We thought it might be a good idea to dip into Ted Miller's mailbag, since he reads us now and everything. Or at least, he likes to read danzig's posts professing his love for Longshore. And away we go...
Dan from Portland writes: Fever, I am sure you have by now received countless emails from my fellow Oregonians stating that the greatest college football rivalry of all time in any conference is the Oregon State / [expletive] ducks civil war....this is the hardest fought game of the year regardless of national rankings....it sells out every year and gives millions... okay, thousands of Oregonians something to look forward to besides nine months of rain. Even the kids in this state classify themselves as Beavers or *ucks. Please do a little more research next time.
Ray from Lake Oswego, Ore. writes: Dude, you blatently left out the Civil War on your "most bitter rivalries" list???!!!??? C'mon now, I know you spent a lot of time up in Seattle, but you really think the Apple Cup and fuskies vs. the 'ucks is a better rivalry? As a proud member of Beaver Nation, I am hear to tell you that our hatred for all things green and yellow far outweighs that of those other rivalries...heck our rivalry game with the fuskies has a better rating on the "hate-o-meter" than most of your top 5. I was really beginning to like your blog and then you had to go and do this...we expect better from you Fever.
Yellow Fever: Let's get one thing clear; every rivalry is bitter. But let's do a little research and take a look at some of the highlights.
First, using the magic of YouTube, we have Oregon State blocking a field goal from Oregon to win the 2006 Civil War.
Now, that's pretty cool, and I didn't remember that happening at all. Props to Oregon State, I suppose.
BAM! WHIFF! ZAM! POW! It wouldn't be a good rivalry without some fights in the stands.
Unfortunately, that video seems to be of the aftermath, but I appreciated it nonetheless.
As for some of the more notable games in the rivalry, here we have a link to OSUalum.com.
But as Miller says, it can't be that much of a rivalry if Ducks fans hate the Huskies more. And to bring that closer to home, I'd have to say at this point that recent alums like myself hate USC more than we hate Stanford. Yeah, I dislike the fact that we lost the Big Game last year and no longer have possession of the axe, but it's not like it eats at me. Ask me again if the Cardinal win the next two Big Games.
Brian from Munford, Tenn., writes: The numbers do not lie. Most SEC teams do have poor non-conference scheduling. After all since the BCS started the SEC has 4 national championships and why not include Auburn in 2004 since USC was awarded a piece in 2003(50% i would say a highly significant winning %)?The problem is EVERY week in the SEC anyone can win. There is no other conference that even compares. So with that said why would any team in this conference schedule big non conference games? They do not need to!
Yellow Fever: I think I've said before that that kind of reasoning is an absolute joke. Let's say a family in your neighborhood had six brothers who beat the shit out of each other every weekend, with any of them having a chance of winning any particular fight, all of them seemingly highly skilled, and then calling themselves the toughest guys in the universe. Except when they went out and fought, you know, anyone else, they were pretty much 50/50 to get the shit kicked out of them. Would you still think they're the toughest guys in the universe? Let me put it to you like this: no.
So why does the SEC get a pass for losses like Cal 45, Tennessee 31, and Michigan 41, Florida 35? Hey, if a conference is strong because anyone can win within the conference, you'd better be able to stomp everyone outside the conference.
For any MMA fans out there, I think it's fairly analogous to the former perception of UFC and PRIDE. For years, everyone was convinced that the guys in PRIDE would mop the floor with anyone from UFC; Wanderlei Silva would take Chuck Liddell's head off, Dan Henderson would crush Quinton Jackson...and guess what? It didn't happen. The PRIDE guys stepped outside of their own competitive circle and lost to their competitors, and as a result, no one really believes the perception that everyone in PRIDE is/was superior to everyone fighting in UFC.
Why does this kind of mentality persist with regards to the SEC? I can't give you a straight answer, but maybe I can point to something that speaks to the culture down there.
Nick from St. Paul writes: Fever, could you go into a little more depth on the Arizona State offensive line? How much of last year was do to a new system, Carpenter holding the ball too long and past injuries hurting lineman mobility? How much will that improve with in the second year of Team Erickson?
Yellow Fever: No, I can't go into any more depth, because I'm not good at actual analysis that isn't condescending in some way.
Tate from Eugene writes: I realize that you think the ducks "have the ugliest uniforms in the history of the world" but does it really matter when we've actually pulled recruits here on our uniforms alone? Obviously they are doing something for us. The recruits love it, the players love it, and the fans love it. So keep on hating and we'll keep on pulling in guys like LeGarrette Blount who is gonna tear the Pac-10 up this season (as a backup too).
Yellow Fever: I'm gonna draw a parallel here to the Brett Favre situation. I've read people say he's entitled to act like an asshole and put himself above the Packers because of what he's done for them. But even if that's true, he's still an asshole. Having the right to be an asshole doesn't mean he's not being an asshole when he exercises that right.
So, same for the ugly Oregon jerseys. Just because they serve a purpose and attract recruits doesn't mean that they're not ugly. They're still ugly.
Jordan from Coeur d'Alene, ID writes: I have been wrestling with the toughest football question I've ever contemplated and I need your advice: I am a lifelong Washington fan and I don't know what to do this season. I love Ty Willingham, the man; he's a class act and full of good character. However, he is a god-awful football coach. He's recruited decently but is 11-25 (and, as I'm sure you remember, Lambright was fired for a better record) in three seasons and is without argument a terrible game day coach. I am clearly in the wanting Ty fired camp, but does that mean I have to hope for my Huskies to have a mediocre to poor season so that he will be canned? I mean, I'm desperate for a bowl game but I fear that if we make one Ty will be extended and we will remain mediocre. What's a purple and gold-clad fan to do?
Yellow Fever: Jordan, don't worry about it. Rome wasn't built in a day either. Keep Willingham.
Doug from Houston writes: Fever - If you have USC only making the Rose Bowl then who do you have them losing to? Please don't tell me Ohio State!
Yellow Fever: Let's just say these guys might have something to do with it.