Welcome to hate week, Duck fans. While the rivalry has lost its luster to the newer members of the Oregon fan base, don't confuse that with a lack of intensity. Sure, Washington hasn't beaten Oregon since 2003, and it has been nearly 3,999 days since Washington won, but if there is one team that Ducks want to beat, it is the Washington Huskies.
The dynamics headed into this game have completely changed. Chris Peterson, who many thought was going to be in Boise for the rest of his life, jumped ship to the hated Washington Huskies. Before the season we believed that this was a big improvement for the Huskies in terms of coaching caliber but growing pains are rarely escaped.
Oregon has regressed closer to the mean but still lie many standard deviations away from the norm. However, it seems to be that Oregon is no longer bulletproof to teams who are considered clear underdogs. The good news is that the weeks leading up to the games are a little more exciting and Autzen has a lot more energy in it.
Anybody born on October 30, 2004 is living in a world where the Ducks have never lost to Washington. Anyone just under the age of ten has never had to go through a year of Husky fans rubbing it in Oregon's fan's faces. This is the world I would like to live in.
Last week, Washington held an offense that seemed nearly unstoppable to only 7 points. Quarterback Cyler Miles is a baller and is 85/129, 896 yards through the air, and 12 total touchdowns. Washington, according to their derivative, might be peaking at the present moment, which makes them a much more dangerous opponent after Oregon had a convincing win over UCLA in Los Angeles.
Oregon currently holds the record for the longest winning streak in the rivalry but is still behind in the overall record between the two teams. I will not rest happily until Oregon takes the lead.
I'll just repeat this part because I think it's pretty great the way it is.
There's been a growing complacency amongst Oregon fans, at least the twenty-five and under crowd. It's not even arguable. Too many people are leaving the game early and Autzen isn't reaching nearly the volume it did pre-2009. I don't think Autzen will ever be like it was in 2007, or even before the Duck's 2009 Rose Bowl run and dominance in the conference under Chip Kelly's tenure. This can be best seen in the lack of hate towards Washington, which frankly is disgusting. A few years ago I wrote this:
‘A few weeks ago I was talking with another Duck fan after blasting Portland State. Eventually we got to the topic of which PAC-10 teams we like to beat up on the most. His response was Oregon State. My response was Washington. I then asked where he would place Washington on the list, surprised it wasn't at the top. His response? Fifth. After Oregon State, USC, Stanford, and Arizona.
He then said, ‘You must be from out of state because you want to beat Washington the worst.'
This shocked me. As a duck fan all my life and being completely unaware of when my fandom began because it was before my first memory, to think that someone would want to beat another team more than the Huskies was stunning. I can understand having a hard time picking between Oregon State and Washington, but deep down you have to pick Washington.
Oregon State may be Oregon's rival, but Washington is the enemy.'
These words still hold true. I hate Washington. I hate Washington with every fiber of my being. Oregon State is the in-state rival and the Civil Wars of the late 2000's were fantastic, but there is a healthy friendship among fans. (This Civil War is looking like it will be a great one) Two reasonable fans from both sides can argue about each other's program and still come away laughing. That doesn't happen with Washington fans.
Washington fans dislike Oregon fans a lot. Personally, they think that we are crazy delusional about the Ducks. What's funny is the same could be said about them loving the Huskies. Whenever the Beavers play someone, I want them to win. I want good things to happen to Oregon State. I wish nothing good upon Washington. I hope they lose every game. If for some reason the PAC-12 had to kick a team out I would vote for Washington and defend every other team to the end. I also like that Washington would do the same thing to Oregon, which makes this rivalry a lot more fun.
I want to go back a second to the statement that the Duck fan made towards me. "You must be from out of state, because you want to beat Washington the worst." First off, I have lived in Oregon my whole life. Second off, is this what Oregon fans have become? Disassociated with Oregon's abysmal football past that they don't remember what the Huskies represent for Oregon?
Think of Oregon State as Oregon's little brother (with all due respect). They don't have all the money, they don't have all the cool clothes, and are always looking for attention but have to compete against the recent star with the worlds largest sport brand guiding it. Is it fun beating up on a little brother? Yes. Does it stink when you lose to them? Yes. However, you're still brothers, it's a healthy rivalry.
