Which players have the best names in the Pac-12?

By now, you’ve read many of the lists that have proliferated in college football’s dry summer months. The best 100 players. The freakiest players. The best coaches, best offseasons, best uniforms.

But this? This is the most important of them all. With Pac-12 Media Days — schedule here — kicking off this morning, I have compiled the five best names from each team in the conference.

Without further ado …

Arizona: Sir Thomas Jackson, Antonio Smothers, Tra’Mayne Bondurant, Brogan Kemmerly, Abraham Mendivil

Not great depth here, as the latter two names sacrifice catchiness in favor of length. Still, Sir Thomas Jackson alone is an MVP candidate.

Arizona State: Ezekial Bishop, Demetrius Cherry, Zane Gonzalez, Jaxon Hood, Philip “Scooby” Wright III

Would be better if Scooby’s real first name weren’t Phillip, but otherwise still a solid quintet that lacks a superstar.

Cal: Hardy Nickerson, Avery Sebastian, Bryce Treggs, Brennan Scarlett, Maximo Espitia

A nice throwback in Hardy Nickerson, bookended by a name that makes me want to re-watch Russell Crowe take on a despotic Joaquin Phoenix. Continue reading

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Zach LaVine bedevils Arizona State in UCLA’s blowout win

Welcome back, Zach.

After a mini-slump doused the fiery start to his UCLA career, freshman guard Zach LaVine shot back with a vengeance on Sunday night, keying the Bruins to a 87-72 win over Arizona State.

There were the customary dunks, including a vicious windmill that had all of Pauley Pavilion holding his breath as he hung in the air. There was the 3-point range, rediscovered as he drilled his first three attempts. Continue reading

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Pac-12 opponents vote Xavier Su’a-Filo top offensive lineman

If you ask those who play against him, Xavier Su’a-Filo is the best offensive lineman in the Pac-12. The UCLA junior won the Morris Trophy Thursday, an award voted on by opposing defensive lineman — and an honor that pushes him out of the shadow of another conference guard.

Stanford’s David Yankey has been widely regarded as the position’s standard bearer this season, not only in the league but arguably across all of college football. With a year of eligibility left, the 6-foot-5, 313-pounder earned unanimous All-American honors this year — the eighth player in Cardinal history to do so.

Su’a-Filo was a second-team AP All-American, but was forced to move from left guard to left tackle to help patch a battered Bruins’ line. He has not yet decided whether or not to declare for the 2014 NFL draft.

Arizona State tackle Will Sutton won the defensive Morris Trophy, as voted on by opposing offensive lineman.

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Pac-12 links: Who will head to the Rose Bowl?

– Why Stanford will beat Arizona State for a Rose Bowl berth, according to the Bay Area News Group’s Jon Wilner.

– Steve Sarkisian has already hired two members of his Washington staff. Might defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox be the next to head to USC?

– An older man kicked a younger man in the face at last week’s Territorial Cup game between ASU and Arizona. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: No bowl tickets for rude Washington State fans

– If you sent Washington State athletic director Bill Moos a particularly nasty email last year, you might not be able to buy bowl tickets.

– Trying to earn home field advantage for the Pac-12 title game, Arizona State and Todd Graham are learning to deal with the limelight.

– Still undecided about his NFL draft plans, Washington tailback Bishop Sankey is on the brink of the school’s single-season rushing record. Continue reading

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UCLA falls eight spots to No. 22 in polls

UCLA’s loss to Arizona State dropped the Bruins all the way down to No. 22 in both the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls — just one spot ahead of USC.

The rivals face off at the Coliseum at 5 p.m. Saturday, with the Trojans opening as 3.5-point favorites.

After Oregon’s upset loss to Arizona, No. 8 Stanford now stands as the Pac-12′s lone top-10 team. The Ducks and ASU sit at 12th and 13th, respectively.

The full AP poll after the jump: Continue reading

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UCLA’s Rose Bowl hopes die in 38-33 loss to Arizona State

A 38-33 loss to Arizona State ensured that UCLA won’t be going to its first Rose Bowl since 1999. Our coverage from last night’s regular-season home finale:

– The Bruins defense didn’t look the same without linebacker Myles Jack, who was used solely at running back.
– Brett Hundley followed his slow start with a sharp second half, while Ishmael Adams was the team’s surprise MVP.
– With a BCS bowl out of reach, UCLA is left trying to salvage its season.

For reference, here’s the selection order for Pac-12 affiliated bowls: Continue reading

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