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A War for the Roses

With college football’s regular season play coming to a close, there are still a few loose-ends that need to be tied up--- the SEC, and subsequently, the first place spot in the BCS championship game will be decided on December 5th when (1)Florida takes on (2)Alabama for conference honors; the three under-dogs in (4)TCU, (5)Cincinnati and (6)Boise St. are all hoping for (3)Texas to go down in order to secure a potential second place ranking in the BCS poll, putting one of them in the national championship; and finally, perhaps the most exciting battle in the country is happening in the PAC-10, whose winner will face (10)Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. What makes this year’s race for the roses so electrifying isn’t the fact that for the first time in practically a decade USC is not even a conference contender, but rather that the Rose Bowl bid could be decided by the outcome of one of the nation’s longest and fiercest rivalry games: The Oregon-Oregon State Civil War.

This scenario is only possible if the Ducks and the Beavers win their games against Arizona and Washington State, respectively. An Oregon win over the Wildcats stymies not only Arizona’s shot at a PAC-10 title, but also secures Oregon State an opportunity to contend with the Ducks for a Rose Bowl berth. If these are the circumstances for the matchup on December 3rd, this year’s Civil War could prove to be the bloodiest battle to date. Throughout the season, both teams on both sides of the ball have proven themselves fast, smart, and potent. One factor, however, could be the difference between the Oregon Ducks reaching the pinnacle of excellence once again, or having to settle for less like they have done for most of the Bellotti-era. Enter Autzen Stadium. Loved by many, feared by all, Auzten is one of the loudest stadiums in the country, making it one of the most difficult places to play in and escape with a victory. If it’s roses or death, expect the Beaver dam to be flooded with the maniacal cries and victorious cheers of the Oregon faithful.

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