Result: Lost to USC 30-9
Comment: The defense deserves an A, but the mistake-prone offense and bumbling special teams dragged down the overall grade. ... Lost in the reaction to quarterback Zach Maynard's four turnovers was the lack of a running game. (At least we were saved from another night of ESPN analyst Craig James comparing Cal tailback Isi Sofele to Oregon's brilliant LaMichael James.) ... The defense played its best game of the season given the level of competition: Freshman cornerback Stefan McClure was solid on the perimeter, and the line was active. ... Coach Jeff Tedford was spot on when he called Maynard "a young quarterback," but the Bears aren't doing him any favors by rooting him in the pocket -- he's much better on the move.
Next up: vs. Utah
The matchup: The Utes are adjusting to Pac-12 competition without injured quarterback Jordan Wynn (shoulder). His replacement, Jon Hays, attended Aaron Rodgers Junior College (Butte) before transferring to Nebraska-Omaha, which proceeded to drop football. ... The Utes will have trouble moving the ball on a stout Cal defense. So long as the Bears don't commit a spate of turnovers, they should survive a close, low-scoring game.
San Jose State
Result: Beat Hawaii 28-27
Comment: San Jose State needs three wins in its final five games to
Next up: Bye, then at Louisiana Tech
The matchup: You could argue that the bye is a wet blanket on SJSU's momentum. But at the same time, it gives SJSU a chance to 1) come down off the Hawaii high, 2) correct the execution issues that resulted in six turnovers and six penalties and 3) let safety Duke Ihenacho's tweaked hamstring heal.
Result: Beat Washington State 44-14
Comment: The Cardinal didn't seem to play with the same urgency that it possessed in previous weeks, especially in the first half -- the first sign, perhaps, of complacency setting in. (The inevitable result of winning every game by 25-plus points?) ... The season totals for fullback Ryan Hewitt and tight ends Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo, who were magnificent Saturday: 59 catches for 980 yards -- an average of 16.6 yards per reception -- and 15 touchdowns. ... Safety Michael Thomas played one of his best games with two tackles for loss, a sack, a fumble recovery, a pass breakup and sound open-field tackling. ... Stanford has outscored its opponents 114-41 in the first half and 161-26 in the second.
Next up: vs. Washington
The matchup: It's interesting, which is more than you could have said about the past six games. ... Washington (5-1) is one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the country and features a superb young and mobile quarterback in Keith Price. ... But is the vulnerable UW defense up to the challenge against Andrew Luck and Co.?