The Washington and Oregon football programs hate each other, right? With the exceptions of those traitor L.A. schools, Pacific Northwest programs have ruled the Pac-12. So the distaste makes sense. But the ironic thing is, the Huskies and Ducks may be saving each other right now. Washington State and Oregon State are irrelevant regarding conference realignment, which forces a stepbrother relationship between the two aforementioned PNW schools. As long as they stay away from each other’s drum set, the duo could keep the Pac-12 on the map.
Seattle’s Market Size
This feels like a moot point in Eugene. But unless U.O. can consistently make the College Football Playoff, they’ll probably never get respect from major networks.
This is where Seattle can help. The Seattle-Tacoma market is 14th in the nation. This is more than 100 sports higher than Eugene’s, which ranks 117th.
Ducks fans probably feel they’ve heard this point on “Pon de Replay,” but it does need to be reiterated.
It may prove easy to forget that USC was 4-8 last season. Crosstown, UCLA finished 8-4 last year. However, it was their first winning campaign in five seasons.
For Comparison, Oregon hasn’t had a losing record in five years. And except for Washington’s 2021, they had eleven winning seasons in a row.
If this was based on success alone, the Ducks would’ve been the No. 1 pick in the Big Ten sweepstakes. But it’s not.
The Big Ten didn’t invite USC to their conference for their 4-8 record; they did it for the No. 2 market in the nation.
Seattle may not be No. 2, but they’re in the same weight class as L.A.
What’s the Emerald City known for? Coffee, cannabis, craft breweries? One thing it’s not known for is its swagger.
This is where Eugene can help.
The Phil Knight brand has created its energy within the program. Obviously, the football team’s good. But Knight’s also added some flair.
Ducks fans can see NIL deals, fire jerseys, and some of the coolest shoes in the nation.
Ask Kayvon Thibodeaux…
This may not feel like a lot, but networks are trying to sell to advertisers, and Knight can put on an event.
This differs from U.W.’s classical stadium, traditional boosters, and orthodox approach to maintaining position within the college football landscape.
U.W. has the market, but UO’s the cooler brother.
It’s Washington and Oregon now. No matter what, these two schools will be linked together.
Whether it’s the Pac-12, Big Ten, or hell, even the ACC, these two programs protect each other. And as annoying as it may feel, it’s great for both schools.
But now what?
Now is the time for these programs to play their best football.
Both of these schools have been borderline elite. Borderline elite wasn’t good enough to keep L.A.
But there are two years left in this Pac-12 thing. And outside of Utah, there are probably only two teams who can do anything about it.
Huskies and Ducks, it’s not only time to boss up; it’s time to start cheering for one another.
The Pac-12’s depending on it.