History of the Oregon – Washington Rivalry: Or How Much I Hate the Huskies
This year the game will be exciting. It’s been 2,292 days since Washington last beat Oregon, eight years ago. Since then Oregon has beat the Huskies by at least 20 points, even with Washington’s Jesus, Jake Locker, in the backfield. Oregon now currently holds the record for longest winning streak in the rivalry although still trail the Huskies by 18 games in the all time wins list. I will not sleep well until Oregon takes the lead.
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. Last year 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 last three Civil Wars have been fantastic, but there is a healthy friendship among fans. 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… and Jake Locker. 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.
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 a marketing firm 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. The 2008 Huskies probably rank as one of my favorite teams of all time. 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 last year. 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 Superbad that 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 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, fuck these guys.
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 found guilty of providing money to players via a slush fund. I wish I could shake Orlando Hollis’ hand, 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 team beat Washington in Eugene 58-0. This is like if today’s Utah 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 and 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. 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. 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. Oregon has a .711 winning percentage with a record of 150-61 since the play and Washington is sitting at .493, with a record of 101-104.
A win is highly probable, but there is some risk this year with Washington looking better and the game in Seattle. 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.
Never forget, keep the hate, and fuck the Huskies.