Northwest Championship
SportCollege football
LocationPacific Northwest
First meeting1903
StadiumsAutzen Stadium
Reser Stadium
Husky Stadium
Martin Stadium
All-time seriesWashington, 31
Oregon, 16
Oregon State, 12
Washington State, 6
Largest victoryOregon, 173–62 (2008)
Longest win streakOregon, 7 (2008–2014)
Locations of Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State

The Northwest Championship is an unofficial[1] Division I FBS football rivalry series title earned by way of an undefeated sweep[2][3] of the other three fellow Pac-12 teams located in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington.

The Ducks, Beavers, Huskies, and Cougars first played each other in a round-robin format in the 1903 season.[4] As geographic neighbors and members of the former Pacific Coast Conference and current Pac-12 Conference North Division, each team has generally played the others annually.[5] Among the four teams there exist three traditional football rivalries: Oregon–Oregon State, Oregon–Washington, and Washington–Washington State.

The feat's "Northwest Championship" moniker was coined by Rick Neuheisel, head coach of the 2002 Washington Huskies.[2][6][7] After a string of disappointing losses, he challenged his players to win the newly conceived title by defeating their northwest rivals in the season's remaining games.[8]

The Northwest Championship has been described as a "so-called",[9] "fictitious",[3] and "mythical"[10][11][12] title, invented by Neuheisel only to motivate his 2002 team.[13] Nevertheless, in the years following the Huskies' original claim of the title, other teams have continued to be cited as winning the Northwest Championship upon completing the sweep.[3][12]


The Northwest Championship involves the four Pacific Northwest teams currently playing football in the North Division of the Pac-12 Conference. Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State generally play each other annually in a 6-game round-robin series. Three of the six games are heated rivalry games, and all of the games represent some of the most-played college football series.

Other Northwest Teams

Since its introduction, it has been unclear if other football schools in the Pacific Northwest are eligible to win the Northwest Championship. Washington beat Idaho in 2002, but they were not mentioned in Neuheisel's conception of the title.[11] Boise State beat Oregon in 2008 and 2009, years where Oregon swept its in-conference northwest foes, and has been mentioned as potentially deserving a spot in the series.[14]

2002 Origin

Progress towards the 2002 Northwest Championship
Progress towards the 2002 Northwest Championship

In his fourth year as head coach, Neuheisel's 2002 team was floundering. In early November they had a 4–5 record, 1–4 against Pac-10 opponents, and had lost 4 of the last 5 games. The Huskies were at serious risk of a losing season, their first since 1974, and of missing a bowl game.

Through rare[10] happenstance, Washington was scheduled to play the three other Pacific Northwest schools in order to end the season. Neuheisel, sensing an opportunity to motivate his team, declared that despite the thus far disappointing season the Huskies were still fighting to win the "Northwest Championship" by sweeping Oregon State, Oregon, and Washington State in their remaining games.[1][2][15]

It was a successful rallying cry, and the Huskies first beat Oregon State. The next week they won at Autzen Stadium, their first win against Oregon at home since 1996. The Huskies capped the season with a triple-overtime victory over No. 3 Washington State in the Apple Cup, claiming the Northwest Championship with back-to-back-to-back wins over the other northwest schools.[16]


No trophy is awarded to the Northwest Champion, and no organization grants the title.[10]

In 2002, the Huskies wore homemade t-shirts to mark their progress towards the Northwest Championship. The football undershirts had three blank boxes labeled for the other northwest schools, which the players checked off after each win.[1][8][16]


The Washington Huskies were successful in claiming the newly coined Northwest Championship in 2002.[10] Since then, Oregon[17] and Oregon State[3] have both also won the title and been called Northwest Champions by local media. Washington State has yet to complete the sweep in the years since the title was named, but several times has been on the hunt going into the end-of-season Apple Cup.[18]

Historical results have been compiled for prior years by the school athletic departments, local media, and fans of the football programs.[4][18]

The four teams first met in a 6-game round-robin fashion in the 1903 season. This was also the first season in which any of the teams played all three of the others.

