The attitude throughout the Oregon community has been muted over the past week. The braggadocio that once defined the fanbase has given way stunned, mildly appalled melancholy. But as fun as it was wallowing in self-pity after the Cardinal’s upset last Saturday, the time has come to move on. We’ve a war to prepare for.
There are plenty easterners, Southrons, and history books that will try to convince you that the Civil War ended when Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appamattox Courthouse in 1865. But that's only true for the bloodshed. Tensions, albeit on a much smaller scale, were reignited when the Oregon Agricultural College Coyotes bested the University of Oregon Beavers in a football game in 1894. This once-friendly matchup between university students and slack-jawed yokels has gone on to become the oldest rivalry on the west coast—7th oldest in all the land. Along the way the teams settled on their school mascots: The University of Oregon selected the animal with proportionately the largest penis in all the animal kingdom, while Oregon Agricultural College settled on a slang term for a vagina. Also during that span, the OAC changed its name to Oregon State University in a last ditch effort for some semblance of credibility.
Historians and people outside the state can be forgiven for not paying much attention to this second Civil War. Only a masochist would willingly subject themselves to much of the 118 years these two universities have been competing. Who would want to see teams combine for 11 fumbles, 5 interceptions, and four missed field goals in a single game as happened in 1983? [The last scoreless tie in NCAA history, smh—Ed.] There's also the sad moment of watching the players from a 1-10 Oregon State team cheering "We own the state!" after beating a hapless 3-8 Oregon squad in 1991. Oregon leads the all-time series 59-46-10, currently riding a 4-game winning streak as it seeks to further separate itself from this crew of flunkies up north.
This need for separation is one of the driving forces behind Ducks fans naming Washington or now USC or Stanford as the program's biggest rival. It's tiresome when your longtime rival holds the NCAA record for most consecutive losings seasons (28). It's tiresome when one of the most newsworthy events in your longtime rival's recent past is a defensive lineman joy-riding with a sheep stolen from a campus study investigating homosexuality in animals. The most press the beavlings have earned this year involved victory celebrations In-N-Out (like any Pop Warner team) and an off-the-cuff remark from Desmond Howard going viral. Oregon is playing for its fourth-consecutive BCS bowl game; Oregon State is playing to return to its Sun Bowl-winning golden years.
Lest anyone forget what happened on the first play of Oregon's last trip to Corvallis
Today’s match up of two top 20 football teams ought to feature slightly more competence on the field than in the past, field goal kicking notwithstanding. The nationally ranked Beavers are having a Cinderella season with a chance to boldly go where no Mike Riley-coached team has gone before: finish a season with fewer than four losses. They have some good receivers… and a solid defense… and… I can’t think of many other positives for this poor, puerile program. Oregon State plays an ugly form of football that, while effective this year, no human being should ever be forced to watch. Instead let's watch the most satisfying play ever made in Reser Stadium:
Listen to the bloodcurdling scream at the 17-second mark as Jeremiah Johnson breaks the final tackle. [Her agony was gorgeous—Ed.] Not only did Oregon's 65-38 victory in the 2008 Civil War start the Ducks' current four-game winning streak in the series, it also ended the beavlings' Rose Bowl dreams. My chauffeur down to the game today was Benny the Beaver that day. He even had a rose tucked into his buck teeth. His day ended with being heckled by drunken Oregon State frat boys, who blamed the mascot for losing to a superior program and university. That play—that high-pitched "NOOOOOO!" scream coming from the stands—signified the end of Oregon fooling around with its silly rival from Corvallis.
Start of the First Quarter
De'Anthony Thomas returns the opening kickoff near the 40-yard line, drawing shouts of "Get him!" from the group of Oregon State fans that somehow weaseled their way into the press box.
13:14 Oregon 6, Oregon State 0
The Oregon offense makes it look easy as they march down the field for the score. A holding penalty was the only that mildly slowed down the Oregon attack. Mariota capped it off with a long run. Attempted two-point didn't work, but whatever. Oregon is going to have plenty more opportunities
Adorable little offensive series by the Beavers on their first drive of the game. Bad passes, whining about officiating, and a two-yard pass on 3rd and five. Followed by a shanked punt. Why are these clowns ranked again? Beavers fans joining me on the photo deck have a dejected look, almost as if they expected something different from their team.
Oregon easily converts on 4th & 2 with a 30 yard run by Kenjon Barner. Ducks are charged with a personal foul after beating the shit out of... err blocking an Oregon State defender on the play.
Ducks miss the field goal because of course they did. Kicker is a position to address in the offseason. Or late-season. Or whenever they can find the time to locate someone who can kick a ball through the uprights. High schools don't have this much trouble.
