We start with the most surprising - and most refreshing - story in the Pac-12 this year: The Washington State Cougars rise to relevance.
You could call their final-minute comeback win at UCLA last night a defining moment - or simply another stop in a revenge tour that continues to break long-standing stigmas. Either way, it's officially become a season of redemption for the Cougs, who are one missed-field goal away from controlling their path to the Pac-12 title game. In fact, today, they cracked the Top-25 for the first time since 2006.
I know there are still doubters. Just ask the Vegas oddsmakers that continue to doubt the authenticity of talent in Pullman. Breaking presumptions takes time - especially after a decade-long slumber.
But it's such a feel-good story; I'd argue, the best turnaround in the Pac-12 since the rise of Stanford under Jim Harbaugh: One of a perennial doormat flipping the script - a band of misfits taking on the personality of their head coach, Mike Leach, and getting stronger and more confident with every win.
It's honestly a tour that needs a suitable name: From "Breaking Bad," to "Deliverance" to even one that reflects the Cougs “Us Against the World" mentality: "We Just Don't Give a Falk."
I'm partial to the "Assumption Tour." Because after the Portland State loss, I did a lot of assuming - and I don't know about "u," but it sure made an ass out of me.
Whatever it's name, it's coming to Seattle for a one-night only appearance in less than two weeks at Husky Stadium: An Apple Cup that could have bowl-eligibility on the line for the Dawgs and who knows what higher-tier bowl for the Cougs. It's another sign of hope that the Apple Cup rivalry is taking steps in the right direction, and can one day be a battle for supremacy in the Pac-12 North.
And whatever happens the next few weeks, everyone enjoys a good underdog story - that's what this has been.
One that many of us, including myself, never saw coming but have enjoyed nonetheless.
Mike Leach and the Cougs finally deserve their due. And they've been due - for awhile - to make this kind of noise around the Pac-12.