I am going to be brutally honest about the Las Vegas Bowl. Notice how I haven't done any articles on it? I haven't heard a lot of talk about it. Not much in the forums. Not a lot of watercooler talk at work. I haven't seen many articles in the newspapers--let alone actually read any. Many people that I know who go to many bowl games aren't going to the Vegas Bowl this year. This only leads me to one conclusion--not a lot of Oregon fans care a whole lot about the Las Vegas Bowl.
Have we really become that arrogant, that our bowl game has become irrelevant? That a minor bowl game such as the Vegas Bowl is not good enough for Duck fans? I don't really think that is the case at all. I think it is more a product of this particular season. I liken it to the Seattle Bowl season of 2002. How many of you cared about the Seattle Bowl? Honestly? Now, I certainly watched it on TV, but was I really disappointed that they lost that game? No. Because the season already seemed over, and the Seattle Bowl felt like some kind of strange game played in the middle of two seasons. In my mind, the season was already over.
I, and I think many other Duck fans feel the same way this year. The season just had an aura of finality to it. I think that the hot start and the rise in expectations at the beginning of the season really had everybody amped up, and the finish just kind of took the wind out of everybody's sails. Its not that Duck fans are too good for a 7-5 season, or for the Las Vegas Bowl. Far from it. And I think that a team that scrapped its way to seven wins, alternating wins and losses from the beginning of the season, would enjoy far more support for a Vegas Bowl bid than the current team does. For example, if the team that finished 5-6 two years ago had rallied to a Vegas Bowl, I think that the support would be massive.
However, I think that there was just a big letdown at the end of this season. And it doesn't help that the Ducks basketball team (or the Trail Blazers, for that matter) are off to good starts. Everyone I know is talking hoops, and football is kind of being swept under the rug. Kind of funny to hear about that at a football school. But ending losing three in a row was such a disappointment that I think many people considered football to be over after the Civil War.
That's not to say that the Vegas Bowl isn't important--for many key seniors, such as J.D. Nelson, Enoka Lucas, and Jordan Kent, this will be their last game in a Duck uniform, and their last chance to get a bowl victory. Oregon also has a chance to win a bowl game for the first time since the Fiesta Bowl victory over Colorado. The momentum going into next season would be huge.
But make no mistake about it, there isn't a lot of hoopla about the bowl game this year. Lets hope that the players haven't taken the same attitude that many fans have, else it will be a long night.