- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here are your valentines to your favorite Pac-12 team (we couldn't use all of them, and one team got stiffed. Utah and Colorado got a few extra because they are new and we want to know why they are loved).
Jonathan from Grants Pass, Ore., writes: BEAR DOWN ARIZONA !!! a true shout-out from a TRUE CATS FAN, wishing my team the best valentines day !!! my cats are the best because they NEVER SAY QUIT, always competing, even in the face of defeat. I'm from Tucson, and the wildcats are in my blood, from day one till the day i die!!! BEAR DOWN isn't just a motto, it's a part of my everyday life, allowing me to OVERCOME ADVERSITY THROUGH STRENGTH !!!! my team is the best because they live there motto every time they put on there jersey's, and even when they aren't in school and have moved on in life, they carry that motto with them !!!!. yeah, i live in Oregon,(the duck fans are the worst!!!) but i will always call Tucson home, and the wildcats my team, BEAR DOWN !!!!!
David from Phoenix writes: I was born and raised in Phoenix Arizona, my dad says I was on his lap during the 87 Rose Bowl, though I was only 2 years old (almost 3). My earliest memory of watching ASU was in November of 1992 when Kevin Galbreath broke a 51 yard TD run against UofA. The final score was 7-6 in Bruce Snyder's first season as head coach. My parents would take my sister and I to games occasionally through the years. They finally bought 4 season tickets for the 1996 season. I was at every home game that year. There were so many magical moments that season, I was hooked. I was only 12 at the time and didn't really grasp the concept of what a National Championship meant. My dad took my sister and I to the Rose Bowl and it was there where I learned what it was like to be a true fan. I cried when that game ended, but I honestly thought we'd be back there soon enough. It's been 14 years, I've had season tickets every single year but we've never been able to capture that same magic. I honestly feel that my life will not be complete until I see my Devils win a Rose Bowl in person. time. I hope they can really turn the corner and become more of a consistent contender for the next few decades. I've seen what Sun Devil Stadium can be like when this team is a contender and it is an amazing atmosphere.
Kai from "Bear Territory" writes: Where else in college football do you get a pristine look of a football game and the most beautiful city on earth all for free? no where but at cal Berkeley. who is the only team playing their 2012 football season in the what has been called the most beautiful baseball stadium? CAL. Cal: the team that hasn't been to the rose bowl since 1959 (longest of the original Pac-10), has the best, most loyal fans. GO BEARS!!!
Cy from San Francisco writes: Oh, Cal. She's smart (see: 66 Nobel Prizes; Alex Mack). She's articulate (see: Aaron Rodgers; Justin Forsett). She's multidimensional (see: students in libraries on game days). She cares (see: history of activism; Scott Fujita). She doesn't take herself too seriously (see: Marshawn Lynch; cynicism and self-deprecation among students and alumni). She doesn't beg for attention (unlike: Mack Brown; University of Oregon football uniforms). She's not dating all the hicks you went to high school with (unlike: 80% acceptance rate at the University of Oregon). Sure, she has her meltdowns (see: 2007 season). Sure, she can be a little secretive (see: closed practices). Sure, she was slightly dishonest with me that one time (see: Oregon, 2010). But: she's unique, and I love her.
Justin from Berkeley writes: I love CAL football because it isn't stanfurd. The opposite of pure evil is necessarily pure good, right? And there is no questioning that the furd is pure evil, so there can be no doubt that CAL football is pure heavenly bliss sent from the stars above.
Barry from Golden, Colo. writes: Why is CU the best?1. Colorado is the most beautiful state in the country.2. Ralphie is the greatest mascot in American sport, and I can't imagine the feeling of running onto the field behind her.3. There is nothing like a game at Folsom Stadium, with the clean, crisp air and the view of the Flatirons.I am excited for CU to be a part of the PAC-12, and I think the players and fans will love playing in Palo Alto, Berkeley, So-Cal, Washington and Oregon instead of Norman, Lincoln and Ames. I also think the academic performance of CU matches with the PAC-12 better than it does with the Big 12. And don't get me started on the tactics of Texas in the way they exerted and guaranteed dominance over the rest of the conference.
