Myles Jack, Malcolm Bunche lead UCLA on Phil Steele’s preseason All-Pac-12 list

Is UCLA’s best offensive player … Malcolm Bunche?

Maybe in the wonky world of preseason all-conference teams. College football writer Phil Steele released his All-Pac-12 selections today, going four lineups deep on offense, defense, and special teams.

Seven Bruins made the four offensive teams, but the one ahead of them was arguably the strangest pick in the entire list. Bunche is no doubt an important piece of UCLA’s offensive line this upcoming season, but he transferred from Miami in the first place because he lost playing time. It’s also unclear whether the 6-foot-7 lineman is best suited at guard at tackle, though he practiced more at the former in spring.

Quarterback Brett Hundley, right guard Alex Redmond, and Y-receiver Thomas Duarte each made the second team, with Duarte slotted in at tight end. Continue reading

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Catcher Shane Zeile drafted No. 160 overall as Tigers’ fifth-round pick

UCLA catcher Shane Zeile was taken in the fifth round of the MLB draft on Friday, becoming the first current Bruin off the board.

The junior went No. 160 overall to the Detroit Tigers after leading UCLA in nearly every hitting category, including a .324 batting average and 28 RBI. A former infielder, the All-Pac-12 selection successfully converted to catcher and started 105 games behind home plate over the last two seasons. Continue reading

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How much will the MLB draft hurt UCLA baseball’s recruiting class?

Each June, living rooms across the country erupt as college baseball programs groan.

The MLB draft pushes scores of teens toward their pro dreams, but also guts the recruiting classes UCLA has suffered its share of the burden, losing five recruits last year — including a pair of 11th-round selections.

The blows are coming earlier this time, which at least makes for less guesswork on the part of the coaches. Lefty Brady Aiken was as good as gone even before he officially became the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday, as the UCLA signee was already a consensus top-three prospect. The first high school pitcher selected first since 1991 is in line to sign for just shy of $8 million, and the Astros certainly wouldn’t have risked the top pick without confidence they could ink him.

The same likely goes for righty Grant Hockin out of La Verne’s Damien High, who was picked 61st overall by the Cleveland Indians. Continue reading

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UCLA schedules home-and-home series with BYU in 2015, 2016

UCLA’s rush of schedule additions never seems to end.

Its latest move? Etching in a home-and-home series with BYU in 2015 and 2016, replacing its prior games against Nevada. The Bruins will host on Sept. 19, 2015, and visit Provo on Sept. 17, 2016.

This doesn’t carry the same aura as scheduling Texas A&M (2016/2017), Oklahoma (2018/2019) or LSU (2021/20214), but the Cougars have at least made a bowl game for nine straight years.

While the Bruins lead BYU, 7-3, in the all-time series, the Cougars’ have taken the last two in memorable fashion: a 17-16 win in the 2007 Las Vegas Bowl, and a 59-0 blowout in Provo the following year.

Nevada and UCLA mutually agreed the cancel their series, allowing the Wolf Pack to fill its Sept. 19, 2015 slot with a trip to Texas A&M — one with a reported $1.5 million payout.

A full look at the Bruins’ scheduled nonconference opponents through 2024 below: Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: An inside look at the life of a basketball recruit

» Worth reading: An inside look at the recruitment of Marvin Clark Jr., a one-time Oregon commit whose future flickered when he fractured his foot.

» Former USC coach Lane Kiffin’s three-year contract as Alabama’s offensive coordinator will pay him $680,000 for the first two years, then $714,000 in the third.

» Arizona State may ban beer kegs at its tailgates. Continue reading

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Steve Alford ranked No. 36 on ESPN’s list of top college basketball coaches

For taking UCLA to its first Sweet Sixteen in six years, Steve Alford’s debut in Los Angeles earned him a spot as one of college basketball’s top-50 coaches.

No. 36 isn’t a lofty spot for someone at the helm of one of the sport’s most recognizable programs, but Alford also benefited in inheriting a unique college star in All-American point guard Kyle Anderson, as well as a capable scorer in Jordan Adams.

But nevertheless turned around a team that was embarrassed in the first round a year ago, and successfully implemented an up-tempo style that wasn’t apparent in his years at New Mexico.

From ESPN: Continue reading

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Former four-star linebacker Aaron Porter will transfer to Washington State

After leaving UCLA in early April, former four-star prospect Aaron Porter will transfer to Washington State.

Originally signed as a linebacker in 2012, Porter never played in a game for the Bruins — converting to fullback after falling down the depth chart. He was not enrolled for spring quarter and seemed unlikely to return to a team that played 18 true freshmen over him last season.

Cougfan.com first reported the news.

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UCLA announces five kickoff times for 2014 season

Five kickoff times for UCLA’s 2014 season are now set, with only one being slotted for a Pac-12 Networks broadcast.

The culprit is the Bruins’ home opener against Memphis, which will start at 7 p.m. on Sept. 6. The game follows a week after UCLA opens its season at Virginia with a 9 a.m. PT start on ESPN, which was first announced last week.

The team’s primetime visit to Texas at AT&T Stadium will start at 5 p.m. PT on FOX, while the conference slate begins with a 7 p.m. PT visit to Arizona State on Fox Sports 1.

Seven games in October and November are still without finalized kickoff times, but UCLA’s regular-season finale against Stanford will start at 12:30 p.m. on ABC.

Here’s the full UCLA football schedule for 2014 right now: Continue reading

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Oddsmaker gives UCLA eighth-best chance at College Football Playoff berth

The college football season doesn’t start for another three months, but oddsmakers are already taking early bets.

Online sportsbook Bovada.lv gave UCLA a 12-to-5 shot to make the inaugural College Football Playoff, good for an eighth-best chance at the field of four.

Defending national champion Florida State led with 2-to-7 odds, followed by Alabama (11-to-10), Oregon (1-to-1) and Ohio State (20-to-21). The Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl will host national semifinals on Jan. 1, with winners advancing to the Jan. 12 title game at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

USC closed the 11-team list with 6-to-1 odds.

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