On the other hand, Washington is the kid in your grade who for years beat you at everything. Got better grades, won more awards, pancaked you in football, had the hotter girlfriend, everything. Do you want to beat this kid in everything? Yes. Does it stink when you lose? More than stinks, it sucks. It really sucks. It blows.
Washington has fallen on hard times. They've had a collection of poor coaches, horrible player development, and many losing seasons. In 2008 they didn't win a single game. You know who was happiest about this? Me. That 2008 Washington team is one of my favorite teams in sports, with the 2001/2007 Oregon football teams, the 2004/07 Red Sox, the 1992 Dream Team, and the 1980 Olympic hockey team.
Fans may say they don't care about the Washington rivalry anymore, but they should. They should take great pride and pleasure in beating the crap out of the team that used to dominate Oregon for decades. DECADES. You know in The Karate Kid where Daniel LaRusso learns karate to beat up the bullies that attacked him, and then beats up them up at the end of the movie? You remember how good that felt and triumphant the kid felt? That's what it should feel like when Oregon beats Washington.
Oregon has gotten better coaches, players, and facilities, and is now beating up the Huskies. Now, as a fan, you're telling me you no longer care about being bullied for years, just because we are beating them up so easily the last few years? That's just wrong, we should all be stoked we are beating them this badly.
You want some specifics about the Oregon-Washington rivalry? This should help with the hate:
The hate began in 1948, when Washington got Montana to vote for Cal to go to the Rose Bowl. Cal and Oregon had tied that year in Pacific Coast Conference (which the PAC-10 has now claimed as an earlier version of itself) and a vote was held. Northwest schools were supposed to vote for Oregon and the California schools were supposed to vote for Cal. However, Washington decided to vote for Cal and got Montana to join. Dicks.
My grandpa has told me the story of the night this happened. Apparently there wasn't a dry bar in all of Eugene. There were riots. Bigger riots than the riot that freshmen started the weekend before the first day of school three years ago. Riots with a clearer purpose than the occupy movement outside of the Wall Street. Allegedly, Duck fans drove up to the Washington campus and started a riot there. You may argue that this event took place 63 years ago, and this would be correct, but people don't forget. You know the kid in Superbadthat pissed his pants in the third grade? Seth and Evan didn't forget about it even though it happened eight years prior. Duck fans shouldn't forget about Washington screwing us out of the Rose Bowl in 1948. Because it was horeshit.
The next year Washington said they didn't want to come to Eugene, but it was cool if we still went up there. Playing in Portland wasn't too bad of a drive though and when the PCC conference shifted to the AAWU it looked like Oregon was going to be left out. Washington didn't care. Seriously, these guys are the worst.
Some retribution was made though when a pay for play scandal showed up in Seattle. The dean of the UO Law School was the lead prosecutor of the case and found that Washington was guilty of providing money to players via a slush fund. I wish I could shake Orlando Hollis' hand because he's an Oregon hero. Induct him in to the hall of fame.
Then there was the 1962 matchup when Oregon receiver Larry Hill was tackled in the end zone during what would have been a game-winning interception by Washington fans who rushed the field. Can you imagine if this happened today? The fans would've gotten tackled before he got five feet away from the wall and run the risk of getting tazered.
In 1973 a bad Oregon team beat Washington in Eugene 58-0. This is like if today's Colorado beat Oregon by that score. The next year, in 1974, Husky head coach, Coach Owens, beat the Ducks 66-0 and played his starters deep in to the game, which resulted in the starting running back separating his shoulder and his quarterback breaking an ankle.
I wasn't alive during these years, but have had Ducks close to me tell me how awful these years were. In a sense I was brainwashed to hate the Huskies from birth. It's a responsibility of every hard-core duck fan to hate the Huskies. It is your civic duty. I've found it is an easy way to distinguish true fans from bandwagoners and the ignorant. I feel sorry for the latter.
