Pac-12’s Biggest Loser: ’08 Washington vs ’11 Oregon State

Josh White History

Jake Locker executing his trademark play against the Ducks. This is one thing he did as well as any quarterback in the country.

No, this isn’t a feature on an offseason weight loss competition insprired by a popular TV show matching two historically feeble football rivals. Sorry if that is what you were expecting based on the title, as funny as that might be to imagine.

Instead, consider this as a head-to-head battle between two of the undisputed worst teams in conference history, slugging it out for title of “Most Embarrassing.”

“What’s the point?” you might ask?

And I can understand that question, as this comparison is very similar to drag racing two Ford Taurus’ (Tauri?), even if one wins they are both still junk.

We here at stand firm in our allegiance to the University of Oregon and of course will not be writing any negative or hit-style pieces on our beloved Ducks. However, opposing schools, especially these two, remain open to ridicule and are considered to be fair game. While there is so much content on ours and other sites dedicated to the successes and positives of UO athletics and various team accomplishments, we must also remember to take a few moments to shed some well-deserved light on the hilarious failures of our rivals from time to time.



Just how bad was last year’s version of the Rodents from Corn Valley? Words like weak, paltry, anemic, lackluster, inept, and plain ineffective are just not strong enough to describe the steaming pile that was the 11th season under the tired and weary Mike Riley (although not 11 consecutive, as he was dating that NFL “chick” for a year before she dumped him. He came crawling back-to open and forgiving arms–which I am told is considered to be standard and customary in Corvallis relationship practices.)

Some shave their heads as a sign of commitment to team solidarity prior to a season, Riley committed to losing his hair naturally to show how serious he is.

Words like hopeless, desperate, fatally flawed, and rock bottom portray the clunker of a season a little more accurately.

Watching game after game slip through Riley’s grasp reminded me of the time, years ago, in downtown Eugene that I saw some sort of a ‘detainee’ in a funny looking white jacket being loaded into the back of a “White Bird” truck. As soon as this white-jacketed man was loaded into the back of the paddy wagon, he began to bang his head with force again and again against the interior sidewall.

I can still remember wondering “Why would someone ever do that?”

When ‘ol Mike dialed up the 66th pass attempt for freshman interception specialist Sean Mannion against ASU, I felt like Beaver nation (a.k.a. parts of Linn and Benton counties) were watching their coach re-enact the same scene. In fact, although White Bird would not release the incident report to me so I could properly verify, I’m pretty sure 66 was also the number of times the guy hit his head in the van, and that the head-banger also hailed from Corvallis. But, if you are reading this that was probably assumed that anyway.


Quarterback Ryan Katz is healthy and returns more experienced and ready to lead after the team fell short of a .500 record. Mike Riley won’t stand for losing seasons, especially back to back. James Rodgers is coming off of a serious knee injury, but he will surely recover and is going to lead the team, the conference, and the nation in… Wait, what did he do well again?


Projected leader Ryan Katz was immediately and awkwardly benched after the 2nd offensive series at Wisconsin for freshman Sean Mannion. Katz would never see the field again, as Mannion is proclaimed as the obvious best player on the roster, and his stats back it up. He completed a respectable 64% of his rotator cuff-tearing 473 pass attempts for 3,332 yards. The larger problem was his 16-18 TD-INT ratio, his 33 “rushing attempts” (31 sacks) for -192 yards, and the nearly vomit-inducing 40% 3rd down conversion rate and 0-5 road record.

And the failings didn’t end there. The Beavers were #118 out of 120 teams nationally in rushing yards per game. They seemingly never got around to deciding who the running back would be, but their nine players with carries rushed for a mere 3.3 yards per attempt and just 1,039 yards all season.

Despite all this, it doesn’t get any lower than opening the season-opener at home to a FCS school, Sacramento State. In front of the dozens of fans packing the stands eager to cheer on the mediocrity, the Beavers somehow managed to sink to the deepest of embarrassments in college football, losing the automatic win gimme-games that teams often schedule essentially as a second bye week (see every SEC team’s schedule every year as reference). For years now, whenever a Beaver fan tries to  talk trash about the Ducks only two words need be mentioned to shut them up: SAC STATE.




