The hostility inherent in this series has also come with high stakes in recent years. One of the two teams has represented the North in four of the last five Pac-12 Championship Games.
Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) is on pace to make five times in six years. Washington (4-4, 3-2) will do its part to try and derail the Ducks on the road to Las Vegas.
No. 4 Oregon at Washington
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Oregon -7
When Oregon Has the Ball
Since being booed at home last month against Cal, Anthony Brown led two touchdown drives to hold off the Golden Bears; passed for almost 300 yards, rushed for more than 80 and scored a touchdown at UCLA; and threw for three touchdowns in the rout of Colorado.
Brown's continued progression is central to Oregon locking up a third straight bid to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Having a consistent passing threat to balance the run game, which appears to be on solid footing despite the loss of CJ Verdell thanks to Travis Dye and Byron Cardwell, is the piece of the puzzle the Ducks have lacked much of the season.
Washington offers a stiff challenge with the nation's top-ranked passing defense. The Huskies have given up only 146.3 yards through the air and have picked off twice as many passes (eight) as touchdown passes allowed (four).
Washington has not allowed 200 passing yards in any of its last four contests. Last week, Huskies Brendan Radley-Hiles and Jackson Sirmon picked off Stanford's Tanner McKee, who had been the Pac-12's most consistent quarterback coming into the matchup.
When Washington Has the Ball
Dylan Morris led fourth-quarter comebacks each of the last two weeks for Washington. Against both Arizona and Stanford, Morris' passing made the difference.
The connection with Jalen McMillan that won last week's game was the Huskies' only touchdown of the day, however. In a similar vein, Washington went without a point in the first half at Arizona.
The Huskies cannot weather a similar slow start offensively against a much stronger Oregon bunch. Sean McGrew getting the run game going at Stanford is a positive development, but one that Washington needs to carry over into this week against an Oregon rushing defense holding opponents to 3.5 yards per carry.
The Ducks also rank eighth in the nation in interceptions. After a torrid start, Verone McKinley III went the month of October without a pick; he'll be hunting for one to kick off November.
Washington's two road wins in the fourth quarter may have the Huskies back on track to a bowl bid. The November schedule is tough, however, starting with this rivalry game.
Last year's edition was canceled due to COVID protocols, so this marks the first meeting since Oregon's dramatic comeback in 2019. Washington looks much shakier this season than it did two years ago in the last run under Chris Petersen.
This Ducks team is arguably better — at least, when it plays to its potential. The win at Ohio State and for three quarters at UCLA showed Oregon meeting its potential. Against Cal, down the stretch at UCLA, and at Stanford revealed the Ducks' vulnerability.
Should that UO team show up to Husky Stadium, Washington can spring the upset. However, the Ducks shouldn't need motivation for this one, an opportunity to validate their ranking in the first College Football Playoff poll.
Prediction: Oregon 31, Washington 17
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