I was holding out hope for the conference right up to first kickoff, last Thursday night, when Weber State suddenly opened a 10-0 lead over Utah in Salt Lake City.

What?

Losing Utah early, at Pac 12 campaign headquarters, would be like Orrin Hatch losing Ogden to a hippie.

This couldn’t be happening. Utah was the only Pac team to win a bowl game last year.

Utah rallied to win, 41-10, but it struck me as an omen for coming weekend attractions.

And it all unfolded, as I thought it might, like a cheap lawn chair.

The most critical opening weekend in recent Pac 12 history left Larry’s League in semi-critical condition.

The Pac may have been eliminated from both the College Football Playoff, and the Heisman race, before Labor Day.

Washington, the team’s brightest hope according to Phil Steele, Lindy’s and Cindy at the Starbucks near the Space Needle, played well but lost to Auburn, 21-16, in Atlanta.

It WAS a moral victory and a hard-fought loss, but it was a defeat.

Washington blew a huge chance to raise Pac hopes because the Huskies outplayed Auburn in the second half but couldn’t close this ATL real estate transaction.

They turned three deep Red Zone trips into a missed field goal, a fumble and a clanked three-pointer off the right upright.

“It comes down to details when you’re playing evenly matched teams,” Washington Coach Chris Petersen said after the game.

Washington played well enough to earn back slaps from the SEC crowd but the Huskies will now have to (probably) be perfect the rest of the way to earn playoff consideration.

More of what I think of four-year starter Jake Browning: The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.