As a first-year head coach last season, Jim Mora got a bit of a wake-up call when UCLA fell flat in a 43-17 loss at Cal — a performance for which he blames himself.
Mora still got his team to nine wins in a resurgent season. Sonny Dykes’ Berkeley debut won’t come close to that. Done in by both injuries and a relative inability to play defense, the Bears have become one of the worst teams in the Pac-12. Here’s how the two teams stack up for their 7:30 p.m. Saturday kickoff at the Rose Bowl.
UCLA offense vs. Cal defense
UCLA is averaging 48 points per game (fifth in the country), 561.8 yards (fourth) and a 58.33 percent third-down conversion rate (third). Cal is allowing 524.0 yards per game (123rd) and 45.0 points (124th). Continue reading
No. 11 UCLA (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) vs. Cal (1-4, 0-2)
Location: Rose Bowl, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m.
TV: ESPN2 (Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, Jeannine Edwards)
Radio: 570 AM (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)
Last meeting: Cal upset No. 25 UCLA, 43-17, in what was the Bruins’ worst outing of 2012. The Bears picked off Brett Hundley four times and sacked him five times.
2012 records: Bruins (9-5, 6-3); Bears (3-9, 2-7)
Key storylines: UCLA won’t likely peek forward to next weekend’s Stanford trip. No, most of the team is still seething over last year’s 43-17 upset loss to Cal.
“You can tell on all their faces,” said true freshman linebacker Myles Jack. “They have a bitter feeling about that game. Coach Mora, he’s still sour about that game. I’m just feeding off that energy.”
Jack and the rest of the team shouldn’t have much trouble exacting revenge. The Bruins are a better squad than they were last year, and the Bears are significantly worse.
Led by first-year head coach Sonny Dykes, Cal is limping through its rebuilding season. Continue reading
– According to UCLA head coach Jim Mora, nothing about Cal quarterback Jared Goff’s film makes him look like a true freshman.
“His poise for his age and his experience (stand out),” Mora said. “His ability to get the ball out of his hand quickly and throw accurately. His decision-making. I think he’s a really good football player.”
– Defensive end Ellis McCarthy returned to practice after suffering a head injury against Utah last Thursday. He did light work on the sideline and is still doubtful to play Saturday. Continue reading
Lou Spanos agreed that Cal receivers Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper are the best UCLA has yet to face this season. “By far,” the Bruins defensive coordinator said. “They’re tremendous kids. They got speed and they got some size too. They give us a great challenge.”
Harper and Treggs rank fourth and eighth in the Pac-12 with 558 and 418 receiving yards, respectively. (The stat is skewed a bit by Cal throwing a conference-high 55 times per game.) Spanos also said that the Bears’ four-receiver packages bore some resemblance to ones Utah used at Rice-Eccles Stadium last Thursday.
» Mike Riley finally named junior Sean Mannion his starting quarterback over senior Cody Vaz. Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said Mannion won’t need to look over his shoulder.
» An upcoming book on college football called “The System” alleges that Lane Kiffin paid hostesses to help close the deal with recruits — the subject of an NCAA investigation in 2009. Reporters Armen Keteyian and Jeff Benedict got Lacey Pearl Earps, the most infamous of the hostesses, to speak on record for the first time. It’s far from the best tidbit in what Y! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel called “the best book on the sport written in years.” Continue reading
Here are the full results of the Pac-12 preseason media poll, with first-place votes in parentheses. Few surprises down the line, as Oregon was named both the North Division and conference favorite. UCLA was named the South Division favorite, and also receive three votes as the Pac-12 champion.
1. UCLA (12) … 130
2. Arizona State (9) … 124
3. USC (4) … 113
4. Arizona … 73
5. Utah … 58
6. Colorado … 27
1. Oregon (14) … 139
2. Stanford (11) … 134
3. Oregon State … 91
4. Washington … 81
5. Cal … 45
6. Washington State … 32
Pac-12 Champion: Oregon (13 votes)
Others: Stanford (8), UCLA (3)
» Two Arizona players joined Ed O’Bannon’s lawsuit against the NCAA: All-American linebacker Jake Fischer, and transfer kicker Jake Smith.
With the week’s countdown over, here is a rundown of the Pac-12′s top 25 players as voted on by 11 different writers. I also included my ballot on the right side.
|Totaled votes||My votes|
|1||Marqise Lee, USC||Marqise Lee, USC|
|2||Anthony Barr, UCLA||Marcus Mariota, Oregon|
|3||Will Sutton, Arizona State||Anthony Barr, UCLA|
|4||Marcus Mariota, Oregon||Will Sutton, Arizona State|
|5||De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon||De’Anthony Thomas, Oregon|
|6||Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona||Brett Hundley, UCLA|
|7||David Yankey, Stanford||Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona|
|8||Brett Hundley, UCLA||Morgan Breslin, USC|
|9||Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington||David Yankey, Stanford|
|10||Morgan Breslin, USC||Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon|
|11||Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon||Ed Reynolds, Stanford|
|12||Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA||Trent Murphy, Stanford|
|13||Ed Reynolds, Stanford||Hroniss Grasu, Oregon|
|14||Scott Crichton, Oregon State||Scott Crichton, Oregon State|
|15||Shayne Skov, Stanford||Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA|
|16||Hroniss Grasu, Oregon||Hayes Pullard, USC|
|17||Trent Murphy, Stanford||Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington|
|18||Brandin Cooks, Oregon State||Shayne Skov, Stanford|
|19||Leonard Williams, USC||Taylor Kelly, Arizona State|
|20||Bishop Sankey, Washington||Shaq Thompson, Washington|
|21||Hayes Pullard, USC||Deone Buccanon, Washington State|
|22||Taylor Kelly, Arizona State||Brandin Cooks, Oregon State|
|23||Shaq Thompson, Washington||Bishop Sankey, Washington|
|24||Brendan Bigelow, Cal||Paul Richardson, Colorado|
|25||Silas Redd, USC||Eric Kendricks, UCLA|
The per-team tally in the final results: USC 5, Oregon 4, Stanford 4, UCLA 3, Washington 3, Arizona State 2, Oregon State 2, Arizona 1, Cal 1. Washington State, Colorado and Utah were shut out.
Also receiving votes, in descending order: Continue reading
Who are the top players in the Pac-12?
Eleven beat writers from around the conference tried to answer that question, submitting their top-25 lists based on whatever criteria they thought appropriate. The No. 1 player received 25 points, the No. 2 player received 24, and so on. (Credit to the OC Register’s Ryan Kartje for starting the project and tallying up all the votes.)
The results will be released in groups of five. On Saturday, I’ll post my own ballot and compare it to the combined results.
Here we go … Continue reading