We know. The Oregon Ducks are going to win the Civil War. They have the better record. On paper, they have better talent. They've got a highly paid coaching staff and better facilities. They've won eight straight against the Oregon State Beavers.
Doesn't matter. We are throwing our weight behind the Beavers, the team that best embodies the spirit of Oregon nearer to our hearts—and homes—in Portland.
As Oregonians, we know all too well that the Ducks dominate the state's college sports universe. Which is ironic, because the modern version of the team is anathema to Oregonian values.
In recent years, superbooster Phil Knight has splooged hundreds of millions of dollars into the Oregon athletic program, turning the Ducks from a lovable band of underdogs into a grotesque West Coast facsimile of SEC footbaw schools—just without the wins. No matter how many gold-plated hot tubs they installed in their Death Star, or how far their ever-changing uniforms diverged from the actual school colors, the Ducks couldn't claim a national title in their prime Chip Kelly years. Drunk on their own hype, they paid his successor, head coach Mark Helfrich, like he was Chip Kelly—though he is clearly no Chip Kelly.
Now that the Ducks are routinely getting obliterated by the likes of Washington (lol) and Wazzu (LOL), the excesses of those years should repulse every decent, hardworking Oregonian.
This year's upstart Beavers squad has a chance to change things, defeating the Duck Dynasty for the first time since George W. Bush was president and restoring some excitement to the state's biggest sporting event.
And to be clear, we much prefer the Beavers.
The Ducks' flashy style, charming while it was effective, has become an embarrassment as they lose week after week. It's one thing to don chrome-plated uniforms and automatically go for two when you're an offensive juggernaut; it's pathetic to do so when you suck. The Ducks continue to avoid accountability, as athletic director Rob Mullens—who made the disastrous decision to give Helfrich a five-year, $17.5 million contract extension—has opted to duck (no pun intended) all independent media requests this entire season.
Meanwhile, Beavers quarterback Marcus McMaryion has inspired us with his gutsy play and loyalty to the team even after losing the starting job to a transfer. Running back Ryan "the Wrecking" Nall plays with beastly intensity, rushing for 174 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown, against the Ducks last year. We believe he can do so again, given the sorry state of the Ducks' D.
What about those who say that supporting the Beavers will only weaken the Ducks, who are our only real contender for national greatness?
We don't buy it. The Ducks lost in both of their national championship game appearances, and "Uncle Phil" seems to have all but given up on football, instead focusing on building his basketball program and the Oregon Republican Party. The Ducks will not be competitive until they part ways with Helfrich, but his $11.6 million buyout makes that all but impossible.
A Beavers victory in the 120th Civil War will help shape the state's allegiance in a positive way, giving voice to rural and working people. It provides the Ducks with the encouragement, and even the pressure, to be more accessible and adopt uniforms that better reflect their humble condition.
Portlanders can help mold our state's football future by enthusiastically cheering on our Beavers this weekend.
GO: Oregon plays Oregon State in the Civil War at Reser Stadium, 660 SW 26th St., Corvallis, on Saturday, Nov. 26. 1 pm. TV on Pac-12 Network. Go Beavers.