Pollard back at UCLA

After talking to UCLA commit Jayson Allmond at the conclusion of the Inland Empire All-Star Football Classic, I learned that Cajon cornerback Marlon Pollard has switched his commitment back from Notre Dame to UCLA. A corresponding story has gone up on Rivals.com which can be read here.

“I just heard tonight,” said Allmond after San Bernardino’s 38-7 loss to Riverside County at Los Osos High School. “It’s great to have him as a Bruin.”

Pollard is on his official visit to UCLA this weekend, which is why he didn’t take part in the all-star game. The 6-foot-1, 160-pound cornerback transferred to Cajon from Valencia last winter. He had verbally committed to UCLA in the summer of 2007 but decommitted over this past summer after Karl Dorrell was fired and Rick Neuheisel was hired. He committed to Notre Dame in July and said his commitment was solid when Charlie Weis visited the Cajon campus in early December, but concerns over Weis’ job security and Neuheisel’s persistence seems to have won out.

Pollard joins an Inland Empire-heavy Bruin recruiting class which includes Allmond, Los Osos QB Richard Brehaut and Diamond Ranch CB Brandon Sermons. I’ll have a more in-depth account with Pollard himself up tomorrow.

Divisional playoff picks

Well, that was a crappy start to the playoffs for me, as I lost the Colts (who I had going to the AFC title game) along with two other games. Moving on and trying to avoid the doughnut.

Baltimore (+3) at Tennessee
The only winner I did get right, the Ravens are looking a lot like they did in 2000 – dominating, big-play defense with a punishing running game and a unspectacular quarterback who avoids the big mistake. I’m tempted to pick them to beat the Titans, as Kerry Collins doesn’t quite breed confidence in me. However, I did pick Tennessee to make the Super Bowl, so I can’t go back now. I’ll hedge my bet and take the points.
Tennessee 16, Baltimore 14

Arizona (+10) at Carolina
The Cardinals looked good for the first time in a month, as their defense shut out Atlanta’s running game and made Matt Ryan look like a rookie, which is pretty rare. But putting that type of effort out two weeks in a row – especially against a well-rested, playoff-tested team like the Panthers – is easier said than done. I’m taking the Panthers big here.
Carolina 28, Arizona 13

Philadelphia (+4) at N.Y. Giants
The weather outside could be pretty frightful, as the New York metro area is supposed to be buried in 6-8 inches of snow between now and gametime Sunday. That bodes much better for the Giants, who have a healthy Brandon Jacobs ready to pound. That rest, plus the revenge factor toward an Eagles win at New York in early December, should be enough.
N.Y. Giants 21, Philadelphia 14

San Diego (+6) at Pittsburgh
Ready or not, the Chargers are coming. They proved me wrong against Indy last week and could give the Steelers a hassle this week. Pittsburgh’s D is top notch, but Ben Roethlisberger and the offense have struggled to string together touchdowns offensively. I’ll take the home team again, with the road team covering.
Pittsburgh 17, San Diego 13

Overall: 148-104-1. Record against spread: 118-132-3.

Roenicke named U.S. flag bearer

Los Osos senior volleyball player Tara Roenicke was chosen to be the flag bearer for the United States at the opening ceremonies of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival, which starts Wednesday in Sydney, Australia. The Youth Olympic Festival will host 1,500 athletes from 25 other countries.

This is the second international beach volleyball event for Roenicke, a 5-foot-11 senior who has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Houston, since July and the third of her illustrious career. She is partnered with Summer Ross of Carlsbad and will begin play at the Youth Olympic Festival next Thursday, Jan. 15. The beach volleyball event runs until Sunday, Jan. 18.

In her career, Roenicke has represented the United States at the 2007 Under-19 World Beach Volleyball championships in Poland and at the 2008 U-19 World Championships in the Netherlands this past summer. In the most recent trip, Roenicke and Serrano graduate Caitlin Ledoux took fifth place, the best finish for an American girls team.

We’ll have updates on Roenicke’s progress at the event, but for information, the website for the Youth Olympic Festival is http://ayof09.olympics.com.au/.