Shane from Boulder, Colo., writes: What makes the Buffs special? Besides Boulder, Folsom, and everything that makes CU different, it's a desire to see CU return to the top. Having spent a number of seasons watching CU teams as an undergrad crush everyone from Wisconsin to Michigan to Oregon, these last 5 seasons under Hawk have been BRUTAL. I can't wait to return to the vitriolic ways of my youth and let everyone know how much they, their team, their town, their state, and their school suck compared to everything about me and where I come from.I grew up in Folsom field. And getting the opportunity to watch new students grow up and spew the same venom that I did as a yout (see Joe Pesci, circa My Cousin Vinny), but against new foes in the Pac12... well, I couldn't ask for anything more. Just don't tell my wife. :)
David from Winnetka, Ill., writes: The reason most CU fans love the Buffs despite losing seasons is because we have an almost pathological inability to admit that this isn't the early 90's. Go Buffs!
Travis from Boulder, Colo., writes: Nothing like seeing a live Buffalo running out in front of the Black and Gold and hearing the stadium erupt when she runs, and ruining NU football in 2001 is a cherry on top of why I love everything CU.
Bob Andrews Salt Lake City, Utah, writes: What we love about Colorado football: You have to start with the setting. It's a beautiful college town set against the flatirons and the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Then Ralphie hits the field. Best. Mascot. Ever. You gotta love watching the opposing players scatter on their sideline when a 1500 pound buffalo comes thundering down on them. Lastly, tradition. Before you scoff, consider this: only one school in the PAC12 has played more college football games than CU (Cal) and only one school in the PAC12 has won more football games than CU (USC). We've won a national championship, a Heisman trophy, and produced 30 consensus All-Americans. Oregon? No, no, and 4. Congratulations, Duckies, on your newfound success. Do it for a couple decades and then come talk to the Buffs.
Kimberly from Dayton, Ohio, writes: In response to your homework. As a CU fan, one of the things I love most about game day in Boulder (and away games where allowed), is watching Ralphie thunder around the field with the team behind her. She is a great mascot and I couldn't wait to introduce my son to the ritual at his first game. You also just can't beat watching CU play on a beautiful Boulder day looking at the Flatirons. Win or lose, you can enjoy being in the Colorado sunshine. Heck, even Dan Beebe said that recently as a farewell to CU. I will also never lose faith in the Buffs because I know we ultimately have what it takes. I was a student when we won the National Championship and I know we can bring our program back. I also think it was a great decision for CU to finally join the PAC-10. Looking forward to keeping up with your blog.
Stuart from Bozeman, Mont., writes: As to why I love the Buffs ... it's a bit lengthy.
Dainean from Aspen, Colo., writes: Growing up in a family with season tickets to Oregon Duck games, I was attending games in the early 1990's. Even though Oregon's situation is far different from back then, one reason I love them remains the same; the Oregon Ducks are the most exciting Pac-10 team to watch. From Wheaton's pick to Rashad Bauman's suicide punt returns to LaMichael busting cutback breakaways, the Ducks have a knack for big plays and exciting games. Think back on the most thrilling Pac-10 games over the last 20 years and many of those games involved Duck comebacks and overtimes (or Stanford crushing our dreams). As a Duck fan, you're never sitting down or leaving early. Plus, we have the best chants.
Kasey from Union, Ore., writes: I gotta say first, I LOVE MY DUCKS!!! Chip Kelly has done an amazing job with this team, and they're awesome to watch. Why are we better than everyone else? It's because we have Darron Thomas, LaMichael James, Cliff Harris, Kenyon Barner, and many others coming back next year (even though we're graduating some great players) as well as reloading with some good recruiting. And, because we have an amazing spread offense. I'm already counting down the days to the LSU game. And as far as the Pac-12 conference, Pac-12 football is great because it's one of the conferences where anything can happen. Nothing is ever given, and all the teams just beat up on each other week in and week out. College football season is too far away! GO DUCKS!
