Saturday, October 8, 2016

What's at Stake Today

Today is for University of Washington Husky fans probably the second biggest game of the year, after last week's defeat of Stanford. Why is this game so important? Because it's against hated rival Oregon Ducks.

Oregon has beaten the Huskies in the past twelve (!) times these teams have met. That means the Huskies haven't won since 2003.

Time was when the Ducks were a team you played (and always beat) before the Huskies went on to play the tougher California teams (Stanford, Cal, USC, and UCLA). Then Nike founder Phil Knight started pouring money into his alma mater's football program. And the Ducks got better. For about a decade they've dominated the Pac-10/12. They've even played in at least one national championship game (and lost). They are also known for having a different uniform for every game, usually something florescent green or yellow (their school colors).

And Husky fans hate them and hate losing to them. Here's a blog post from 2011 explaining part of that hate.

But this year is different. The Huskies are 5-0 overall and 2-0 in conference coming off that big win against Stanford. They are in first place in the Pac-12 North division. The Ducks are 2-3 overall and 0-2 in conference and in fifth place in the Pac-12 North (which has six teams). And the Huskies are nine-point favorates.

But this is the Oregon game and it's going to be played on Oregon's turf in Autzen Stadium. Emotions run high. The crowd will be ready to help their Ducks beat the Huskies.

It all probably comes down to Husky head coach Chris Petersen getting his team ready and not letting them believe the hype and get over-confident. But that's hard when your team is #5 in the AP poll.

The game is at 4:30 Pacific Time on Fox.

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