I would just like to take a moment to thank Ted Miller for his honest, thoughtful, and most importantly, educated look at the Ducks-Beavers rivalry.
As a Duck, I've never really understood the hatred our Beaver brethren reserve for us. I mean, sure, Oregon is well-promoted, flashy, and image-conscious, but as Beaver fans are quick to point out, the programs are roughly equal in standing over the last couple decades.
I think most Ducks' attitude toward the Beavers is grudging respect, though we still like to call them our "little brothers" just to send them into a tizzy (if you can get a reaction like that out of someone, why not?). You hear a Duck say "I root for the Beavs when they're not playing the Ducks" but you never hear a Beaver say the opposite. I've also never heard a Duck assert that Civil War is "for the right to live in the state" like it's something that has bearing outside football. My most recent favorite is "yeah, but ours is HD." Think about whether you've ever met a fellow Duck who really, really hates the Beavers like they hate us.
The programs are different, sure. Both teams have come up from virtually nothing in the last two decades, but they have done it in entirely different manners. Bellotti has recruited, advertised, and upgraded, and Riley has coached, coached, coached. They have completely different styles, and of course, completely different means. But if the Resers owned, say, Taco Bell, and Phil Knight owned L.A. Gear, I bet we would be in the opposite situations and the Beavs would be more than willing to take the money.
So the Ducks have money. We have glitz, glamour, and national media attention. Guess what? That's how college sports work these days. To get ahead, you have to advertise. Sometimes, you do it with Times Square billboards and getting on the YES network for East Coast exposure-or even by spending on high-liter uniforms and world-class facilities to attract better athletes. Maybe that's not what the residents of Corvallis like, but it has worked. The Ducks have the attention of the nation, whether OSU thinks we deserve it or not.
Meanwhile, the Beavers, though proud of their "workmanlike" tradition, low profile, and ability to do lots with a little are pretty clearly jealous of all those fancy things they supposedly revile. They would be better served just ignoring our pompous, crass, self-indulgent style and focus on their own success.
Of course if they continue to be solid, workmanlike, and "coach up" all of their unheralded recruits, they're always going to be labeled as over-achieving, bland, and not very good in the preseason polls. That's how things work. These days, you're not just recognized for your record, your bowl performance, or your ability to make something out of nothing. You're also recognized by the amount of attention you can command.
That's the fundamental difference between the programs: They are roughly equal in record, but the Ducks get the media's attention with all the crazy stuff we do. So Beavers, quit hating us for grabbing attention when we can. It makes business sense, and that is why even though Mike Belotti is the state's highest-paid employee, you don't pay a dime of it. We Ducks DO pay Mike Riley's though, and every other Beaver Athletic department employee, because the Beavs don't turn a profit.
We like you, we really do. It's just that we have a grasp on the sports-as-business model that prevails today. If you don't like that, take it up with the NCAA, not the Ducks.
Meanwhile, we'll keep hating the Fuskies, because we actually have reasons to do so.
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