No. 3 Oregon and no. 5 Stanford face off on Thursday night football’s nightcap (well after BCS Computer has passed out in front of the Daily Show with a half-empty ice cream bowl in his lap). Bragging rights for the only geographic half of the Pac-12 that matters as well as a potential bid to represent *yawn* at the last BCS national championship game, well after anyone this side of Tuscaloosa stopped caring about college football, are at stake for the Duck.
Playing spoiler to appease all sports scribes east of Winnemucca and bump the Webfeet out of the national conversation is Stanford’s mission for the second straight year.
The Ducks have crept up to a double-digit favorite (-10.5) for the ninth time this season. Disregard the fact that the Ducks are 9-1 against the spread over the last 10 games and 10-2 against the spread in its last twelve Pac 12 match ups, that this game is away from the slippery confines of Autzen may be the singular ticket to covering for the Eugene-based NFL farm squad.
In last year’s 17-14 overtime loss at home to the Tree, the Duck was crippled by a stifling Cardinal D as well as the slick conditions on the field slowing their ground and air attack. All is crisp and fall-like down at the Farm so look for the track meet to resume at 6 p.m. PST.
Pick: Oregon (Ducks will win by two touchdowns, so if you can garnish your wager with extra points, do so).
The real question of this lead-in to collget’s Week 11 isn’t who’s going to come out on top, but which school is more annoying?
Here is our breakdown of which institution of higher learning and aggressive marketing gets the “please just go away” nod from a national audience based on four categories: Student body, band/mascot, alumni/sense of entitlement and general bad-taste (including uniform).
Student body: While the majority of Oregon’s football team hails from places other than the Beaver state, its student body is still decidedly Oregonian (more than 60 percent). Stanford, on the other hand, draws out nerds into the rarefied corridors of West Palo Alto from all corners of the globe (though a Stanford undergrad will be quick to point out only someone from Oral Roberts U believes the world has corners.) Stanford students dream their $225k degree will lead to a job at a company can lose a half-billion dollars in its first six years, make no technical or interface improvements and come up with no business plan, lose 80 percent of its users within the first month, and still trade at $45/share its opening day on the market — so they can afford a $2.7 million one bedroom in with bamboo instead of laminate in South Beach (that’s San Francisco’s South Beach, not the one LeBron shipped his talents to.) An Oregon student dreams of an older brother, the one with the women’s studies degree, hooking him up with a part-time floor-sweeping gig in hopes of apprenticeship at a homespun wool-dying facility in an abandoned garage just off Mississippi Avenue. A money-chasing sycophant who believes the world needs yet ANOTHER version of DropBox vs. a hapless hipster saving to finish his sleeve? Close but…
Most annoying: Advantage Stanford.
Band/Mascot: Oregon, in a handshake deal with Walt Disney during the ’40s, adopted Donald Duck as its mascot. The deal was codified in 1973, the same year the LSJUMB was banned for life from Disneyland due to antics like taking over the mic on the Storyland Canal boats. The Duck can only do boring/cloying things (like push-ups) because it’s still Disney property and the Tree can basically do whatever it wants, because it’s property of the kid who built it. So, Nike essentially owns the Ducks inside the lines and Disney owns the Duck outside of them.
Most annoying: Advantage Oregon
Alumni/Sense of entitlement: Even though Stanford’s 22 living Nobel laureates certainly know how to fill out the prize’s paperwork better than the two to come out of Eugene, at least Phil Knight never separated from his wife because he was banging a 26-year old marketing manger/one of his direct reports.
Oh, and he’s never been seen out in public looking like this:
Plus Ann Curry is an Oregon J School alum. And who doesn’t love Ann Curry?
Most annoying: Advantage Stanford.
General bad taste (including uniform): Oregon should walk away with this, especially with the pink bowling ball helmet stunt against Wazzu that didn’t raise a thing besides eyebrows for cancer. But wait, Stanford has jumped on the Nike train as well, and even though they don’t have as many uniform combinations are there are five-year-olds addicted to Dippin’ Dots, both schools’ pandering cancel out.
That is until U of O’s senior associate athletic director Jeff Hawkins’s recent declaration that “(at) UO we are the University of Nike. We embrace it. We tell that to our recruits.” The AD-with-training-wheels’ sentiment is just as over-the-top as it is, sadly, understated. Oregon was once a public coeducational and research university that now happens to be a billboard for a company whose revenue was almost $3.7 billion this year, which is about the size of Stanford’s endowment; though Stanford’s coffers were not built off the backs of Thai children stitching soccer balls for $3/month.
Most Annoying: Advantage Oregon
So there you go folks, an annoying tie to go with two annoying universities, but at least neither is annoyingly proud of it.
That would be USC.