CORVALLIS, Ore. – Back in 2000, Oregon had a chance to clinch a Rose Bowl berth with a victory over Oregon State in the Civil War rivalry game. Instead, Joey Harrington threw five interceptions and the Ducks lost 23-13.
There’s been some debate among fans this week about which loss was harder, that game 12 years ago or Oregon’s 17-14 overtime loss to Stanford last weekend. Time will ultimately tell for the Ducks, but the stakes are high again for this year’s Civil War on Saturday at Reser Stadium.
Fifth-ranked Oregon (10-1, 7-1) needs a win over the No. 16 Beavers (8-2, 6-2) for a shot at its fourth straight Pac-12 championship. The Ducks also need the No. 11 Cardinal (9-2, 7-1) to lose to Southern Division winner UCLA in Los Angeles on Saturday.
While the loss to Stanford dealt a blow to Oregon’s national championship hopes, the Ducks could still be in the mix if USC can upset top-ranked and undefeated Notre Dame on Saturday.
But first, it’s the Civil War. And, as Oregon State coach Mike Riley often says about the game: “Anything can happen.”
It is the seventh most-contested rivalry in football, starting in 1894.
This season Oregon is again the favorite going into the game, but OSU is likely to pose more of a challenge than it has in the past two seasons, when the Beavers – just 3-9 in 2011 – couldn’t muster enough wins for bowl eligibility.