Mike Riley with a rare gamble as the fake punt nets the Beavers a first down.
Well, that little drive was fun, wasn't it, Beavers? A few first downs, some incredibly loud cheers—the crowd in Reser Stadium absolutely explodes at the slightest sign of competence from this Beavers team. But a sack and a forced fumble later and Oregon finds itself punting on 4th & 20.
Not sure what this Oregon State cheering section is doing on the photo deck with me, but they are only adding to my enjoyment.
As if to shut up my hubris, the Oregon State Beavers take the lead following a long pass and a strong run. With any luck this will help Mariota and the Oregon passing offense pull its head out of its own ass. Needless to say, the beavers in the press box are quite enthused.
End of the First Quarter: Oregon State 7, Oregon 6
Momentum is a fickle thing. The Ducks were moving the ball with ease while Oregon State looked absolutely clueless. Then Maldonado missed the field goal. The Beavers began to drive. Super Mariota missed five-consecutive passes. The offense is still having success running the ball. Oregon faces a 4th & 7 to start the second quarter and it looks like they've every intent of going for it. As they should. This score is inexcusable.
Ducks convert it because that's what they do. Mariota evaded several attempted tackles in the backfield and reclaimed the mantle of Super Mariota with a completed pass one yard pass the first down marker.
13:19 Oregon 13, Oregon State 7
De'Anthony Thomas sprints into the end zone after an impressive display of competent football. The Oregon State fans nearby have regained that forlorn look.
Oregon defense stuffs the beavlings' cute attempt to run the ball on 4th and 1. This stop was set up by a wide open Oregon State receiver dropping a pass on 3rd & 1—which is why he plays at Oregon State instead of a good football program.
8:20 Oregon 20, Oregon State 7
It seems Oregon has grown tired of their wayward northern neighbors. Barner got the touchdown on that drive but it was set up by another 30 yard run from Mariota. Kenjon Barner has a quiet 125 yard first half, himself. These two programs have similar records. They even both lost nail-biters to Stanford. But the difference between them is clear. There's a reason that Oregon has blown most of its foes off the field in the first half, and there's a similar reason why the beavlings have a lot narrow, ugly wins this year.
Oregon State's QB hits the Oregon safety with a beautiful deep ball. Pass interference, whines the beavling fans nearby. "HE DIDN'T CATCH IT," they say. Ducks ball everyone else agrees.
Barner appears to be injured right now. He is able to walk off the field, though.
Oregon defense absolutely stuffs the Beavers offense on 3rd and inches. False start on the Beavers's attempted 4th down attempt. I am no longer able to control my cackling in the press box.
Hats off to the Beavers' for converting the 4th & 7 on a well-designed tight end screen.
Halftime: Oregon 20, Oregon State 10
The Beavers' offense was able to salvage something on the final drive of the half. Their defense still has a ways to go. The Ducks are running rough-shod over the vaunted Oregon State defense much as they have since the dawn of the Chip Kelly era. One hopes that Oregon has finished playing around with its overmatched foe but that remains to be seen. If nothing else, one thing is certain: Oregon State is giving the Ducks their best shot. It just doesn't happen to be good enough.
The ever classy, not small-time at all, Oregon State fans are doing an impressive job of booing the Oregon Marching Band right now. This coupled with the array of green, yellow, and black anti-Oregon shirts I've seen today only goes to reinforce my belief that Oregon State fans hate Oregon far more than they support their own silly program. But, then again, who wouldn't? Oregon State has a poor, poor athletic department bereft of any sustained success on the gridiron. The plethora of Sun Bowls and Las Vegas Bowls the Beavers have appeared in over the past 15 years are this program's Golden Age.
For Ducks fans still clinging to the slim chance at a championship game appearance, Florida is up 13-0 on Florida State. We need the Gators to lose. Quel dommage.
Barner one of the last out of the Oregon locker room and onto the Reser field. Seems to be walking OK.
Oregon State returner falls down while fielding the kickoff. There's a reason why these guys play in Corvallis instead of Eugene.
10:41 Oregon State 17, Oregon 20
Beavers work their way down the field to score a touchdown on the opening drive. Kenny Wheaton's relative on the Beavers set up the TD with a sharp corner route to the 3-yard line. Time for the offense to answer. Defense gets some time to sit in the corner and think about what they've done.
The Beavers' ill-advised onside kick goes well downfield.
The boorish Beavers fans on the photo deck are becoming tiresome. What are they doing amongst paid, unbiased professionals such as myself?
