That is the headline Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury urged an Oregonian writer to put in his newspaper tomorrow. Having traveled 2,000-something miles to get here, the Bulldogs’ fans are obviously going to be greatly out-numbered by the Washington faithful. So Stansbury hopes to recruit some Oregon fans to his side. It is not a far-fetched notion, not at all.
State AD Greg Byrne, who worked at both Oregon and Oregon State, said he knows Oregon fans who had MSU apparel rush-delivered so they could wear it to tomorrow’s game. “They don’t like Washington. And some of them are my friends who are rooting for us to beat them because of my friendship,” Byrne said. But it’s true: Ducks fans loathe Washington, even more so than they do Oregon State. Seriously. That’s kind of like MSU fans harboring more hate for Alabama than Ole Miss (which I have heard of). Oregon fan Jason Fuller, a Portland resident who was in the Rose Garden today to watch the Bulldogs practice, isn’t surprised by fellow Duck fans becoming Bulldogs for a day. “There’s a big disdain for the Huskies, more than the Beavers,” said Fuller, who was sporting a green ‘O’ hat and Oregon T-shirt. But why? “It’s more the arrogance of them, being in Seattle versus Portland.”
An odd little twist to this phenomenon is that MSU eliminated Oregon from the first round of last year’s NCAA tournament. No grudge is held, Fuller said. Quite the opposite, as he cited the Oregon-MSU football series earlier this decade as a source of goodwill between the schools.
So maybe the Bulldogs won’t feel so homesick when they take the floor tomorrow. It will probably still have the feel of a Washington home game, but there could be a stronger than expected Bulldog contingent, if only for a day. “It’s good to have people cheering for you rather than everybody booing against you,” MSU guard Barry Stewart said. “I know we’ll have to hit the floor and take the same approach, but we’d appreciate that help if we get it.”