Taylor from Spokane, Wash., writes: I love Oregon Ducks football, and i love Pac 10 (i mean Pac 12) football. What's not to love about the Ducks? The uniforms, the fast pace, the excitement, the scoring. I played football for 7 years and am in my first year of college now, and with football out of my life, i can't believe how obsessed i have become with college ball. I read every new update on the pac 10 blog, covered recruiting like white on rice, and cant wait till' Oregon LSU. Following college football the way i do now is filling my void of life after football, i never knew i could love it this much. I've loved the Ducks for 6 years, so i'm no fairweather fan just to let you know. I love pac 12 football because it's apart of my everday life, actually every hour now that i have internet on my cell...is this healthy for me Ted? :)
Aaron from Tamarac, Fla., writes: Dear Oregon Ducks,It's been a while since we last spoke, huh? I know I haven't spoken to you much since that...misunderstanding in Glendale and I apologize for that. I was just hurt, y'know? I mean, last year you promised me roses and this year I trusted you with even more. I just don't know how much more I can take. I will always love you...I just don't know how much more I've got left in me. Do you have another run to the top of the BCS left in you? Because even if we make it sweetheart, I'm just not sure I can take the pain of losing once again.Forever yours,Aaron
John from Oakland writes: Can we talk about how much we DISLIKE Oregon?
Mike from Milwaukie, Ore., writes: A lot is said about Mike Riley being too nice, but I think what truly separates Oregon State football is the classy way he approaches his job which is reflected in how classy the program has become.Riley is competitive not demonstrative, treats people (even media) with respect and our program is a great part of a great university. We have kids who make mistakes-- we treat them like kids who made mistakes not pampered spoiled win at all cost pieces of the puzzle. Our fans want us to win but I've seen very little of the demeaning crap of idiotic fan bases. Our facilities are first class, not a playground for instant gratification doofus's.If you think I'm subtly taking shots at UO, I apologize for being subtle.Our program is first class, and I think it starts with our coach.
Darin from San Diego writes: Biggest Beaver fan out there. i pretty much love everything about them boys in Black and Orange. i am currently stationed in San Diego in the navy but am from Albany Oregon. (15 min from Corvallis). We are hard working, blue collar people and have one of the best sportsmen ship on and off the field. I AM ORANGE.... WE ARE OREGON STATE BABY!!!!! GO BEAVS
Beaver Mike from Portland writes: I love my Beavers. Primarily because I was born into it. Orange and Black? c'mon, best color combo in sports. Mike Riley is a local guy, and it seems like he turns every class into a home grown gems. Even though we lack a Rose bowl birth since, "too long ago," I love my Beavers like a love my girlfriend. Being the underdog all the time isn't too bad either. haha. BEAVER NATION
Alicia from Los Angeles writes: Dear Stanford Football,Will you be my valentine? Our last date in Miami was so unforgettable -- the highs and lows, the buildup and drama. I'll treasure it forever.Sure, we've had some tough times. For a few years, I nearly left you for dead; and sure, I cheated on you with my husband's ACC team during the (gasp) Buddy Teevens era. But it's all good now.I (heart) you,A
Eric from Oakland writes: Why we love our team? In my case it's Stanford, and while the easy answer is because I went there, that's not the real reason.As pompous as this sometimes makes us sound, I love Stanford football because the student-athletes are actually students as much as they are athletes. It's because a friend of mine once had Babatunde Oshinowo autograph his electrical engineering textbook after they finished their EE final together. It's because Andrew Luck seems to like talking about architecture as much as he does football. It's because I see the players in the same old dorms and cafeterias as the rest of us, biking to class like the rest of us, or spending a late night in a robotics lab, just like (the nerdiest of) the rest of us. It makes the players seem more like regular folks, and I think it helps us fans connect with them, and be proud of them.Of course, it helps that having a bunch of nerds on the team also makes people view Stanford as an underdog, a team that's not supposed to be able to win BCS bowls. Who doesn't love an underdog!It actually is kind of sad that our friends down south can't seem to beat us despite only having to take ballroom dancing classes...
