OSU and UO standings decrease Civil War excitement

The Beavers take on the Ducks in the 120th meeting of the Civil War on Nov. 26 at Reser Stadium.

Brian Rathbone News/Sports Chief

Too often during the past eight years I would lay in bed thinking, dreaming about the day when Oregon State would finally defeat Oregon in the Civil War.

For several years I would think that Mike Riley would pull off one his out-of-nowhere victories like he did when USC would roll into town. When Gary Andersen took over I envisioned him forging his way through Oregon in the same manner former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh put USC in his crosshairs.

What I didn’t see was Oregon going from the National Championship, to Pac-12 basement in just two years.

But that’s where they are now. And I’m not even mad about it. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are far less littered with obnoxious bandwagon fans making sure everyone knew how much they loved their Ducks.

Now with Oregon State and Oregon meeting up with a combined seven wins, and for the first time in almost a decade, Oregon State has a shot at beating the Ducks, shouldn’t I be more energized?

I’m not. This isn’t how I envisioned this happening.

If Oregon State does in fact beat Oregon on Saturday, the students will likely rush the field all for beating a bad team with a historically bad defense.

I’m reminded of the old saying “don’t stoop down to their level” when thinking about this year’s Civil War. With three wins this season there are definite signs of the program taking steps in the right direction, Saturday’s resounding 42-17 win over Arizona was a sign of things to come in the future. But they are still a three-win team who is 5 and 18 over the past two seasons.

Oregon couldn’t help but to stoop to Oregon State’s level. Not even their facilities, National Championship appearances, Heisman trophy winners, and resources up the wazoo could keep their once dominant program afloat.

Like a YouTube comment section, there are no winners here. Just two teams who are playing for nothing but bragging rights—if you can even call them that.

What are they bragging about? Who won’t be the worst team in the Pac-12 North?

Don’t get me wrong, a win over Oregon, ending the eight-game losing streak will be great. Eight years of baggage will be lifted. The winter months will be a little less dreary, food will taste better, and more importantly there will be fewer Oregon paraphernalia being worn around campus and throughout the state. That will be glorious.

And maybe this game will be the springboard of a great run Civil Wars like we saw from 1998 through 2012 when the Civil War was as good as any rivalry in the country.

It started back in 1998, once Ken Simonton scored that touchdown in double-overtime on a rain-drenched Parker Stadium to give the Beavers a 44-41 win, ending a 13-game-winless streak against the Ducks, the Civil War started to bring on real implications. Bowl games and conference championships were decided in the Civil War. That’s not happening this year.

Like in 2000 when Oregon State knocked Oregon out of the Rose Bowl while earning a share of the Pac-10 title and would go to play in the Fiesta Bowl, marking itself as a memorable year.

Take another example of a memorable year, the year of 2008 when everyone got their first taste of what would become an unstoppable Oregon offense as they returned the favor and upset a Rose-Bowl bound Beaver, sending the Beavers to the Las Vegas Bowl.

The following year was remarkable was well, in the unofficial Pac-10 champion when the winner of the Civil War would go to the Granddaddy of the All, where Lance Mitchell couldn’t make that fourth-down tackle on Jeremiah Masoli in the fourth quarter.

2004 was even important, when both team’s entered the game with a 5-5 record. Winner goes to a bowl game, loser gets an early start on winter break. Oregon State sent the Ducks packing in that one.

Those are real stakes, those games are the ones to brag about. The stakes haven’t been this low in a Civil War since before the

first Riley tenure.

It will be great to finally get that monkey off of Oregon State’s back, it really will. But when all’s said and done, neither of these teams are playing for a bowl game.

Beating Oregon will be awesome, it really will. I would have rather seen the Beavers take down Mighty Oregon, not some watered-down, light-version, webbed-foot Oregon team that we see now.

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