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MailTribune.com
  • Who needs the Pac-12 Network?

    Brought together by their love of football and the inability to watch the Civil War at home, fans of the Ducks and Beavers cheered on their favorites
  • There was no mistaking Bryan Marshall's collegiate allegiance as he watched the University of Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State University Beavers battle it out Saturday.
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  • There was no mistaking Bryan Marshall's collegiate allegiance as he watched the University of Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State University Beavers battle it out Saturday.
    The Beaver believer at the Lava Sports Bar and Grill in Medford was wearing a bright orange OSU bandanna and an accompanying OSU T-shirt.
    "My wife is an OSU alumnus — gotta keep peace in the house," said Marshall, 39, just before halftime with the Ducks leading, 20-10.
    "The Beavs have always been a second-half team, so we got that to go," he added. "They are holding their own so far."
    His wife, Richelle Marshall, 34, agreed they still had a chance.
    "I always pick the Beavers to win," she said.
    But their friends Erik Philpot, 31, and Brooke Jobe of Central Point were cheering the Ducks.
    "I watched them most of my life, and that's who I stuck with," he said. "And most of my friends are Oregon fans."
    "The Ducks will win," Jobe promised.
    Like other local sports bars carrying the 116th clash between the two teams, the facility, which holds some 350, was filled to capacity as the crowd watched the game on a bank of large, plasma-screen TVs. The game was carried on the Pac-12 Network, meaning only those with DISH Network or Ashland Fiber Network could see it. Charter Media and DirecTV have not yet signed a contract with the Pac-12 Network.
    Dating back to 1894, the annual Duck-Beaver game is the seventh-oldest major college football rivalry in the nation. Generations of Oregonians have grown up on the side of the yellow and green or the black and orange.
    Going into the game, the quacker backers had the edge — 59-46-10. And the Ducks had won the past four games in the series.
    But Saturday's game was only the fourth time that both teams have been ranked going into the Civil War.
    The Ducks are rated fifth by The Associated Press, while OSU is ranked 15th nationally.
    OSU graduate Dave Upton, 41, of Sherwood, was rooting for his Beavers.
    "But my wife's family is from down here, and I'm sitting at a table with mostly Duck fans," he said.
    His prediction?
    "I think there is going to be a lot of beer drinking and we're going to have fun either way," he said.
    He was spot on, although the game did not go his way.
    Wearing a Duck sweatshirt was radio personality Gemineye of Medford station 105.5 FM.
    "Technically, I should have been a Beaver," he said when he wasn't addressing the crowds, noting he was reared in Beaverton.
    But he went to Southern Oregon University. "So I'm rooting for the Ducks," he said.
    He was working as an emcee at the sports bar, periodically calling out winners of Duck or Beaver paraphernalia picked by a random drawing.
    "Any Beavers in the house?" he asked the crowd at one point, causing a large cheer from the outnumbered OSU fans.
    "Any Duck fans?" he asked, creating a thunderous roar that rattled the doors.
    OSU student John Morrow, 22, a senior majoring in public health, wasn't shy at all about declaring his allegiance. He wore a black OSU sweatshirt.
    "I'm rooting for the Beavers but there are a lot of Duck fans down south," said the Eagle Point High School graduate as he looked out at the largely green and yellow crowd. "Northern Oregon seems to have more Beaver supporters."
    At a nearby table, two women sitting side-by-side were cheering for opposite sides, judging from their bright Duck and Beaver T-shirts.
    "My son attended OSU," explained Linda Johnson of Central Point, a Beaver backer.
    "Both schools are good," added her friend, Sarah Karnatz, who wore the Duck shirt.
    Medford resident Tai Sammons, 52, described herself as a born-again Duck.
    "I went to Arizona State," said the former college cheerleader. "But I am married to a Duck. I think of myself as an adopted daughter of the state of Oregon."
    Grants Pass resident Paul Dennis, 62, wearing a Duck hat and jacket, figured he earned the right to be an Oregon booster.
    "I'm a Duck fan because I spent a lot of money for my daughter to go there for seven years," he said.
    Over at Mr. Smith's sports bar in Medford, Duck fans were whooping it up as the game drew to a close, 48-24. Many were chanting "USC! USC!" in hopes the Trojans would knock off undefeated Notre Dame to give Oregon a possible national title shot.
    But Ashland residents Jane Lininger, 67, and Richard Davis, 50, were waxing philosophical after the game.
    "We are a house divided," Lininger explained, referring to the fact she is an Oregon alumnus while he went to OSU.
    "I've been a Beaver fan forever — I was hoping they would pull it out," Davis lamented. "But we're still friends. We root for the same teams all season long except for today. I am happy for her, even though my team lost."
    Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or email him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.
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