XX from Berkeley writes: I love the Cardinal football team because the players are true student--athletes. They show that you can succeed both on and off the field. The OL leader, Luck, represents the best of the best: almost too good to be true! Go Stanford! Go Luck,
Jacob from Stanford writes: It's almost unfair to make the case for Stanford, because it's just so much easier than making the case for any other team. Stanford epitomizes everything you'd want from a football team. The Cardinal is a top-five football program at a top-five school. No one else can say that. No one else can come close to that. Stanford has had the best player in the conference and arguably the best player in the nation each of the last two seasons, and they are different players. Few schools have ever been able to say that, let alone currently. And unlike other top college players (Reggie Bush, Cam Newton, etc.), there is no controversy with these players. Stanford players aren't getting arrested and breaking NCAA rules. They are getting engineering degrees and getting better GPAs at one of the best academic institutions in the world than the valedictorians at most other schools in the FBS. And it's not just Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck. Stanford has a team in every sense of the word, and despite outsmarting every team it steps on the field with, the Cardinal also manages to bring more toughness and edge than every other team as well. There has never been another team like Stanford and there probably never will be.
Nate from Houston writes: Happy Valentines day, USC. Everybody knows you are a top 25 academic institution (ranked higher than UCLA) and also the most storied college football program of all time - 11 National Championships, 31 bowl victories, 6 Heisman, 74 NFL first round draft picks including 5 #1 overall picks, 29 college hall of famers, and 11 NFL hall of famers. In fact, the only team that even comes close is Alabama and just ask Bear Bryant and Sam Cunningham how that competition unfolds (not only are you better, but you also lead the country in civil rights)....not to mention that most of your application rejects would be scholarship students there. I love you through thick and thin, in sickness and in health - it is kind of funny though that your past few years of sickness would be considered health at most other colleges. Love is not just about passion either. Love is also about trust. I trust you. Even though others insult your integrity (out of jealousy), those of us who pay attention know that one student's mistake is not representative of the school (however, 10-20 students' mistakes might be - Oregon & Florida). I forgive you for all transgressions and stand by your side. You are beautiful, intelligent, kind, and will always be my love.P.S. It's sexy that if you were your own country, you'd be 9th in the world in Olympic gold medals...and that the 2 best defensive players in the super bowl were yours.
Steve from Riverton, Utah, writes: Valentine for Utah: I love Utah because who doesn't love to cheer for the classic underdog who has overcome great odds to succeed. We love it when we are underestimated and under appreciated in a game. We've heard all of the excuses like "our guys weren't into the game", "the game didn't matter" "our key guys were injured" and more... We have a chip on our shoulder and probably will for some time as we are already hearing that we don't belong in the PAC 12 and we won't be able to compete week in and week out. Coach Kyle Whittingham is a classic no nonsense coach that works really hard and keeps the program based upon letting actions speak louder than words. He won't blame anyone but himself for a loss and give credit to the players with the win. The coaching staff is also great at developing these guys into stars. Our 2 BCS wins were with a bunch of 2 star recruits coached into being 3, 4 and 5 star recruits. We are now getting more 3 and 4 star recruits and I can't wait to see what the coaches can do with better raw talent. Rice Eccles Stadium is a fantastic place to watch a football game. I hope we expand soon, but don't be fooled by the 45,000+. Over 100% attendance last year!Salt Lake City in the fall under the Rocky Mountains. That is football.
James from Salt Lake City, Utah, writes: Utah Football is all about the MUSS. We are the lifeblood of the stadium. In 2004, ESPN rated us as one of the top 5 student sections in the country, and We can't wait wreak havoc on PAC-12 teams. We will be CRAZY, LOUD and we will cause a lot of false start penalties. Our stadium may be small compared to the rest of the conference, but thanks to the MUSS it will be EXTREMELY LOUD!
