Robin Ross continues the Northwest tour of his past for the second game.

The Oregon State football team's tight end coach returns to Autzen Stadium on Thursday with the Beavers when they play the Civil War to end the regular season.

Ross coached the linebackers, special teams and defensive line for the Ducks from 1997-98 and 2001-04. He helped Oregon to a 49-27 record and five bowls games.

"There was six years down there," Ross said. "I know a lot of people down there. That is the good part of the Civil War.

"I never realized how many people in this state have families who went to both schools. And I coached at both schools."

Ross returned to Washington State, his alma mater and another former employer, last week to help the Beavers win 42-10.

That was a warm-up for the Civil War.

"Any time you play, there can be other things besides just another game involved," Ross said. "It's where you know people.

"You work with those people and it becomes more than a game. You want to come back and do your best. You want to go win, and don't want to go lose."

Ross has coached against his previous employers before and is accustomed to feeling those varying emotions in the games. He has even coached against a former team in this heated rivalry once.

He coached the linebackers for the Beavers in 2005, and lost that Civil War in Eugene 56-14. The experience was disappointing, but will help him cope with this year's contest.

"It was interesting when the people in the stands I knew started yelling at me," Ross said. "They were people I knew well there, too. That's all part of it. It was fun. Those are the days you coach for and play for. We like the intensity and the emphasis put on it."

Ross stayed only one year with the Beavers because he took the head coaching job at Western Washington the following year.

Western Washington discontinued its program last year, so Ross returned to OSU as a graduate assistant in charge of the tight ends.

Making this year's showdown a little more intense is there are Pacific-10 Conference championship implications on the line and a Rose Bowl berth for the winner.

"It makes it a lot more interesting," Ross said. "It's fun."

Ross loves the rivalry and all that goes with the game. He enjoys the hype and the vibe among the players and fans.

The natural in-state rivalries of the Pac-10 add to the emotion. Ross says it's better than when he coached at Iowa State when the Cyclones were in the Big Eight Conference.

Iowa was in a different conference than Iowa State. Oklahoma's rival was Nebraska, not Oklahoma State.

"College football is all about rivalries, it's a part of football," Ross said. "The Civil War is one of the greatest rivalries in college football year-in and year-out. It's unique from around the country."

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