Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wickre Duck Bowl History

I was middle aged before I went to my first Oregon Duck Bowl. I was too young to go the 1958 Rose Bowl or the 1963 Sun Bowl. To be more precise, my parents were not football fans and thus as a kid we did not go to either of those bowls. I did watch them on TV. All through my college years and young adult years I "swore" that I would go to any bowl to which the Ducks were invited. In those years based upon Pac-8 or Pac 10 rules Oregon was mostly limited to going to the Rose Bowl and Oregon had terrible teams in those years and thus received no invitations. That all changed in 1989.

1989 Independence Bowl Oregon 27 Tulsa 24 Won
That all chanced in 1989 when Oregon Athletic Director, Bill Byrne, agreed to buy 14,000 tickets to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport Louisiana in return for a bowl invitation. My 6 year old son and I flew to Dallas Texas and I drove a rental car from there to the game. With a windchill temperate of below zero we watched the Ducks, led by QB Bill Musgrave, come from behind to win the game. During the game I kept worrying that my wife would "kill me" if our son got frost bite. He didn't and that game became a bonding experience we will never forget.

1990 Freedom Bowl Colorado State 32 Oregon 31 Lost
The next year the entire family drove down to the Freedom Bowl in Anaheim, California. We went to Disneyland and had a great time at the Disneyland Hotel. The Washington Huskies were in the Rose Bowl that year and the fans we ran into treated the Freedom Bowl as a Junior Varsity (JV) game. This is one of the reasons I learned to hate the Huskies.The loss was very disappointing but at both the Independence Bowl and the Freedom Bowl you could see the thirst of Oregon fans to go "bowling" after such a drought.

1992 Independence Bowl Wake Forest 39 Oregon 35 Lost
Fortunately we had a tailgate party at home and watched this turkey on TV. Oregon led big time at half time and managed to lose the game in the second half.This game reinforced this Duck fans fatalism that no Duck lead is ever enough.

1995 Rose Bowl(1994 Season)Penn State 38 Oregon 20 Lost
Again the entire family drove down I-5 to this game and stayed at a hotel near LAX as part of an UofO Alumni "ground package" trip. It was over priced but we did get a bus ride to the game. We had a great time driving down I-5 to the game and passing other Duck fans in their "Ducked out" cars and vans. We met Ducks at every stop on the way down and back. We loved the Pep Rally at Century City, the day before the game, and it was fun just being at the Rose Bowl. It was a disappointing loss but it was the first time Oregon had been to a "big time" bowl and the entire state of Oregon was excited about the event. When we got home a friend gave my wife a tee shirt that said "I survived the Rose Bowl." Unlike our kids my wife is not a big football fan and dislikes crowds.

1996 Cotton Bowl Colorado 38 Oregon 6 Lost
We stayed home and watched this game on TV. This is where we learned to hate then Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel when Colorado went for a fake punt late in the game when Colorado lead Oregon by a big margin.

1997 Las Vegas Bowl Oregon 41 Air Force 13 Won
The entire family drove to Las Vegas for this game. On the way through the Mojave Desert a radio station was giving away Berry Manilow tickets to a concert at the MGM Grand as part of a promotion. The radio station broadcaster said that if you were near a specific exit to stop and show the DJ in the radio station van some Christmas item and they would give you two tickets to the concert. We were near the exit in the middle of "nowhere" and saw the van on top of the overpass and stopped and showed the DJ our cassette tape of Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and got the two Barry Manilow tickets. We loved the game and my wife and daughter went to the concert. We stayed at the team hotel, the MGM Grand, and enjoyed touring the Vegas Strip.

1998 Aloha Bowl Colorado 51 Oregon 43 Lost
We had a Hawaiian Luau in our family room and watched the game on TV

1999 Sun Bowl Oregon 24 Minnesota 20 Won
We welcomed in the Millennium by watching this game on TV on the morning of New Years Eve day.

2000 Holiday Bowl Oregon 35 Texas 30 Won
What a fine game this was. Watched it on TV. Wish I had gone ! I love the play where our QB Joey Harrington catces a pass and runs it in for a touchdown.

2002 Fiesta Bowl(2001 Season) Oregon 38 Colorado 16 Won
Our son and I and some friends drove all the way to Tempe, Arizona in our van to watch this game. Had a great time and enjoyed New Years Eve on Mill Street in Tempe near the stadium. It was good to finally win a big time BCS bowl and to beat Colorado.One of my favorite Oregon games of all time.

2002 Seattle Bowl Wake Forest 38 Oregon 17 Lost
Our son and I and the same friends drove to Seattle for this game and it was one of the few time I was ashamed to be a Duck. It was obvious the team did not want to be at this "lower tier" bowl and put in little effort and it showed. To top it off it rained very hard as we drove back to Portland after the game to my sisters home.The rain felt like the tears of Oregon fans. We stopped at a fast food restaurant on I-5 after the game 45 or so miles from Seattle. It was full of Oregon fans and it was so quiet!It was like we were at a funeral.

2003 Sun Bowl Minnesota 31 Oregon 30 Lost
Watched on TV New Year Eve Day.

2005 Holiday Bowl Oklahoma 17 Oregon 14 Lost
The entire family had plans to spend Christmas at Disneyland and so we extended our stay in Southern California to go to this game. Stayed at the team hotel in San Diego and had a great time. It was on the waterfront and we went to the Duck pep rally, the parade and a tour of the navy aircraft carrier Midway which is now a museum. The Ducks almost pulled out a win at the end but no luck. It was fun for the entire family to again go on a bowl trip together since our kids were now adults and living away from home.It was strange when my kids bought me a beer in the
Gas Light district of San Diego.

2006 Las Vegas Bowl Brigham Young 38 Oregon 8 Lost
Watched this on TV and was very disappointed in the Ducks. Looked like they didn't care. I cared and it hurt.

2007 Sun Bowl Oregon 56 South Florida 21 Won Watched on TV.
This win helped heal the pain of the loss of Dennis Dixon to an injury in the Arizona game and the loss of the "Civil War" to the Beavers on our own field.
Watched on TV. Little did we know this would be Coach Mike Bellott's last game.

2010 Rose Bowl (2009 season) Oregon 17 Ohio State 26 Lost
The four of us took another "Road Trip" to this game and had a good time. We went to Disneyland and marched up "Main Street" with the Oregon Marching Band" and spent time in Old Pasadena. We cruised the Sunset Strip" and Hollywood Blvd.We attended a wet/cold pep rally at the Santa Monica Pier. The weather on game day was perfect but the loss was a bitter pill.

2011 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (2010 season) Oregon 19, Auburn 22 Lost
My son and I drive to Sacramento and took a flight to Phoenix for the game. Our daughter took a flight from Washington DC and met us there. We enjoyed the Pep rally in Scottsdale with 30,000 Duck fans. It was a lot of fun. Our daughter did not have a ticket to the game and was going to watch it at a nearby bar. However when we dropped her off to get a seat in the bar Stub Hub had a booth set up nearby and she was able to buy a last minute ticket. She has never told us how much she paid ! We all three then got together and celebrated her getting a ticket. We enjoyed the game but were disappointed when Auburn won it off a last second field goal.

2012 Rose Bowl (2011 Season)
Can you say "road trip"!Our son and I are driving down I-5 for the game and will meet our daughter in L.A. who will fly in from Washington D.C. This time we have tickets for all three of us. we are looking forward to the Oregon Duck pep rally at the Santa Monica Pier. Hopefully this time in sunshine. In my lifetime the Ducks have been to three Rose Bowls and lost all three. It's time they win the fourth... it's on my 'bucket list."