Not even Twitter’s obsession with clowns could derail the anticipation for the Huskies annual meeting with their biggest rival, the Oregon Ducks. Personally, this weekend is once I’ve circled ever year for as long as I can remember. This rivalry is more of a reunion for my family, with aunts, uncles, parents, and a set of grandparents who all went to the University of Washington, as well as Oregon-alum maternal grandparents. I don’t recall the last time I wasn’t in attendance for a Dawg-Duck meeting.
Unfortunately, I also don’t recall the last time Huskies won. For my entire life, the Ducks have been big brother, words that I know make older generation Husky fans cringe. I polled a handful of guys in my house, asking for the first word that comes to mind when I say “Oregon Ducks.” Immediately, Lane Covington responded “scary.”
Not even a steep line in Vegas can strip the daunting Ducks of their intimidation in the eyes of college-aged Husky fans. What it can do, though, is give them hope. And the newfound hope has bred the most hype for this matchup from my peers that I’ve ever experienced. Sweet revenge is on their minds; they’re ready to watch their dawgs deliver a blow in the northwest’s most heated rivalry.
A lot of them want to watch it live, too. A group of 16 of my housemates and I are heading to Eugene to watch the fifth-ranked Dawgs do their best to restore order. Most of them were a part of my aforementioned poll, and I thought I would share some of the words, the appropriate ones, they used to describe the Ducks. “Obnoxious, putrid, Phil Knight, flashy,” and finally “quack.” Their statements showcase the sentiment this generation of Huskies holds when it comes to this rivalry. Whether it be utter disgust or the classic “University of Nike” joke, their isn’t a lot of love to be found. It’s fair to say that Dawgs everywhere, young and old, want to return the 12-year favor they owe Oregon.
Never has the timing felt so right, a perfect storm if you will. A struggling Ducks team, which is giving up three-plus rushing touchdowns a game, is facing a top five Husky team, which coincidentally is averaging three touchdowns on the ground per conference game. The Ducks may be rolling a true freshman quarterback for his first career start; Washington’ s quarterback has the second highest efficiency rating in the FBS. Oregon is on a three game losing skid, while the Dawgs are coming off their biggest win in years. I can go on and on, but on paper, Washington’s outlook is positive.
It all comes down to one big psychology test on Saturday. Can the Huskies overcome the mixture of emotion and excitement at the opportunity to do what hasn’t been done since 2003? Only time will tell. This much is certain though: this rivalry has legitimacy again. Imagine a world where both teams could knock the other off any given season. Isn’t that what a rivalry is supposed to be about.
I won’t be naive, anything less than a win will leave Dawg fans heart broken. But it feels good knowing that this rivalry will be competitive again.