Continued from page 1

Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes was so focused he didn’t even notice.

“No, where is it?” Bynes said when asked if he had seen it. “Can I go touch it? Dang. That’s kind of crazy. That’s something I see in commercials, not something I thought I’d see in real life, a couple steps away.”

And, to think, he could be holding it Monday night if the Tigers win.

“That would be a blessing,” he said. “The ultimate goal is to hold that crystal ball and place them lips on it, knowing we won it. That’s what’s going to matter the most. We’re going to be fighting for that crystal ball. Hopefully they’ve got another in case we break it. These guys, this team, they might drop it.”


FIGHTING DUCKS: Count “The Fighter” among Oregon’s biggest fans.

Gritty retired boxer “Irish” Micky Ward grew up not far from Ducks coach Chip Kelly _ Ward in Massachusetts and Kelly across the state line in New Hampshire. They’ve become friends as adults and Ward, whose early life as a boxer is chronicled in the hit movie “The Fighter,” spoke to the Ducks before their regular-season victory over UCLA.

On Thursday night, Oregon players watched the film, and Kelly said Ward will be at the BCS title game on Monday night. “He is the toughest person I have ever met in my entire life,” Kelly said Friday at media day.

Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas said the Ducks watched one of Ward’s fights earlier this season.

“Coach Kelly showed us his fights at the beginning of the year _ his last fight, the one that he battled 12 rounds,” Thomas said. “That’s one thing coach Kelly did, was talking about each game as a round. You’ve got to take the season round by round.”


ROOF CLOSED: Fans in search of stars at the game should look on the field, not toward the sky. BCS officials say the roof will be closed for the championship game, mainly as a way to enhance spectator comfort.

University of Phoenix Stadium has no heat, and with lows dipping into the upper 30s this week, the Fiesta Bowl decided to go by its usual plan and close the roof. It has never been opened for a bowl game since the Fiesta Bowl moved to the stadium in 2007. The roof has also been closed for almost all of the Arizona Cardinals’ games since they moved in, as well as for the Super Bowl in 2008.

Keeping the roof closed will also prevent moisture from building up on the playing surface as the temperature dips.

Game officials planted new grass on the field after the Fiesta Bowl _ Oklahoma’s 48-20 win over Connecticut on Jan. 1. They have kept the roof open as much as possible to get as much sunlight on it as they can in the lead-up to the game.