I’m getting this posted a little later than intended.
But with the UW-Oregon game not until 7:30 Saturday night, there’s still plenty of time to weigh in on a question I got a lot this week. Specifically, is Oregon the biggest rival for UW?
There are those, of course, who would say this is a dumb question, that the in-state Cougars are and always will be UW’s biggest rival.
For a while there in the late ’90s and early part of the 2000s, though, I think the intensity of the emotion associated with Oregon was on par with the Apple Cup, if not above.
But as Bud Withers detailed this week, the nature of the rivalry has changed over time.
For years, UW dominated and the most heated feelings came from Oregon, and I think few on the Washington side would have even considered Oregon to be UW’s biggest game in any season.
Then for a while, in the ’90s and into the 2000’s — beginning obviously with the Kenny Wheaton game — each team won its share, and the rivalry was at its most intense (that a lot of the games in that era also were fairly dramatic also helped). Then the tables turned and Oregon became the dominant team — and many would argue a true rivalry requires some pretty regular back-and-forth.
As Withers explains, the times also changed, coaches on each side preferring not to stoke the flames, and players following their lead.
My sense, though, is that the intense feelings among fans are still largely there, needing only a little more drama in the games themselves to come to the surface.
But you tell me. Is it even worth considering anyone other than WSU as UW’s biggest rival? Is it Oregon? Or is it someone else?