College Final top 25

Well, its over. That Florida-Oklahoma game, while close, wasn’t anywhere close to awesome. It was almost like two teams got picked out of a hat…oh wait, they basically were. Once again, the college football system fails miserably.

What’s the solution? Typically, one would say a plus-one playoff, but this year, that wouldn’t work at all. There are four teams (Florida, Utah, Texas, USC) with legitimate claims for the title. I’d love these four to play a pair of semifinals – the Urban Meyer Bowl between Florida and Utah followed with a Texas-USC rematch perhaps? – with the winners playing in a end-all, be-all final. Has to be a lot better than the schlock that we saw tonight.

But since that can’t happen, I guess I have to pick my own number one. Well, its also the number one LANG writer Scott Wolf came up with. So props to Scott and here we go.

1. Utah (6) – Big jump, but the Utes took out Alabama worse than Florida did. They also beat Oregon State (which USC can’t claim), a top 10 team in TCU and won all of their games. In most countries and sports, winning every time out means something.

2. Florida (1) – The Gators are good and talented to all get-out, but they didn’t do anything that Texas didn’t do in beating Oklahoma by 10. They didn’t do anything that Utah didn’t do in beating Alabama. They only did one thing that Utah didn’t do – that is lose. At home mind you. Sorry.

3. USC (5) – Yeah, yeah, the Big Ten sucks, blah, blah. That was a darn good Penn State team that USC bent over its knee and slapped the heck out of in the Rose Bowl. But that darn team from Oregon State just ruined it for SC, not only by beating the Trojans but by losing to Utah.

4. Texas (2) – I guess its unfair to drop the Longhorns, but someone had to be No. 4 and quite frankly, Texas was the least impressive of the top 4 in their bowl. Ohio State is good, but the Longhorns didn’t make the statement that USC, Utah, and Florida did. Or at least the first two.

Everything after this ranking is pretty much window dressing. But then again, so is the college football postseason.

5. Oklahoma (3) – Shouldn’t have been in the game in the first place and quite frankly, shouldn’t be in any BCS games for a while after losing five in a row. I don’t understand why Ohio State gets so much guff for its BCS struggles when Oklahoma has been clearly worse.

6. Alabama (5) – They got smoked by Utah, but they shouldn’t be ashamed by it. Their only losses this season came via the top two teams in this ranking and the Tide had their best year since Gene Stallings was around. Good work fellas.

7. TCU (11) – This has to be the highest the Horned Frogs have been ranked since World War II. If not, then I’m a moron. Anyway, TCU was a darn good team – only losses were to Oklahoma and Utah – and are one of the best under-the-radar programs in the country.

8. Penn State (7) – Not punishing the Nittany Lions too bad for losing basically a road game to USC. Playing the Trojans in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on New Year’s Day is a thankless task for anyone not named Vince Young.

9. Boise State (9) – They lost, but you can’t disrespect what the Broncos have done. If Utah wins the AP title (doubtful), it can thank Boise for its win over Oklahoma two years ago in the Fiesta Bowl.

10. Oregon (14) – Big win for the Ducks over Oklahoma State, getting them ten wins and a top 10 spot. Had to put them below Boise State because they lost to the Broncos in September though.

11. Ohio State (10) – The Buckeyes lost another BCS game, but gave Texas all it could handle. As far as OSU BCS losses go, this one wasn’t anything to be ashamed of.

12. Mississippi (20) – My big riser, the Rebels are the only team to beat Florida and were extremely impressive in dispatching of Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl. They could be a team to watch next season.

13. Texas Tech (8) – Um, well, at least they beat Texas. Kind of a letdown in the Cotton Bowl after such a great season, but the Red Raiders shouldn’t fret. What they’ll do after Harrell (graduation) and Crabtree (likely NFL early entry) will be interesting.

14. Georgia (18) – The Bulldogs finally beat a team with a pulse in the Capital One Bowl, defeating Michigan State. Kind of a disappointing season for Georgia, which now loses Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno to early NFL draft entry.

15. Virginia Tech (21) – It wasn’t pretty, but the Hokies got to 10 wins by beating Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl. Va. Tech might be the most anonymous program to win 10 or more games in five straight years.

