The Five Biggest Villains Oregon Has Faced Since 2000


If you recorded the Heisman Trophy ceremony, and your recording ran long (a highly recommended practice, by the way, given that the ceremony always goes over in time), you would have caught the first few minutes of the ESPN documentary “The U Part 2“, a follow up to the 2009 documentary (obviously titled, “The U”) about the University of Miami football team. Both films do what documentaries do: present a story to those unfamiliar with it and a fresh perspective on that story to those that are.

While I enjoyed both documentaries on Miami, I viewed them through two different lenses. Part 1 featured stories I knew only from historical reference. Part 2 covered the history of Miami during an era when I experienced college football in real time. Both documentaries tell a story of Miami as the protagonists, only with Part 2, I had the filter of my own bias to say, “I remember them being the villains, and everyone wanted them to lose.”

The passage of time will always remove the amount of vitriol we inject into those who we regard as villains; hatred fading over time. But that does mean they weren’t villains.

Despite its dynastic success, Miami (SPOILER ALERT) only managed to win one national championship, in 2001, over the era covered in Part 2. Its opponent that season should have been the Oregon Ducks, but those involved with the BCS decided otherwise. Oregon never got the chance to face that Miami team, but it has still faced its share of villains in recent memory. Here are the five biggest villains the Ducks have faced since 2000:

5) 2005 USC Trojans

USC in 2005 was Oregon's only top-ranked opponent from 1993-2009.

From Video

USC in 2005 was Oregon’s only top-ranked opponent from 1993-2009.

While the Ducks were ranked higher than the Trojans in the teams’ previous meeting in 2002, USC’s dynasty under Pete Carroll was in full swing by the time this game was played in 2005. USC was in the midst of a 24-game winning streak (They eventually extended it to 34.) and while Oregon looked like it might play the spoiler that day by taking an early 13-0 lead, the Trojans ran away with the win by scoring the game’s final 45 points.

Of course, this game didn’t officially happen.  Thanks to an athletic department scandal centering on Reggie Bush, USC was forced to vacate all wins from 2005 (and some from 2004) amidst a host of other penalties. When asked about the penalties in February 2014, former coach Pete Carroll said:

I just think it was not handled well, I sat in the meetings. I listened to the people talk. I listened to the venom that they had for our program. They didn’t understand a thing about what we were all about.

Spoken like a true villain: People may not have understood USC’s team, and the sanctions might not have been fair, but one thing is clear: people hated this team.

Result: USC 45, Oregon 13.

4) 2009 Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State sings their fight song following their 2010 Rose Bowl victory.

From Video

Ohio State Buckeyes sing their fight song following their 2010 Rose Bowl victory.

Two words: Terrelle Pryor.

Barring some miracle comeback, Pryor’s football legacy appears cemented, and that would be someone who ruined everything he touched in college football by being a total jackass.

His tattoos-for-cash scandal brought NCAA sanctions on his program that would have set nearly any other school back for years. Of course, those penalties happened to the impenetrable Ohio State, which somehow managed to flip a scandal into landing one of the best coaches in college football and found itself in contention for a national championship in the regular season’s final weekend the last two years.

Pryor never went to a national championship game, but his role in the scandal did cost the Buckeyes an opportunity to play in one during its undefeated 2012 season. The only man who had brought a national championship to Columbus in the past 45 years was Jim Tressel; yet Pryor’s actions ran the man who had brought him to Columbus out of town.

Tressel isn’t absolved of fault for knowingly covered up the misappropriations of his players, but it certainly doesn’t help when his program is being investigated for supplying cars to players, only to have players like Pryor refuse to lay low, continuing to drive around campus in a brand new 350Z during the investigation.

Pryor’s relationship to Oregon football was never great, either. As a high school senior, he kept the Ducks in his top three choices, only to drag his decision out past signing day, forcing the Ducks to hold a potential scholarship open for him.  It became clear he had no intention of attending school so far from his home, but he never discussed that during his recruitment. While his play at Ohio State showed he was no great loss as a recruit, he did manage to play well in one game in his career… the 2010 Rose Bowl against Oregon.

Pryor’s now out of football, and it’s probably for the best.

3) 2010 Auburn Tigers

Cam Newton demonstrating his on-going issues with ball security in critical moments.

From Video

Cam Newton demonstrating his on-going issues with ball security in critical moments.

