Both teams wounded heading into Civil War
(AP Photo/John MIller)
By ANNE M. PETERSON
AP Sports Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) For the first time in a long time, there's nothing big on the line in the Civil War. No national championship. No Rose Bowl berth. No Pac-12 title.
When Oregon and Oregon State meet in their annual rivalry game on Friday, it will be about salvaging the season after demoralizing losses this past weekend. And pride.
Oregon (9-2, 6-2) got stunned by Arizona, losing 42-16 in Tucson, and subsequently dropped from No. 5 to No. 12 in the rankings and out of the Pac-12 championship game. Stanford, with a 63-13 victory over Cal in the Big Game on Saturday, clinched the Pac-12 North and will play Arizona State for the league title and a trip to Pasadena on New Year's Day.
Oregon State (6-5, 4-4) was routed 69-27 at home by Washington.
The Beavers could still clinch a winning season with a victory over the Ducks. With a loss, the team may not even make it to a bowl game: Nine conference teams are bowl eligible and the league has agreements with just seven bowls. Those left out could receive at-large bids, but it would be at the schools' discretion to accept them.
Oregon State players didn't speak after the loss to the Huskies, but coach Mike Riley said he believed they'll be able to shake off the loss for the Civil War.
The Beavers had a miserable start to the season with a loss at home to lower division Eastern Washington. The team rallied, reeling off six straight wins, before it crashed again with four straight losses.
Oregon was ranked No. 2 and in the hunt for a spot in the national championship game just three games ago. Now the Ducks are looking at a spot in perhaps the Alamo or Holiday Bowl - snapping their string of four straight BCS bowls.
"We are just going to have to come back and bounce back," Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota said. "We have to come back and just fight and control what we can control."
On Monday, Mariota said he will play in the Civil War, telling reporters he passed the concussion protocol after he was hit in the head late in the loss to the Wildcats. He appeared dazed after the hit, and then was surrounded by trainers on the sidelines.
Mariota has already been hobbled for the past four games by an apparent left knee injury that has forced him to wear a brace. The extent of the injury is not known because Oregon doesn't discuss injuries as a policy and Mariota has insisted that it's not an issue.
Last season, then-No. 5 Oregon was coming off an overtime loss to Stanford and needed the victory over the Beavers - coupled with a Stanford loss to UCLA - for a shot at a fourth straight Pac-12 championship.
The Ducks won the Civil War 48-24, but Stanford also won to earn the spot in the league championship game. With just one loss the Ducks still went on to face Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The year before, Oregon clinched a spot in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game with a 49-21 victory in the Civil War. In 2010, Oregon was ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings going into the 2010 game and a 37-20 victory sent them to the national championship against Auburn.
But this season, the Ducks were undone by losses to Stanford and Arizona. Receiver Josh Huff caused a stir last week - before Oregon was stunned by the Wildcats - when he suggested he would be disappointed with a Rose Bowl berth because it wasn't the national championship.
Following the loss to Arizona, he vowed he'd be ready for the Civil War.
"We have Oregon State coming to us and it's going to be tough to beat those guys if we played like we just played. A lot of people misunderstand me, I just want the best for my teammates. I have always been taught, never be satisfied," he said. "As this Oregon State game comes up, I am going to do everything I can to get these guys ready."
Updated November 25, 2013