ESPN College Gameday Returns to Autzen
In case you haven’t already heard, ESPN’s College Gameday will be in Eugene, Oregon this Saturday. This marks the sixth visit to Autzen Stadium and the 11th overall appearance for the Ducks. ESPN’s number of visits in recent years makes several statements in my mind. ESPN has finally realized something that Duck fans have known for many years now, Autzen stadium is one of the finest settings in the entire country for a prime time football game.
Many stadiums in this nation seat 90,000 plus seats, but very few have the magic of Autzen. Many websites list Autzen in the top ten loudest stadiums in the country and a few even list it as #1. The official stadium capacity is listed at 54,000 seats, but gameday attendance with standing room often exceeds 60,000 passionate screaming fans.
So how is it possible that 60,000 people can be louder than 100,000 people at the big house? Acoustics, passionate fans, and smart engineering has made Autzen Stadium a magical place to be for Duck fans on a fall time Saturday.
The field is actually lower than the parking lot. A huge dirt “Birm” piled around a flat hole hole in the ground with a steep incline became the foundation of a genius design leading to an extremely close to the field view for fans. The fans are right on top of the action looking down on the field and combined with great accoustics equals the reason why Auzten has been nicknamed the “House of Loud”.
ESPN has also realized that Oregon has risen to the Elite of the PAC 10/12 and that the championship of the conference has to go through Eugene. It has become extremely difficult for a team to come into Autzen and beat the Ducks.
Describing the home field advantage is hard to put into words and must be experienced to truly understand and appreciate.
The ducks have a really good record when ESPN Gameday visits.
The only loss was to CAL in 2007, which I was sitting second row in the end zone for. I was so close to the action I could almost reach out and touch Lee Corso when he walked down the sidelines.
ASU will be the toughest game since the opening week for the Ducks on Saturday.
I believe it will be a close game for a while, but the crowd noise and tempo of the game will be to much for the Sun Devils to handle.
ASU won last week in Utah, but they did not look sharp during several moments in the game.
I predict a 38 – 17 victory for the Ducks.
A couple notes on the history of Autzen.
The stadium is named after Thomas Autzen, a lumberman, sportsman and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Autzen Foundation which gave a 250,000 dollar donation towards stadium construction. The entire stadium was constructed for 2.5 million in 1966. In 2002, a 80 million dollar renovation took place adding 12,000 seats.