A New Chapter Will Be Written Friday In Arizona's Budding Rivalry With Oregon

Ezra AmacherContributor IIINovember 22, 2010

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 06: Mascot 'Puddles' of the Oregon Ducks sdoes some crowd surfing in the fourth quarter of the game between the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on November 6, 2010 in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks won the game 53-16. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

You could make a good case that there has been no better rivalry in college football over the last four to five years than Arizona-Oregon. It all started on Nov. 18, 2006 when Arizona went into hostile Autzen Stadium and upset the Ducks in blow-out fashion, 37-10.

The next year, No. 2 ranked-Oregon, led by Heisman hopeful Dennis Dixon, played in Tucson on a warm Thursday night. The Ducks were two wins away from there first ever chance to play in a national championship game. Dixon went down in the first quarter with a knee injury and Oregon's title hopes, along with Dixon's Heisman hopes, vanished in the dry desert air a few hours later.

In 2008, the game was again held at Autzen Stadium, and after the first half it looked like Arizona had no chance for a comeback. An early third-quarter field goal by Oregon made it 48-17. But behind three Keola Antolin touchdowns, Arizona closed the once magnificent lead down to only a field goal for Oregon.

Like so many times before and after, Arizona was just not able to close out a victory and the Ducks ended up winning 55-45.

Then there was last year's epic showdown. It started with ESPN's College GameDay coming to the UA campus, where students had been spending the night in hopes of having their sign on TV the next morning.

It ended with hundreds, if not thousands of the same Zona Zoo members standing behind the Arizona bench, staring in disbelief as they just watched Arizona blow a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, and eventually lose to the Jeremiah Masoli and the Ducks in overtime. With that loss, the Wildcats chances for a Rose Bowl berth were gone.

When Arizona (7-3) takes on Oregon (10-0) this Friday, the Wildcats won't need to worry about a possible Rose Bowl bid or having to face Masoli, who is now at Ole Miss. The Ducks on the other hand, will be worrying about a possible Rose Bowl bid, but it is not because they want to play in Pasadena come January, but rather they want to be playing for the BCS National Championship in Glendale, Arizona.

I'm sure Oregon fans felt as distraught after their No. 2-ranked Ducks lost to Arizona back in 2007 as Arizona fans felt as they watched their team's Rose Bowl hopes slip away against Oregon last year.

I'm also sure that Mike Stoops and his players will do whatever they can to prevent Oregon from making their first ever national championship game, but instead, send them to the Rose Bowl.

There have been some crazy games between these two schools recently, and I'd bet the house that this one will have it's own share of drama.

Don't expect this game to be an easy win for Oregon. Even if the Ducks have a huge lead at halftime, just remember what happened when Arizona last played at Autzen Stadium.