Rivalries are as much apart of the university culture as are underage drinking, cramming for midterms, and the walk of shame that can be witnessed on just about any weekend morning.
Fueling the bitterest of feuds for centuries, rivalries give a different meaning and feeling to many contests around the nation. Contests that would generally be considered usual and not out of the ordinary suddenly become Holy Wars as programs clash against one another on the battlefield, pitting gladiator against gladiator and shield against sword.
Families become divided, friends become enemies, and people who would never had made contact in life end up screaming at the tops of their lungs, denouncing one another because of affiliation with a rival team.
If it is not evident, rivalries play a fairly big role in the world of college sports.
Here in the northwest, fans are treated to two of the better rivalries in all of college athletics: The Civil War and The Border War.
The other contest, The Border War, is a bitter feud that takes place between the Ducks and the Washington Huskies, teams that have had a bitter rivalry along the I-5 corridor for just about as long as anybody can remember.
Among these two rivalries, however, rages a constant debate; exactly who is Oregon’s biggest rival?
A Fan’s Perspective
With both the Oregon State Beavers and Washington Huskies being located just north of the University of Oregon on the I-5 corridor, many fans have tried to debate as to which school deserves more hate.
Though there are compelling arguments for both sides, the Washington Huskies, through most Oregon fans’ eyes, deserve to be the more hated of the two schools.
While the Beavers are arguably an older and closer rival, many see them to be the little brother of Oregon. Though they can be very annoying and despised at times, there is a sort of connection between the Ducks and Beavers that make them a little more connected than other rivals.
In fact, for many Oregon families, some have relatives who went to Oregon and relatives that went to Oregon State, thus creating a sort of friendly-jab instead of full-on hate.
The Washington Huskies, on the other hand, are generally despised by every single Oregon fan.
Really kicking off in the middle-of-the-20th century when the Huskies voted to keep the Ducks out of the Rose Bowl, Oregon and Washington fans just don’t get along.
No matter the sport or topic, Ducks and Huskies will fight just about anything. They constantly point to their storied histories or current success to determine who is the better of the two, and each fan base has their own arguments and points they love to bring up with their rivals.
There is truly no love lost between Oregon and Washington.
A Coaches Perspective
The coaches perspective on rivalries is significantly different from that of the fans.
While there are some coaches that have embraced rivalries in Oregon’s past, the current regime emphasizes the fact that they try to teach their athletes that every single game should be considered a rivalry.
Though fans may hate other programs and universities, particular rivalries are now fueled more by fans than players and coaches.
For the coaches and players, it makes no sense to look forward to a certain game or be more motivated for a game than all of the others; doing so creates inconsistency, something the Oregon coaches, especially Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly, hate.
The Oregon coaches don’t build up individual games, something they pride themselves on and attribute great results to.
Preparing for each individual game as if it was their biggest rival has led the Ducks to become one of the most successful football programs in college sports.
With that kind of mentality and results, it’s a wonder why no other colleges/coaches are copying the Oregon system.