750 THE GAME STAFF
Is is Saturday yet?
In what is being billed as the biggest game in the rich history of the Oregon-Washington football rivalry, the emotions are already building amongst the programs and fanbases in Seattle and Eugene.
No. 7 Washington hosts No. 8 Oregon on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. on ABC, the first time the two schools are meeting with each ranked inside the AP Top 10.
Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer has the bragging rights after leading his team to a 37-34 upset win in Autzen Stadium over Dan Lanning’s Ducks in what was each coach’s first taste of the rivalry last November.
Fans of both programs know what’s at stake. They know the “hate” for the other is unlike any opponent on their schedule. But do the coaches feel the hate?
“Hated I think amongst the fans for a week, but it’s healthy,” DeBoer said in his Monday afternoon press conference. “In my mind, that’s what college football is all about.”
DeBoer said it’s that shared animosity between two great programs that makes a game like Saturday must-watch television.
“That’s what’s fun. You can’t help but turn the channel to that game and watch it if you’re living in any other part of the country, and that’s what this game is all about. The fans and the hype and all the stories that surround the ebs and flos of decades of this rivalry are really cool and we’re excited to be a part of it this year.”
DeBoer’s Huskies have won twelve games in a row dating back to their last loss on Oct. 8th, 2022, over a year ago. That included a hard-fought 24-21 win over the Beavers in November of last year that preceded the rivalry game with Oregon, and DeBoer said that was part of his team’s confidence down the stretch.
“Last year there was just a good build up to that game with a close win against Oregon State,” DeBoer said. “Just as we were building up and winning some close games and fighting through some adversity that we had when we were 4-0, and then went 4-2, we were just learning a lot about ourselves and understanding how we can get through it. And that one (win at Oregon) certainly was one that put us over the top in our belief and trust in what we were doing at that time. And with that, that’s carried over into this season and that’s why you see what you see through five games.”
The winner of Saturday’s 115th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Huskies is in the driver’s seat to reach Las Vegas and the Pac-12 title game, and potentially even make the College Football Playoff in this final epic season of Pac-12 football.
John Canzano gives his thoughts on the Oregon-Washington matchup and makes his pick later in the week on the Bald Faced Truth, afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.