Picking up from Parts I, II and III, here are the next five in our Pac-12 top 25 countdown.
10. Morgan Breslin, USC
Originally thought of as a probable reserve, Breslin emerged when defensive end Devon Kennard lost his season to a pec injury. As a first-year starter after transferring from Diablo Valley College, Breslin notched the most tackles for loss (19.5) and sacks (13) for any Trojan since 2003. He should be just as effective a pass rusher as he moves to outside linebacker for 2013. Continue reading →
» Cal’s newly renovated Memorial Stadium has a marvelous press box view of the San Francisco Bay, but the price may be looming, insurmountable debt. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the school would still be short $132 million even if it sold all 2,902 seats. Stagnated at 1,857, Berkeley is now spending $300,000 a year to “professionalize” sales efforts.
The campus had originally planned to raise $270 million of the $321 million cost through ticket sales.
The whole project seemed ill-conceived from the beginning, what with the reliance on non-binding pledges. An absolute face palm of a quote from John Wilton, vice chancellor for administration and finance: “They learned a commitment is not a commitment until you have a binding document. Now we feel we’re better off.”
The NCAA released its annual Academic Progress Rate reports this morning, which means anyone can go fiddle with the somewhat-cumbersome search engine and figure out which rivals they can mock for their classroom failures. While certainlyimperfect, the APR — which factors in eligibility and retention — is still the only college athletics’ only comprehensive academic metric.
Here are the rankings for Pac-12 football, which average out the four academic years through 2011-12:
– A USC player from the late 1990s and early 2000s says Ed Orgeron called him a “motherf—-r” for leaving practice 20 minutes early once a week for a statistics class. Best quote: “He M-F’d me all over the place.” Orgeron did not comment.
As expected, Pitt running back Rushel Shell is transferring to UCLA after a weekend campus visit. The former five-star recruit rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman last season, and will be eligible to play in 2014. Continue reading →
UCLA secured a No. 6 seed on Selection Sunday, but the celebration was somewhat muted.
The Bruins were happy more or less happy with the number, though coach Ben Howland said he expected a four- or five-seed. They were fine with playing No. 11-seed Minnesota on Friday, a team they still need to study on film.
But the location? Those 1,300 miles to Austin, Texas, wasn’t what the team wanted — especially not as two other Pac-12 schools were slotted in California. Howland said last week that he was more concerned with the location than the seed, and stuck true to that sentiment after the bracket was released.
“Honestly? I’d rather be Cal right now, playing in San Jose,” he said. “I’d rather be a 12-seed right now, playing in San Jose. Absolutely. Especially for the fans.” Continue reading →
UCLA pulled out a big 66-64 victory against Arizona to advance to the Pac-12 title game, but the cost was a season-ending broken foot for Jordan Adams (story here). The freshman guard erupted for 18 second-half points, including 13 straight, as the Bruins beat the Wildcats for the third time this season.
Tomorrow’s 8 p.m. tipoff (ESPN) pits UCLA against Oregon — a tough matchup for the Bruins even with Adams.
A little convoluted, but here are the best and worst case Pac-12 tourney seeding scenarios for the top four teams. Each has one game left on Saturday except Cal, which can only sit and wait. Scroll all the way down for the tiebreaker rules.
Oregon (23-7, 12-5)
Best case: No. 1 seed and an outright Pac-12 title. The Ducks beat Utah while UCLA loses to Washington, dropping the Bruins to a three-seed. Cal would be a No. 2 seed because it has a season sweep of Oregon (see second tiebreaker).
Worst case: No. 3 seed. Oregon loses at Utah, while UCLA clinches an outright Pac-12 title with a win at Washington. Cal would get the No. 2 seed. Continue reading →
1. Oregon (23-6, 12-4) — The Ducks are the best team in the Pac-12 as long as Dominic Artis is healthy, but he only saw 12 minutes in a win at Oregon State. Oregon should get its first conference title since 2002 if its point guard’s foot injury is no longer a problem. Damyean Dotson also has a hip injury, but is expected to play.
2. Cal (20-10, 12-6) — Cal’s defense had held locked down opponents to 33.7 percent shooting through a seven-win streak, but couldn’t stop Stanford in their season finale. Allen Crabbe and the Cardinal’s Dwight Powell also started a scuffle that ended with the ejection of two players and three assistant coaches — including Mark Madsen.
3. UCLA (22-8, 12-5) — The Bruins lost to Washington State for the first time in 20 years. Washington State was missing its second- and third-leading scorers. Oh, and UCLA forward Travis Wear re-aggravated his sprained right ankle. A share of the Pac-12 title is within reach if Oregon loses, but what an awful night for this team. Continue reading →