November 26 at Oregon L 21-49


September 3 vs Sacramento State (Known as the “The Hornets,” I had to look it up) L 28-29


September 10 at Wisconsin L 0-35

October 29 at Utah L 8-27

November 5 vs Stanford L 13-38

November 12 at California L 6-23

A very well done video on the 2011 Civil War experience




If this comparison of lost seasons was using the NCAA basketball tournament format, the ’08 mutts would be a clear cut #1 seed. Each week, rival fans gathered to chuckle at the Washington game score when it came across the ESPN ticker, and even Washington State fans were overheard saying “At least we’re not the Huskies.”

After being blown out by Notre Dame, 7-33, the dawgs fired retread head coach Tyrone Willingham- who was previously fired by Notre Dame in 2004, and was viewed as the savior of the Washington program just months before. The athletic director acted quickly, citing: ”It became quite obvious that the performance on the football field wasn’t up to what we talked about at the beginning of the season and previous to the season and it became more obvious as time went on…”


Expectations were high in Montlake for the dawgs in the ’08 season mostly because of the phrase “Oh yeah? Well, we got Jake Locker!” Fans (admitted primarily Duck fans, and mockingly so) began referring to him as “Purple Jesus.”

After a 44-10 shellacking in Autzen stadium to start the season, that phrase and the previously playful optimism about the season among the purple-clad fans in Seattle disappeared faster than Lin-Sanity.


How gloomy was it? The 2008 Huskies were the first 0-12 team in PAC-10 conference history, and the only team in the country to finish the 2008 season without a victory.

After Jake Locker went down, the mutts turned to some guy named Ronnie Fouch, who went on to lead and inspire a unit with a furious resolve to etch their names alongside the very worst teams in the history of college football. They simply would not be denied.

The Huskies were outscored 159-463 during the season-long losing streak. They averaged just 13.2 points per game, lost 24 fumbles, and could muster only 2.8 yards per carry rushing and 5.4 passing. Toss in Fouch’s 4-13 TD-INT ratio, and you have yourself a first-class dumpster fire on your hands rated #117 out of 120 in total offense, and #101 in total defense.  Granted, they did play a difficult schedule without a single out of conference “paycheck” game, but hey maybe they would have lost that too, after all the 2011 Beavers did…SAC STATE!

While the Huskies didn’t experience something as embarrassing as losing to a Sac State at first glance, their most pathetic moment brought just as much laughter. Playing BYU at home before a national TV audience, with time about to expire Jake “Purple Jesus” Locker ran for a touchdown that, with the extra point would send the game to overtime. A jubilant Locker threw the ball high into the air to celebrate the touchdown, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The extra point kick was now more of a typical field goal range attempt with the assessed penalty yardage, and sure enough Washington’s kicker pushed the extra point try just wide ensuring the year of ultimate futility would remain intact, losing 28-27.

Further humiliation came to close out the season, when Washington lost to their arch-rivals Washington State in double overtime of the annual Apple Cup. Washington State was ALMOST as bad of a team as Washington that year, making it one of the most unwatchable games of complete athletic ineptitude in recent memory.



August 30 at Oregon L 10-44


September 6 vs BYU L 27-28

November 22 at Washington St. L 13-16 2OT


September 13 vs Oklahoma 14-55

October 4 at Arizona 14-48

November 1 at Usc 0-56

December 6 at California 7-48

One of the funniest videos I have ever seen on youtube… I wouldn’t call it FishDuck-like analysis, but here it is 2009 “Husky-fan-on-suicide-watch” style…

And, just in case you forgot some of the details, here are some Oregon-Washington game highlights from 2008.

So you tell us Duck fans…in a game between the FCS-losing Beavers or the flat-out winless Huskies, which would do better. Or to phrase it another way, which would lose less?

Take your pick, leave your answer in the comments below, 2008 Washington or 2011 Oregon State? Which would actually “win” if the two played each other?

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