Season Northwest Champion Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
1903 Washington 5–0 Oregon Agricultural 6–5 Oregon 10–0 Washington Agricultural
19115 Washington 34–0 Oregon Agricultural 29–3 Oregon 30–6 Washington State
1912 Washington 9–3 Oregon Agricultural 30–14 Oregon 19–0 Washington State
19135 Washington 47–0 Oregon Agricultural 10–7 Oregon 20–0 Washington State
19175 Washington State 26–3 Oregon 6–0 Oregon Agricultural 14–0 Washington
1923 Washington 14–0 Oregon Agricultural 24–7 Washington State 26–7 Oregon
1936 Washington 19–7 Oregon State 7–0 Oregon 40–0 Washington State
1938 Oregon State 13–6 Washington 7–6 Washington State 14–0 Oregon
1939 Oregon State 13–7 Washington 13–0 Washington State 19–14 Oregon
1940 Washington 10–0 Oregon 19–0 Oregon State 33–9 Washington State
1946 Oregon State 13–12 Washington State 13–0 Oregon 21–12 Washington
1947 Oregon 6–0 Washington 12–6 Washington State 14–6 Oregon State
1948 Oregon 33–7 Washington State 13–7 Washington 10–0 Oregon State
1949 Oregon State 7–3 Washington 35–6 Washington State 20–10 Oregon
1950 Washington 35–6 Oregon State 27–12 Oregon 52–21 Washington State
1951 Washington State 26–13 Oregon State 41–6 Oregon 27–25 Washington
1952 Washington 49–0 Oregon 38–13 Oregon State 33–27 Washington State
1954 Oregon 26–7 Washington 26–14 Washington State 33–14 Oregon State
1958 Washington State 6–0 Oregon 7–0 Oregon State 18–14 Washington
1959 Washington 13–12 Oregon 13–6 Oregon State 20–0 Washington State
1960 Washington 30–29 Oregon State 7–6 Oregon 8–7 Washington State
1961 Oregon State 14–6 Washington State 3–0 Washington 6–2 Oregon
1963 Washington 34–7 Oregon State 26–19 Oregon 16–0 Washington State
1964 Oregon State 9–7 Washington 24–7 Washington State 7–6 Oregon
1965 Washington 24–20 Oregon 28–21 Oregon State 27–9 Washington State
1966 Oregon State 41–13 Washington State 24–12 Washington 20–15 Oregon
1968 Oregon State 35–21 Washington 16–8 Washington State 41–19 Oregon
1969 Oregon State 10–6 Washington 38–3 Washington State 10–7 Oregon
1970 Washington 29–20 Oregon State 25–13 Oregon 43–25 Washington State
1972 Washington State 31–14 Oregon 37–7 Oregon State 27–10 Washington
1973 Washington State 21–14 Oregon 13–7 Oregon State 52–26 Washington
1974 Oregon State 23–9 Washington 17–3 Washington State 35–16 Oregon
1975 Washington 27–17 Oregon 35–7 Oregon State 28–27 Washington State
1976 Washington 24–12 Oregon State 14–7 Oregon 51–32 Washington State
1977 Washington 54–0 Oregon 14–6 Oregon State 35–15 Washington State
1978 Washington 34-0 Oregon State 20–14 Oregon 38–8 Washington State
1979 Washington 21–17 Oregon 41–0 Oregon State 17–7 Washington State
1980 Oregon 34–10 Washington 20–10 Washington State 40–21 Oregon State
1981 Washington 17–3 Oregon 56–17 Oregon State 23–10 Washington State
1983 Washington State 24–7 Oregon 27–9 Oregon State 17–6 Washington
1984 Washington 19–7 Oregon State 17–10 Oregon 38–29 Washington State
1986 Washington 38–3 Oregon 28–12 Oregon State 44–23 Washington State
19875 Oregon 29–22 Washington 31–17 Washington State 44–0 Oregon State
1989 Washington 20–14 Oregon 51–14 Oregon State 20–9 Washington State
1991 Washington 29–7 Oregon 58–6 Oregon State 56–21 Washington State
1993 Washington 21–6 Oregon 28–21 Oregon State 26–3 Washington State
1995 Oregon 26–7 Washington State 24–22 Washington 12–10 Oregon State
1996 Washington 33–14 Oregon 42–3 Oregon State 31–24 OT Washington State
1999 Washington 34–20 Oregon 47–21 Oregon State 24–14 Washington State
20025 Washington 41–29 Oregon State 42–14 Oregon 29–26 3OT Washington State
2003 Washington 38–17 Oregon State 42–10 Oregon 27–19 Washington State
2004 Oregon State 29–14 Washington 38–19 Washington State 50–21 Oregon
2005 Oregon 45–21 Washington 34–31 Washington State 56–14 Oregon State
2007 Oregon State 29–23 Washington 52–17 Washington State 38–31 2OT Oregon
2008 Oregon 45–10 Washington 63–14 Washington State 65–38 Oregon State
2009 Oregon 52–6 Washington State 43–19 Washington 37–33 Oregon State
2010 Oregon 43–23 Washington State 53–16 Washington 37–20 Oregon State
2011 Oregon 43–28 Washington State 34–17 Washington 49–21 Oregon State
2012 Oregon 51–26 Washington State 52–21 Washington 48–24 Oregon State
2013 Oregon 45–24 Washington 62–38 Washington State 36–35 Oregon State
2014 Oregon 38–31 Washington State 45–20 Washington 47–19 Oregon State
2016 Washington 70–21 Oregon 41–17 Oregon State 45–17 Washington State
2017 Washington 42–7 Oregon State 38–3 Oregon 41–14 Washington State
2019 Oregon 35–31 Washington 37–35 Washington State 24–10 Oregon State
2021 Oregon 26–16 Washington 38–24 Washington State 38–29 Oregon State

