The Oregon Duck walks away from the Washington Husky mascot during the game Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore. Ncaa Football Oregon Washington Football Washington At Oregon

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College GameDay will travel to the Pacific Northwest this week for the Top 10 matchup between the Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks. The significance of the occasion shouldn’t be lost on anyone both on the field and off the field.

With both teams undefeated and looking strong so far this season, it could be the last time College GameDay ever sets foot on the campus of a Pac-12 school.

Although it’s still hard to believe, next year Washingon-Oregon will become a Big Ten game. College football will look remarkably different, and the Pac-12 in all likelihood will be no more. Not because of a lack of competitiveness or a lack of interest, but because of a lack of television dollars.

Realignment has been driven in large part by television and entertainment giants like ESPN moving schools into conferences like they’re playing a real-life game of Risk. To ignore the untimely demise of the Pac-12 during a year when they’re the strongest they’ve been on the field in a long time would be incredibly awkward. But how can ESPN talk about the death of the Pac-12 when they’re one of the ones holding a dagger?

Another tangential angle is where the future of the matchup leads. Once Oregon and Washington move to the Big Ten and Fox-CBS-NBC how will ESPN treat them differently than the SEC schools that they will have on their own networks?

Then there is the ongoing feud between Pat McAfee and Washington State fans after his comments that they and Oregon State should know their role and shut their mouth. McAfee even joked last week that the state of Washington has no love loss for him. The rivalry between the Cougars and Huskies means there probably won’t be a ton of Wazzu faithful present, but it’s as close as the show will probably ever get to Pullman again. Will WSU fans show up to remind GameDay and McAfee that they deserve to exist too? There’s also the shadow of ongoing legal battle between the existing Pac-2 and the other 10 schools where Washington is now entering the legal fight directly against Washington State.

There’s nothing fun about any of this, but it’s at the core of what college football is right now. And for GameDay, it’s a no-win situation. If they don’t talk about it, they’ll be accused of turning a blind eye to the destruction of what made college football mean something in the first place. If they do talk about it, they’ll be accused of being hypocritical bullies who led us down this road in the first place. Is one option better or worse than the other? Probably not. Since there’s no winning option, maybe GameDay should just let Mario Cristobal make the decision for them.

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