There were also all the times Washington just crushed the Ducks in consecutive seasons. In 1995 the Washington coach campaigned to go to the Cotton Bowl over Oregon, a campaign that ultimately failed, but hey, they tried. For that, I will not forget. Especially when the Ducks had beaten them head-to-head in Seattle. I'll be the first one to say that Oregon fans are ridiculous, and at times obnoxious. I will always say that Washington is worse.
Now imagine for a second that the coach you hated the most, signed on to coach the team you hated the most. Basically if Lane Kiffin decided to coach Washington. Or if Rick Neuheisel was selected to coach Washington again. (This idea just got me really excited. Those were great years, when my least favorite coach was coaching my least favorite team.) Rick Neuheisel, the guy who calls for fake punts when up three touchdown as the coach of Colorado, and then talks back to Mike Bellotti with a, "Scoreboard, Baby!" comment after a 51-43 bowl in a 1998 bowl win. DON'T YOU EVER TALK BACK TO MIKE BELLOTTI! DON'T YOU EVER! It was the best times when Bellotti kicked the crap out of those Husky teams, killing two birds with one stone.
Lastly, you know how they always show the Kenny Wheaton interception as the final highlight before the Ducks run on the field? There's a reason why that play changed Oregon football forever. It was against Washington. Washington was holding the Ducks down for years, and Kenny Wheaton turned around the whole conference with his pick. It was the greatest statement play of all time. If the same play happened against Washington State, Oregon State, or Arizona State, it wouldn't have had the same impact. The pick sealed the deal against the conference power, Washington, and sparked the rest of the 1994 season that would end with a trip to the Rose Bowl. Each program has been moving in an opposite direction since the play. Last year when these teams played and Oregon beat Washington, Oregon had a .711 winning percentage with a record of 150-61 since the play and Washington was sitting at .493, with a record of 101-104.
It's a very scary matchup right now. It's scary because Washington is a team on the rise and is sneaky dangerous. Chris Peterson is a great coach who will have a solid game plan ready and has a history of being able to beat Oregon. Vegas opened with Oregon as a 19-point favorite. Cyler Miles is a dangerous quarterback and the Huskies have a talented group of receivers.
As fans, having to hear from a Husky fan base that beat Oregon for the first time since 2003 would be the worst thing imaginable.
I put it to you Greg! Share this post with your friends, to educate everyone on why the hate for Washington is not only important, but necessary.
One could make the argument that since Washington hasn't been good lately that this isn't a "rivalry" anymore. This is completely false. Looking over the long course of the history of college football it is clear that a rivalry is not just about wins and losses, but the passion surrounding the game. Oregon State may have more pageantry and appear for important at face value, but make no mistake, beating Washington just matters more.
The Ducks owe it to every former team that didn't beat Washington. Back when Oregon had to give away tickets to football games because no one showed up, before the Joey Harrington billboard in Times Square, and before Oregon was on SportsCenter almost every day. Washington was beating Oregon easily and consistently. Now it's time to get back at them.
Fans owe it to Norm Van Brocklin, who was robbed of a 1948 trip to the Rose Bowl, Larry Hill when he should have had the game winning touchdown catch against the Huskies in 1962, and every other Oregon team bullied by the Huskies. We should always enjoy beating the schoolyard bully, and the enemy."
Washington is up 15 games in the series and we can get one win closer with the eleventh win in a row this Saturday. At the current pace, we'd even the series in 2029.
Let's not kid ourselves. Washington is going to win at some point as awful as an idea as that is. The universe can be weird and cruel in its indifference.
We saw a spark of the Oregon team we enjoyed the last few years and even though I know Chip Kelly is not walking through the door and I won't be chasing ghosts as Dave puts it, it was nice to see an Oregon team play what we've come to know as Oregon football. What struck me as odd against UCLA was how with nine minutes left Oregon took its foot off the gas and began to run out the clock. Taking it easy on an opposing team at any point during the game is a new concept for Oregon and one I'd like for us to stay away from. Oregon really only knows one speed: fast. If there's one team that is worthy of being run into submission it is Washington.
Never forget, keep the hate, and fuck the Huskies.