Canzano – New name for Civil War rivalry right under the noses of Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers

Calling Oregon and the Oregon state rivalry, “The Civil War” never made sense.

Over the years, I tried to explain to strangers that the name of the rivalry was born more than 100 years ago from a tired sports / war metaphor, which was never meant to be a real reference to the American Civil War.

That confusing association officially ended on Friday. UO and OSU released a joint statement, announcing that they will no longer use the term “Civil War” in connection with their sports rivalry games. The sides will choose something new. But this should not be left up to a marketing company or a group of outside consultants.

It is a job for you and me.

It cannot be forced. In fact, I don’t think there is much debate about what rivalry should be called in the future. The series features ducks and beavers. You already have a trophy with a surprising and unusual story. So if you want to pick a name for the rivalry that makes sense and captures the unique and interesting flavor of our state, there can only be one selection.

The platypus bowl. Or the platypus battle.

For the annual soccer game, of course.

Maybe the Platypus Series or the Platypus Cup or all the sports rivalry. Work out the details. Millennials can call it “The Platty”. But that is the framework for the next 100 years of this rivalry.

I went to social media on Friday, soliciting suggestions for the renowned rivalry. Twitter gave me some beauties, including “Birkenstock Bowl” and “Microbrew Hullabaloo” and “Semiaquatic Shootout”. The Facebook audience chimed in with “Territory War” and “Classic Hemp” and “Battle between the two highest-paid state employees.”

A quick look at the respective social media sources is worth your time. It is an interesting study. Because what emerges quickly is an image of a frustrated and divided audience. The sides are divided between those who offer creative alternatives and those who are angry and frustrated by what they think is an unnecessary correction.

I guess you can call the series whatever you want in your own home. But the platypus is half duck, half beaver. We need a little unity right now. The platypus gives us that. Renaming the rivalry as “Willamette Classic” or “The Oregon Battle” would look good on a T-shirt, but this is a series with a surprising and interesting story.

It deserves a unique name.

Ducks? Beavers?

Those are not traditional pets. Giving a kind of sterile, worldly nickname to this rivalry won’t do. This battle between the state of Oregon and Oregon had a soccer game, in 1937, which featured a rally in downtown Eugene that ended with OSU fans popping up and throwing duck fans with ears of corn. .

It is a rivalry like no other, you see? And a platypus with that duckbill and a beaver’s body is an animal like no other.

Did you know that Oregon State played football rivalry once without a head coach (1898)? Or that the 1931 game featured 37 word games? And no one who was there will ever see the 1983 “Toilet Bowl”, a 0-0 draw played in the driving rain that featured 11 fumbles, five interceptions and four missed field goals.

But he has also had some good times. Memories were made, and places were won in the Rose Bowl, and seven NFL Draft first-round picks took snapshots as quarterbacks. None of that diminishes by giving the rivalry a new name.

In 2004, I wrote a column asking why the oldest rivalry in the Pac-12 Conference had no trophy. A few days later, I received an email from a man named Warren Spady who announced, “The game has a trophy.”

“I created it.”

Spady, who now lives in Roseburg, was a long-time art student in Oregon. In 1959, he was chosen to sculpt a one-piece maple game trophy. “The Platypus Trophy” ended two feet wide and 18 inches tall. The presidents of the student bodies in the respective universities exchanged it for a spell after the annual soccer game.

Former UO Vice President Dan Williams also read that 2004 column. Williams came up to me and said he remembered walking the mud of Hayward Field in 1961 when he was president of the UO student body, handing over the Platypus Trophy to the OSU student body president after a 6-2 Beaver victory that year.

The trophy was stolen from the Gill Coliseum display case by a fraternity, then recovered. Then a year later, someone broke into and stole it a second time. And finally, it disappeared.

Williams launched the search in late 2004. Athletics department staff found him months later in a storage room at the Moshofsky Center next to the Autzen Stadium. Spady was summoned to Williams’ office, where the artist identified him, signed him, and now the trophy is exchanged by the respective university alumni associations.

Time to bring him back to the forefront of this rivalry.


Of course. I’m in. Let’s erase any confusion. This university rivalry is not about war. It is about ducks and beavers coming together and only one animal on the planet understands the beauty of it.

It is platypus or bust.