Washington is going to whip Oregon in Autzen Stadium on Saturday and end its miserable 12-game losing streak in the series, and that reversal of fortunes between the Northwest rivals is going to make Ducks coach Mark Helfrich's seat extremely hot.
It's fait accompli, right?
Maybe. It seems pretty clear the Huskies are more talented and playing with more confidence at present. You could even say Washington is better coached, though many observers might add that you could count on one hand FBS head coaches who rate as superior to Chris Petersen.
While Washington appears on the cusp of becoming a national contender again, Oregon appears on the cusp of its first losing season in, like ... forever! (As in 2004.)
So, clearly it's time for Oregon to act like every other Power 5 program with an inflated view of its annual prospects. It should panic and ditch its coach after his fourth year. That approach pretty much works every time.
Or, despite the sarcasm puddling around these words, folks could pause and do something rare in college football: aspire for some perspective.
Oregon averaged 10.9 wins from 2007 to 2015. It has been the greatest nine-year run in program history, and it's not even close.
The field at Autzen Stadium is named after Rich Brooks, who owned a .456 winning percentage in 17 seasons and only once won nine games -- his final season in 1994 when he led the Ducks to their first Rose Bowl in 37 years.
Mike Bellotti followed Brooks and became the program's winningest coach (116 victories), but he lost five or more games six times in 14 seasons.
Ah, but what about Chip Kelly, who rolled to a 46-7 mark (.868) in four glorious seasons? Fair question. Kelly was unquestionably an innovator, but let's remember that shortly after he left Oregon for the NFL, he was hit after-the-fact with an 18-month show-cause penalty by the NCAA for recruiting violations connected to the Willie Lyles investigation. His departure is almost certainly a big reason the program wasn't hit harder by sanctions.
That funnels into recruiting, which seems like the most valid area in which to criticize Helfrich. It has supposedly slipped. Helfrich's success his first two seasons, the thinking here goes, was due to the presence of the greatest quarterback in school history, Marcus Mariota. Since then, the Ducks have relied on graduate transfers behind center and the defense has gone rear-end-over-tea-kettle.
What Brooks and Bellotti built and Kelly perfected, Helfrich has squandered, no matter that Helfrich pretty much discovered Mariota in recruiting and is the single biggest reason he ended up in Eugene.
Here, however, are two points for our aspirations toward perspective: (1) Oregon arrived at its grand run by not overreacting to every seeming crisis -- read: firing its coach -- that most every program faces; (2) A downturn was inevitable, probably even if Nick Saban had replaced Kelly.
Brooks went 14-20 in the three years before leading the Ducks to the Rose Bowl. Bellotti went 21-17 in the three seasons after the Ducks won the Fiesta Bowl and finished ranked No. 2 in 2001. Heck, even with Kelly, his 17-14 home loss to Stanford in 2012 -- still the Ducks' lowest point total since Kelly's debut at Boise State in 2009 -- hinted that his offensive acumen was not always going to be infallible.
What some Oregon fans might want to wrap their minds around is the program's massive overachievement over the past decade. Oregon has a small in-state recruiting base and plays in a small stadium -- well outside the top-25 there -- and yet has built itself into a consistent national power.
A consistent national power unlike, oh, Texas, Nebraska, Michigan, Florida, LSU, Auburn, Tennessee, Notre Dame, USC, etc., programs that play in front of 25,000 to 60,0000 more fans on home Saturdays.
Oregon developed a niche for itself over the past decade, combining fancy facilities, uniforms that ranged from quirky to outrageous and a high-powered, up-tempo offense that flummoxed opposing defenses. The one constant in college football, however, is change. Opponents have copied, caught up to and countered the Ducks.
It's possible that Oregon might have to hit the reset button, to develop some new angles. Helfrich, who's 35-11 in three-plus years, did just that when he brought Brady Hoke aboard to install a 4-3 defense, a process that hasn't yet yielded results because neither that "4" nor that "3" are good enough.
The Ducks have been strutting for a while in high-tech luxury, and perhaps some hubris has entered the equation. Perhaps a humbling will inject some new energy into the program.
Washington might amplify the anger and frustration around Oregon on Saturday, but this week also yielded a bit of old school snarl from the Ducks that shouldn't go unnoticed amid all the eulogies being prepared.
Respected offensive line coach Steve Greatwood, a Eugene native who has spent 35 years at his alma mater as a player and coach, did something that Oregon hasn't been doing in its gilded age of "Nameless Faceless Opponents," which started under Kelly.
He acknowledge the hated Huskies and the bitter rivalry. And then he coyly added, "The streak’s not going to end."
Maybe Oregon's cratering is fait accompli. Or just maybe some old0school, defiant grit, as displayed by Greatwood and that was once typical of Oregon, might stir things up this weekend and create a surprise or two.