Today was the first media day at the BCS National Championship game, with Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti the star of the show after saying he was "sleeping like a baby. I wake up every two hours and cry." Cam Newton also clarified that his father would be in attendance at the game.
But maybe the most interesting development to come out of Phoenix since the teams arrived has been the consensus that Auburn has been the more relaxed, more happy-go-lucky team while Oregon (sometimes typecast as a laid-back West Coast program out of admittedly laid-back Eugene) has been much more business-like in their approach.
For maybe the best example of the difference between the two teams, look at the wide, wide variance in their respective curfew policies. When it comes to Auburn (emphasis added) ...
After Internet reports surfaced that star quarterback Cam Newton and some of his teammates were out at a club till almost 2 a.m., Newton was asked on Tuesday if any sort of curfew has been put in place for Auburn.Meanwhile, on the Oregon side , the Duck captains elected to have the players confined to the hotel by a 10 p.m. with a lights-out call by midnight. Linebacker Spencer Paysinger said that the Ducks were distracted at last year's Rose Bowl by "a bunch of things going on" and that this year's bowl experience is "a business trip."
“I think that’s up to coach (Gene) Chizik,” Newton said. “If he said, ‘Lock it down’ I’m pretty sure we don’t have a choice about that … it wasn’t a lockdown last night . Just being around this program has been an excellent, excellent environment, not too much stress. Everybody’s just smiling and having a good time.”
Auburn fans will no doubt say that the light-in-the-reins approach is the right one for a team that's seemed to thoroughly enjoy their 2010 ride, and that the Tigers will be ready to play a loose, nerve-free game next Monday. Oregon fans will no doubt say Auburn isn't taking things seriously enough and that the Ducks will see their sharper focus and better preparation pay off.
We'll find out who's right next Monday.