[A couple of caveats before the comments section gets trolled by the Auburn faithful: 1) I have all the respect in the world for Auburn's football program and fan base. Despite the loss in the 2005 Sugar Bowl, I had a great time and most of the Auburn fans there were pleasant both before and after the game. We had fun in the French Quarter with the Auburn faithful afterward and nearly all were gracious in victory. 2) I'm so taking Auburn at -3.]
For some reason, all four of the major college football teams in the Pacific Northwest have endeared themselves to me. Most of it stems from how much I enjoy my now annual trip to that part of the country and the rest is because football games played up there are usually entertaining.
The Apple Cup has been played in a snow storm a few times and the Civil War is usually great football. It's fun to watch. Also, their games are usually on late at night when everyone's gone to bed and insomniac college football maniacs like myself needs something to get us through the night.
But for all the splendor of the region and quirkiness of what happens on the field, there is one main reason I'm choosing to root for Oregon when it plays Auburn on Jan. 10: The Ducks are just like us.
I have a tough time choosing sides when the Ducks play the Beavers every year. Virginia Tech's fan base and Oregon State's fan base have a lot in common. Both are primarily blue collar and expect their team to have the same attitude. But from a program perspective, the Hokies are a lot more like the team from Eugene.
Both are programs that haven't been good until relatively recently and have had consistent success. However, they just haven't been able to break through college football's glass ceiling. Now, Oregon's on the verge of doing it.
To be an elite football program, you have to have a national championship. The Ducks and Hokies are both in the tier of college football programs just below elite and feel like they're thiiiiis close to fielding a team capable of raising the crystal and joining the next echelon of college football.
The last time a team won its first college football national title was Florida in 1996, before the BCS era. Since the current system has been in place, it has been a friend to programs that were good before the current system was in place. In fact, Oregon is only the second team without a prior national title to play in the BCS championship game. The only other team? Yep, us.
So that's why I'm backing Oregon in the BCSCG. It has nothing to do with the SEC or the investigation into Cam Newton's eligibility or anything else tangible.
I'm hoping the Ducks can score one for the have-nots and prove themselves capable of reaching college football's elite. Because if they can do it, that's more hope for the rest of us among college football's not-ready-for-prime-time players, right?