16. Oregon State (24) – Taking after their baseball team’s back-to-back College World Series championships in 2006 and 2007, the Beavers got a three-run homer to beat Pittsburgh 3-0 in the Sun Bowl. 9 wins, one being over USC, constitutes a heck of a season in Corvallis.

17. Iowa (25) – The Hawkeyes were the only team in the Big Ten to represent at all, destroying South Carolina in the Outback Bowl for the conference’s only bowl victory. Like Ole Miss, look for Iowa to be a darkhorse in its conference next season.

18. Florida State (NR) – The Seminoles looked like the Florida State teams of old in thrashing Wisconsin in the Champs Sports Bowl. If FSU can sustain that offense in any way next season, look out ACC.

19. Cincinnati (12) – Well, the Bearcats’ first BCS bowl experience wasn’t ideal, but getting there in a season where they had to play four different quarterbacks is very impressive.

20. Oklahoma State (16) – Couldn’t quite finish off Oregon, but a good season for the Cowboys, who have built a nice little program in the shadow of Oklahoma. The “I’m a man, I’m 40″ jokes have lessened a bit. Ok, no they haven’t.

21. Missouri (NR) – It wasn’t pretty, but the overtime win over Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl gave the Tigers a second straight 10-win season. Not bad at all.

22. LSU (NR) – Didn’t want to rank LSU, but you can’t overlook a 38-3 beating of a good Georgia Tech team. Can’t do it.

23. Georgia Tech (13) – Now that LSU is ranked, I can rank Georgia Tech. Oh goody.

24. BYU (14) – I guess going to the Las Vegas Bowl for the fourth straight year wasn’t appealing to BYU, as it lost to a hungry Arizona team.

25. Michigan State (19) – The Michigan part of me wants to not rank the Spartans due to them losing to most teams with a pulse. But 9-4 is a pretty good year in East Lansing.

Just missed the cut: Nebraska, West Virginia, California.

Dropped out: No. 17 Pittsburgh, No. 22 Ball State, No. 23 Boston College

All-Mt. Baldy League football

I finally found the thing in the office, so by request, here it is.

MVP – Herman Huezo, QB, Ontario
Offensive MVP – Deveion Bauman, Chaffey
Defensive MVP – Ronald Douglas, Chaffey

First Team

Chaffey
Jacob Ahmad, Jr.
Robert Cook, Sr.
Mike Martinez, Jr.
Jesus Cortez, So.
Alejandro Alamillo, So.
Anthony Gamez, Sr.
Matt Hooyenga, Sr.
Jacob Klinefelter, Jr.

Ontario
Ray Lazard, Sr.
Josh Ramirez, Sr.
Mike Chavers, Sr.
Jose Flores, Sr.
Justin Randall, Jr.
Juan Bustamante, Sr.

Colony
Ed Todd, Jr.
Joshua Andrews, Sr.
Quayshawn Buckley, Sr.
Jordan Bell, Sr.
Nick Gonzales, Sr.
Kenneth Scott, Jr.

Montclair
Shawn Abbott, Sr.
Tory Gilroy, Jr.
Ray Gutierrez, Sr.
Brian Chang, Sr.

Don Lugo
George Uko, Jr.
Steven Bethley, Jr.
Shane Spolar, Jr.
Abraham Aguirre, Jr.
Jayson Campos, Jr.

Garey
Dewayne Williams, Jr.
Jesus Perez, Sr.
Martin Verdin, So.

Second Team

Chaffey
Francisco Leal, Sr.
Kwmaine Harrison, Sr.
Jonathan Lira, So.
Vincent Esparza, Sr.

Ontario
Bryan Martinez, Sr.
Tony Marquez, Sr.
Nick Austin, Sr.
Jesse Rodriguez, Sr.
Rafel Mora, Sr.
Alan Jacquez, Sr.

Colony
Jared Bell, Jr.
Keith Hutchins, Jr.
Cory Grant, So.
Tony Wilson, Sr.
Dylan Bautz, Sr.
Gabriel Munoz, Jr.
Tama Tauai, Jr.

Montclair
Lafayette Cole, Sr.
Gerardo Morales, Sr.
Tim Jacquemain, Sr.
Eric Silva, Sr.

