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Buckeye fans from Oregon stay loyal to OSU ahead of title game

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Springfield, Ohio, native and OSU alumna Amy Van Auker shows off her Buckeye pride in front of Oregon's Autzen Stadium. Credit: Courtesy of Amy Van Auker

Springfield, Ohio, native and OSU alumna Amy Van Auker shows off her Buckeye pride in front of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium. Credit: Courtesy of Amy Van Auker

Although Chris Colley was born in Oregon and wore an Oregon hat this semester, he wants the record to show that he’s not rooting for the Ducks this Monday.

“I am definitely a Buck fan,” he said. “I’m not in any way an Oregon fan. Just to make that clear.”

And he’s not alone. Some Ohio State students from the state of Oregon have dropped the Ducks to support the Buckeyes as OSU is set to face Oregon in the National Championship game this week.

Colley, a fourth-year in civil engineering and member of the fencing team, was born in Portland, Ore., but said he is confident and supports the Buckeyes against the Ducks.

Colley said he has been an OSU football fan since he began attending OSU, and that he balanced this with his enthusiasm for the Ducks. However, this season, as the possibility of a Buckeye-Ducks National Championship showdown arose, his fondness for the Ducks dwindled down to nothing.

He does admit, though, that he wore a Ducks hat to class several times during Fall Semester.

“I’d like to take this time to apologize to my fellow students and all Buckeye fans for that hat,” he said.

Colley said he expects there might be some tension with his family back in Portland, who are Duck fans, but that a greater rivalry has emerged between him and his girlfriend, who has been a life-long Ducks fan and is currently attending Oregon.

“It’s going to be a little tense on Monday,” he said. “No matter which way the game goes, I think we probably won’t talk for a few days.”

Colley said although they have tried to keep things civil over the phone and avoid it in conversation, the topic of Monday’s game inevitably comes up.

Ryan Tomlinson, a second-year in computer science and engineering, was also drawn from Portland to Columbus for OSU fencing.

“I’m definitely going to cheer for OSU,” he said. “I’m part of the athletic program, so it’s kind of hard to cheer against them. All the teams are kind of one big team.”

Tomlinson said he thinks the fencing team wouldn’t take too kindly to having a Duck fan in their midst.

“They would give me a lot of crap,” he said. “Several times, people have asked me, ‘So, who are you cheering for?’ And sometimes I hesitate, and they’ll remind me, ‘Where do you go to school again?’”

Being a big college sports fan entering Buckeye nation, Tomlinson said it wasn’t difficult making the switch from Duck to Buck his freshman year.

“It definitely feels like a community, like one big family,” he said.

Tomlinson said he expects friendly rivalries with his parents in Portland, and that there has been a lot of back and forth so far with his friends who attend Oregon.

“There’s been a lot of trash-talking,” Tomlinson said.

He said he can think of one Duck in particular he plans to call if OSU wins — a friend who currently attends Oregon.

Maggie Gerwe, a fourth-year in nursing from Lake Oswego, Ore., said since coming to OSU, she has fully converted.

“I’m definitely a Buckeye now,” she said.

Gerwe said she came to Columbus wanting a “big school atmosphere” away from Oregon, where many of her friends from high school went. After looking at OSU online, she said she visited and immediately loved the campus, atmosphere and football team.

“I’m excited. I’ve always wanted the Ducks to play OSU, so I’m excited that in my senior year we get to do this for a national championship,” she said.

Gerwe said she expects to move back to Oregon after she graduates, but that it won’t change her allegiance as a fan.

“I will always be a Buckeye after spending four years at such an amazing school, with such amazing spirit,” she said.

Ohio natives who now live in Oregon, like Amy Van Auker, who is from Springfield, Ohio, and earned a bachelor’s degree in speech and hearing science at OSU in 2012, also remain loyal Buckeye fans.

Van Auker is currently pursuing a master’s degree in communication disorders and sciences at Oregon, and said the question of her allegiance has come up often this past week.

“I am appalled when people ask me that question, that they even have to ask,” she said. “I root for OSU.”

Van Auker said she can root for the Ducks, so long as they aren’t playing OSU. She attended one Oregon football game this season and said the amount of school spirit at the two universities is comparable.

“I have a lot of pride being from the state of Ohio … I just feel the need to constantly defend it,” she said. “All the people in my program knew that I went to OSU. As soon as I came back from break, I think they were expecting me to really be obnoxious, and I don’t think I disappointed.”

Van Auker said she wore a different OSU outfit every day last week, and on Friday, went around Oregon’s campus with her roommate, taking photos and videos of herself wearing Buckeye gear and spelling out O-H-I-O.

“I was right out there in the open with my (OSU quarterback) Braxton Miller jersey on,” she said. “I felt a little vulnerable, but it was fine.”

Although school spirit is high, Van Auker said the Oregon campus atmosphere remains friendly to Buckeye fans, with mostly playful confrontation. She said one student commented during her spirit video shoot, “What? Come on.” Then, thinking she was a visitor, he shouted, “It’s OK. Welcome.”

Van Auker said she plans to watch the game with friends — all Duck fans — at a Buffalo Wild Wings. In a sea of green and yellow, she said she’ll be decked out in scarlet and gray.

“I’m a lone wolf here,” she said.

The 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship, between the Buckeyes and the Ducks, is set to kick off Monday at 8:30 p.m.

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