Postcard from Arizona: Oregon pep rally underwhelms

Just a small crowd of fans showed up for Oregon's pep rally Wednesday at Salt River Fields. In comparison, more than 23,000 Wildcat fans showed up for Kansas State's equivalent celebration. (Matt Walks/Emerald)

Just a small crowd of fans showed up for Oregon's pep rally Wednesday at Salt River Fields. In comparison, more than 23,000 Wildcat fans showed up for Kansas State's equivalent celebration. (Matt Walks/Emerald)

Posted by Matt Walks on Wednesday, Jan. 2 at 4:24 pm.

Listen, I’m sure pep rallies are hard to host. All the coordination, the effort, the money — it’s all for the fans. In fact, it’s just about the only part of the entire Fiesta Bowl week strictly to entertain and pay back the fans whose money is fueling the teams’ success.

But Oregon’s pep rally on Wednesday at beautiful Salt River Fields was anything but smooth. Maybe more than a quarter of the 11,000 seats at the stadium were filled. Autzen announcer Don Essig seemed bored and a little stiff — but I don’t blame him. The marquee portion of the event, The Duck’s parachute trip into the stadium, took about eight awkward minutes to complete. The Oregon Marching Band was forced to fill the time with endless renditions of the fight song.

Compared with last year’s Rose Bowl extravaganza, this one just… fell flat. Head coach Chip Kelly just went through the motions on a prerecorded video, fans got to yell “It never rains at Autzen Stadium!” for no explicable reason, and even Oregon alum and college football hall of famer Ahmad Rashad found himself squirming when he was introduced as an “old Duck.”

The awkwardness didn’t stop there. During University President Michael Gottfredson’s address, the OMB accidentally cut him off with a song.

Meanwhile, at Chase Field, 23,000 rabid K-State fans got excited for their first BCS bowl in years.

At this point, it’s hard to argue K-State fans aren’t getting more out of this than Oregon fans. Maybe Ducks fans are a bit too spoiled with the wins of late? Because they certainly weren’t spoiled at the pep rally.



  • Football fan

    The Wildcats have always travelled well, whether a low end bowl game or a BCS bowl.