Life brought me to Eugene, Oregon in 1991. A directionless young man up to that point, it didn't take me long to fall in love with my adopted home state. Still, it took me a couple of years before I got wise and enrolled at the University of Oregon. I had been a lifelong sports fan, so naturally I was drawn to MacArthur Court and Autzen Stadium. I went to a few games, most memorably the 1993 Civil War, an exercise in pain both on and off the field. Frigid, wet, and drunk is no way to go through a 15-12 Beavers victory. But still, I felt like I was baptized as a Duck by the 35-degree fog I spent several hours in that night.
So perhaps I should've hated the Beavers from the start. But soon after that night, I spent a beautiful autumn day in Autzen's student section of a certain 1994 contest in which the Ducks played host to their more storied neighbors to the north. During a tense, back-and-forth game, I got to hear the increasing grumbles of, "Here we go again" and, "Why is it always these guys?" as Damon Huard lined up under center on first-and-goal from the nine, surely leading the Huskies to yet another victory over poor old us.
And then my sports world got turned on its collective ear.
That day, I learned to hate the Huskies as only a Duck can. Yes, The Pick is now ancient history. As much as I still enjoy listening to Jerry Allen's call to this day, our program has moved on to much bigger and better things. And the Huskies have fallen on harder times. They haven't posed a credible threat to the Ducks in a long time now.
And I am an older man, supposedly mature enough to realize that hatred doesn't count for much. It doesn't make me any happier. It doesn't make the world a nicer place to be.
But for one week a year, when I see that purple-and-gold W on the schedule, I can't help but seethe inside, and cherish the possibility of trouncing those arrogant pricks from the ivory tower in Seattle one more time.
I didn't live through The Suffering© as a fan, and I didn't live through years of humiliating defeat at their hands. Come along with me then, fellow bandwagon jumpers, as I stroll down someone else's Memory Lane and learn to justify the hatred.
1948: Oregon and California tied for the conference title. The Pacific Coast Conference members voted to pick their Rose Bowl representative. Not only was the Huskies' deciding vote cast for Cal, but they lobbied Montana to vote for Cal, too. And a rivalry was born.
Matters were not helped in the next few years as Washington threatened to never play in Eugene again, but might consider stooping to the level of Portland for a 63-3 thrashing, and of course we were always welcome in Seattle for a 49-0 beatdown. As the PCC morphed into the AAWU, UW didn't seem too worried that Oregon was considered not competitive enough for inclusion in the conference.
1958: Washington is found guilty of paying its players via a secret slush fund. Orlando Hollis, dean of the UO law school, is lead prosecutor in the case that results in UW's probation from all athletic activities.
1962: The score at Husky Stadium is 21-21. Oregon's Larry Hill leaps in the end zone to catch a game-winning pass. And is tackled. By Husky fans who had rushed the field.
1973 and 1974: Blood for blood. Oregon trounces UW 58-0 in Eugene, followed by the Huskies tormenting a young benzduck as well as his beloved Ducks in Seattle, 66-0. Nelson Muntz moment: Husky QB was left in for the fourth quarter in the blowout, resulting in a season-ending knee injury.
1994: The Pick. From here on, I can rightfully claim all hatred as my own, and there is plenty of it to go on.
1995: The Ducks hang on for a 24-22 win in Seattle, and then spit on plaques commemorating UW's bowl victories. Fisticuffs ensue. Later that year, UW coach Jim Lambright lobbies the Cotton Bowl organizers to pick the Huskies over the Ducks. Again, cue Nelson Muntz.
The Ducks, of course, went on to get throttled in the bowl game by none other than future UW coach Rick Neuheisel and the Colorado Buffaloes, including the Coach of Class calling for a fake punt with the Buffs up three scores in the fourth quarter. And then in the 1998 Aloha Bowl Neuheisel beat us again, 51-43. Mike Bellotti felt the Ducks were perhaps the better team that day, to which The Weasel replied, "Scoreboard, baby."
Gosh we're happy he then signed up with UW for the following four years.
2002: Coach Rick labels UO's athletic department "a propaganda machine." And proceeds to let his players dance all over the Autzen midfield after beating the Ducks that year. The fact that he'd be fired from UW for gambling on March Madness the following year left his final act as an opposing coach burned firmly into our brains.
2004-2010: As skywaker9 so brilliantly put it just this morning, 31-6. 45-21. 34-14. 55-34. 44-10. 43-19. 53-16.
But at least they kept it under three scores that one time. So don't be too surprised that Vegas has us as 2-TD road favorites for the upcoming tilt in Seattle.
Now, forever, for always: FUCK THE HUSKIES.
UPDATED: Benzduck shows us how this history stuff is really done with a look at what happened between the two schools thirty years before my timeline even started. Thanks as always, benz.
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