I'm all for insulting Oregon, but .....

Mock their mountain, make fun of their uniforms, but poking fun at academics is a sucker move when you've lost 14 of the last 16 in the series.

For the record, I’m here for all the Oregon Ducks slander. I just wish that Washington coach Jimmy Lake paid a little more attention to his grammar when he delivered it, and maybe took aim at a better target than Oregon’s academic reputation. Then again, maybe the fact he went on the offensive is a sign that Washington might actually throw the ball this week before it absolutely has to.

Today’s newsletter focuses on the latest instance in which a Washington coach has tripped over himself while trying to dog Oregon. I’ll have a special Thursday edition of the newsletter, which I’m billing as OnlyDans.com after I talked to the former Oregon quarterback earlier this week. In the meantime, hope this tides you over here on Hate Week.

Not since Jim Lambright bragged about the circulation of Puget Sound newspapers has a Washington coach talked more laughable trash at Oregon.

Yes, that actually happened. Back in 1995 when the Huskies were wearing purple helmets and Lambright stooped to openly campaigning for a Cotton Bowl berth three days after blowing a 21-point lead to USC. But we’ll get back to that in a second because on Monday, Jimmy Lake took aim at Oregon’s academics when asked if Oregon was Washington’s chief rival in recruiting future players.

“No, I don’t think so,” Lake said. “I think that is way more pumped up than it is. Our battles are really, the schools that we go against are way more … have academic prowess like the University of Washington, Notre Dame, Stanford, USC. We go with a lot of battles toe-to-toe all the way to the end with those schools.”

Look, I’m all for random pot-shots at Oregon. Our mountain is bigger than theirs. Washington is the home of Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing while Oregon is where Intel has its server farms and where the Leatherman tool is made. Their idea of an amusement park is a bunch of painted pieces of plywood at The Enchanted Forest.

My single favorite moment during my employment at 710 ESPN Seattle came when I was making my daily appearance with Dave Ross on KIRO 97.3 FM, and he asked me about the potential legal implications of Zion Williamson’s spraining his knee after his Nike sneaker exploded. I said that I wasn’t sure about the culpability, but I expected that Phil Knight would be on the first thing smoking that morning so he could go fly across the Pacific and personally yell at the 13-year-old Vietnamese girl who made that shoe. Ross was utterly silent so I decided to clarify that I was mocking the labor practices at Nike. Dave nodded, indicating he understood. He just wasn’t sure what to say in response.

But shouting scoreboard by pointing to academics? That’s a sucker move. Something that spoiled prep-school kids do. And while I’ll admit that I give into the occasional joke about the academic rigors of Pullman, even I’m not a big enough idiot to think you can’t get an absolutely great education at whatever school you can attend. Besides, I’ve encountered a number of outright idiots who’ve been produced by schools considered the hardest to get into.

I will give Jimmy Lake credit, though. He got the president of Oregon to respond, which is the sign of a solid troll game.

Also, Lake’s jab wasn’t nearly as pathetic as what Lambright pulled in 1995. Washington finished tied with USC in the Pac-12 standings that season at 6-1-1, but the Trojans earned the Rose Bowl berth because they had gone longer without appearing in the game. At that time, the Cotton Bowl had second choice among the conference, but was not obligated to pick Washington. The Monday before the Apple Cup, Lambright made the case the Huskies, then 6-3-1, were more deserving of a selection than Oregon, which was 8-2 and had beaten Washington head-to-head earlier in the month. Lambright cited the combined winning percentage of Washington’s opponents (.620) compared to those of Oregon (.480), the fact Washington had played more ranked opponents and pointing out that no team the Ducks had beaten had more than six victories heading into regular-season game of the season. Then Lambirght cited TV market size, Seattle 12th while Eugene was 124th, which was just lame.

Bud Withers, one of the best sports reporters in the history of our state, was covering the Huskies for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer at the time, and he wrote a lead so sharp that I can still recall the punchline from memory. Now, the SeattlePI.com archive is all jacked up for some reason, so I had to go to the King County Public Library to find the text from the Nov. 15 column:

“This just in: Seattle has fewer garden slugs than Eugene.

“The hay fever in Eugene is hideous in the spring.

“Husky Stadium is next to a lake. Autzen Stadium in Eugene is only near a river.

“Diane Downs, the convicted child killer, is from Springfield, and that’s awfully close to Eugene.

“Jim Lambright, the Washington football coach, didn’t cite any of these phenomena Monday at his weekly press conference, when he unloosed a multitude of reasons, unsolicited, why the Huskies (6-3-1) should be chosen for the Cotton Bowl ahead of Oregon (8-2).

“But he did get down to cases such as how many freshmen and sophomores the Huskies have compared to Oregon, and how many newspaper readers each home city has.”

Even today, it’s blistering. I was a junior at Washington at the time, covering the football team for the UW Daily. At a practice later that week, the sports-information director sidled up to Withers and told him that he didn’t think Lambright even read the paper, but if he did, something like that might make him more hostile and less cooperative to reporters. When the sports information director walked away, I went over to Bud – who would later become a mentor to me – and said I thought that particular official only tried to shame student reporters. I was amazed to hear he tried that crap on actual professionals, too.

The footnote to the story is that Oregon went to the Cotton Bowl where it played the Colorado Buffaloes then coached by Rick Neuheisel. The Buffs won 38-6 and faked a punt in the fourth quarter while leading 32-6. They converted the fourth-and-14 and scored on the drive. As for Washington? Well, the Huskies went to the Sun Bowl where they lost to Iowa 38-18. But really, the Huskies lost that game to Jose Cuervo.

Seaside prison: This doesn’t have anything to do with college football, but it’s funny as hell. Charlie Munger is 97 years old, and I would have dismissed him as a crazy old coot until I watched a 5-minute clip on YouTube of him being hilariously irreverent. But he’s 97, rich as hell because he’s some big-wig with Berkshire Hathaway which I thought was a health-care company but turns out to be Warren Buffett’s magical money machine. Anyway, this old rich guy promised to pay $200 million toward the construction of a dormitory on the campus of UC-Santa Barbara provided the dorm be built to exactly the specifications that were outlined. Those specifications included single-occupancy rooms, a minimal number of windows and only two doors for 4,500 residents.

Now, my mother and father met on the UCSB campus. My Dad resided in Francisco Torres dorms in 1968-69, a place known for its aggressive social life. I can’t decide whether he’d be outraged by this plan or think it’s funny as hell that this rich dude convinced the school to build a freaking prison for its students while only pledging to play for less than one-fifth the total cost. It’s probably the latter.

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