Josh Huff makes a dazzling catch to get the first down on 3rd & 17. The Beavers fans creative "FUCK THE DUCKS!" has little effect. It's funny how I don't seem to recall any Beaver-specific cheers from my days in the student section.
Looks like De'Anthony Thomas may have fumbled it on that last run. Officials looking it over. And the call that the runner was down on the field stands, despite the vehement objections of Beaver Nation.
Oregon State's best defense continues to the officials today. Oregon overcame a personal foul earlier in the drive. Ducks have to overcome a holding penalty now.
6:59 Oregon 27, Oregon State 17
The Ducks offense overcomes the rain of yellow flags to punch the ball into the end zone.
Leave it to the beavlings to muff a kickoff.
5:15 Oregon 34, Oregon State 17
That's what we call talent folks. Thomas followed his blocks, made a few people miss and then outran the helpless beavers into the end zone on 4th & short. After a mostly silent middle-portion of the season, DAT is having himself a game today. The beavlings fans in the press box are boorish no more, instead providing me with a few expressions of positively gorgeous agony.
Oregon just reached Vicksburg in the Civil War ... moving toward Atlanta.
The loud, obnoxious chainsaw the stadium PA plays on 3rd & longs might be the most Oregon State thing in the world.
Oregon State has taken its muffing talents to the world of punting now. No wonder these fans root loudly for every small, short-lived display of competence by their Oregon State team.
Not to be outdone, Oregon proves it can goof up special teams as well. Just not nearly as badly. Two Ducks had a chance to down the ball inside the 5 but stumbled over themselves as it rolled into the end zone.
End of the Third Quarter: Oregon 34, Oregon State 17
It appears that the beavlings have caught a strand of PSY-fever. "Gangnam Style" is blasting throughout the stadium. Incapable of performing the actual horse-riding dance that accompanies the song, a few Beavers fans are jumping up and down.
As for the actual game, what can I say that has not already been said before? The Ducks are the superior team. They are bigger, faster, more physical, and better coached. Oregon State isn't doing itself any favors with all of these turnovers either.
Right on cue, the Beavers' Sean Mannion starts off the 4th quarter by throwing a lame duck to Oregon's Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. The Oregon State cheering section photo deck feels like a mausoleum right now.
I had a few people this last week tell me the beavs had a chance. I should of bet on the over. #goducks
Barner runs into the end zone for another touchdown. The visitors section, filled with Oregon fans, is now the loudest part of the stadium. The Oregon State faithful up here look shell-shocked as if they' somehow deluded themselves into thinking that this game would not only be close, but that they actually had a chance. These gladiators from Eugene have erased any doubt.
Sean Mannion is hit as he attempts a pass and—drumroll, please—Kiko Alonso picks it off. Duck ball. This entire second half has been filled with these "That's why you're Oregon State" moments.
10:29 Oregon 48, Oregon State 17
Mariota completes the touchdown pass. Oregon State fans are leaving the stadium right now. Oregon State players are committing personal fouls. This game is over, folks. The clock didn't just strike midnight for Cinderella tonight, the prince broke the glass shoe over her head.
Where are all the Oregon State fans going? Still over 10 minutes left!
Sean Mannion completes his second pass to Brandin Jackson of the game. That would've been a good play if Jackson played for the Beavers.
Bennett is tagged into the game to loud cheers from the Oregon faithful. It's backup time in Cow-town.
Oregon State's starters stop Oregon's back-ups on 4th & long prompting the marching band to play the Gladiator theme. Just keep reaching for that rainbow, Beavers. Pay no attention to the fact that the Civil War is becoming a bigger blowout with every single year. On that same note, Oregon has a svelte 432 yards rushing right now. That has to be some sort of Civil War record.
Final Score: Oregon 48, OAC 24
The Beavers couldn't even give Oregon a game. This is the best Oregon State team since the 11-1 Fiesta Bowl squad in 2000. Hell, at least some of the past Oregon State teams looked like they were trying to play competently. Muffed punts, muffed kickoffs, horribly thrown interceptions, these are not the plays of a team trying to pull off one of the biggest upsets in its sad, sad history. Granted, this may Oregon's greatest team despite its loss to Stanford. This is Oregon's 60th win in the series.
This caps off a stellar 11-1 campaign from the Oregon Ducks. If a few things fall our way. By a few things, I mean a lot of things. But have faith, Florida State is holding onto a 7-point lead over the Gators entering the fourth quarter. Should that score hold, a USC over Notre Dame would likely put the Ducks into the national championship game with or without a Pac-12 Championship Game appearance. Here's your rooting list for the rest of today: Florida State, UCLA, and USC.