The Border War
One of the best unheralded rivalries in all of college football is that of the Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks.
Officially beginning in 1900, the rivalry between these two teams (known as the Border War) is rich with hatred and passion that stems all the way back to 1948, when the University of Washington lobbied the University of Montana to vote against the Ducks making an appearance in the Rose Bowl.
Since then, both Duck and Husky fans have participated in one of the best rivalries in college football.
Though each may have an in-state rival that they face every year, many argue that the rivalry between the Ducks and Huskies is the best in the northwest.
With Oregon and Washington preparing to face-off in yet another football game that has sparked heated debate, let’s explore the reasons as to why the UW-Oregon rivalry is one of the best in all of college football.
Duck Bragging Rights
While the Huskies do own a series lead over the Ducks and can argue that they have a richer college football history, the Ducks have completely dominated the Huskies over the past decade as they have risen to national prominence while the Huskies have essentially dropped off the map.
In fact, the Ducks have won eight straight contests against the Huskies, making that the longest streak for either team in the rich history of this bitter rivalry.
Beginning really with “The Pick”, the infamous Oregon play made by Kenny Wheaton to seal a Ducks victory over the Huskies in 1994, Oregon has taken hold over northwest football, something that was previously the right of the Huskies.
The play that changed the Oregon-UW rivalry forever. (Photo: oregonianphoto.com)
While the Ducks ascended, the Huskies faced a major collapse in the last years of Rick Neuheisel, a coaching tenure that was riddled with scandal and secrecy.
Neuheisel’s tenure was then followed by an awful hiring in Tyrone Willingham, who brought the Huskies towards an even lower low, achieving the worst of records when Washington failed to win a game during their 2008 campaign, finishing 0-12 on the season.
Needless to say, the Oregon Ducks have had more than enough to brag about over the past decade.
The Winless Huskies
Coinciding with the previous section, one thing that Duck fans will always be able to remind Husky fans of is the fact that they are one of a select few teams that have actually finished a season without winning a game.
No matter what, the Washington Huskies, at one point in their history, were one of the worst college football teams to ever play the game.
Couple that with the fact that this winless season occurred under their heralded quarterback Jake Locker (although he did only appear in four games for the Huskies – but still, even he was 0-4 that season) and Duck fans have more than enough fuel to keep ragging on the Husky faithful.
Despite a rich rivalry history, many have argued that the Washington vs. Oregon matchup has not had the same feel that it did when the Huskies were still relevant in the college football world.
Fortunately for those individuals, this year will see the Ducks facing a Husky team that has become much improved over the past few seasons under Steve Sarkisian.
The Huskies will come into Saturday’s matchup ranked 23rd in the AP Top 25, the first time the Dawgs will be ranked against the Ducks in quite some time.
Huck the Fuskies
We all know what that is going to change to on game day, don’t we, Oregon fans?
I know that this was mentioned before, but this man deserves another mention as he is argued to be the person that shifted the balance in this rivalry towards the Ducks.
And, on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium, right before the Ducks take the field, you can be sure “The Pick” will receive the loudest ovation when it is played on the Autzen video screen.
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© Chris Anderson for North West Sports Beat, 2012. |
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Post tags: Chip Kelly, Huskies vs. Ducks, Kenny Wheaton, Oregon, Oregon Ducks football blog, Steve Sarkisian, Washington Huskies Football Blog, Washington Huskies Oregon Ducks rivalry, Washington Huskies vs. Oregon Ducks, Washington Oregon rivalry