From Mike Bellotti, the winningest coach in Oregon football history, to Chip Kelly, taking the program to the next level with three straight BCS games, the fans have gathered in support to fill in the 54,000-capacity Autzen Stadium every week to cheer on the Ducks.
Oregon sports information director, Andy McNamara, confirmed that the first game of the season has been sold out:
— Andy McNamara (@McNamaraUO) July 21, 2012
That’s right, since 1999 the football team has enjoyed a full-capacity crowd inside the stadium. No, it may not be as impressive as Nebraska’s record-crushing sellouts – still amassing at 318 since 1962 – but still fantastic when you consider the little dip the program had between 2002-2004 being in the middle of the Pac-10 pack.
Let’s take a trip into the way-back machine and go to 1999. That was Bellotti’s fifth year with the program, finishing at a 9-3 mark and a 24-20 victory over Minnesota in the Sun Bowl. That was both A.J. Feely and Joey Harrington’s first season with the Ducks, combining for over 3,000 yards in the air that season and completing over 50 percent of their passes.
Now both quarterbacks have come and gone in the NFL, both Feely and Harrington looked promising with the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions, respectively. Then Harrington flamed out with the Atlanta Falcons while Feely actually did something with the St. Louis Rams last season.
The football program remains huge in Eugene. It holds a record of 60,055 dating just back to last October against Arizona State. Expect that number to rise this season, and hopefully some future expansion will take place once a few current projects are done.