* Years in which no sweep was possible due to no single team playing all three of the others.

5, 4, 3 Number of games played, of the possible 6-game round-robin series. If no annotation, all 6 games were played.

12, 0 The series was disrupted by World War II, with only Washington fielding a team in 1943 and 1944. In 1945 each team played the others twice, for a total of 12 games.

† The "Northwest Championship" name was coined in 2002.

Northwest Championship
Team Sweeps
Washington 31
Oregon 16
Oregon State 12
Washington State 6
Longest Streaks
Team Streak
Oregon 7
Washington 5
Oregon State 2
Washington State 2


  1. ^ a b c Maisel, Ivan (November 25, 2002). "Tale Of Two T-Shirts". Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2022. Washington is content with its unofficial Northwest Championship. "It had to be enough," quarterback Cody Pickett said Sunday. "Everybody left us for dead. We had to rally around something."
  2. ^ a b c Condotta, Bob (November 21, 2012). "Ten years ago, Huskies won a wild Apple Cup in Pullman". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 8, 2022. Washington [...] had meandered through the first three-quarters of the season at 4-5 before Neuheisel said his team’s new goal was to sweep its last three games against Oregon State, Oregon and WSU and win what he coined the “Northwest Championship.” Washington had two-thirds of that title in hand as it headed to Pullman.
  3. ^ a b c d "Beavers will have to wait to learn bowl fate". The Associated Press. November 22, 2004. Archived from the original on January 8, 2022. Retrieved January 8, 2022. Oregon State also bagged the fictitious Northwest Championship, created by former Washington coach Rick Neuheisel to inspire the Huskies. The title goes to the team that beats all of the Pac-10 teams in the Pacific Northwest.
  4. ^ a b "Husky Traditions" (PDF). University of Washington Athletics. 2003. Retrieved January 16, 2022. Since 1903, the first year in which the four teams all played each other, the Huskies have managed to sweep all three opponents and capture the Northwest Championship 28 times, including that first 1903 season. The series has been interrupted at times due to scheduling. The longest stretch of Northwest Championships (five) was put together by Husky teams from 1975-1979. Washington’s 28 “Northwest Championships” leads the four schools. Oregon State is second with 10 sweeps while Oregon has six and Washington State five.
  5. ^ "Washington at Arizona – Huskies travel to Arizona for key Pac-10 contest". (Press release). University of Washington Athletics. November 1, 1999. Archived from the original on July 19, 2016. Retrieved March 7, 2022. Dawgs vs. the Northwest: Washington is off to a 2-0 start this year in its quest to claim the Pacific Northwest Championship. The Huskies have scored victories against Oregon (34-20) and Oregon State (47-21) and will face Washington State Nov. 20 in Husky Stadium. Some of Washington's oldest and longest rivalries are against the other three northwest Pac-10 schools. The Huskies have faced Oregon 93 times, Washington State in 91 games and Oregon State on 84 occasions. Washington owns the advantage in all three series. The Huskies lead the Ducks 56-32-5, Washington State 58-27-6 and Oregon State 54-26-4. Combined, Washington has a 168-85-15 (.655) record against its northwest rivals.
  6. ^ Jude, Adam (October 12, 2018). "For No. 7 Huskies, slim playoff hopes (and Northwest pride!) on the line Saturday at rival Oregon". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 8, 2022. Let’s pause and give an overdue shoutout here to Rick Neuheisel, whose genius (genius?) creation of the “Northwest Championship” has long strummed the emotional strings of fans’ hearts from all parts of the region, from Ashland to Zillah, from the Puget Sound to the Willamette Valley, from the Palouse to Corvallis. Thank you, Rick.
  7. ^ Sixkiller, Sonny; Condotta, Bob (2004). Sonny Sixkiller's Tales from the Huskies Sideline. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 131. ISBN 1582614075. Just behind beating USC was beating Northwest rivals. We didn't call it the Northwest Championship back then—Rick Neuheisel came up with that a few years ago. We always talked about beating them; we just didn't put a name to it. We had pretty good success doing that when I was in school—we went 3-0 against Oregon State and 2-1 against Oregon and Washington State.
