Ducks at the bowl games

Alumni enjoy the Rose Bowl and Championship Game travel experiences—despite the ultimate outcome

The inaugural College Football Playoffs were unlike anything any university had ever prepared for before.

A knockout, postseason tournament? Other NCAA sports, including football at all levels below FBS, had been holding those for years. However, those tournaments don’t typically involve more than one thousand fans traveling on charter flights, attending receptions, tailgates, pep rallies, live rock concerts, and more each week. March Madness doesn’t involve a three-day fan festival, with live performances by Lenny Kravitz and Sting. The Zac Brown Band doesn’t stage a free concert during a six-hour tailgate before the NCAA track and field championships. And Good Morning America doesn’t do live campus look-ins at 4:00 a.m. before College World Series games.

But all of those things happened as the Ducks won the Rose Bowl and headed to Texas for the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Through its partnership with Ducks Fan Travel, the UOAA was able to offer alumni four different travel packages for the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, ranging from three nights at the team hotel to game day only transfers. The UO held an official tailgate and block party for Ducks in Pasadena, both of which were attended by large numbers of fans looking to get themselves primed for the game.

With the win over Florida State, the Ducks then had 11 days to prepare for the National Championship game in Arlington. Due to the little amount of time left to prepare events, the College Football Playoff organizers planned their own events for UO and Ohio State University fans, staging a three-day Playoff Fan Central in the days leading up to the game, and a six-hour tailgate on the day of the game. More than 1,000 alumni and supporters signed up for the UOAA’s travel packages, leading the UOAA to put on a second charter flight from Portland.

At the Playoff Fan Central, former stars of the teams—including LaMichael James, Jairus Byrd, Ahmad Rashad, Casey Matthews, and De’Anthony Thomas were on hand to meet fans and sign autographs, while at the CMT Ultimate Kickoff Party and the AT&T Playoff Playlist Live! the likes of Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Lenny Kravitz, and Sting kept the crowds entertained.

On the day of the game, Good Morning America and ESPN were both present on the UO campus, with Good Morning America reporting live from in front of the Lillis Business Complex at 4:00 a.m. while ESPN aired from the newly renovated Student Recreation Center throughout the day. Back in Dallas, Ducks attended a BBQ at Eddie Deen’s Ranch before going to the CFP-hosted Championship Tailgate, where the Oregon Marching Band and the Zac Brown Band were both on hand to perform.

For the game itself, Ducks all over the world gathered wherever they could to cheer for the team. The PDX Ducks and Seattle Ducks both added extra watch parties to accommodate fans, while unofficial watch parties were held all over the globe, including Dublin, London, Brisbane, Singapore, Brazil, and Hong Kong.

While the team ultimately fell short against the Buckeyes, the fans who traveled to Pasadena and Arlington all enjoyed themselves, and made memories that will last a lifetime. The national championship game brought Ducks together around the world, and that—regardless of the game’s final score—is a resounding win.

Relive the Rose Bowl and National Championship tours!

Rose Bowl

College Football Playoff National Championship