Jonathan Smith was a player in this game from 1998 through 2001. In 2002 and 2003, he was a grad assistant going through all that comes with getting a team prepared to play a heated in-state rivalry. He spent a bit longer than a decade away from the program, but he returned in 2018 and has been engrossed in Oregon State-Oregon ever since.

Friday’s matchup between the Beavers and the Ducks carries some extra weight. Obviously, it’s another game with Pac-12 title implications for Oregon — as was the case last season. But it’s the last meeting as conference opponents.

Reports from Sunday suggested Oregon is looking to push back the first two games of its upcoming nonconference series with Boise State to schedule out at least the next two games against the Beavers. Those games would come in September, according to reporting from The Oregonian. They’d feel a little different.

But that news no doubt stirred fans on both sides. The two schools are working on continuing the series, which will play its 127th game on Friday (5:30 p.m. PT, FOX).

Smith was asked at his news conference on Monday if he’d like to see the game continue.

“That’s not for me to decide,” he said. “I think it’s been a long history of a series that has been good for the state itself, I think for both programs. If it can work out, I think it’d be a good thing.

“We’ve got great leadership here. They know what’s best for this university. Deciding all of that, I support (athletic director) Scott (Barnes) and what this university decides.”

Smith’s Beavers beat Oregon a year ago, 38-34. That was a game in which Oregon State trailed 31-10 deep into the third. Smith didn’t linger on the result much when asked what it can teach this year’s team, saying only that it’s a reminder to play all four quarters.

Oregon State would love nothing more than to spoil another season for Oregon right before they part.

“It’s a big game. All of them feel really big,” Smith said. “Obviously there’s huge implications for them on that side. We wish we were in that scenario. We’re not. It’s always big in this state. Conference game. Final conference game. All of that’s at stake.”