It is the biggest college football game in the history of the state of Oregon. If you drive around Portland, fans of both teams are flying their colors proudly before Thursday night's game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
People outside the Pacific Northwest don’t know much about this rivalry other than it is one of the oldest in the history of college football. Both sides truly loathe each other for many different reasons.
One of the main reasons is the difference in fanbases. Oregon fans would be described as white collar and suburban, while Oregon State fans are definitely more blue collar and agricultural.
The Beavers have always been looked at as the “kid brother” of the Ducks because of the Ducks' success from the early 1990s on.
Then there is that company named Nike based out of Beaverton, Ore. CEO Phil Knight has an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon, and, after the Ducks, reached the Rose Bowl in 1994, Knight became a figurehead of Oregon facility upgrades, as well as stabilizing the athletic department.
The Beavers have forever hated the Ducks for this, but if they really want to make their argument stick, maybe they should stop wearing their Nike-supplied jerseys.
Now that you have a little background on the hatred between the fans, let's take a look at the history of the game itself.
The Ducks lead the all-time series 56-46-10, including a 24-9-1 over the past 34 games, going back to 1975. Both the Ducks and Beavers have won the last game that took place on the opposing team's field (Beavers 38-31 in 2007, Ducks 65-38 in ’08).
A couple of recent notable games include 2000, when both teams came into the game ranked in the top 10, with the Beavers forcing the Ducks and Joey Harrington into six turnovers, spoiling the Ducks' chance at the Rose Bowl.
In 1983, the Beavers and Ducks participated in the most recent—and most likely last—scoreless tie in Division I football in a game referred to as “The Toilet Bowl.”
The game in 1994 matched a hot Oregon team against a mediocre Beaver unit in Corvallis. The Ducks scored on a late screen pass from Danny O’Neill to Dino Philyaw, and the Ducks beat the Beavers 17-13 en route to the Rose Bowl.
In 1998, the Beavers and Ducks played the first overtime in Civil War history and ended up playing two.
After the Beavers scored in the first overtime, the Ducks were stopped on fourth down, and fans at Parker Stadium rushed the field, only to be cleared off because of a penalty on the Beavers.
The Ducks scored to force a second overtime, but a 16-yard touchdown run by Ken Simonton sealed the deal for the Beavers in the second overtime.
Finally, in 2008, the Beavers came into the Civil War with the Rose Bowl on the line, needing a win against the Ducks at home. The Ducks played a flawless game and stifled the Beavers, scoring the most points (65) and putting up the most yards (694) in series history.
That leads us to this year.
The Ducks and the Beavers could not have drawn it up any better. The entire country will be tuning in for the nationally televised broadcast on ESPN.
You have great players on both sides in Jeremiah Masoli and Sean Canfield. Jacquizz Rodgers and LaMichael James will surely both play huge roles. And, for the first time in three years, both teams will come into the game with no significant injuries to star players.
Once again, it seems likely that Oregon’s defense will hold the key to victory for the Ducks. If they can slow down a potent Beaver attack, including some third-down stops early in drives, the Ducks have to like their chances.
The Beavers will score, and the Rodgers brothers will get their offense, but, if you can control when they get their yards, the Beavers are very beatable.
Don’t expect a repeat performance from last year’s Civil War, though. The addition of Jacquizz Rodgers will be key for the Beavers. This one will come down to the fourth quarter and who can deliver the blows that will knock out the other.
This will be a battle for the ages. I expect a shootout—something those SEC fans might not enjoy—but a game that will showcase the talent in a conference outside of the state of California.
Catch me live from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Dec. 3 talking Civil War on Sportsradio 95.5 The Game in Portland.