EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon coach Chip Kelly seized on SpongeBob SquarePants when describing how the No. 2 Ducks feel about the past rivalry with the Washington Huskies.
He says most of the acrimony between the two teams occurred more than a decade ago.
"We've got kids that are 17, 18, 19 years old. You talk 10 years ago, they were 7 and 8. At 7 and 8 they were SpongeBob SquarePants. They weren't worried about Joey Harrington," Kelly quipped.
"I think a lot of time people can bring up the past," he added. "But we're always trying to meet fast, practice fast, those things. We don't have a whole heck of a lot of time to give them a history of games played against a certain opponent."
While the Ducks (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) themselves may not buy into the hype over the rivalry, there's still a lot of back-and-forth razzing between fans in the neighboring Pacific Northwest states. The No. 23 Huskies (3-1, 1-1) visit Autzen Stadium on Saturday night.
The rivalry's rancor goes back a while, but Huskies' fans remember "The Pick" in 1994 when freshman cornerback Kenny Wheaton saved the day for the Ducks when he picked off a pass by Damon Huard and ran it back 97 yards for a score. The victory would send Oregon to the Rose Bowl — and a clip is still played on the video scoreboard for fans before every home game.
The Huskies raised the ire of Ducks' fans in 2002 when, after beating Oregon 42-10, the team danced for nearly an hour on the "O'' on the 50-yard line at Autzen.
At times the battles between Washington and Oregon seemed to rival those with their in-state foes.
But the Ducks have won the last eight games between the two teams, diminishing the rivalry's intensity. In the meantime, USC has taken on a greater adversarial role for Duck fans.
Oregon's eight-game winning streak is the longest for either side in the history of the series, which dates back to 1900. The Ducks also have won eight straight overall, going back to last season.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said the motivation isn't in the rivalry, it's in the No. 23 Huskies themselves.
"It's not about that we're playing Oregon or that it's at Autzen or what uniforms they're wearing or what uniforms we're wearing. It's about getting to 2-0 in conference play. That's what all these guys think," Sarkisian said. "When you have to start looking for external motivators it can get dicey for you because you don't know if you pushed the exact right buttons to get them excited to play. They'll be ready to play because they want be ready to play."