After both Oregon and Oregon State looked about as interested in playing football last Saturday as I do in putting together a yearly business budget and participating in the hackneyed and clichĂ© Christmas shopping bacchanal, I thought it would be a great idea to test your Northwest Rivalry Recollection this week.
This week and last week are rife with annual college football rivalry games from Left Coast to Right. Most of them I have heard some working AARP knowledge of.
Here is a short list from the Northwest: Washington State (who won last yearâ€™s game in an upset) and Washington will play in the annual Apple Cup at the University of Washingtonâ€™s retooled Husky Stadium on Black Friday at 12:30 p.m.
After Washington eviscerated Oregon State in Corvallis last Saturday, 69-27, I have to believe the Huskies (as usual) are the favorites. But WSU became â€śBowl Eligibleâ€ť for the first time since Obama was a baby last Saturday in a win over the Pac-12â€™s most accommodating team (besides Cal)â€”Utah.
In the state of Oregon (or unparalleled angst) this week, the annual Civil War between the heretofore BCS national title game Ducks Of The November Coma, and suddenly sad-sack OSU, looks more like a replication of the infamous 0-0 tie in Toilet Bowl II back in 1983.
Call this one the venerable 117th edition of the Civil Bore.
My suggestion, if you happen to be an OSU or Oregon fan is to, by all means, take in those Black Friday deals as far away from Autzen Stadium or your television as you can be.
I wonder what former Oregon wunderkind and apparent team spokesman Deâ€™Anthony (Letâ€™s bad mouth the Rose Bowl) Thomas will have to say in the run-up this week on the Civil War.
Thomas called a potential Rose Bowl berth, which went out the window with that eyebrow-raising blowout in Tucson last Saturday, â€śNo Big Dealâ€ť last week.
Turn your nose up at the Granddaddy of All Bowls at your own peril, Oregon. Where is Chip Kelly when you need him? You wouldnâ€™t have seenâ€”or heardâ€”Oregon players within mouth-shot of a tape recorder under his regime. Sorry, but 19-21-year-olds tend to speak before they think when the media is putting on their weekly full court press.
Well, arrogant Oregon, you wonâ€™t have to worry about the Rose Bowl. If youâ€™re lucky, it will be a memorable week in El Paso for the Usually Not Much Fun In a Warm Sun Bowl.
Yes, El Paso, Texas. One of North Americaâ€™s most dangerous cities.
Of all the games I watched on Saturday, including Oklahoma Stateâ€™s disembowelment of over-rated and over-hyped Baylor, Oregonâ€™s loss was easily the most stunning. I have to question whatâ€™s going on with first-year head coach Mark Helfrich and his staff. Maybe itâ€™s time to check.
Both the Ducks and Beavers need to show some pride and energy on the field Saturday. Neither of those commodities were anywhere near a football field last Saturday.
Meanwhile, up north in Seattle, the Cougars and Huskies will be pitted in the most intriguing Apple Cup match-up in years.
The Huskies simply put a record-breaking humiliation on the Beavers, who gave up more points than any team in the history of the program. It was also OSUâ€™s fourth straight loss and brought out the Fire Mike Riley Fan Club in full throat once again, at least on social media outlets.
No, Opie of Corvallis gets no respect, even when his program is winning games.
Of course, for a little perspective, the same Washington team that hung up a basketball score on Oregon State also got clubbed by Oregon 45-24. Of course, that was when Oregon looked like it could play in Ala-Damned-Bamaâ€™s wheelhouse.
But this is the Pac-12, where everybody save for Cal and Colorado can win on any given Saturdayâ€¦or Fridayâ€¦or Thursdayâ€¦
Chances are, U of W running back Bishop Sankey, who had a career day against Oregon Stateâ€™s invisible defense, will run roughshod on a Washington State defense that seems to be only slightly more proficient at this point than the Beavers (who allowed a pathetic 530 rushing yards and 692 total yards to Washington).
Sankey ran for 179 yards on 23 carries. Look for the Gonzaga Prep product to get at least that many carries against WSU, especially with a back-up quarterback directing the attack.
Back in Corvallis, Riley, like Helfrich taking the microphone post-game in Tucson, was visibly shaken and irritated that his team looked more like an OSU sorority Powder Puff team against Bow Down to Washington My Aching Ass.
â€śThatâ€™s not how we play football around here,â€ť Riley sniffed after seeing way too much purple haze last Saturday night. â€śAnd thatâ€™s not how weâ€™re ever going to play again.â€ť
Until at least Friday against the Ducks, who can always get up for Oregon State. I suspect Oregon will at least temporarily snap out of their malaise and beat the Beavers by about five touchdowns.
Over in Pullman, the laconic Mike Leach has the Cougars playing well (at least on offense). I donâ€™t think last yearâ€™s Leach team would have been able to respond to the adversity when Utah, on two occasions, cut WSUâ€™s lead to six points in the second half. The Cougars have faced similar adversity this season and done the el-foldo act.
But not right now.
As I recall, a bad Oregon State team scored 35 straight points on WSU earlier this season and left Pullman with a 52-24 win. That was pretty much the zenith of OSUâ€™s 2013 season.
The Cougars are still working on theirs.
By Chris Cowbrough