No Upside For Ducks Fans Questioning Rooting For Washington Over Michigan

By SPENCER McLAUGHLIN

Contributor, 750 The Game

It’s the one team that Oregon fans almost universally seem to root against. I think that the Beavers, especially amidst realignment, get more support from Oregon fans in games not played against the Ducks. The matchups between Oregon and Washington have been described as “pure, unbridled hatred” on more than one occasion. Does that hold true as the Huskies take on Michigan in the national championship game?

I doubt it. And I don’t think it should change.

There was a time in which I might (MIGHT!!) have felt differently, back when the PAC was still going to exist even without Colorado. That hypothetical league would have faced a major battle in the eyes of the CFB world to continue to be treated as a high-quality league where every win means something. If you have the reigning national champions, that doesn’t exactly hurt the pedigree.

But that’s not the world we live in.

Oregon and Washington will be members of the Big 10 in 2024. It sounds wrong as I type it out, and yet it’s reality. Oregon fans have nothing to gain by Washington winning the national championship, aside from the obvious perk of Husky fans getting to rub it in their faces and mention Phil Knight as they do it.

I presume you sense the sarcasm there.

Washington is very good. Oregon was also very good in 2023, Washington was just a little bit better in those two games. There isn’t a singular “what-if” moment for Oregon as they think back to that fateful Friday in Las Vegas last December. Not like Michael Dyer being ruled down, Dennis Dixon and Chris Boucher not getting injured, and other moments that are stuck in the minds of Duck fans. It was more akin to the 2014 national championship matchup with Ohio State, where the biggest question to ask was simply “what if Oregon had played better?”

Oregon isn’t trying to sell anyone on west coast football anymore, the Big 10 has seen the value and is adding 4 schools from the soon-to-be-dead Pac-12. A conference, worth noting, that could rebuild one day into the premier G5 conference in the country. But for all intents and purposes right now, the league is done.

Oregon fans would watch in agony if Washington hoisted a national championship trophy, one they’ve come very close to raising themselves on multiple occasions over the last 15 years. I know they’ll get there one day, but it’s impossible to predict when that day will come when so many great seasons have passed and they’re still looking for their first.

There’s nothing to be gained with west coast loyalty for Duck fans here, and this ongoing feeling of looking up at UW would only intensify greatly. Oregon fans should be rooting for Michigan, their new Big 10 comrades.

For what it’s worth, I think Monday night is going to be a painful day for Duck fans to watch. Michigan hasn’t seen an offense like Washington’s all season and they look unstoppable.

Prediction:

Washington 35, Michigan 27

Spencer McLaughlin is an Oregon Ducks football contributor to 750 The Game. He also hosts the “Locked On Oregon Ducks” and “Locked On Pac-12” podcasts and has work featured throughout the season here.