Congratulations. We’ve made it. 2021 — done.
We’ve had coaching changes, historic wins, a lot of F-bombs in a Seattle locker room and, for us, our own debut. While The I-5 Corridor has only been around since August, we wanted to celebrate the end of 2021 by unlocking our 10 favorite stories of the year, from the time Bruce Barnum bought a few thousand beers for Portland State fans, to our reporting from Columbus for Oregon’s win over Ohio State.
First, a quick note of thanks. December was our best month of growth yet. And with more than 300 subscribers and 1,000 on the free email list, we hopefully have the momentum to improve on a first few months that saw The I-5 Corridor become the only independent publication to pick up a nomination on the National Sports Media Association’s 2021 awards ballot.
I’d say we’re just getting started, but seeing as the guy who said that more than anyone the last four years now lives in Miami, I’ll instead just settle on a simple, thank you.
Now a look back at best of 2021:
It’s probably not fair to ask Oregon’s new coach if he’s going to be here five, 10 or 15 years from now. He’s never even coached a game yet in his career. But UO’s new head coach understands the angst fans have after being left twice in four years.
“Ultimately — I said the same thing to our players yesterday — I’m not asking you to trust me. I’m asking for an opportunity to earn your trust,” Lanning said. “But also, my situation is unique. If William Jewell College (Liberty, Mo.) comes calling, I love William Jewell College, but I’m staying at Oregon as long as I can stay at Oregon and as long as Oregon will have me.”
In what ended up being his final game at Autzen Stadium, Mario Cristobal lingered around the field a little bit longer than usual postgame.
“The boys…you don’t get to see them much, so I really appreciate the opportunity to just go throw a couple deep passes out there at Autzen.”
An angry Cristobal, multiple live microphones in the locker room and a story that got The I-5 Corridor mentioned in Sports Illustrated and The Athletic.
The is story of Oregon’s win over Washington.
Instead of covering Oregon’s Week 3 game against Stony Brook, I instead went to Hillsboro Stadium, where Portland State coach Bruce Barnum bought beer for everyone in attendance. I have no regrets.
A really fun conversation at Lombard House in St. Johns with The Athletic’s Mariners writer Corey Brock. My favorite podcast of the year.
UO senior Shane Hoffmann has written some really solid stories for us throughout the year. I particularly liked this look at UO fan favorite Franck Kepnang. Included: A photo I took of Shane shutting down the Pac-12 title game press box.
I’ve spent most my life knowing Ahmaad Rashad primarily for his time as the host of NBA Inside Stuff. I am a 90s child, after all. But in this story from September, I got to talk to Rashad about his time as Bobby Moore at Oregon.
The I-5 Corridor’s first road trip turned out to be worth the expense. The game story from the best win of the Mario Cristobal era.
Over the last few weeks you’ve seen how important Oregon views recruiting by how Dan Lanning has gone about assembling his new staff. A few months ago, I took a look at how much better the already elite Ducks need to be to keep pace.
This one published the first week of The I-5 Corridor and I wanted to bring it back around for anyone who may have missed it. Karmel’s a rising star and a very, very funny comedian.
Happy New Year, everyone.
— Tyson Alger
All photos by Tyson Alger. I-5 Corridor sign created by Lo-Glo.