Hard Facts: Sometimes the truth hurts

August 29, 2008 03:56 pm

In a time when “going green” is the socially acceptable way to go, I plan on going purple.

Yes, despite living amongst the Duck and Beaver fans in Oregon, I remain a faithful Husky follower.

Sure, the Washington program has seen a slight decline in recent years. In that same time frame Oregon has been on the rise. But the catchphrase seems to be that the country needs change. And as Bob Dylan once sung, “Times they are a changing.”

Maybe I can change a little too. Sure why not. For this one game — when Oregon and Washington square off Saturday — I can root for both teams. Albeit in a round-about sort of way.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be cheering on the purple and gold.

The Huskies face a daunting task in the season opener — the first in 10 years against a Pac-10 school.

Tyrone Willingham, who is coaching for his life, plans to start a combination of 10 freshmen and sophomores. Not an easy task headed into Autzen Stadium. The Huskies last win came in 2002 in Phil Knight’s playground.

Maybe I’ve softened in the years since Rick Neuheisel, but a part of me feels for Duck fans. And that’s why I can change.

I’ll be rooting for Oregon to lose — in a good way. Looking at the big picture, it’s truly the best thing for Duck fans. Kind of a like ripping off a Band-Aid quickly.

Year after year the season clicks along. An 8-1 start in 2007 kept Oregon in the hunt for the national title. Then it hit, another heartbreak. Dennis Dixon goes down.

Falling in the final three games of the season.

The end of two other quarterback’s careers — Brady Leaf and Cody Kempt. Yes, Kempt was a freshman, but 6-23 against Arizona is plain awful — he’s now battling it out at Montana State.

Losing to Oregon State at home.

The list goes on.

Why should you poor fans suffer through that again?

Turning to 2008, the Ducks had lots to look forward to. Nate Costa returning to lead the Oregon Knights — that’s an alternate nickname just like the jerseys — team to glory.

But then a Dixon-like accident. Costa is out. Insert Justin Roper. Granted he led Oregon in the Sun Bowl by tossing four touchdowns. Can he handle the Pac-10 pressure?

This game will shake your windows and rattle your walls. Why? Because times they are a changing.

Jake Locker will lead the Huskies to victory despite what the writers and critics prophesize with their pens.

Washington wins 35-27. Locker will confound the highly touted Oregon secondary with his feet and improved passing game.

But the best part is everyone wins.

The Huskies will begin the season 1-0 to open a grueling 2008 schedule.

Oregon fans won’t have to live in fear of when the disappointment will hit.

So gather round people wherever you roam and tune in to Fox Sports Northwest at 7 p.m. and witness the beginning of the change.

Paul Harder is the sports editor for The Observer. Reach him by e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .