Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ranking Oregon's Biggest Rivals in 2013

Nuff Said

Before the start of last season I wrote about what rivalry currently means the most to Oregon as of 2012 (http://ranzsrants.blogspot.com/2012/09/what-rivalry-means-most-to-oregon.html), and ranked them USC, Washington, and Oregon state, in that order.  

After looking back on that my stance has changed on who Oregon's main rivals are, and where they rank.  So what has changed for 2013?  Let's take a look.

First let's remember that there are many things that go into the making of a rivalry, such as geography, culture, and the product of competition on the field.  That last reason is why you can take USC off the list and replace them with Stanford. 

Since 2009, no team has been in direct competition with Oregon more so than Stanford has.  The two programs have been the class of the Pac-12 in that time, with Oregon going 46-7 and Stanford 43-10.  And since 2009, no team has had a better record against Oregon than Stanford (2-2).

It's been a back-and-forth affair with one team playing the spoiler, the other team watching their conference and national title hopes go up in flames. 

LaMichael James rushed for 257 and 3 TD's in '10
vs. Stanford

In 2009, Stanford shocked #7 Oregon 51-42, ending their national title hopes.  In 2010, #9 Stanford blew a 21-3 1st quarter lead against #4 Oregon, and wound up losing 52-31.  In 2011, #4 Stanford was riding the nations longest winning streak at 17 games (their last loss came the previous year at Oregon) and had revenge on their mind, but it was #7 Oregon that went down to the farm and crushed the Cardinal for the second year in a row, 53-30.  And this past year #13 Stanford defeated #1 Oregon 17-14 in OT, ruining the Ducks' national title hopes.

In 2013 Oregon will be out for revenge, and the game will probably once again decide who plays for the Pac-12 championship, a Rose bowl, and maybe even more. 

Unlike the Stanford series, our two traditional rivals haven't been competitive at all.  But where it lacks in competitiveness, it makes up for with history, tradition, and genuine hate between the fanbases.   

The Washington Huskies...the team Oregon fans love to beat up the most.  Counting this years 52-21 win, the Ducks have won 9 straight in the series, and look to make it 10 this year.  Despite the lack of competition here, the second Washington ends the streak, we know their fans will be celebrating like they just won the super bowl, and will let Duck fans hear about it for a whole year.  We don't wanna see that happen.  So for that reason, the game is still big every year.  It's all about keeping the streak going.

And that leaves us with our little bro Oregon state.  More like our hillbilly in-laws.  The gap between the two programs couldn't be greater than what it is right nowThere was a time when Beaver fans liked to stick their chest out to Oregon fans, and claim their program was on par with the Ducks.  Funny how 5 straight seasons with 10+ wins and 4 bcs bowl games will change that.  Even the most delusional of beaver fan will admit that Oregon is on another level.

The Ducks have won 5 straight over the beavers and will make it 6 next year.  With such a talent gap between the two programs (as illustrated by Oregon's 5 game winning streak), you would think the game would lose some of its luster, but it doesn't.  It's still the civil war...one of the longest played rivalry games in the nation.  And putting beaver fan back in their place NEVER gets old.


1. Washington - from most Duck fans I talk to, there is more actual hate towards udub, than Oregon state.

2. Oregon State - there's still plenty of hate for them and the civil war will always be a big game for both teams, no matter how one-sided it is.

3. Stanford - if we were talking about biggest games in 2013, this would be #1.  But we're talking about rivalries here.  Its developed into a rivalry from a competitive standpoint, but it has no staying power.  Stanford won't be a football power forever, and when they fizzle out, so will the rivalry. 

What I've learned is that what really makes a rivalry special is when its built on tradition and the whole fan base gets into it, every year, regardless of records.  Temporary rivals like the one with Stanford or USC come and go, but Washington and Oregon state will always mean something.




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