COLLEGE FOOTBALL GRADES
Result: Lost to UCLA 31-14
Comment: Considered a rare F after the Bears committed five turnovers, allowed 5.7 yards per rush and were soundly beaten by a depleted, struggling team. Given the level of competition and the lopsided outcome, this was the Bears' worst all-around performance of the season. ... Coach Jeff Tedford raised the issue of a quarterback change this week, but it's hard to imagine inexperienced backup Allan Bridgford (29 career passes) gives the Bears (4-4, 1-4 Pac-12) a better chance to win than Zach Maynard -- despite Maynard's problems. ... Cal has lost seven of its last eight conference road games.
Next up: vs. Washington State
The matchup: The Cougars fared much better last week at Oregon than Cal did last month, gaining 462 yards in a 15-point loss. ... Washington State (3-5, 1-4) has a respectable passing game but is limited defensively. If the Bears are smart, they will make WSU stop the ground game, then work in play-action passes. ...The Cougars have won just one league road game in the past four years. But if Cal commits a handful of turnovers, even this one will be close.
Result: Beat USC 56-48 (3OT)
Comment: The Cardinal (8-0, 6-0 Pac-12) gets high marks for resiliency and for scoring 34 points in regulation and on all three OT possessions. But the defense, without linebacker Shayne Skov and safety Delano Howell, was sliced and diced after halftime. ... Not to be overlooked in the mistake department: 11 penalties for 91 yards. ... Probably not a coincidence that when Stanford needed a scoring drive, quarterback Andrew Luck repeatedly went to his longtime roommate, receiver Griff Whalen. ...Hard to imagine any Stanford players or coaches complaining about the tight game -- the Cardinal needed to be tested, to execute under pressure, before facing Oregon on Nov. 12.
Next up: at Oregon State
The matchup: Sandwiched between USC and Oregon, this would be a classic trap game for the Cardinal if Oregon State were merely decent. ... The Beavers (2-6, 2-3) start a freshman quarterback, have been hit hard by injuries and are bad on both lines (Utah rushed for 225 yards on Saturday). ... Barring a spate of turnovers, Stanford should win handily -- even if it starts slowly due to a USC hangover.
SAN JOSE STATE
Result: Lost to Louisiana Tech 38-28
Comment: With five turnovers, no running game and a porous defense, this stands as the Spartans' worst showing since the season-opening loss at Stanford. ... The defeat extended SJSU's losing streak in conference road games (three years and counting). ... Quarterback Matt Faulkner threw four interceptions and now has 11 this season against just eight touchdowns. ... In the grand scheme, LaTech was a gravy game -- a win would have helped SJSU, but the loss doesn't hurt. ... The Spartans must win three of its last four to become bowl-eligible. The task sounds more daunting than it is: The four teams (Idaho, Utah State, Navy and Fresno State) have a combined record of 8-23.
Next up: vs. Idaho
The matchup: The bowl math works best if the Spartans (3-5, 2-2 WAC) take care of business Saturday against the worst team in the league. ... Idaho's only win of the season came in Week Two against North Dakota, although the Vandals (1-7, 0-4) pushed Hawaii to edge last week. ... SJSU must limit turnovers and run effectively to avoid an unnecessarily stressful afternoon.