COLLEGE FOOTBALL GRADES
Result: Lost to Nevada 31-24
Comment: Let's dispense with a critique of the details -- the inability to contain Nevada's option (again), the lack of a running game, etc. -- and get right to the big-picture issues: What impact will quarterback Zach Maynard's first-quarter suspension (for missing a tutoring session) have on his ability to lead -- to command universal respect, to hold others accountable? Teams rarely reach their potential when the quarterback has a credibility problem. ... The loss means Cal almost certainly will be 1-3 after its mid-September trips to Ohio State and USC. And a 1-3 start makes a winning season much more difficult for coach Jeff Tedford. The Bears would have to win six of their final eight, and Oregon is one of the eight. ... As for the impact of a 1-3 start on the potential success of the Endowment Seating Program -- and the financial future of the Cal athletic department -- that's best saved for another time.
Next up: vs. Southern Utah
The matchup: Start fast, fix the mistakes from Week One, then get the starters out to make sure they're healthy and rested for Ohio State on Sept. 15.
SAN JOSE STATE
Result: Lost at Stanford 20-17
Comment: Undeniably, an encouraging performance by the Spartans. Quarterback David Fales
Next up: vs. UC Davis
The matchup: The Aggies are well coached and have a veteran quarterback in junior Randy Wright, who directed the 14-13 victory at Spartan Stadium two years ago. ... But unlike 2010, the Spartans have a full complement of 85 scholarships, which should translate into a decisive advantage in depth.
Result: Beat San Jose State 20-17
Comment: Can't help but wonder if Stanford might have slightly underestimated how much more difficult life would be without Andrew Luck. ... Quarterback Josh Nunes was perfectly serviceable in his first start -- and not asked to do much. ... Beyond the issues with execution and communication was the lifeless third quarter. Only when the outcome was in the balance did the Cardinal defense play with maximum urgency. ... The pass rush was spotty, and the pass defense was terrible. Granted, SJSU's receivers would hold their own with many units in the Pac-12. But it's not hard to envision USC's Robert Woods and Marqise Lee running wild and free in the Cardinal secondary in two weeks.
Next up: vs. Duke
The matchup: After a slow start, Stanford thumped the Blue Devils 44-14 last year in Durham, N.C. ... It's easy to overreact to a team's performance in Week One. The guess here is that Stanford corrects the communication issues that surfaced against SJSU. The defense, with linebacker Shayne Skov back from injury and suspension, should be more intense. The play-calling should be more creative, and the Cardinal should dominate the line of scrimmage.