Pac-12 Football: Five things we learned in Week 3

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Sep 19, 2015; Austin, TX, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff (16) reacts in the final seconds against the Texas Longhorns during the fourth quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Cal beat Texas 45-44. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

1. California is a contender for the Pac-12 North

Last year, the Cal Golden Bears obliterated opposing defenses, but they could not stop anyone on defense. Lots of high scoring, close games followed but most of those contests ended with Cal on the losing end. They lost four games by eight points or less and seemed unable to get over the hump. That is often the sign of a young, up and coming team.

Watching the same Cal Bears jump out to a big lead over Texas, only to see the Longhorns come storming back surely brought back memories of 2014. However, head coach Sonny Dykes and quarterback Jared Goff managed to outlast Texas, due partly to a missed extra point, and hang on for a thrilling 45-44 victory.

Texas is not the same program it once was, but a road win in Austin still counts for something. These kinds of dramatic games often lead to confidence and momentum going into the meat of the schedule. The Golden Bears now see Pac-12 play coming up, starting with a trip to Seattle to face the Washington Huskies.

If Cal does not falter in the next two games, it is easy to see this squad at 5-0 heading into that October 10th game in Utah, the first of four straight opponents currently ranked in the top 25.  Survive that stretch and maybe, just maybe this program is staring down a winner take all game against presumptive North favorite Stanford.

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