Ten takeaways from a wild day in college football:
1) To Live and Die in L.A. Or, more accurately, To Live and Die Away From L.A. Both UCLA and USC traveled multiple time zones east and found life supremely difficult that far away from home. The Bruins lived (barely) and the Trojans died (shockingly).
UCLA beat Texas 20-17, its first win with a Neuheisel integrally involved since 2011. Back then it was coach Rick Neuheisel, who was fired at the end of that season. Saturday night it was Rick's son, sophomore quarterback Jerry. He's the backup to star Brett Hundley, who was injured in the first quarter and did not return. Jerry Neuheisel gave JerryWorld a new meaning by throwing two touchdown passes, the latter being the game-winner with three minutes remaining. Prior to this game, Neuheisel hadn't thrown a pass since Sept. 21 last year.
UCLA is extremely fortunate to be 3-0, and got a break Saturday when Texas screwed up the pregame coin toss and got stuck kicking off both halves. (The bonus possession resulted in a Bruins touchdown drive to start the second half.) But give the Bruins credit for two things: winning a pair of road games against teams from Power Five conferences (beat Virginia in the season opener); and winning without Hundley.
The Trojans traveled farther and with less to show for it, losing 37-31 to Boston College and quickly nullifying their triumph at Stanford the previous week. They were surreally trampled on the ground, 452 rushing yards to 20. That's the same Eagles team that gave up 303 rushing yards to Pittsburgh last week. Steve Sarkisian resisted calling Pat Haden down from the press box to complain about the Eagles brutalizing his team in the trenches.
Bottom line: The Pac-12 looks more like Oregon's to lose than ever.
2) If ever a coach could lose job security in victory, Will Muschamp did it Saturday night. The embattled Florida coach got a fortuitous no-call on an apparent delay of game that helped the Gators beat Kentucky in triple overtime, 36-30.
With the play clock showing "00" on a fourth-and-goal in the first overtime and Florida needing a touchdown on that play, the Gators got the play off without a flag and quarterback Jeff Driskel hit Demarcus Robinson for the tying score. Two OTs later, Florida escaped with its 28th straight victory over the eternally cursed Wildcats.
Kentucky appears dramatically improved in its second year under Mark Stoops and will end its 17-game Southeastern Conference losing streak soon (quite likely in its next game, Sept. 27 against Vanderbilt). But that's small consolation to Florida fans who are less convinced than ever that Muschamp can return the program to prominence. This was the sixth straight SEC game in which the Gators failed to score more than 20 points in regulation, and the first of those six games they've won. They certainly won't beat Alabama next week in Tuscaloosa with a similar performance.
3) There is plenty of conspiracy-minded commentary from fans of second-tier SEC teams about officials protecting the name-brand programs, and that will resurface after the non-delay of game aided Florida. But Kentucky fans beating that drum rarely seem to entertain the possibility that the same dynamic may benefit their team in basketball.
4) The Big Ten grease fire rages unabated. With Iowa's home loss to Iowa State, Maryland's home loss to West Virginia and the road routs of Minnesota (by TCU) and Illinois (by Washington), the league is now 1-10 against opponents from other Power Five conferences. (Newcomer Rutgers, of all teams, is the shining beacon of the league thanks to its three-point victory over Washington State.) Indiana also was beaten by Bowling Green Saturday, the Big Ten's third loss to a Mid-American Conference team in the last two weeks.
The final two unbeatens are Nebraska (which nearly lost to FCS McNeese State Sept. 6) and Penn State (which was ineligible for postseason play until Monday). College Football Playoff outsider status looks more realistic with each passing week.
5) Georgia fans have resumed taking whacks at offensive coordinator/human piñata Mike Bobo after he called a first-and-goal pass late in the game against South Carolina that resulted in a crippling intentional grounding penalty. They wanted the ball in the hands of the Bulldogs' best player, running back Todd Gurley, instead of quarterback Hutson Mason. But there are more deserving targets than Bobo.
That ruinous possession ended with Marshall Morgan missing a 28-yard field goal, his second miss of the game after making an SEC-record 20 straight field goals. And the Georgia defense was creased for 447 yards and 38 points, a reminder that first-year coordinator Jeremy Pruitt cannot wave a magic wand and make the Bulldogs stout on that side of the ball – especially a secondary that one former SEC coach said "doesn't have one guy that could start for most top-tier teams."
6) Despite the dramatic, must-have victory, the Gamecocks still are battling a scheduling disadvantage in the SEC East. They must play at Auburn Oct. 25 and at Florida Nov. 15. Georgia gets Auburn between the hedges and Florida on a neutral field, and plays just three true road games in conference.
7) The only two AP Top 25 Atlantic Coast Conference teams to play Saturday both lost. Virginia Tech followed its stirring win at Ohio State with a flop at home against East Carolina, and Louisville lost on the road against Virginia. The Hokies battled back from a 21-0 hole to tie the game with 1:20 left, then collapsed defensively to allow the winning Pirates drive. The Cardinals battled back from a 20-7 hole to lead 21-20, then muffed a punt to set up the Cavaliers' winning field goal.
Deduction: This league again looks like Florida State and a teeming mass of mediocrity. Clemson will get a chance to disprove that theory Saturday in Tallahassee, but the Seminoles have put 100 points on the Tigers in their past two meetings.
8) Those who liked Texas Tech as a team on the rise in the Big 12 apparently failed to take into consideration the Red Raiders' inability to tackle opposing running backs. After giving up 438 rushing yards in a three-touchdown home loss to Arkansas, Texas Tech now has surrendered a total of 2,195 yards on the ground to its past seven Power Five opponents. Tech's record in those seven games: 1-6. Not a coincidence.
On the flip side, this was the Razorbacks' first significant victory under ground-and-pound coach Bret Bielema. There aren't many easy spots left on the Hogs' schedule, but they won't play another true road game until Nov. 1. Opportunities will be there for Arkansas to gum up the SEC West with an upset or two.
9) Some schematic advantage: In Kansas' last three road games under Charlie Weis, the Jayhawks have scored a total of nine points and zero touchdowns. The latest beat-down: 41-3 at Duke Saturday. Kansas' last road touchdown was Nov. 2, 2013, a garbage-time score in a 22-point loss to Texas.
10) Since falling behind Wisconsin 24-7 in the third quarter of its season opener, LSU hasn't allowed a point. The scoreless stretch is now 147 minutes and 24 seconds. Next up for the undefeated Tigers: undefeated Mississippi State.