Auburn’s Cam Newton takes a self portrait with fans during the team send-off on Monday. The Tigers play Oregon in the BCS Championship Game next Monday.AP PHOTO
PHOENIX — After Auburn’s skyscraper-sized plane landed beneath the glowing sky of a desert sunset, Tigers coach Gene Chizik was the first to walk down the portable staircase.
He went inside a white tent for a media session, shook a few hands and headed toward the fleet of buses waiting on the tarmac.
Auburn’s players were still filing off the plane.
That’s some contingent.
Bringing what seemed like half the state of Alabama with them, the top-ranked Tigers arrived at Sky Harbor Airport Monday evening for the Jan. 10 BCS national championship game against No. 2 Oregon (12-0) at University of Phoenix Stadium in nearby Glendale.
So, too, it seems are Auburn fans.
Back in Alabama, Auburn (13-0) was sent off by a mass of well-wishers who gathered dozens deep around the team buses, yelling encouragement and taking photos.
Once they arrived in the desert, the Tigers were greeted by another large group, cheering and waving pompoms as they lined a red carpet between the plane and buses.