VIDEO: UCLA coach Jim Mora previews Bruins’ trip to Stanford

UCLA head coach Jim Mora talked to the media for the last time before the Bruins’ 7:30 p.m. kickoff at Stanford on Thursday. Here’s what he covered.

— On whether or not Stanford represents a significant hurdle for the team: “I think you make a mistake if you look at it like that. I think you have to look at it like one game. That’s always been our approach. … Once you start making one game more important than the other, you open yourself up to inconsistency.”

— On USC firing Steve Sarkisian yesterday: “He’s a friend of mine. Certainly, my heart goes out to him. I wish the best for him. I care about him.” Continue reading “VIDEO: UCLA coach Jim Mora previews Bruins’ trip to Stanford” »

Steve Sarkisian: USC has underperformed against UCLA

In two stints as an USC assistant coach, Steve Sarkisian saw the Trojans win six rivalry games with just one loss. As the program’s head coach, he’s 0-for-1 against UCLA — part of the Bruins’ three-win streak.

Asked about the factors that have tilted the rivalry to Westwood, Sarkisian traced the roots to Rick Neuheisel. Despite the his lackluster on-field record, the former UCLA head coach pulled in three top-15 recruiting classes from 2008-10. That gave Jim Mora some of the tools he needed to put the Bruins back atop Los Angeles football.

“They’ve recruited really well,” Sarkisian said on Friday. “I want to make sure I give Rick credit here too, because Rick brought in some really talented players: Brett Hundley, Owa (Odighizuwa), all these guys.

“I know Rick didn’t get to see it through, and Jim came in and continued upon that, recruiting good players. I think they’ve performed really well. The quarterback play with Brett really helped them. I think the first time around, their quarterback play struggled some.” Continue reading “Steve Sarkisian: USC has underperformed against UCLA” »

Pac-12 links: A Pac-12 team could play Baylor in Australia in 2016

» Baylor is in talks to open the 2016 season in Australia, and would likely face a Pac-12 opponent.

» Less than two years after leaving Arizona State, Texas athletic director Steve Patterson has already made enemies in Austin.

» Former Arizona forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is sponsoring a bus to take 40 kids from his hometown to next week’s NBA Draft.

» Kyle Anderson is holding a basketball clinic this Saturday in memory of a childhood friend who committed suicide. Continue reading “Pac-12 links: A Pac-12 team could play Baylor in Australia in 2016” »

Pac-12 links: Judge rules against NCAA in landmark O’Bannon case

» In a landmark case that could change amateurism, a judge ruled in favor of Ed O’Bannon and against the NCAA. Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann breaks down the implications of Claudia Wilken’s decision, as well as the legal road ahead.

» A feature on USC coach Steve Sarkisian, by columnist Mark Whicker: “Some coaches have five and 10-year plans. Sarkisian, 40, has lived in a quick-pivoting sports car, not always using signals, barreling down the roads less traveled, looking straight ahead.”

» Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson is trying to win Utah’s starting quarterback job — and perhaps help redeem the family name. Continue reading “Pac-12 links: Judge rules against NCAA in landmark O’Bannon case” »