Oregon's mighty empire is crumbling before our very eyes, and we'll soon see how serious the Ducks and benefactor Phil Knight are in preserving it.
It's one thing to lose to the Washington State Cougars on your home field. It's another thing altogether to blow a 31-0 lead on national TV against some fair-to-middling Big 12 Team.
By all accounts, Oregon head coach is a nice guy. If he was your neighbor, you'd love talking football with him over the fence. If he was your accountant, you'd trust him implicitly with all your receipts and financial info.
But as coach of the Oregon Ducks, would you trust him with quarterback development? Can you imagine what kind of season they would have had this year had they not lured Vernon Adams, Jr. from the wheat fields of Eastern Washington?
And what is it with guys like Helfrich, Jonathan Smith and Chris Petersen, that they often forsake their spectacular tailbacks (Gaskin, Freeman) and will instead put all the pressure of winning big games on their crappy quarterbacks?
Case in point, when Adams went out with an injury last night in the TCU game, Helfrich should have ridden the mighty Royce Freeman all the way to victory.
Instead, he tried running his offense with Jeff Lockie, who isn't suited to be a Pac-12 quarterback. As a Husky fan, I view Lockie in the same way Duck fans regarded UW's Cyler Miles a year ago.
But now the Chipster is back on the market. After being fired by the Philadelphia Eagles, Chip Kelly is a free man. Perhaps he'll want to go to some place like the Tennessee Titans, where he would be reunited with quarterback Marcus Mariota.
But if he wants to return to Uncle Phil's welcoming, warm bosom, it would be the big-time, ballsy move needed right now by Oregon to keep this sinking ship afloat.
Otherwise, Oregon fans should prepare themselves for descent into Helfrich.