Don Lugo
Reggie Rucker, So.
Dylan Torres, Sr.
Anthony Wilson, So.
Blake Anderson, So.
Rodolfo Conchas, So.

Garey
Dominque Williams, So.
Robert Farley, So.
Chris Jimenez, So.

San Bernardino roster updates

Got some changes in the San Bernardino roster for Saturday’s game. If history is any precedence, these won’t be the last.

Los Osos QB Richard Brehaut, a UCLA commit who played with Upland QB Josh Nunes (Stanford) in Sunday’s Under Armour All-Star Game in Orlando, is out and will by replaced by Hesperia’s Ian Harriman. Harriman has efficiently led Hesperia to 20 wins and a Mojave River League championship during the last two years.

Arroyo Valley offensive lineman Michael Philipp, who played Saturday in the U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio, also dropped out. Philipp, a four-star recruit and the best guard in the nation according to Rivals.com, is considering schools such as Oregon, Cal, Stanford, UCLA and Oregon State. He’ll be replaced by Colony’s Joshua Andrews, a first-team all-County and all-Inland Valley selection. Andrews has verbally committed to Oregon State.

A couple of Upland guys dropped out as well, as cornerback Osahon Irabor, an Arizona State commit, and cornerback Taj Johnson, another D-I caliber recruit, are out. They’ll be replaced by Miller’s Trayvon Ralph – a first-team all-County and all-Inland Valley selection – and Eisenhower receiver Taijuan Martin.

Other players on the original roster that won’t play are Twentynine Palms wide receiver Montreal Harris, Etiwanda wide receiver Willie Mebane and Chino kicker Jared Taylor. Replacing them are Los Osos RB Arby Fields, a Northwestern commit, Aquinas fullback J.P. Ragan and Los Osos kicker Josh Repp.

Wild Card/playoff picks

I made a nice little comeback last week, but still am guaranteed to finish below .500 for the season. Those are the breaks. We’ll see if I can’t be somewhat unterrible during the playoffs.

Atlanta (-1) at Arizona
If you took either one of these teams, especially the Falcons, to make the playoffs before the season started you’d be paid off pretty handsomely right about now. However, the NFC West champion Cardinals have been sluggish since winning the NFC West and will be going against Atlanta’s bruising rush offense of Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood. The first playoff game in Arizona (involving the Cardinals at least) will be the last until at least next year.
Atlanta 28, Arizona 21

Indianapolis (-2) at San Diego
The Colts might be the hottest team in the NFL right now, winning nine straight. However, the Chargers aren’t that far behind, winning four straight to become the first team in NFL history to make up a three-game deficit to win a division in the final three weeks. In other words, this matchup is two locomotives ready to pulverize each other. The Chargers pulled the upset in Indy last year, but I still don’t trust Norv Turner. Going with the Colts here.
Indianapolis 30, San Diego 26

Baltimore (-3.5) at Miami
The Ravens made it here with a rookie quarterback and a great defense, while Miami somehow went from a one-win team to the winners of the AFC East. These teams met in the regular season, with Baltimore romping, and I see much of the same happening in this matchup. Look out for the Ravens as a darkhorse Super Bowl team.
Baltimore 23, Miami 10

Philadelphia (-3) at Minnesota
It’s pretty unheard of to see all of the home teams as underdogs. It would be equally as unheard of for the road team to win all four wild card games. The home team will get one, and I believe this is the one. The Vikings run the ball and can stop the run, two prerequisties for playoff success. Plus, the Eagles have been up and down all season. After killing Dallas, they are due for a letdown in the Twin Cities.
Minnesota 24, Philadelphia 17

Here’s a quickie forecast for the rest of the playoffs.

AFC
Divisional
Tennessee over Baltimore
Indianapolis over Pittsburgh
Championship
Tennessee over Indianapolis

NFC
Divisional
N.Y. Giants over Atlanta
Carolina over Minnesota
Championship
Carolina over N.Y. Giants

Super Bowl
Carolina over Tennessee

Overall: 147-101-1. Record against spread: 117-129-3.

Riverside all-star game rosters

The title explains it all. The first practices for the all-star game will be from 8 a.m-noon Saturday at Los Osos.

