Game Day: What I Hate About The Civil War

Sure it's arguably the biggest and most exciting intrastate contest in its 113-year history, but there's a not-so-silver lining around an oh-so-intriguing game. How dare I speak such blasphemy about a game, during a week and on a day which has been nervously anticipated by so many, for so long?

While kick-off for this year's game is hours away, it really started more than a week ago. Since Oregon's comeback win at Arizona two Saturdays ago, everyone with even the slightest inkling of a connection to either of the participating institutions has given it thought, played it in their head and/or considered the possibilities resulting in a win or loss by the team which they've hitched themselves to. They've looked at the match ups, compared the records and argued the facts. They've pondered the possibilities, measured the immeasurables and reluctantly booked air, lodging and ticket reservations for a game marking the spoils for the victor Thursday night. But while nervous anticipation, excitement and unprecedented hype have been building, so has disdain, hatred and frustration for much which has, is and always will be a part of a game with so much on the line.

It pains me to say this…but I detest a number of things that have and will occur before, during and after this game. Some of which will be internal, but much more will have others to blame. It is these things which have inspired me to make a list. While not an enormous fan of such, there's really no other way to do it. You may agree with all, some or none of the "rue of my Civil War existence," but I assure you they all exist and further assure you they will or already have caused me a fair share of grief. Without further adieu:

* Enough with the "side by side comparisons" of everything Oregon/Oregon State. I know how big these campuses are, how many miles separate them and what their big fluffy mascots represent, I don't need to be reminded annually in a front page graphic in an effort to present it as fresh and new. If I've seen it once, I've seen it more than enough.

* If you're going to put the statistics of two players at the same position up against one another, please use all the relevant statistics to do so, and not just the ones which prove your point. More than once over the past week I read or heard comparisons of "Quizz" and LaMichael James, however "touches" and "yards per carry" were conveniently omitted. Ironicly, the writer and/or orator responsible for such, were speaking to the superiority of Mr. Rodgers. Further ironic, both statistics speak higher of Mr. James. Hmm, I'm sure it was an honest mistake.

* I wish people would stop making those not previously interested in these teams, interested in these teams. There's nothing worse than "know absolutely nothing about football guy" running his mouth about football…and all during the game. While not a strong proponent of politicians getting involved in sports related issues, I would be happy to sign any legislation requiring a license – as proof of basic knowledge of the sport and the teams involved – to watch a game amongst legitimate fans. We'd all be better off.

* Props which enhance your physical look in relation to your team's mascot are highly discouraged. I know that Beavers have predominant front teeth, I don't need the guy next to me wearing a novelty grill to convince me of it. In hindsight, there is one caveat relating to this; if you can gnaw a recognizable item from a block of wood with said grill, it's all good.

* Quit underplaying the relevance of home field. It's mattered since the existence of sports time, it doesn't take the week off. There's a reason people nationwide are familiar with Autzen Stadium…it's loud! Opposing coaches aren't making this up people, hearing is not overrated. While statistics can lie, victims of such don't. Ask Pac-10 players and coaches which visiting stadium is the most difficult to play in and Autzen is the overwhelming majority.

* The "little engine that could" and "Lunch-Pail U" attitude towards Oregon State is making religion look contemporary. They're good and have been for the last decade. They regularly put players into the NFL. Sure, they rarely recruit highly touted talent, they're not playing with Portland State's roster. They don't need an excuse, so please quit giving them one.

* Why is a coach lacking appreciation for a rivalry because he's executing a year-long-strategy implemented from day one? I laughed hysterically when the assertion was made that Chip Kelly was somehow poo-pooing the relevance of the Civil War because he was treating it as "just another game" with his team. Umm…it's usually not a good idea to alter the way you go about doing things so as to appease outsiders looking for a story. It's called good coaching.

* You can't argue how big of a fan you are, while simultaneously wearing a hat obviously creased from its recent displacement from a store shelf. If it's the night before the game and you just bought team paraphernalia…your bandwagon seat is waiting for you.

* If you have two favorite teams, you don't have one.

* If you put the flags on the car before the game, leave them up after the game…in spite of the outcome. I'd like to think one's allegiance did not shift based on a single game's outcome, and if it did, see the aforementioned items on the list.

* Lastly, the intensity of these games is becoming detrimental to my health. If you can't sit during the game, can feel and hear your heartbeat during a fair amount of the game, and avoid crowds due to potentially embarrassing yourself with your behavior during the game…a twelve-step program may be in your future. If you need a number for such, I may have one for you.

There you have it, my list of undesirables surrounding this historic rivalry game. Before you label me "Scrooge," understand that I do "get it" when it comes to the pageantry involved with the Civil War. A lot of it's fun, a lot of it's exciting and even more of it is intense…all assets in the world of sports fandom, but like one bad apple can ruin the bunch, a few rotten traditions can sour the experience. And I want it to be perfect. I deserve it, you deserve it and a game this special deserves it.

Enjoy the game and do your best not to make my list…someone's experience may depend on it.

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