Walking through sunny Scottsdale, Arizona on Sunday was a blast. Full of Oregon and Auburn fans, the Scottsdale streets were a blur of orange, blue, green, and yellow. Both Auburn and Oregon held their pep rallies at the same location, three hours apart. And both schools were extremely well represented as fans came out in the tens of thousands to get amped up for the biggest game of the year.
And while it certainly got tiring to hear "war eagle" every time Auburn fans passed each other - and to see nearly every other Auburn fan with a button-up Tigers polo and parted hair - their kindess was nothing less than fantastic.
Sure, there were a few bad apples. But in this case, those bad apples were so few and far between that they really didn't ruin the whole crop.
Auburn fans are great.
And anyone who's been to Autzen Stadium knows that Oregon fans get can a little on the... well... let's just say on the rowdy side. So most Ducks fans aren't used to being treated so well by opposing fans, but the BCS National Championship environment was something else indeed.
It had to be extremely refreshing for many Oregon fans to attend a game in which the two teams' fans weren't there to hate on the other team, but to only cheer for their own.
Inside University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the game was certainly fun to watch, but the fans of both sides were, for the most part, extremely respectful to each other. And with Auburn fans outnumbering Oregon fans inside the stadium about 2-1, it was outstanding for fans repping Oregon gear to not get tormented despite being easily outnumbered.
In my own experience, I had Oregon fans to my left and Auburn fans to my right. And never once did any of the Oregon fans insult or argue or do anything unrespectful towards the Auburn fans, and those same Auburn fans never once did anything unrespectful towards any of us.
Even in victory, Auburn fans were gracious. When the time for taunting had clearly arrived, Auburn faithfuls only cheered for the Tigers, leaving Oregon fans to mourn without adding insult to injury.
Even on the flights, Auburn fans were kind. I had the unfortunate bad luck of having to fly from Portland to Dallas, and then on to Phoenix, followed by the same trip backwards on the way home.
On neither of the flights from Dallas to Phoenix and Phoenix to Dallas - where there were about six of us Oregon fans surrounded by an entire plane ful of Auburn fans - did any Tiger supporters have anything but praise for us and the performance the Ducks had on the field.
Needless to say, I think I speak for a great majority of Oregon fans who made it to Glendale when I say that we have nothing but respect for the Auburn Tigers.
Congratulations to them for supporting their team to a well-earned victory. But, even more so, we thank them for doing so with the utmost integrity.