Linebacker Richard Siegler told reporters, "It's Duck season."

Well, on behalf of the Oregon Ducks, allow me to retort: Bring it on. Bring it on.">
Linebacker Richard Siegler told reporters, "It's Duck season."

Well, on behalf of the Oregon Ducks, allow me to retort: Bring it on. Bring it on.">

Ok, let's get down to it.

On the sports report of Saturday night's local news programs, Oregon State Beaver fans were seen chanting after their defeat of Stanford, "We want the Ducks. We want the Ducks." <br><br> Linebacker Richard Siegler told reporters, "It's Duck season." <br><br> Well, on behalf of the Oregon Ducks, allow me to retort: Bring it on. Bring it on.

Forget the carefully chosen words of respect and mutual admiration. Forget the wimpy assertion that rooting for each other is good for sports in our state. No, this is war. It's time to take off the gloves and settle old scores.

As Duck fans, of course, we can look back to plenty of past successes. Most recently there's Keenan Howry's punt return for a touchdown that gave Oregon a lead it wouldn't relinquish in 2001, propelling Joey Harrington and company to the Fiesta Bowl. There is also the 4-touchdown day from Patrick Johnson in 1997 that buried the Beavers 48-30. And looking back a little further, there is the 44-0 annihilation handed down in 1987 by Bill Musgrave and company. (For those of you who were there, you may remember me as the guy cheering as OSU's meaningless late-game touchdown was called back on a penalty.) Or Mike Jorgenson's last second touchdown pass that delivered a 7-6 victory in Corvallis-Joe Avezano's last game as Beaver coach. Or 1972's cathartic 30-3 blowout thanks to a certain future NFL Hall of Fame quarterback by the name of Dan Fouts. Ah, the sweet plentiful memories of Civil Wars won.

Perhaps even more significant than on the field successes and failures-and there are plenty of both, of course-is the battling that exists all year long between Duck and Beaver fans living and working alongside each other all year-be it in the Duck-heavy environs of Portland or in pickup-heavy Beaver Nation. Some Duck fans have argued over the last decade that Washington is Oregon's biggest rival. It's just not true. Ask the Duck fan given the finger by a Beaver fan driving by, or taunted after last year's game. Asking the Beaver fan who... well, never mind what they go through. Let's just say both sides are all too happy to talk a little smack.

But we will not know the real onfield winner, of course, until late Saturday afternoon. And fan squabbles are just that-exchanges best left to those involved. Why not look at the state of the two programs in the meantime? Here Duck fans have even more to cheer about.

Oregon has a stunningly rebuilt Autzen Stadium that holds more than 55,000 and will be closer to 60,000 come Saturday. And it's not just big: Autzen is a great piece of architecture. Stadium designers will tell you that a classic bowl design such as Autzen, the Rose Bowl or Michigan Stadium is the cream of the crop. Oregon State's Reser Stadium-the only football field named after chip dip-is merely a collection of oversized bleachers. But they're expanding, you say? Yes, but with a cookie-cutter extra deck thrown together with a fundraising campaign that is mere pocket change compared to Oregon's robust (if Nike-heavy) coffers.

Some have complained that Oregon's state-of-the-art new locker rooms are perhaps too cushy for a bunch of bruising warriors heading for gridiron conflict. But if you're a 19-year-old kid playing major college football, where would you rather get dressed: in front of a plasma screen television or in a creaky old dungeon?

Another area of comparison is the two teams' players as complete individuals. In addition to being the winningest Pac-10 program over the last decade, Oregon boasts one of the conference's highest graduation rates. The Beavers? Their graduation numbers are comparable to a high school in Sarajevo. It probably should come as no surprise, after all. Superb coach as he is, in his storied career at Washington State, Miami and finally in Corvallis, Dennis Erickson never had a reputation for recruiting the most upstanding young gentlemen. Supposed nice guy Mike Riley so far hasn't been able to get his players to charm school, as evidenced by the team's whopping array of penalties.

And while the Beavers have some very talented players, you've got to give Oregon the long-term recruiting edge. Even when they don't get the top players, Mike Bellotti and his staff are getting into the living rooms of players OSU will only catch their first glimpse of on the field.

Finally, let's talk uniforms. To be fair, the new "Thunder" and especially "Lightning" Duck jerseys and pants have gotten a lot of ribbing this year. And those white-on-white numbers for the road smack of a high school practice squad. (Why couldn't we have just kept the sharp uniforms we had?) But how about those black-on-black jobs the Beavers have sported for the last several years: Whose funeral is it? Would it kill you fellas to come up with a stripe or two?

No doubt these are but some of the issues that will be raised this week in addition to real gridiron concerns, like whether Oregon can find a way to stop Oregon State's running game, or whether the Ducks can learn to score in the second half again. But as Duck fans are driving and up down Interstate 5 this weekend to and from Autzen Stadium, we can rest assured that regardless of the outcome Saturday, we have the superior tradition and the future to ensure that our wretched backwater foes will be vanquished one way or the other. So bring it on, Beaver fans. We're ready for whatever you've got.

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