Column: Ducks are the "big brother" whether you want to admit or not
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 02:11
Following Oregon’s blowout victory over Oregon State Saturday, Oregon star running back De’Anthony Thomas tweeted: “WE RUN OREGON.”
Usually, that type of trash talk — which always seems to surface on Twitter and Facebook before and after the Civil War — is a product of the debate over which team is better.
The answer is almost never black and white. It’s rarely obvious which team is actually best.
But that never stops people from flooding social media with their opinions, building up the team they root for or tearing down the team they despise.
Regardless of current circumstances, recent trends or likely outcomes, both parties are always quick to claim their team is the superior.
Things got worse for the Beavers when they lost again in 2010 and former Oregon cornerback Cliff Harris called OSU Oregon’s “little brother.”
All of a sudden the entire Oregon fan base had adopted the nickname as the Ducks beat the Beavers once again in 2011.
Despite Oregon’s streak of Pac-12 and Civil War supremacy during that time, it was still unclear if Oregon could maintain its winning ways and permanently lift its program to a height neither school had ever known.
But as the final seconds ticked away Saturday in Reser Stadium — Oregon once again triumphant — it became clear that for the time being, one side has won the ongoing argument, and that Oregon had answered all of the doubt.
The Oregon Ducks are simply the better football team.
I know it’s close to impossible for many Oregon State fans to realize and admit this fact, but there’s no way around it.
While the two prior Civil War losses were during down years for the Beavers, this was the season that Oregon State was finally supposed to break the streak.
All the momentum, timing and even karma seemed to be in Oregon State’s favor.
Yet the Ducks didn’t just win the highly anticipated 116th meeting, they dominated it.
Oregon racked up 430 yards and six touchdowns on the ground alone. It was only the 10th time in the history of the rivalry a team put up 45-plus points, and the Ducks did most of the damage before the fourth quarter even started.
Even if you throw out the stats, it seems obvious who the better team was. From watching Saturday’s game, it was impossible to ignore that the Ducks just looked like the better team. It didn’t even seem close.
With the swirling rumors of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly’s possible departure for the NFL at the end of the season, potential recruiting violations for Oregon and the quick rise back to relevance for OSU, it looked like the teams might be heading in opposite directions entering Saturday.
But the Ducks proved that wasn’t the case at all.
Oregon was better in every facet of the game on Saturday. They were better on offense, defense and even special teams. They played faster, harder and probably even smarter. They took care of the ball and made the necessary plays to win.
The Oregon Ducks are a better football team than the Oregon State Beavers. It’s really that simple.
But while I firmly believe that is true, I want to make it clear that the disparity between the two teams is in no way an indictment on Oregon State. The Beavers not being a perennial contender for a national championship doesn’t mean they aren’t a good football team.
OSU maximizes its resources as much as any other team in the country.
The bounce-back year for the Beavers proves that with Mike Riley at the helm, OSU will always have a shot.
And while Oregon is clearly superior right now, who knows what will happen in the coming years.
Oregon’s current five-game Civil War winning streak is only the fourth streak of five or more games since the inaugural contest in 1894.
OSU won five straight from 1949-53, and then eight straight from 1964-71 before Oregon won eight straight from 1975-82.
So, history says Oregon State will win sometime soon.
Logic does, too.
With the majority of OSU’s playmakers being sophomores and juniors, there’s a cautiously optimistic expectation that even better years are on the horizon.