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« Time For Yet Another Titanic Battle with UCLA. | Main | The good old days? Tell that to the parents. »

benzduck’s Fun Civil War Facts.

While making the mistake of reading an OLive comment board recently, I ran across this gem:

“OSU frequently rises up and smacks the Ducks when they come in as heavy underdogs… Look for history to repeat itself”

As is my apparent role in life, I started looking into the history. Could this actually be true?

Well, no.

But I did discover a few facts that might come in handy for bar bets or to shut up an annoying orange neighbor.  (Civil War Fun Facts data)

  1. OSU has not come into the Civil War with *more* wins on the season than Oregon since 1978. (Oregon won that year, 24-3.) Yes, Virginia, that is 33 years, and counting.
  2. OSU has pulled off that “big upset” — a win over an Oregon team that came into the CW with a winning record — exactly three times since 1946:
    • 1959 — arguably the biggest upset of the Ducks in postwar history: 8-1 Oregon hosts 2-7 OSU expecting a win and a Rose Bowl bid, but apparently didn’t want it bad enough, losing at Hayward Field 15-7.
    • 1988 — Oregon, in a tailspin after losing Bill Musgrave for the season against ASU, enters the game at 6-4, but without a QB and just wanting to get the season over with; 3-6-1 bavers win, 21-10.
    • 1998 — Oregon, 8-2 but playing the last half of the season without a Pac10-quality running back, fights valiantly against the conditions, the officiating and the bavers, but loses a 44-41 thriller in 2 OT to 4-6 OSU.

That’s it. Three times in the last 65 seasons has OSU risen to smite its dominant oppressor.

Of the other eight “underdog” wins by scrappy, lunchpail-toting OSU, six came in seasons where both teams had losing records, and the other two were between teams within one game of each other in the win column — no big underdogs there.

Admittedly, OSU has more big upset wins over Oregon than the opposite — simply because Oregon hasn’t been an underdog to OSU very often since 1946.

Only seven games have been played where OAC has more than a one-win advantage on the season over the Ducks; that last happened in 1978, when a one-win Oregon team shocked 3-8 OSU, 24-3. (The line on that game was even.)

This is not to say that a win by four-touchdown-underdog OSU is unpossible. Stranger things have happened. But if the baver fan wants to hang his nutria-skin pill box hat on historic precedent, he’s going to have a hard time finding the hook.


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