Radoff: Why we should root for Oregon football

Nov. 14, 2014, 12:18 a.m.

Everyone needs to start rooting for Oregon football. Too soon? Just hear me out. The Stanford-Oregon game has become one of the most anticipated matchups in college football. Despite Stanford being unranked heading into Eugene, the game was still the second-most watched game in the Pac-12 that week, losing out to the Arizona/UCLA matchup. It has established itself firmly as a marquee matchup that will draw interest from around the country.

Here’s the thing: With no playoff hopes, Stanford fans, or at least this Stanford fan, should begin to realize that a good Oregon is good for Stanford. Though it is one of the most nonsensical of all football theories, the transitive theory of football has a powerful psychological effect on perception of teams everywhere. Therefore, if Oregon gets into the inaugural College Football Playoff or, better yet, acquits itself well, then the Pac-12 as a whole benefits from the success. If Oregon plays at their highest level, they have a substantial chance of knocking off the likes of FSU or beating whoever makes it out of the SEC.

If you haven’t already taken note, a university’s football team is more than just a team; it represents the university and even represents the distinct place and culture the university represents. “Roll tide” is a way of life; The Ohio State is sovereign nation. Stanford is Excellence. You get the picture. That means that the Playoff Selection Committee (Hi, Dr. Rice!) will likely only choose one representative from any given conference (besides the SEC, apparently), and that team will carry the fortunes of an entire conference. Oregon makes the Pac-12 look better if they win, and no team more so than the one that has been their nemesis: Stanford.

But Oregon, you make it so very difficult to like you. At all. To have the sense of mutual respect that the Stanford-Oregon rivalry deserves. Oregon you are letting a relatively small minority of fans and students tear down everything that you have built.

I’ve met my share of wonderful, kind and caring Oregon alumni. I have close friends and family that attended the school. Those upstanding people are not the poor excuses for fans and human beings that were booing when senior safety Kyle Olugbode went down with an arm injury with just about eight minutes left in the second half and the score 21-6. As Olugbode dove headlong to stop the dynamic Marcus Mariota on a scramble, he immediately writhed on the ground in pain and his agony was followed by a chorus of boos from the slovenly animals in the Autzen zoo. I detest absolutism in all its forms, so the caveat is this: The vast majority of people who are Oregon fans are, in all likelihood, outstanding ladies and gentlemen. Look no further than Autzen’s esteemed announcer Don Essig as proof: He announced during the roar of boos that “In Autzen Stadium, we do not boo injured players.” Unfortunately, his plea went unheeded. In fact, it was met with outright contempt, inciting the crowd even further.

I get the image that Oregon is trying to cultivate and I would be ecstatic to be a part of that. Nike U is full of flash or swag or whatever the term the kids are using these days. The infinite permutations of their constantly updated uniforms and allure of playing the Ducks in the (former) NCAA video game series means that they have successfully cultivated an image that should be the envy of any football program. However, in doing so, you run the risk of creating an environment that breeds fans who act like 13-year-olds on five cans of Red Bull. And that was the kind of decorum on display in Eugene; when you tell them to stop, they get louder.

Here’s the thing Oregon: We actually want you to win. After our loss to ASU, we on the Farm were very cognizant of the fact that if anyone was going to make it into the Playoff from the Pac-12, it was going to be you. After our epic bouts with the Ducks, after creating an historical epic seemingly overnight, it is only fitting that if we can’t be there, then they should. In pure football terms, Oregon, more than any other Pac-12 football team, should be the team that every Stanford fan should root for.

It’s not all good: When we lost at Autzen, we also lost out on one of the best DE in the nation in Canton Kaumatule, Luke Kaumatule’s brother. But even that is just one more reason that Stanford-Oregon is, as they say, must-see TV.

The excellence of Oregon’s football team, the excellence of their faculty, the excellence of their athletics, the arduous forging of both Stanford’s and Oregon’s football programs in the face of decades of dominance by other Pac-12 teams deserves better than what Rex Ryan would almost certainly refer to as ‘bush league nonsense.’ Take your shots Duck fans: Smart people are less attractive, we can’t fill a stadium without Andrew Luck at quarterback, we’re pretentious, terrible at trash talking and we apparently, according to some Ducks fans, suffer from ‘just jelly.’ Just know this, I’m rooting for you, Stanford fans should be rooting for you, everyone in the Pac-12 (besides ASU) should be rooting for you, but just please don’t make it so difficult.

Despite how that column may have come off, Nicholas Radoff is still a Stanford fan, believe him. Join his Pac-12 holding of hands at nradoff ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Nic Radoff '15 is now officially from Oakland and is a proud to be a history major and a Latin-American studies minor. Nic was a staff writer for women's soccer and follows football extensively, whether his editors let him write about it or not. He is a proud member of the men's club lacrosse team and invites you all to come watch most Saturdays, even though you might not see him on the field much. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking with his husky Artoo, lamenting his A's and maintaining that things get better with age.

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