The prospects for Oregon's attendance next year are best buoyed by the expected success of the team. After winning a school-record 31 games this past year, Oregon is expected to return most of its core, while adding several key players like Kavell Bigby-Williams and Portland's Payton Pritchard. The Ducks will likely open the season ranked in the top 10 nationally and players like Jordan Bell, Dillon Brooks, Chris Boucher, Tyler Dorsey and others have been around long enough for fans to become familiar with them. The Ducks have lacked that familiarity in recent seasons.
Combine that with the momentum built from last year's changes, and Pintens hopes the tide will continue to turn in Oregon's favor. The Ducks want to chip away at some of the concerning numbers, such as the fact that the best team in the Pac-12 ranked sixth in the conference in attendance and ranked 126th in the country in percentage of arena filled, with Matthew Knight Arena filling at 60.4 percent on average.
"From a game atmosphere standpoint, we're examining everything," Pintens said. "It's not just things that happen inside the arena. It's everything we do and we can do better at all of that and go from there."
Oregon attendance by the numbers:
2014-15 full season average: 6,209
2015-16 full season average: 7,467 (20 percent increase)
Attendance in Pac-12 games:
2015-16: 8,901 (29 percent increase)
You might be worried about the Oregon defense, or who will start at quarterback, but nobody is wondering what the Ducks will get out of running back Royce Freeman. He joined me on the radio show (12-3p on 750-AM and 102.9-FM) to talk about his expectations for 2016, what he thinks of the new Oregon defense, and how he approaches a big game.
"I'm a chill type of guy," Freeman said. "I'm not out there getting too crazy (on a big game day). You do get the jitters. You want to do well. I feel like most athletes get the jitters because they want to do well... I just try to relax, go over film, or watch highlight videos and see good things happening... you have to visualize good things happening."
On the Ducks defense under new coordinator Brady Hoke:
"They're making more plays, they're actually challenging us every day, trying to make us better. I see a lot more aggressiveness out of the defense. A lot more doggy-ness as you would say."
"I'm pretty harsh on myself as far as criticism goes. I expected ... Looking back, I think I could have done better. Even now, I'm looking back at last season, and seeing what I could have done better."
On what it looks like when he sees daylight on a running play:
"You get a little sudden burst of energy. You start to know, 'This could develop into something.'..."
On running back coach Gary Campbell:
"He's always asking how we're doing. He's always giving us talks about being better men, and outside of football, being a better person."
On what he does away from football:
"I relax. I play around with my roommates, play video games.... I'm mostly the kick-back type of person. Go to the (campus Rec Center) and shoot some hoops."
On the second-half meltdown vs. TCU in the Alamo Bowl:
"I felt like (the first half) was going too smooth. Because I know they were playing at home in front of their fans and they weren't going to back down. We shouldn't have expected anything less. They got it together better in the second half, better than we did. So, they came out on top."