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Why is Oregon vs. Oregon State called the Civil War?

The Ducks and Beavers have made a change to the official name but that hasn’t dampened the spirit of the rivalry.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Oregon
Oregon Ducks running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio breaks through Oregon State Beavers for a first down during the second half at Autzen Stadium. The Oregon Ducks beat the Oregon State Beavers 24-10.
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest rivalries in the Pacific Northwest continues Saturday when the Oregon Ducks meet the Oregon State Beavers square off. The rivalry has been played continuously since 1945 and is the fifth-longest played rivalry in college football.

Why is it called the Civil War?

The game was originally known as the “Oregon Classic” and “State Championship Game”. The first reference to “Civil War” came in 1929 and was used commonly since 1937. The schools no longer use this name due to its reference to the American Civil War and the implications of a conflict that perpetuated slavery, making the change in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement during 2020. Typically, the teams play in Corvallis in even-numbered years and in Eugene in odd-numbered years.

Who won last year?

The Beavers snapped a three-game losing streak last season with a 41-38 victory. Both schools saw their seasons heavily impacted by COVID-19, and the 3-0 Ducks were technically College Football Playoff contenders at the time of the game.

All-time results

The Ducks lead the overall series 66-48-10.

History

Oregon has won 11 of the last 13 games, with some memorable results in recent years. The 2009 game was dubbed “War for the Roses” as the winner would automatically go to the Rose Bowl. The Ducks won that game 37-33. The following season, Oregon won 37-20 en route to an eventual National Championship Game berth. In 2013, the Ducks narrowly beat the Beavers 36-35 with Marcus Mariota completing a touchdown pass to Josh Huff in the final 30 seconds.

Trophy

The winner of this game gets the Platypus Trophy, which features both a duck and a beaver. The trophy actually isn’t presented annually, and made a re-appearance after two columns from The Oregonian writer John Canzano. The trophy had actually been stolen after the 1961 game and eventually ended up being used as the water polo rivalry trophy between the two schools. It went missing again when the pool and trophy case were demolished for renovations in 2000. The trophy was rediscovered following Canzano’s columns in 2005 in a closet in Oregon’s basketball arena McArthur Court. It is now presented to the alumni association of the winning school.