Pac-12 links: FCC approval of AT&T—DirecTV merger could help Pac-12 Networks

» The FCC announced on Friday that it has approved AT&T’s takeover of DirecTV, a move that could clear the way for the Pac-12 Networks to appear on the satellite provider. The breakdown in negotiations between DirecTV and the Pac-12 has been arguably the biggest blemish on the resume of commissioner Larry Scott.

Bay Area News Group columnist Jon Wilner examined the issue earlier this week.

» Each Division I school will receive $18.9 million from the NCAA to fund cost-of-attendance-based scholarships and other projects.

» USC’s Adoree’ Jackson wants to win the Heisman and an Olympic gold medal.

» Oregonian columnist John Canzano no longer believes in Dana Altman — and according to emails he obtained, the Oregon administration may not either. Continue reading

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Four more UCLA kickoff times announced on 2015 schedule

UCLA coach Jim Mora prior to the Bruins' game against Utah at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 4, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA coach Jim Mora prior to the Bruins’ game against Utah at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 4, 2014.
(Keith Birmingham/Staff)

For all your tailgating planning purposes, UCLA’s nonconference schedule is now fully set with kickoff times.

The Bruins will open their season on Sept. 5 at the Rose Bowl with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff against Virginia, which they will then follow with a pair of 7:30 p.m. starts at UNLV (previously announced) and against BYU.

UCLA’s Thursday games at Stanford and at home against Cal in October are also set for 7:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. kickoffs, respectively.

Here’s what the 2015 schedule looks like so far, with TV broadcast information: 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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How is the 2015 Pac-12 Tournament field shaping up?

p12 tourney

The Pac-12 Tournament is a little more than a week away, so it’s a good time to look at how the bracket will shake out heading into the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Below are the current conference standings, along with each team’s outlook and remaining schedule (plus kenpom.com win probabilities). The tie-breaking rules are here, if anyone wants to figure out all the possible scenarios in the Pac-12’s weird, muddled middle.

1. Arizona (14-2) — 3/5 vs. Cal (97%), 3/7 vs. Stanford (92%)
Arizona has already clinched the top seed in the Pac-12 Tournament.

2. Utah (12-4) — 3/5 at Washington State (91%), 3/7 at Washington (86%)
Utah’s chance at a regular-season title slipped away when it lost to the Wildcats last Saturday. The Utes remain a strong bet to finish second barring an unthinkable collapse on its final road trip.

3. Oregon (12-5) — 3/4 at Oregon State (55%)
The Ducks have clinched at least third, and still have a chance to steal the No. 2-seed away from Utah. If they finish with the same record, Oregon holds the head-to-head tiebreaker due to its 69-58 upset of the Utes on Feb. 22.

4. UCLA (10-7) — 3/4 vs. USC (87%)
Even if the Bruins somehow implode in their regular-season finale, they will likely remain in fourth place due to their head-to-head tiebreaker against Stanford.

5. Stanford (9-7) — 3/5 at ASU (43%), 3/7 at Arizona (8%)
Even if Stanford wins out, it wouldn’t move up in the standings unless UCLA also loses to USC. If the Cardinal split their Arizona trip, they will stand alone in fifth. If they lose out, a few tiebreaker scenarios would emerge. Continue reading

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UCLA hangs on at Stanford, moves into third place in Pac-12

UCLA played stretches of good basketball and stretches of bad basketball, and bits of basketball that hung on little more than good fortune.

Somehow, it added up to a 69-67 win at Stanford on Thursday night, the Bruins’ first outside of Los Angeles since Thanksgiving weekend.

It was a victory that moved UCLA (14-9, 6-4) into third-place tie in the Pac-12, and one that represented the team’s first significant road win of the season. It was also one that saw the Bruins — who attacked and defended well through the middle swath of the game — melt down in the final minutes, going without a field goal after 5:19 after leading by as much as 22 points.

The Cardinal (15-7, 6-4) had a chance to win on Chasson Randle’s desperation heave at the buzzer but it clanked off, leaving Arizona and Utah looking like the only teams in the conference locked into NCAA tournament berths.

UCLA took control of the game late in the first half, and stayed in the driver’s seat for several minutes. The Bruins took its first double-digit lead with 4:57 left in the opening period, having gone on a 10-2 run in just over two minutes. They also held the Cardinal scoreless for well over five minutes, their zone scheme flustering the home squad. Continue reading

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