Even though six full games separate the No. 9 Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers in the Pac-12 North standings, the Civil War game is as important as ever, especially for the Ducks who now have their eyes on the Rose Bowl.
With only three victories to their name this year the Beavers seem like an easy meal for the hungry Ducks after their heart-breaking loss to USC last weekend to kill their National Title hopes, but crazier things have happened in the Civil War before:
2007: Oregon State wins 38-31 in double overtime at Autzen, the first road team to win the game in 10 attempts. A blocked Oregon State field goal with 1:01 remaining gave Oregon an opening, but missed a field goal as time expired in regulation.
1988: The Beavers had not won a Civil War in 13 years, and Oregon head coach Rich Brooks had not lost a Civil War in 21 attempts as either a Ducks coach or Beavers coach/player. Both streaks ended that day with the Beavers earning a 21-10 victory that included two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
1983: Commonly known as the "Toilet Bowl" because of the poor quality of play and the terribly wet weather. There were eleven fumbles, five interceptions, and four missed field goals, marking the last NCAA Division I football game to end in a scoreless tie.
Now, I don't see the Toilet Bowl repeating itself this season, especially since the weather isn't supposed to be that bad. But the Ducks can not rest on their laurels and look past the Beavers this season.
"It's especially tough this year with a great Oregon team," he said on Tuesday. "Every phase of the game we're going to have to play at a tremendously high level to compete. But, I'll tell you this: I think our team will compete hard and prepare well. I know they're looking forward to a great opportunity."
The Beavers essentially have nothing to lose 3-8 on the season an can throw caution to the wind this week, while the Ducks must hunker down and focus on the task at hand.
"When you lose a game you can't wait to play the next one," Ducks running back LaMichael James told reporters on Tuesday. "Practice has been going really well. We're really fired up. It's gonna be a different game than it was last week. Everybody's really motivated to put that loss behind them."
Here's what the Ducks have on the line: with a win over the OSU, Oregon will take the North Division and host the first Pac-12 title game on Dec. 2. But should they lose, Stanford (10-1, 8-1) will host the game. The Cardinal take on Notre Dame in a non-conference matchup this Saturday. They also must win out if they want a shot at the Rose Bowl this year as well.
All time during the Civil War, The Ducks own a 58-46-10 advantage in the series, have won the last three in a row, including a 37-20 victory in 2010 that vaulted them into the National Championship Game against Auburn.