Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Civil War" week has started!

"Civil War" week started as soon as Oregon State defeated Arizona in Tuscon, tonight, with a last second field goal. Now if Oregon State can defeat my Oregon Ducks, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, they will go to the Rose Bowl. Sorry Beavers ...... not going to happen! If the Ducks win they will most likely go to the Holiday Bowl in warm San Diego. A "Civil War" game that has extra meaning for each team ..... as if either teams needed it. What follows is a post from last year on the meaning of the "Civil War" game.

Here in Oregon this is Civil War Week. That is the Week that the University of Oregon Ducks play the Oregon State University Beavers in college football. Some one said this game "is for the right to live in the State of Oregon" or at least the right to live in the State of Oregon with your head held high. This is one of college footballs oldest rivalries. Here in Oregon, Ducks and Beavers can be found in most offices, families and neighborhoods. It's brother vs brother, neighbor vs neighbor and coworker vs coworker so it truly is a Civil War.

One of my favorite Civil War stories is from World War II. One of the Band of Brothers featured in the HBO mini series, Don Malarkey, is a University of Oregon alum. His studies were interrupted by World War II and he was in the paratroopers in England preparing for the D- Day landings. Eisenhower and Churchill came to view his unit before the beginning of the invasion and Ike asks Malarkey what he did before the war. He said he was a student at the University of Oregon in Eugene, and Ike asks him who won the last Oregon vs Oregon State Football game. Of course Ike played football for Army at West Point.

It is fun to walk around the tailgate parties before the game because you see Ducks and Beavers together. There is a scene in the movie Gettysburg where a confederate general tells a British Army officer who is there as an observer just before Pickett's charge that "All Virginia is here today". At each Oregon vs Oregon State Football game I like to think "all Oregon is here today."

Jon Wilner, of the San Jose Mercury news in California rates the rivalry football games in the Pac-10 and rates the "Civil War" game as the #1 rivalry game when he writes:

1. The Civil War.

These days, Oregon-Oregon State has the best combination of passion, significance and competitiveness.

The passion takes the form of hatred — much closer to the Arizona-ASU situation than a healthy dislike.

OSU looks with jealousy at its richer, more-famous, more hip neighbor and wonders what might have been if Phil Knight had gone to OSU. The Ducks hate OSU because they’ve been told to hate OSU for decades.

The games are usually high scoring, although not always close, and the home team has dominated this decade.

Most importantly, you can’t go more than two or three Civil Wars without the stakes being high — sometimes for both teams.

Five times this decade, the Ducks have won at least eight games. The Beavers are on the verge of doing it for the fourth time.

Without question, Oregon and Oregon State have been the most successful natural rivals in the conference in recent years. And that makes the Civil War the league’s best rivalry.

For now.

I learned to hate the Beavers a long time ago in the late 1960's and early 1970's when the Beavers regularly under coach Dee Andros,( The Great Pumpkin) beat the shi* out of Oregon Duck Teams and did it with such relish.

A few years ago Dee, long retired, not too long before his death, came to a joint Duck/Beaver "Civil War" lunch in Medford and gave a passionate speech about the "Civil War" game that made me want to strap on a helmet and start playing right there. When Dee Andros walked into the banquet room he was wearing a god awful bright orange blazer and a black and orange striped tie. A local young TV sports reporter, who had probably just moved to this area, walked up to him and asked him if he was an Oregon State fan ..... it brought a smile to my face.

(Dee Andros was a veteran of World War II where he served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was awarded the Bronze Star and spent more than a month under heavy fire on Iwo Jima. He was present at the famed moment when Marines raised the American flag on Iwo Jima.)

In my lifetime I can remember twice when the Duck were denied a trip to the Rose Bowl because of a loss to the Beaver..... it's time to return the favor!

Go Ducks beat the Beavers.