Ducks/Huskies football rivalry 2013 – the good, the bad, the ugly and the prediction (and all aren’t what you think)
One of my favorite sports is college football and the reason for that is the rivalries and passionate fan bases that you see all across the country. And one of the best and most underrated rivalries is the University of Oregon Ducks vs. the University of Washington Huskies. The 106th game in this rivalry takes place on Saturday at Husky Stadium in Seattle and there are some good, some bad and some ugly things about this rivalry.
THE GOOD – The game features two of the top teams in the country. Oregon enters the game ranked #2 in the country and is undefeated but untested following its usual creampuff early-season schedule (Duck opponents are 11-16 so far on the season and the only team with a winning record is 3-2 Nicholls State, an FCS school while Husky opponents are 16-8) and Washington is ranked #16 with just one loss which was by a field goal at #5 Stanford. Washington will be wearning their all-black uniforms as part of “Blackout 2013” and for the first time ever ESPN’s College Gameday show will be on the University of Washington campus. Simply put, if ESPN (jokingly called the East Coast Sports Programming Network) is coming to Seattle, the game is a big deal. Although I am going to take a few swipes at Oregon, all of the Pac-12 is benefitting from the national attention the Ducks have received over the past few years and if they aren’t playing, GameDay isn’t in Seattle…simple as that.
THE BAD – Oregon alums (and if I had a dime I have heard this I would be a very rich man) are quick to point out that the Ducks have won the last nine in a row in this rivalry…all by at least 17 points and by an average score of 43.4 to 17.5. However, of those nine games six have been in Eugene and the record of Oregon’s opponents before the Huskies the last sixyears has been 0-0 (season opener in 2008 when U-Dub was 0-12), a bye week in 2009, 8-5 USC in 2010, Washington State at 4-8 in 2011, the Cougars again in 2012 at 3-9 and this year it was the team picked to finish last in the conference, Colorad. Washington’s opponents, by contrast have been 4-8 (at Arizona State…tough place to play), 12-1 (Stanford…tough TEAM to play), 4-8 (Arizona…the easiest of the bunch), 12-2 (Stanford again) and this year yet again vs. Stanford. So, only once in the last six years have the Ducks played a team with a winning record before they meet the Huskies while Washington has faced a team with a winning record three of the six times in the form of Stanford, arguably the most physical team in the Pac-12.
THE UGLY – To say there is bad blood between the two fan bases is an understatement. Oregon fans HATE Husky fans because they feel Washington rooters are snobby, arrogant and obnoxious, and Husky fans feel the same about the Ducks. These may be generalizations but this is the absolute truth – I have been spit on, shoved, run into, had my Husky gear thrown in the trash and mocked (see the comments underneath my first blog post regarding Little League) for being a Husky fan and proudly wearing my Husky gear. I’m sure Oregon fans have similar stories to tell in Seattle, but because of all this I hated Oregon right back. My running joke was I rooted for two schools…Washington and whoever played Oregon. But times have changed and I’ve mellowed just a bit in my old age and I don’t hate Oregon anymore.
THE PREDICTION – All good, bad and ugly stuff aside we know that Oregon has been very good over the past few seasons and Washington has gone from really bad to really average. However, the Huskies have had a much tougher schedule over the past five years than the Ducks have (here’s a stat for you…in the last five years Washington has played 19 games against teams with .500 or better records on the road. Oregon has played 10 games.).
Much like their fan bases Oregon and Washington are very similar…both have incredibly talented skill position players on offense and underrated defenses. Problem is, Oregon’s are better. I have a good feeling this game will be closer than in years past but I have a bad feeling it’s going to be the same old, same old for us Husky fans.
FINAL SCORE (this hurts but I do have a shred of objectivity) – Oregon 36, WASHINGTON 32.
In an interesting quirk the two state schools, Oregon State and Washington State, are playing as well in Washington (at Martin Stadium in Pullman). This one is going to be high scoring as well with the Beavers defeating the Cougars 44-42.
By the way…in case you’re keeping score…I got all three games right last week and am now 19-2 on the season. That’s pretty good no matter what school you pull for. For the first time in four years I will be at Husky Stadium pulling for the purple and gold (and black in this case) and I’m hoping for a good, close, entertaining game.