We’re two weeks into the college football season. (Three? I guess? If we’re supposed to count Week 0.) Trends are starting to emerge for teams all throughout the country. What’s real? What’s sustainable? What’s a mirage? 

Here are 10 things I’m looking at in Week 3.

1. Bo Nix’s average depth of target

There was so much talk in the offseason about Kenny Dillingham’s desire to push the ball down the field. In 70 pass attempts, Nix has thrown at least 20 yards downfield just three times. His average depth of target — 4.4 yards — is the third shortest among FBS quarterbacks with at least 20 dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. Florida State’s Jordan Travis was at 10 yards last season working with Dillingham. Obviously, Oregon’s first two games have been extremes. With the supreme talent advantage Oregon had over Eastern Washington, flipping the ball out to playmakers and letting them work is a fine decision. Oregon has guys who could be deep threats on the perimeter. I think this is just a function of the first two games. Oregon could use a few moon shots to open things up against BYU. A big question here: do they trust Nix to take those shots? 

2. UCLA has three of the best pass-rushers in the Pac-12

Grayson Murphy, Gabriel Murphy, and Laiatu Latu have three of the five best pass-rush productivity rating among Pac-12 defenders through the first two weeks of the season, according to PFF. It’s a rating that measures pressure created on a per snap basis with weighting toward sacks. UCLA’s most pressing offseason need was finding one player who could cause havoc. Early indications are that it found three. Grayson Murphy has the third-best score among qualified Power Five pass-rushers. His twin brother and the previously-retired Latu are both top-25. The trio has 33 quarterback pressures in two games. UCLA hasn’t played anyone of interest, so this is the biggest “sustainable or circumstantial?” situation in the Pac-12 right now.

3. Jaydn Ott can’t be tackled

The freshman running back for Cal is averaging over 6 yards a carry. On 25 rushing attempts, he has over 100 yards after contact and has forced 10 missed tackles. Cal hasn’t yet played anyone of substance, so Notre Dame will be a welcome test for those of us who want to see if the dynamic back can keep it rolling. During an interview on the Pac-12 Today show on SiriusXM this week, head coach Justin Wilcox said they wanted to get their playmaker the ball a bit more going forward. He looks like a real weapon for them.

4. USC is Iowa

Through Iowa’s first six games last season, the Hawkeyes took the football away from the opposing offense 20 times. They had games with three, four (twice), and seven takeaways. It looked like the group was on pace to challenge for some records, but then it had just 11 in the final eight games of the season. The record through the first six: 6-0. The record over the final eight: 4-4. USC has eight takeaways in two games. I don’t offer the Iowa anecdote to suggest the two teams are comparable — Iowa plays a different sport on offense compared to USC. It’s more about sustainability. No one has averaged even there takeaways a game in any of the last six full seasons. TCU was the last team to do it, back in 2014. Timely turnovers have gotten the Trojans out of spots that might have otherwise ended in points. How do things look when the turnovers dry up? 

5. Utah’s tight ends are… enough?

Utah’s tight ends so far this season: 30 targets.

Utah’s wideouts: 21 targets.

The Utah coaching staff keeps saying it wants the wideouts to be more involved in the offense, but they’re not going to have quarterback Cam Rising force the issue if it isn’t there. Devaughn Vele has 10 targets in two games, but only five receptions for 74 yards. Money Parks has five targets and four receptions for 75 yards. The staff is challenging those guys to get themselves open and demand the football, but it’s pretty clear this offense is going to hum around the star tight end duo of Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid. Rising is 4-for-5 to start the season on passes of at least 20 yards. Kincaid has seen two of those. Parks also has two. Can the passing game continue to be effective without a burner on the outside winning one-on-ones? Not every team has the tight end talent Utah has.   

6. Washington State’s defensive front has done a 180

The Cougars allowed 4.6 yards yards a carry last year. That was one of the 30 worst marks in the FBS. This particular sample size includes a Week 2 game against one of the most consistent rushing teams of the last two decades in Wisconsin, and yet the Cougars are allowing just 3 yards a carry so far. Anything at or below 3.5 for a season makes a top-25 run defense. Washington State is getting into the backfield, causing problems, and keeping teams off schedule. Idaho had a 14% success rate. Wisconsin was at 29%. That’s the start, right there.  

7. Oregon’s red zone defense isn’t doing much defense

Nine trips, nine touchdowns. Georgia was 7-for-7. Eastern Washington got to the red area twice and scored touchdowns both times. There’s a reason Dan Lanning keeps opening up his post-practice availabilities by emphasizing the Ducks’ work on third down and in the red zone. They’ve been unable to get off the field on those high-yield downs. There’s not really an excuse for it. Oregon has to execute better. 

8. Is Jalen McMillan emerging as a star?

The man is averaging 24 yards a catch to begin the year. He has 214 receiving yards and three scores on just nine receptions. Washington’s pass game has been one of the most productive through two weeks, perhaps surprisingly so if you had reservations about quarterback Michael Penix Jr., but it seems he’s found a dangerous connection with McMillan. He had 470 yards and three scores last season, and early indications suggest he could be in for a big sophomore campaign. If Penix’s level of play maintains, the wideout room is going to benefit, and McMillan seems to be first in line. 

9. Arizona State can’t convert on third… even when it’s easy

The Sun Devils are 6-for-26 on third downs so far this year. Only one other FBS team has been worse on the money down. After converting 4-of-13 in the opener, ASU was 2-for-13 this past Saturday against Oklahoma State. The weird thing with those failures was they were coming from a spot where ASU has the perceived advantage. It was 0-for-5 on third downs that needed 4 yards or less to convert. The Sun Devils haven’t been effective in short-yardage rushing situations, another possibly weird quirk to begin the year considering they have some talent on the offensive line (LaDarius Henderson, Ben Scott) and a superb running back (Xazavian Valladay). The tackle play has been poor to begin the season. The other guard spot opposite Henderson has been a point of weakness, too. 

10. Arizona can’t afford to allow pressure on the quarterback

I know. Obvious. But Jayden de Laura’s performance so far when pressured vs. when he’s kept clean has been pretty striking in contrast. When kept clean, the UA quarterback is completing 62% of his passes for 356 yards and five touchdowns. He has just one interception and only one turnover-worthy play, according to PFF. When the Wildcats have allowed pressure, de Laura’s completion percentage has plummeted to 44% and he’s thrown three interceptions with five turnover-worthy plays. We saw it against Mississippi State, the forced improv led to poor decisions. More problematic for the UA: de Laura has been pressured more than any other Pac-12 quarterback so far. The Wildcats need to figure out the best five on the offensive line quickly. A couple of guys are off to very rough starts.