Having 'experienced' Autzen Stadium as a fan of the opposition I feel confident that I am a qualified to make a few observations about playing the Oregon Ducks at home.
Matt Barkley, the USC freshman quarterback has committed the ultimate sin (if you're a Duck fan) by suggesting that the noise in Autzen will only 'serve to motivate me.' Not wise Matt. Motivate? Maybe 'motivate' as in 'motivate me to go see a shrink!' I thought you had a 3.7 GPA! Does he even have a clue what he just did by suggesting such a thing? Does Barkley have any idea that he's about to enter a football stadium that is home to the crazed, demented and madly insane (I could have used other discriptions but I'm trying to be kind)?
Obviously Mr. Barkley is not aware of the 'qualifications' to be admitted to Autzen Stadium as a Duck fan! First and foremost you must be legally intoxicated*. I'm talking well over served. Not stumbling and bumbling intoxicated but rude intoxicated. There is a fine line between 'stumbling, bumbling' and 'rude intoxication' and Duck fans know exactly where that line is formed. Second, each person admitted must pass a collegiate level course in "Outrageous and Obnoxious Behavior" (OOB 101) and also OOB 102 which is an advanced course specifically designed to enhance Outrageous and Obnoxious behavior towards the visiting team AND their fans. Once one has successfully completed the OOB 101 and OOB 102 AND pass the breathalyzer testing you then are eligible for 'consideration' to be admitted to Autzen Stadium. Next in the process is a complete lung evaluation and some further testing on how long you can hold a scream at a very, very high decibel WITHOUT taking a breath! When Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma) played at Autzen a few years back he got physically ill from the noise and following the game said something to the effect of "I wonder if any of those people ever take a breath" (no sarcasm intended; true statement.) Thus the lung evaluation. The last element of the admittance process is how you're dressed. Please note that the guy pictured above is considered 'normal' or your 'average Duck fan' allowed into the Stadium. The more outrageous the dress the better chance of making the final grade and being allowed to enter the stadium.
When you are a visiting fan to Autzen stadium the first thing you should do is to pray. Pray a lot. You pray that your team will lose. Should your team fail to lose and God forbid win the game (which just doesn't happen too often) be prepared for some heavy verbal abuse as you walk to your car. In fact, I would suggest that should the totally unexpected actually happen (your team wins) you should strip off any clothes, hats, etc. with your team's logo or team colors. It's just safer that way.
During the game I advise wearing ear plugs. Seriously. Not only will you be exposed to extreme loud noise but you will also be taunted and ridiculed by the Duck fans from before the warm ups to the end of the game. Yes, even the guy selling the hot dogs will not pass up the opportunity to remind you where you are, who you're playing and what your mother did for a living.
You see now why I say that USC's Mr. Barkley has made the cardinal sin? I believe he could be in for a long evening. Very long. Did I mention that it's a night game and Halloween too? Yikes! Talk about the freaks coming out!! Those Duck fans will have all day to get prepared for the Trojans. Not good at all. What I described above were only the qualifications for an afternoon game. Night games are in an entirely different category. If I were a fan going to an Oregon game that had and evening kickoff time AND it was Halloween my number one concern would not only be my personal sanity and judgment used in deciding to attend the game but pure survival. Like in making it out of Autzen alive. Oh it could be a long, long night for the mighty Trojans.
I hate to mention this but I considered going to the University of Oregon (now many years ago) but my parents shot down that idea real fast. There was a 'party school poll' in some publication (Playboy I think) that listed the top 50 'party schools' in America. At the very top of the list was an asterisk (*). At the bottom of the poll it said "The University of Oregon was not considered in this poll. This is an amateur polling and the University of Oregon is considered a professional party school." So you can see why my parents 'discouraged' me from becoming a Duck.
I believe the wisest thing Matt Barkley could do right now is to announce that he is transferring to Oregon. Otherwise, the young man is about to experience a very rude learning curve.
* Disclaimer: The large majority of Oregon fans begin tailgating on Wednesday for a Saturday game. It is not my intention to suggest that they actually drive to and from the games intoxicated. The legal intoxication process begins once they arrive in the Autzen parking lot and they carefully observe a 'sobering up period' of a day or two following the game and prior to driving home.
** Disclaimer II: Actually the University of Oregon is a very respectful institution and the athletic department has more money than most Wall Street Banks (I actually believe this is true now) thanks to Mr. Knight. The campus is beautiful and speaking frankly now, you couldn't ask for more supportive fans even if they are legally intoxicated, outrageous, obnoxious and rude.