SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- When Gene Chizik leads his Auburn team out onto the field at University of Phoenix Stadium Monday night, there will be more at stake than just the BCS national championship.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik talks at Sunday press conference/Todd Van Emst photo
Auburn will be playing to erase a history of near misses in 1983, 1993 and 2004. They’ll be playing for a loyal and rabid fanbase that affectionately calls itself the Auburn family.
“When I say ourselves, I'm talking about the Auburn family,” Chizik said during Sunday’s press conference. “I'm talking about those teams that you just mentioned. I'm talking about the people that decided to travel and come out here that don't have a ticket. I'm talking about the people that have followed Auburn football and they come up to you and say, I haven't missed a game in 55 years.
“I'm talking about all the people that pour so much -- our place is full of love and passion and excitement for Auburn. And that's the whole family. And so when I say for us, I don't mean just us. I mean the Auburn family and everybody that cares to carry the flag.”
Throughout the season Chizik has emphasized the big picture to his team. He was very passionate when speaking about it Sunday, his last meeting with the media before Monday night’s game against Oregon.
“As I tell our players all the time, this game is not about you. It will be about you 20 years from now. But today, tomorrow, this game is not about you. It is about us and it is about a family and you are playing for more people than yourselves,” he said.
“We are going to do what we do for Auburn University. We are going to do what we do for our players and coaches and fans and administration and alumni. That's important to me.”
Auburn will hold a final walk-through and team photo at Phoenix Stadium Sunday. The BCS Championship game will kickoff Monday at 6:30 pm MT.
“All of our preparation is done,” Chizik said. “It has been a great week. It has been a great week for our coaches, our football team. The weather has been awesome. The facilities have been great.
“Our preparation and our focus from our football team, I feel very good about where we are, and we're looking forward to a great game tomorrow night.”