  8. ^ a b Kercheval, Ben (April 1, 2019). "How the Arizona Hotshots ended their losing streak to become the AAF's hottest team". CBS Sports. Retrieved January 8, 2022. "We just found something to play for. We had games against Oregon State, Oregon and Washington State, so we created a 'Northwest Championship.' We found a rallying cry. We had little shirts with check marks on them," he said. "And we knocked them all off." ... At Washington, Neuheisel found the best way to motivate his players was the perfect storm of playing their top three rivals in successive weeks.
  9. ^ "Husky Traditions". Columns, the University of Washington Alumni Magazine. 2003. Retrieved January 18, 2022. However, a late-season sweep of the so-called Northwest championship last year is proof Washington has the makings of a solid defense.
  10. ^ a b c d Condotta, Bob (October 12, 2004). "Huskies eyeing mythical Northwest title". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 8, 2022. Fans of other schools cried that the Northwest Championship was strictly mythical, just another devious Neuheisel ploy. But the Huskies didn't care, and proudly laid claim to it again last year when, in the midst of one of the most chaotic seasons in school history, the lone highlight was beating Oregon State, Oregon and Washington State by a combined 61 points.
  11. ^ a b Johns, Greg (September 18, 2005). "Beating Idaho Has Never Seemed Sweeter". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved January 8, 2022. No, you don't win any prizes for beating the Idaho Vandals. Not if you're the big, bad Washington Huskies. The neighbors from the east didn't even deserve a spot in Rick Neuheisel's mythical Northwest championship a few years ago.
  12. ^ a b Kirkpatrick, Cliff (November 22, 2011). "Civil War presser". Lebanon Express. Retrieved January 8, 2022. Both teams are going for the mythical Northwest championship. They defeated Washington and Washington State this season.
  13. ^ Miller, Ted (October 27, 2003). "UW, Ducks renew rivalry". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved January 16, 2022. The UW then went on to upset third-ranked Washington State and claim the Neuheisel-invented "Northwest Championship.
  14. ^ Sleeper, John (October 29, 2004). "Dawgs have given Ducks reason to do some quacking". Kitsap Sun. Retrieved January 8, 2022. Braxton Cleman wore a homemade T-shirt that declared the Huskies the prime candidate for the "Northwest Championship," whatever that is (does Boise State have a vote?), and had Oregon and Oregon State checked off as the conquered masses.
  15. ^ Armstrong, Ken; Perry, Nick (2010). Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime, and Complicity. Bison Books. pp. 138–139. ISBN 0803228104. Neuheisel learned everyone's name. He picked up their lingo, and invited players to his house to jet-ski, and found ways to motivate that sounded corny but somehow worked, like lumping the games against WSU and the Oregon schools into what he called the Northwest Championship.
  16. ^ a b Jude, Adam (October 5, 2016). "Silence was Golden, and purple: Remembering when UW last won at Oregon in 2002". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 8, 2022. That completed what Neuheisel had dubbed the Northwest Championship, with the Huskies closing out the season with successive victories over Oregon State, Oregon and WSU (after losing to USC, Arizona State and UCLA the three weeks prior). Neuheisel even had T-shirts made up with blank boxes to check off after each win. [...] The Huskies wore those T-shirts as they marched back onto the Autzen Stadium turf for their postgame brouhaha.
  17. ^ Hunt, John (October 16, 2007). "'Apparently' it's Husky Week". The Oregonian. Retrieved January 17, 2022. There's also the mythical "Northwest championship" to play for, which Reed brought up. "I do know that this is a game that we get excited for, probably more so than most of the other Pac-10 games," [Oregon defensive end Nick] Reed said. "Because it's a Northwest rivalry and we got to win the Northwest championship."
  18. ^ a b Thorpe, Jacob (November 23, 2015). "WSU eyes northwest championship". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved January 17, 2022. Washington State heads into Apple Cup week ranked No. 20 in both major polls and has a chance to win the northwest crown for the first time since 1983. The Cougars have already blown out the Beavers and have upended the Ducks. Now they just need to beat the 5-6 Huskies to be the undisputed kings of the Pacific Northwest hill