The way things were going this season, I really didn't think there was any possibility that Oregon and Oregon State would be heading into Saturday's Civil War in Corvallis off victories.
And impressive ones, at that.
The Ducks won their first road game of the season at Utah behind a surprisingly stout defense and a clutch, second-half offense. The Beavers didn't defeat a high-quality opponent but survived the rare situation for them of going into a game as a favorite -- being expected to win -- and then going out and doing it in very solid fashion. OSU even discovered a spectacular passing game, all of a sudden.
But the storylines for this game are what will really make this game special.
The Ducks are trying to shake off a season so different from the past decade that their head coach, Mark Helfrich, is being chased by the mythical pitchforks and torches of a fire-the-coach lynch mob. The whisper stream, in fact, has been alive for a while now with rumors that a decision has already been made to let him go. But I'm not sure how reliable that is or whether the win at Utah would have anything to do with that changing.
At Oregon State, it appears that even through multiple injuries all over the field, second-year coach Gary Andersen may be gaining a lot of traction on a very rapid rebuild of the Beaver program. For the Beavers, a win over the Ducks would provide a big bounce in recruiting, ticket sales for next season and overall attitude within the program.
For the Ducks, it would maintain their dominance over their arch-rival and perhaps save Helfrich's job. If it's at stake in the first place.
At the time of writing this, it was still too soon for an early line on the game but I can tell you it should be a narrow margin. The Ducks, by the way, are 2-10-1 against the spread in their last 13 games and the Beavers are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven. If that matters to you.
If you're asking me for a pick, you're going to have to wait until later in the week. It's too soon.