What they're saying: Stanford 50, Duke 13

Thus far, Stanford football's 2012 season is a series of riddles.

Thus far, Stanford football's 2012 season is a series of riddles.

A team that has been outgained in each of its first two games, yet outscored those opponents by a combined 40 points. A team that was outpossessed against Duke per the clock, yet was plus-three in turnovers. A starting quarterback that couldn't hit the backside of a barn week one, yet rebounded with some great throws in week two. (If anything, his receivers keep carrying him out-of-bounds on fades and sideline patterns, to my eyes. The receivers need to run crisper routes to give Josh Nunes more room to drop in balls over outside shoulders.)

A starting quarterback who completed barely more than half his passes, but for over nine yards per attempt. A coaching staff whose playbook week one was run left/run right (choose one) was winging and dinging it all over the field in a manner that would make conference newbies Rich Rod and Mike Leach blush. A 2012 defense whose Achilles heel is the secondary, a defense that for all its strengths the last two years never did force a ton of turnovers, and now Ed Reynolds has three picks in two games?

Our most productive linebacker doesn't start. Our most talented linemen are sitting on the bench. Our best quarterback… just kidding, I won't reignite that debate.

Of course, another way of saying that Stanford's performance has riddled these past two weeks is to say that they've been inconsistent. And, of course, another way to say that Stanford has been inconsistent is to say that they're enormously talented and coming off their most successful two years in generations, but are breaking in new faces in a load of important positions.

So maybe these riddles are all par for the course, but that doesn't make them any less puzzling. Here's hoping that next week yields some (favorable) clarity, but for now, here's to 2-0.

Here are other takes from across the nation.


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