Stanford's David Shaw likes non-neutral Pac-12 title game
TEMPE, Ariz. – Pac-12 football fans don't know where the conference championship game will be played till the last moment. The school with the best record earns the right to host the event.
As a college football fan, Stanford coach David Shaw wouldn't have it any other way.
Stanford will face a pro-ASU crowd in Saturday's Pac-12 Championship Game here in Tempe, where the host Sun Devils enjoy a considerable advantage. Still, Shaw would rather play the game in front of a hostile crowd than at a neutral site as some other conferences do.
“I like it,” Shaw said of the Pac-12's format at Friday's pregame press conference. “[With a neutral site] you don't get that same energy in a stadium that we'll have tomorrow. Even as an away team, we're actually looking forward to that environment.”
Per the Pac-12's title game protocol, some ASU home-game traditions will be nixed to make it a somewhat neutral atmosphere. ASU removed pitchfork logos at the yard markers, removed flags atop the stadium and will reduce the usual touchdown celebration pyrotechnics.
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Still, there's the 71,706 capacity stadium of mostly Arizona State fans to worry about.
Shaw said there's nothing preparation-wise that changes as the team readies to play for the Rose Bowl away from Palo Alto, Calif. The Cardinal will not only be ready for the challenge but capable of enjoying it, he added. After all, the Cardinal experienced playing in front of rowdy, opposing fans during the Pac-12 schedule.
[Related: Final 2013 Pac-12 football bowl projections]
“We don't have a plan to counter it. I think we have an expectation for it to be that way,” Shaw said. “It's not going to feel like a bowl game, it's going to be like a playoff game. It's going to feel like a home game, plus.”
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