Pac-12 links: Why Ben Howland went to Mississippi State

» Ben Howland still has photos of his Santa Barbara house on his phone, but he’s temporarily given up the comforts of Southern California for Starkville — a place that has given him another chance to coach basketball.

» Charges against Dominique Hatfield have been dropped after an alleged armed robbery, opening the door to a possible return for the Utah cornerback.

» An Oregon State student saved a woman from a burning car. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Marcus Mariota is the last unsigned NFL first-round pick

» Former Oregon quarterback and No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Marcus Mariota has not yet signed his contract with the Tennessee Titans, making him the last first-rounder to hold out. A report suggested that Mariota was upset that the contract barred him from surfing — but, disappointingly, others have debunked that reason.

» Utah cornerback Dominique Hatfield has been charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. A former receiver, he was expected to start as a junior.

» Colorado defensive tackle Josh Tupou has been ruled out for the Buffaloes this season after being arrested in spring, but school officials aren’t commenting further. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Amy Van Dyken recovering after ATV accident

» Former Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen injured her spine in an ATV accident a year ago. Here’s the Arizona Republic’s story on her journey to try and walk again, as well as the Pac-12 Networks’ feature on her from January:

» New Washington quarterback Tony Rodriguez is “probably the biggest steal at any position out of junior college,” according to CCSF coach Jimmy Collins — clearly an unbiased observer.

» Hale Irwin, a former Colorado cornerback and golfer, reflects on his U.S. Open win 25 years ago — one that made him the tournament’s oldest champion. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: USC baseball players named in sex tape lawsuit

» Three USC baseball players, including starting pitcher Marc Huberman, have been named in a lawsuit alleging that they distributed a sex tape of an unnamed woman. The other two defendants, Vahn Bozoian and Sean Adler, are no longer on the team.

» Grantland has a feature on former UCLA soccer star Sydney Leroux, and how a gamble to leave home paid off for her career.

» Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium only seats 46,000. Should a future renovation include an expansion? Continue reading

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UCLA baseball sets school record with 22nd conference win

This might be UCLA’s best baseball team yet.

The No. 2 Bruins beat Oregon, 4-3, on Friday night, plating the go-ahead run on a two-out, bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth inning. The victory moved them to 22-6 in Pac-12 play, setting a new school record for conference wins. UCLA won 21 league games on their way to the national title in 2013, as well as in 1986 and 1979.

A three-run third inning gave the Bruins an early 3-1 lead, but the Ducks tied the game with a series of singles in the eighth. UCLA shortstop Kevin Kramer drew a four-pitch walk against reliever Garrett Cleavinger to push his team ahead.

The team already clinched its third conference title in five years by sweeping Arizona last weekend, but it can still set more milestones. Two more wins to close out the regular season would give UCLA a 44-12 record. The Bruins’ best-ever regular season came five years ago, when they went 43-13 and reached the College World Series final.

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