The new term has just begun and this means that there are many new fans for the student section. However, a startling new trend has befallen Oregon.
Due to our recent dominance over Washington, some fans have begun to think that maybe Stanford or USC are our true rivals. While we may have had some problems with USC or Stanford over the last few years they are not our rivals.
Oregon State, on the other hand, is a rival but it is in the sense that an older brother picks on the younger one. We compete for dominance over each other but at the end of the day we can tolerate them.
A rival is someone that you can’t stand to be around. It is someone that all you feel towards is hate, and at Oregon the only team that evokes this level of unbridled hatred is Washington.
Like many great rivalries this one dates far back.
The first meeting dates back to 1900, and we started off strong with a 43-0 victory. For the most part, the rivalry was back and forth in the beginning. However, in 1949 Washington did something unforgivable.
Back in the days before the championship games and tie breakers, a champion was chosen a different way. With Cal and Oregon having similar records a conference wide vote was conducted to decide on the champion.
Most people figured that Oregon would go due to having six Northwest schools and four California schools. even if it resulted in a tie Oregon would have still been the champion.
Instead of voting for the Northwest, Washington had other plans. They not only voted for Cal to be the champion but they also convinced Montana to vote for Cal.
Oregon has never forgotten this betrayal and the hatred has only grown.
Since then the rivalry has gained moments that add to the hatred. The next moment being the 1962 “Border War” and what happened to Larry Hill.
The game tied and Oregon was driving for the win. On the final play Oregon passed the ball to Hill, but instead of being an Oregon hero — he was tackled by Washington fans rushing the field.
No flag, no penalty and the game ended in a tie. At this point this was no longer a rivalry but instead flat out war. It was more than hard play on the field and passion from the fans, but was hatred between the states.
The next moment came in 1974. Coming off an absolute beating the year before, Washington’s only goal that day was to embarrass Oregon.
Normal people would pull the starters out and take their foot off the gas after the game is assured. Instead Jim Owens of Washington had starters in late in the game with a 52-0 lead. To them running up the score was more important than player safety and as a result their starting QB broke his ankle being in a game he had no reason being in.
The following years only got tougher for Oregon.
The Ducks became a laughing stock while Washington became the class of the conference. With all the success they were having it only added fuel to the hatred felt towards them. It started to feel like Washington would be a barrier that Oregon could never break through. Then — Enter, Kenny Wheaten and “The Pick”.
We all know the story – Washington was driving deep into Oregon territory, trying yet again to crush our dreams.
This time, however, the Ducks decided they’d had enough and Wheaton crushed their dreams instead. Oregon went on to the Rose Bowl but come up short there.
The following year the Ducks again beat Washington and experienced a successful season.
At the end of the year, Washington would try to lobby their way to the Cotton Bowl over Oregon. Despite the fact that they couldn’t beat Oregon in Seattle. This makes the second time Washington screwed the Oregon out of a specific bowl game.
Despite the lobbying, Oregon went to the 1996 Cotton Bowl and faced the next great Oregon villain in Rick Neuheisel.
With Oregon down big in the game the classy move would be to punt on fourth down and try to end the game as quickly as possible. Instead, Neuheisel decided to fake a punt on their last scoring drive.
With that single play, Neuheisel would jump up to No. 2 on Oregon’s most-hated list. We faced him again in the Aloha Bowl, and despite a furious comeback, the Ducks fell, 51-43. After the game all he had to say about the game was “Scoreboard, baby.”
The reason I bring up this man is that following that game Neuheisel became the coach at Washington. With this move, all of Oregon’s nemeses were concentrated in a single location.
With every victory against Washington we also would get revenge against Neuheisel. In 2002, though, Washington again crossed the line of good taste.
After the Ducks were throughly defeated by Washington, the Dogs couldn’t just celebrate with their fans. They decided that they could have a 30-minute dance party in the middle of the O — OUR LOGO!!
This was more than a celebration but instead was a them-taunting-us scenario. While we lost to them again the following year, that was the last time that they have won.
With this being “I hate Washington” Week, there is no better way to celebrate than to watch every Oregon win over them with The Mighty Oregon DVD. Witness the 107 years of the rivalry that has separated us.
Watch plays such as “The Pick,” as well as current thrashings of those Huskies.
Over the last 11 years not only have the Ducks beaten them, they have thoroughly dismantled the Huskies. There are middle school students out there that have never seen a Washington win.
While as glorious that is, this has caused people to dismiss Washington all together. As a result this is a warning to everyone out there — there is nothing more painful than a loss to Washington.
All this time that we have rubbed all our success in Washington’s face they have remembered.
Every win over Washington is a gift that we can’t take for granted. There are those out there who think that losing to California schools is bad — they haven’t seen anything, yet.
A loss to Washington is something that their fans would never let us forget. They would take that win and relish it as if it were a national title. Just remember, Gen-Xers and Millennials – Washington is our true rival. Not USC, not Stanford — Washington.
Now that you all know why we hate them, this video is the only feeling you should have for them.
Feature Photo by Kevin Cline
Article Inspiration from The Mighty Oregon DVD
For stories on the Border War and More go to http://www.mightyoregondvd.com/