College Traditions: Civil War Between Ducks, Beavers
The Civil War is the colloquial name for an American college football rivalry game played annually in Oregon, between the Ducks of the University of Oregon in Eugene and the Beavers of Oregon State University in Corvallis. First played 121 years ago in 1894, it is the fifth most played college football rivalry game in the United States. Both universities are members of the North Division of the Pac-12 Conference.
The game was first played in 1894 and has been contested 117 times through 2013, and Oregon holds the series lead of 61-46-10 (.564). The game was not contested in 1900, 1901, 1911, 1943, and 1944 and two games were played in 1896 and 1945. The first reference to the “Civil War” name was in 1929 and came into common use in 1937. Prior to that, it was called the “Oregon Classic” or the “State Championship Game.
The game is usually played in even-numbered years at the home field of Oregon State in Corvallis (since 1954, Reser Stadium, formerly Parker Stadium) and in odd-numbered years, at the home field of Oregon in Eugene (since 1967, Autzen Stadium). Seven games were played at Multnomah Stadium, (now known as Providence Park) in Portland: in 1908, 1917, 1933, 1934, 1938, 1950, and 1952. In an effort to mitigate rioting, the 1912 and 1913 games were played at a neutral site in Albany following riots after the 1910 game.
From 1997 through 2006 the winner of the game was the home team. The streak was snapped in 2007, when Oregon State beat Oregon at Autzen Stadium 38-31 in double overtime. In 2008, the Ducks returned the favor in Corvallis by beating OSU 65-38. The streak of visiting teams winning was snapped at two games in 2009 when the Ducks won 37-33 in Eugene.
From 1959 to 1961, the Platypus Trophy was awarded to the winning school. The trophy was lost for 40 years and found in 2005, and beginning with the 2007 game, was awarded to the winning school’s alumni association.
Other athletic contests (most notably, men’s and women’s basketball) between the schools are also referred to as Civil War games.