Oregon-Washington is one of the more underappreciated and heated rivalries in the country lies in the Pacific Northwest. For decades, it was all Washington. But since 1994, the Ducks are 14-4, including nine straight wins in the series.
Despite Oregon's 52-21 triumph over Saturday night, things are starting to turn around in Seattle. Steve Sarkisian and his staff have the Huskies on the right track on the field and in recruiting.
Anyone up for a little border-war Q&A?
Aside from Washington State and Oregon State, who is the biggest rival on the field for each team? In Recruiting?
Kelley: Washington’s goal is to compete with USC for recruits. The Huskies want to beat the Trojans in prospect battles and seem to be headed in a direction that makes that possible. Again, to take the next step, the Huskies need to find success on the field to match the success they’ve had in recruiting.
While Washington State wants to get to the point where it challenges Washington for the state’s top recruits, the Huskies expect to land the players they want in Washington, while pulling in top talent from California, as well.
On the field, there is little doubt that Oregon, even more than Washington State, has become the Huskies’ biggest rival with Washington fans champing at the bit to see the program beat the Ducks.
Oliver: The Ducks' unique style and growing national brand puts them in a rare situation. While many top prospects look at the Ducks, the Ducks don't always return the favor -- sometimes to the fans' dismay.
Unlike other programs, it is rare to find the Ducks in a true head-to-head recruiting battle. The Ducks go anywhere and everywhere in search of the right fit. Other programs go after big-name talent and high-profile signings, while the Ducks go for the kind of player that fits their system.
On the field, the Ducks and Huskies have an intense rivalry, but until the Huskies win another game in the series, it is more of an event for the fans. USC fans still scoff at the fact that Oregon might now be the premier program in the Pac-12, and that doesn't sit well with fans from the league's three-time defending champions.
Who are the three most important recruits for the Ducks and Huskies in the Class of 2013?
Kelley: Let’s start at the top of the class with receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde).
Washington wants dynamic playmakers, and Stringfellow fits that mold. Rated the No. 72 prospect in the ESPN 150, he is the kind of player the Huskies want to mine out of California.
Quarterback Troy Williams (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) and defensive lineman Elijah Qualls (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande) would probably be Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, considering the importance of the quarterback position and Qualls’ penchant for helping recruit other players.
Oliver: The most important recruit from the class is likely running back commit Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto). The No. 51 player in the ESPN 150 seems custom-made for the Oregon offense. He is a LaMichael James clone and has the Ducks feeling good about landing another elite recruit from Texas.
Four-star twins Tyrell and Tyree Robinson (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln) recently chose the Ducks over the Huskies. Their commitments were huge for Oregon, who are looking get their recruiting going. The two-sport stars will also play basketball in college -- giving the Ducks a boost on the hardwood, as well.
The No. 273 player in the ESPN 300, Tyree is likely to wind up at defensive back. Tyrell appears to be headed for the defensive side as well -- likely at outside linebacker. Either one could slide over to offense and play wide receiver, though. Their versatility epitomizes what the Ducks look for in recruits.
What is the biggest challenge for each team over the next 2-3 years?
Kelley: Washington has the right recruiters on its coaching staff. The Huskies have landed prime prospects, and they have caught the attention of recruits all across the country. However, to take the next step, Washington needs to win. The Huskies know they need to challenge for Pac-12 titles and big bowl games if they want to become an elite program.
Oliver: For the Ducks, it is clearly maintaining the success on the field and in recruiting. The Ducks have been riding the wave of success higher and longer than ever before. All they need to do now is continue doing what they have been, and they should continue to be the top program in the Pac-12 along with USC.
If each team could take one player from the other's recruiting class, who would it be?
Kelley: With Washington working to add more depth at running back, four-star recruit Thomas Tyner (Aloha, Ore./Aloha) would be a good fit. The Huskies were also high on three-star offensive lineman Alex Redmond (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos) before he committed to Oregon.
Oliver: The Ducks need big, physical receivers, and the Huskies have two of them committed. The Huskies also have a defensive back that the Ducks were taking a close look at before he pulled the trigger for UW.
Damore’ea Stringfellow (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde), the No. 72 player in the ESPN 150, is a special player with great size and a unique skill set. Darrell Daniels (Oakland, Calif./Freedom), the No. 144 player in the ESPN 150 -- and the No. 15 wide receiver -- is a big-time weapon who possesses the kind of size the Ducks desire.
If they couldn't take one of the two receivers, the Ducks might want to add defensive back Kevin King (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O'Dowd). King's size and versatility represents what the Ducks are looking for in defensive backs.