The Pac-10, in general, collected applause for a mostly distinguished performance against a rugged nine-game slate over the weekend. Then there were California and Washington. They created the need for that weak adverb -- "mostly" -- because they got their rear ends handed to them. Both surrendered more than 50 points. Both were sliced and diced for more than 300 rushing yards. Neither showed much backbone. Their circumstances after three games are the same. And different.
Washington entered the season with high expectations, that the program was on the cusp of returning to Pac-10 and national relevance. After an embarrassing 0-12 campaign in 2008 under Tyrone Willingham, the Huskies had gone 5-7 in 2009 under new coach Steve Sarkisian, with victories over USC and California. When quarterback Jake Locker, who might have been the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, announced he would be joining 19 other returning starters in the fall -- good news that preceded the signing of a nationally ranked recruiting class -- it seemed like everything was trending up for the program. The Huskies are now 1-2 after being completely outclassed at home in a 56-21 loss to Nebraska. Locker turned in the worst performance of his career and may have severely damaged his once-soaring draft stock.