After the 2010 Civil War football game, which gave the University of Oregon Ducks a spot in the Bowl Championship Series national title game and ended Oregon State University’s chances at a bowl game, many Beavers fans began to wonder: Who to support in today’s championship game?
Would it be their rivals — the Ducks — or the Auburn University Tigers?
Russ Peterson of Corvallis had his answer in mind when he designed a T-shirt for friends and family: Auburn University’s official logo in orange on a black background. He and a group of friends tried out the shirts Sunday afternoon as they watched NFL games at Peterson’s home.
Peterson got the idea after listening to a story about Beavers fans ordering Auburn merchandise from the university’s bookstore on AM 1240’s The Joe Beaver show.
The 15 T-shirts Peterson designed aren’t a huge departure from Auburn’s orange-and-blue official colors.
“I thought all my buddies would appreciate it,” he said, adding that the shirts aren’t for sale.
Like Peterson, Jay Thiele of Corvallis had no problem deciding whether or not to support the Ducks. He explained how frustrating it was to hear other Beavers fans supporting Oregon for the sake of state solidarity.
“That’s just wrong,” he said.
No Auburn-related merchandise was found on the OSU Bookstore website Sunday afternoon. Likewise, Auburn’s rivals at the University of Alabama Supply Store had no Oregon merchandise for sale.
Though Peterson graduated from University of Washington, his two children gave him a connection to the Beavers.
“All my money went to OSU for my kids,” he laughed.
Peterson plans to host a small party this evening for the game, and expects a few Ducks fans to attend. However, he says the shirts are a harmless joke.
“It means we’re having fun,” he said, pointing to his T-shirt. “I want to see a good game (on Monday).”
Student staff members of OSU’s Memorial Union Program Council were slightly more divided along the Oregon-Auburn lines Thursday afternoon.
Charley McGowan, a senior and MUPC vice president, plans to support the Ducks because it’s a team that represents the state of Oregon, but does so with reservations.
He was on the OSU cheerleading team from 2006 to 2008 and remembers what it was like attending Civil War games in Eugene, where he thought Ducks fans were extraordinarily harsh to the visiting team. The experience gave him a bad impression of the university.
“I hated going to Autzen Stadium,” McGowan said.
“You wouldn’t see an OSU fan burning an ‘I love my ducks’ T-shirt on the field,” said Craig Bidiman, OSU senior and president of MUPC, referring to a phrase made popular by a 2009 song produced by three UO students.
Bidiman attended UO for one year and even attended Ducks games at Autzen before transferring to OSU in 2007, but plans to support Auburn.
Wes Stone, a program coordinator for MUPC, took Bidiman’s hopes for an Auburn win further: he said he hopes Auburn’s quarterback, Cam Newton, “throws for 500 yards” during the BCS game.
“I don’t support the Oregon program at all,” he said. “I would love the West Coast get football recognition, but I’d rather see Oregon lose.”
At least one OSU community member had no trouble deciding who to support.
OSU senior Makenzie Marineau traveled with her parents and brother to Glendale, Ariz., to attend today’s BCS game. Marineau — a self-described “die-hard Ducks fan” — and her family have season tickets and tries to attend all bowl games in which the Ducks appear, including the 2010 Rose Bowl where UO faced off against Ohio State.
She occasionally is teased by Beavers fans for her loyalty to the Ducks, and visa versa, because her family sometimes rails against her for attending OSU — but Marineau doesn’t think the teasing is too intense.
“I’m not really afraid to hide the fact that I’m a Duck fan,” she said.
Contact reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9510 or at email@example.com