Moe Barragan, OL/DL, Palm Springs
Ken Braden, LB, Riverside Patriot
Vontaze Burfict, LB, Corona Centennial
Arthur Burns, RB, Corona Centennial
Lawrence Butler, DE, Murrieta Valley
John Byrd, DB, Riverside Arlington
Jamar Calhoun, QB, Riverside North
Marquise Cox, CB, Riverside North
Mo Cox, LB, Riverside North
Maurice Culpepper, WR, Perris Citrus Hill
Andrew Fisk, WR, Riverside Ramona
Fontayne Fuga, LB/WR, Temecula Chaparral
Ryan Gann, OL, Corona
Kameron Henderson, OL/DT, Moreno Valley
Caleb Herring, QB, Perris Citrus Hill
Malik Humphries, DE, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde
Dennis Johnson, OL, Murrieta Valley
Jared Koster, LB, Norco
Omar Marroquin, OL, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde
Eric Martin, LB, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde
Sean Martin, DB/WR, Corona Santiago
Tren McSearch, DL, Palm Desert
Terrence Miller, LB, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde
Lyle Negron, QB, Murrieta Valley
Jonathan Norton, RB/DB, Moreno Valley
Eric Pesante, RB/DB, Roosevelt
Will Prescott, OL, Riverside King
Bradley Randle, RB, Vista Murrieta
Tyrone Richardson, RB, Hemet West Valley
Michael Sikorski, DE, Temecula Chaparral
Chance Simon, K/P, Norco
Greg Smith, TE/DL, Perris Citrus Hill
Richard Spencer, S, Moreno Valley Rancho Verde
Damion Stafford, DB, Norco
Jordan Stip, QB/DB/WR, Riverside Poly
Will Sutton, DL, Corona Centennial
Sam Tautolo, DL, Moreno Valley Valley View
David Watkins, DL, Temecula Chaparral
Trent Wilder, DE/TE, Palm Springs
Stevie Will, WR/DB, Riverside King
David Williams, CB, Wildomar Elsinore
Jeff Wright, OL, Riverside Poly

San Bernardino all-star game roster

First of all, I hope everyone had a great holiday season. Now that it’s over, I’ll be posting again with a little bit more frequency. You’ll be seeing more basketball posts, but with the Inland Empire Football Classic set to take place next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Los Osos High School, here’s another football one.

This is the San Bernardino roster for the game, with college choice in parantheses. Of course, it’s subject to change throughout the week.

Shawn Abbott, WR/DB, Montclair
James Adams, DT, Redlands East Valley
Jayson Allmond, RB, Bloomington
Nat Berhe, DB/RB, Colton
Richard Brehaut, QB, Los Osos
A.J. Cabello, DE, Arrowhead Christian
Nalik Davis, DL, Miller
Travis Everard, RB/LB, Lucerne Valley
Daniel Fonua, LB, Rancho Cucamonga
Kevin Garnuscio, DL, Alta Loma
Jesse Gonzales, LB, Los Osos
Ricky Gonzalez, OL, Eisenhower
Kevin Guerra, G, Colton
Jacob Guzman, LB, Miller
Montreal Harris, WR/DB, Twentynine Palms
Osahon Irabor, CB/WR, Upland
Alex Jefferies, WR/DB, Eisenhower
Larry Johnson, LB/TE, Granite Hills
Taj Johnson, DB, Upland
Walter Kazee, RB, Cajon
Louie Lara, OL/NG, Pacific
Robert Larivee, LB/TE, Ayala
Ray Lazard, WR, Ontario
Orie Lupear, OL, Redlands East Valley
Simon Martinez, OL/LB, Kaiser
Willie Mebane, WR, Etiwanda
Rex Meikel, DL, Yucaipa
Brock Morris, OL, Redlands
Michael Philipp, OL, Arroyo Valley
Joseph Pitre, OL, Silver Valley
Marlon Pollard, DB/WR, Cajon
Kevin Pope, DE, Serrano
Mitchel Rosnagle, LB/DE, Los Osos
Matt Shinn, OL, Los Osos
Tyler Stirewalt, QB, Aquinas
Irshad Stolden, WR, Rancho Cucamonga
Jared Taylor, K/WR/DB, Chino
Dominique Williams, WR/DB, San Bernardino