College GameDay on Saturday and that’s what you’ll see (minus that white tent). That’s Lillis Business Complex in the back; the hosts will face Knight Library at the opposite end of the quad. (Fowler later tweeted an explanation of the photo for his non-UO fans.)
What astounds me is how the center of the college football universe will be just a few steps away from me on Saturday morning. Is it the world’s most exciting matchup? No. Will most of the country still pronounce it “Ora-gone” at the end of the day? Probably. But for a few hours, college football nation will be focused on rainy little Eugene, Oregon. They’ll see the campus we call home and learn more about the team we cheer for. And all I have to do to be a part of it is roll out of bed and walk two blocks east. That’s pretty awesome.
Is it Saturday yet?