It's been awhile since we've heard from the Pac-12 in college football--at least on a positive note.
With COVID-19 issues, lack of accomplishments, questionable leadership and mediocrity from their media power base schools--UCLA and USC--the Pac-12 has been a non-starter in terms of any CFP chatter.
That may be changing.
UCLA and once-trendy coach Chip Kelly began the process with an easy (if expected) opening win over Hawaii, which was followed by a more surprising, win over LSU.
Are the Bruins back?
Which left Pacific Northwest a Pac-12 testing ground.
Reigning Pac-12 champ Oregon struggled to beat Fresno State in its opener, while Washington stunned many people by losing its opener to Montana, an FCS team.
Which brought us to Saturday's results, topped by Oregon's surprising and convincing 35-28 win over No. 3 Ohio State in Columbus.
It was not a fluke.
The Ducks out played, out hustled, out coached the Buckeyes.
Are they now a player on the national scene?
UCLA had the week off, before resuming its season next week against Fresno State.
But as is usually the case with the Pac-12, there are also many negatives to ponder.
Washington looked hapless again in a 31-10 loss to Michigan, while Utah was losing its instate rivalry to BYU and USC stumbled badly against Stanford.
USC's loss to Stanford, which lost its opener to Kansas State, again putting USC Coach Clay Helton in the hottest of seats.
Which leaves the Pac-12 with two shaky contenders, UCLA and Oregon, which is better than the 0 contenders they were perceived to have at the start of the season.
Baby steps, but at least positive ones.
The SEC, as usual.
The contenders, Alabama and Georgia rolled over Cupcake U opponents after being challenged in their openers, but Florida, Auburn, Arkansas and Mississippi State each posted impressive victories, again showing the depth of talent in the conference.
The (in pre-season) lightly-regarded Spartans are off to a 2-0 start, by a combined score of 80-35 after wins over Northwestern and Youngstown State.
Also 2-0 after wins over Akron and Alabama State 122-10, but it took a second half surge to close the 62-0 rout of Alabama State.
Coach Steve Addazio's team is now 0-2 after a playing a pait of homgames they probably should have won in South Dakota State (maybe not) and Vanderbilt.
Next up: At Toledo, at Iowa.
UConn 0, Purdue 49
The Huskies are now 0-3, being outscored by a total of 132-28. They have now lost 28 of their last 29 games against FBS competition.
And FYI, one of the UConn losses was a 38-28 defeat by FCS team Holy Cross, which proceeded to lose to Merrimack, 35-21 on Saturday.
It's one thing to lose to Notre Dame in overtime, as the Seminoles did last week, but a 20-17 loss to FCS opponent Jacksonville State?
The Irish are 2-0 after a pair of 3 point wins over FSU and Toledo.
The wins put Irish coach Brian Kelly a pair victories closer to breaking Knute Rocne's victory total at Notre Dame, but maybe these should have a pair of asterisks attached.
More like the Luck of the Irish.
They Said It
"We have two quarterbacks that are pretty talented guys that can make things happen on the field, but there are a lot of things quarterbacks have to do,'' said Florida Coach Dan Mullen again use both his QB's Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson in a 42-20 win over USF.
Mullen says he will continue to the rotating system against No. 1 Alabama this week.
Good luck with that.
Play it Forward (Upcoming games to anticipate this week)
Virginia at North Carolina--Tar Heels took a huge hit to their title hops when they lost to Virginia Tech in their opener. Losing this one to a better than you might expect Virginia at home will kill off Carolina completely.
Cincinnati at Indiana--First in two week period of challenges fortsCincinnati, which faces Indiana and Notre Dame in back to back road challenges in the state of Indiana. Win both of those and the Bearcats are contendas.
Nebraska at Oklahoma--Revival of old Big 8 rivalry, but this time the Sooners are much much stronger.
Alabama at Florida QB--Tide rolls into Fla in a key potential SEC championship game, at least on paper.