This was the previous high watermark for a “high stakes, hated opponent” matchup for the Ducks. For a program in Oregon that was trying to establish national legitimacy, any marquee SEC opponent would have been enough to create a fiery response from fans in that game.  What it got were the 2010 Auburn Tigers, a team so unlikable that their obnoxiousness compelled a rival fan to desecrate a century-old tradition on their campus in retaliation for a loss.

Their offense was led by a quarterback who came to Auburn after leaving Florida following felony theft charges, and who at one point during that 2010 season the NCAA had ruled ineligible after determining his father had been shopping his services to the highest bidder.

Their defense was led by one of the dirtiest players in the recent history of college football (who made sure to sustain that reputation against the Ducks), and a coach, who if you believe the university’s most-famous alumnus, was only hired because of a race-driven agenda by the university.

Predictably, the game was mired by poor officiating, with a controversial call allowing one of the most hated teams in college football to steal a national championship.

Result: Auburn 22, Oregon 19.

2) 2000 Washington Huskies

Oregon's win over Washington was one of 16 wins over the Huskies in the previous 20 meetings.

From Video

Oregon’s win over Washington was one of 16 wins over the Huskies in the previous 20 meetings.

It was a team so deplorable that it had a 400-page book written solely about the systemic disaster that was it football program’s enabling of atrocious behavior from a number of their players.  For those who haven’t read it (and you really should), here are the highlights:

  • Jerramy Stevens is kind of a, how do I put this…? Horrible person.
  • Jerramy Stevens wasn’t the only terrible person on the team.
  • Coaches, administrators, and even the police were all capitulators in allowing this behavior to occur.
  • Rich Neuheisel was definitely one of those capitulators.
  • Not everyone on the team was bad, but those who were good weren’t exactly supported in their attempts to be well-rounded people.
  • SPOILER ALERT: No significant consequence fell on anyone for their actions.

So predictably, only a team this unlikable could somehow prevail in a tiebreaker where both Oregon and Washington had a single conference loss with Oregon winning the head-to-head, and Washington ends up in the Rose Bowl, its only Rose Bowl the past two decades.

Result: Oregon 23, Washington 16.

1) 2014 Florida State Seminoles

Two of the "highlights" of Jameis Winston's 2014.

From Video

Two of the “highlights” of Jameis Winston’s 2014.

A team constructed in a nightmare factory using parts of all the aforementioned teams above and then amplified as part of the vision of some mad scientist:

What if we made the players violent offenders (allegedly, thanks to the terrible execution of justice in Tallahassee) instead of petty criminals? What if we could get the police to cover up those crimes before they were arrested? What if they were coached by an amoral yokel who seemed defiant at the very idea that players were capable of committing crimes? What if we gave them one of the longest winning streaks in college football history, only instead of having them dominate game after game, we’ll have them win those games by the narrowest of margins against flagrantly mediocre competition every time out to maximize the frustrations of those who want to see them lose? And what if we had that team’s star player be an entitled, sociopathic monster who never showed remorse for his actions, and had no incentive to do so, due to being constantly rewarded for his on-field accomplishments, including the most prestigious trophy in sports, in spite of everything else he does?

The Seminoles are the perfect villain. And they know it.

Result: The ultimate matchup of black and white hats will be determined next Thursday.

Top image from video.

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Nathan Roholt

Nathan Roholt

Nathan Roholt is a senior writer and managing editor emeritus for FishDuck. Follow him on Twitter @nathanroholt. Send questions/feedback/hatemail to

  • Marc Horowitz

    Did you actually describe a 20 year old that has been exonerated not once by 3 times by highly respected legal entities with the following statement “And what if we had that team’s star player be an entitled, sociopathic monster…..”

    I suppose that innocent until proven guilty is not something that is important to you and your readers even though it is the foundation of the US legal system. Yes, Jameis Winston has made mistakes and those mistakes have been broadcast by a vicious media who’s objective is to drive clicks rather than share detailed information and let the reader make a judgement. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such a blatant attack on Jameis Winston, the Tallahassee Police Department, the FSU Police Department, the State’s Attorney’s office of Florida and the former Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding because with your description of villain number 1 on your list, you chose to indict all of them with any basis for doing such.

    You clearly are a unabashed Oregon homer but you crossed the line when you chose to attack people on a public site without any kind of support for your assertions. I’m happy to provide you the facts and maybe you would actually try being a respectable human.

    • Jason O’Quinn

      STFU Horowitz. Winston is a complete POS, Tallahassee police are corrupt scum bags. Everyone knows this except you.

      Go sleep it off.

