Nine straight wins against Washington; it's a terrific achievement. It's the longest streak in the history of the rivalry, which dates back to 1900 (a 43-0 win for the Webfoots, by the way). It's hard to beat any team nine consecutive times, let alone a rival. Oregon's next-longest current win streak is 8 straight against Arizona State, and even teams like Cal, Washington State, and Oregon State have beaten Oregon more recently than the Huskies. This win streak is an amazing football achievement in and of itself.
But that just isn't good enough. I am a mean, mean, greedy and spiteful man, and that just isn't good enough.
Ducks fans have been downright insufferable during this nine-year streak, especially since the streak reached the "2000 days since" mark. We've been vocal, persistent, and probably in poor taste most of the time. If I were a Washington student, alum, or fan, I'd be so god damn sick of those high and mighty Oregon fans, winning games with bought players and never letting us forget it. And the worst part? Until this year, there really isn't much they could do about it. Oregon's rise to the upper echelon of college football coincided with the unfortunate Keith Gilbertson/Ty WIllingham doldrums for Washington football, culminating with their 0-12 season in 2008. Steve Sarkisian, after getting really good at winning seven games in a season, looks to have the Huskies back in the national picture with an opening week stomping of Boise State, something few teams have done during Chris Petersen's tenure in Boise, and outplaying Stanford everywhere but kickoffs and the scoreboard, but Oregon has been a couple years ahead in talent and execution in each of his four seasons. But this year's Washington team? They've got the talent to win.
I want you to imagine a Washington win on Saturday. I know, it's gross, just bear with me. People in purple shirts will cheer. There will probably be a field rushing. Perhaps worst of all, Marcus Mariota will look sad. Right now, if you Google image search "sad Marcus Mariota," there are no results. None. If you take out the quotes, the third picture is of the Heisman trophy. I'm fairly certain he's never been anything other than "stoic" or "chilled out brah". But most importantly, for the next year, it'll be the Huskies fans' turn to celebrate, to catch our tears and drink them down while smiling, and to remind us daily that their team was the one that knocked Oregon from the ranks of the unbeaten.
That sounds terrible. I hate it already. Kill it with fire.
And trust me, should the Huskies win Saturday, this would happen. I'd expect nothing less from a Washington fanbase that has had to listen to us belittle their team for almost a decade. They used to have the Rose Bowl card; Darron Thomas, Lavasier Tuinei, and company took care of that. They've still got the lifetime series, but nine straight wins has begun to shrink that gap. A win would give the Huskies fanbase the ammunition they have needed for a long time. And it would suck a lot. Let's avoid this at all costs, and just win forever instead.
This year represents a best-case scenario for the rivalry. As evidenced by College GameDay's trip to Seattle, the talent of both teams is garnering national attention. Both Washington and Oregon fans will agree that the rivalry is most fun when both teams are good and the games are meaningful, and the stakes have never been higher. Oregon is a national title favorite facing their first real test of the season, and a win for Washington would put them back into the Pac-12 North race. Washington has already broken in their renovated stadium with the Boise State win, and would love to add another signature win to that legacy. And Oregon's trying to cement a full decade of dominance with their tenth straight victory. This would be a big win for both schools, as well as a big loss; that's something that hasn't been true in quite a while. If it were up to me, every Oregon-Washington game would be this important. And Oregon would win every single one.
This week is known as "Happy I Hate Washington Week", and for good reason. I would hate it if Oregon lost to Washington, in a way totally unique to the Huskies. Would I be disappointed if Oregon lost to Stanford or UCLA? Of course. But I wouldn't hate it. I'd be really upset if the Ducks coughed one up against Utah, Washington State, or Arizona. And it'd be downright awful to lose to the Beavers. But I wouldn't hate those either. The hate for Washington comes from history. It comes from losing 16 of 20 games in the '40s and '50s. It comes from losing 12 of 13 to the Puget Pups from 1974 to 1986. It comes from the envy of Washington's national championship banner. It comes from the Weasel's team dancing on the O. It comes from many different places for every Duck fan, and the hate survives despite nine straight comfortable wins. Oregon could win by a couple scores on Saturday, but it certainly won't be comfortable.
I want to win on Saturday, and make it ten straight. I want the Ducks to win every year and forever. I want Washington to eventually develop Stockholm Syndrome, and start to idolize our team, mimicking their uniforms, play style, program philosophies. I want to even up the lifetime series, and then pass the Huskies for most wins in the rivalry. And I want Washington to eventually give up, quit football, and join the Mountain West as a field hockey-only school. But that won't happen. Eventually, and potentially in five days, Washington will emerge victorious.
And when it happens, I'm gonna fucking hate it.