Jon from Draper, Utah, writes: I am a Utah fan and have been since I was a kid. For me, it's a family tradition to cheer for the drum and feather no matter how good or bad it gets in Salt Lake City. We have one of the most scenic setting for a football stadium in the country and the best fans! The team knows how to get the crowd going and there's nothing more fun than being at Rice-Eccles Stadium for a great game. GO UTES!!!
Jeff Hardman from Salt Lake City, Utah: I've been a Ute since the day I was born. Had to be considering my dad is a professor at the U. Basketball was all I cared about growing up in the 70's and 80's, seeing as the football team was a joke. When Rick Majerus was hired I knew we were going to hit the national scene in a big way and I was telling everyone we would be in the Final Four within 5 years. I missed by 3 years, but we made it.I made a deal with the basketball gods that I would trade the entire football program for one basketball national championship. Funny how a decade can change things. Who knew it would be the football program leading the charge into the Pac 12 while the basketball team wallowed in mediocrity?My family and I celebrated our entry into the Pac 12 like we had just won 5 national championships, and we think it's even bigger than that. Instead of hoping for one BCS game at the end of the year we feel like every game will be a BCS game now (except when we go slumming to play the "Team Down South").Go Utes!Jeff
Trevor from Draper, Utah ,writes: In response to your Valentine's question, I love my Utes because my dad was a graduate from the University of Utah and took me to football games for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of sitting in the splinter-filled wooden benches of the old north end zone of Rice Stadium in the 80's. One of my favorite moments growing up was being one of the few that stuck around when Air Force had a commanding lead late (we NEVER leave early) to witness a furious comeback that included 2 TDs in the final minutes thanks to an onside kick. My brother and I were jumping all over the empty benches around us in disbelief when Kevin Dyson (of Music City Miracle fame) caught a 50+ yard TD for the win. I went on to get my degree there and have joined the booster club (Crimson Club) to support the athletes that bring so much entertainment to me and my family, rain or shine, win or lose.
Tyler from Centerville, Utah, writes: My Sweet and Dear Utah Utes,I love you from the depths of my heart. You have brought me much happiness as you have posted the best record vs. BCS schools among the non-AQs. You are the ketchup to my half-time hotdog - I am the cheer to your touchdown. I have been in the stands since Scott Mitchell took snaps, and promise to never leave you. As we venture together into new PAC-12 territory, let us promise to be true to each other. Let's make a statement this season and announce to the college football world that the original BCS buster has officially arrived at the BCS table. We must live up to that title in 2011 more than ever - especially in the inaugural showdown at USC on September 10, and again for complete control of the PAC-12 South on October 8, when ASU visits our home. We are perfect for each other, Utah Utes. I have always loved U and will love U forever.Sincerely,Fan sitting in N29, Row 48, Seat 6.
Kyle from Kent, Wash., writes: I love husky football because of our traditions of winning, great players, and great coaches. From the days of Gil Dobie (who guided Washington to the longest unbeaten streak in college football history) to Enoch Bagshaw to Jim Owens to Don James, Washington has always had a winning tradition (other than the horrible 7-8 yr span in the 2000's). Husky stadium is undoubtedly the greatest college football venue in America. not only is it beautiful, the the thing ROCKS! LITERALLY. When the crowd gets into it, it feels like your standing in an earthquake! It gets so loud there. In terms of decibels, I believe we hold the record for the loudest crowd noise. As far as players...Warren Moon, Steve Emtman, Napolean Kaufman, Olin Kreutz, Cory Dillon, Spider Gaines, Roy Lewis, Reggie Williams, Lawyer Milloy, et al. We've always had the luxury to watch such great players and I believe that all of these traditions will continue with coach Sark's current regime. Pac-12...watch out for HUSKY FOOTBALL!!! WE"RE BACK!!!
Aaron from Portland writes: Pretty simple, this is why I love the Cougs...http://www.undefeatedfans.com/. And frankly, who doesn't love an underdog!? All of the punishment now makes the success that much sweeter...But for the love of God please bring the W's soon!!
19hSam Khan Jr.