      • Polaris Silvertree

        And so Jason — you would qualify your statements how (other than through the United States Media Entertainment Industry — also known commonly as the news)? I supposed you’ve lived in Tallahassee and experienced first hand the TPD? Yeah — I’m not sure who lacks sleep here at this point.

      • Marc Horowitz

        Jason, why are you so angry?

        What evidence can you provide that the Tallahassee Police Department is corrupt?

        I can only assume you’re calling Mr. Winston a POS because you feel he’s guilty of multiple crimes. Unfortunately, the legal authorities in the State of Florida disagree. I would wager that their experience and credentials far outweigh yours. He’s made some mistakes as we all have but calling him a POS and a scum bag is just down right wrong. He’s a human being and 20 years old. Like every person in this country, he is innocent until proven guilty. Read on for details that you probably have not bothered to uncover for yourself.

        Here are the facts in the Sexual Assault case.

        1. The two people, the accuser and the accused met in a bar. The accuser was drinking illegally. She was given alcohol by a friend and not the accused. She was proven to not be intoxicated based on toxicology reports performed not once but twice including by a lab at the University of Florida. Her blood alcohol level was not even to the level of impairment for driving. The toxicology reports also show that there were no other drugs in her system.
        2. The accuser voluntarily left with 3 men in a cab. Evidence shows that she was not forced nor coerced in the cab. Her own friend testified that she asked if it was ok that she go with the men and her friend said it was fine. Although multiple people saw her get in the cab and a third party drove the cab, no one has said she was forced into a cab against her will.
        3. The accuser and 3 men whom she just met, went back to an off-campus apartment of the accused and another football player. Based on testimony of the accuser and the three men, the accuser and the accused went into the bedroom of the accused and had sex.
        4. Based on testimony and evidence, the accuser performed oral sex and had intercourse with the accused.
        5. The accused and the accuser were interrupted during the act by one of the other two men that rode in the cab back to the apartment.
        6. After the sex, the accuser rode on the back of a scooter with the accused to be dropped of on campus near her dorm. She sat behind him and hugged him the entire ride.

        Later that morning, the accuser told her friends that she was hit on the head and found herself in an apartment with a 5’11”, 170 pound black man on top of her. She was going in an out of consciousness while being raped. Her friend decided to call a family friend and then call the police via 911. She relayed this information to the police and the call is available for recording. Jameis Winston is 6’4″ and 235 pounds. That’s quite a difference.

        The police came to the accuser and she filed a report and a rape exam was done at a hospital. The accuser said she didn’t know by whom or where she was assaulted and that she was hit on the head. During the exam, the nurse found no evidence of sexual assault. The evidence collected from the accuser found DNA from two unknown subjects.

        After filing the report, the police tried to follow up with the accuser to get more information in order to conduct an investigation. The accuser stopped cooperating with the police. Over a month later, the accuser informed the police that she knew her assailant was because he was in a class with her. The accuser, through her attorney, provided the name of Jameis Winston.

        At this point, the accuser was not cooperating with police and they were told to speak with the accuser’s Aunt who happened to be a lawyer.

        The FSU police decide to make the case Open/Inactive due to lack of cooperation and any evidence to support the accusers claim.

        11 months later, the case was reopened due to media pressure. The evidence collected still existed and was available to be reviewed again. The Florida State Attorney’s office (SAO) investigated and found insufficient evidence to support charging Jameis Winston of a crime. The SAO report clearly says that the evidence does not support the accuser’s claim and point out a few issues.

        1. Her story changed multiple times.
        2. She was not intoxicated or drugged even though she claimed she was
        3. She was not hit on the head
        4. She had multiple semen samples on her shorts, those of Jameis Winston and of another person who is a Football player at another school.
        5. Phone records indicated that her actions were different than she claimed.
        6. The rape exam did not provide evidence of assault.

        Now, 2 years after the incident occurred, 3 separate judicial bodies (FSU PD/TPD, FL SAO and CoC hearing lead by a former Supreme Court Justice) have all concluded the same thing. There is insufficient evidence to support the claim that Jameis Winston sexually assaulted the accused.

        I submit it is you who has a problem. It is you who call someone a POS without knowing anything about them other than a biased view of the details of a case. It is you that should be called names that are demeaning. What gives you the right to call someone names like POS and scum bag. I hope for you sake you are never falsely accused of a vicious crime and have your name dragged through the mud without reason.

        Now, if you feel that I somehow need to “sleep it off” after providing you a detail explanation, then I feel sorry for you. Perhaps you need to get your head out of the sand and do some detailed research before you start with the name calling.