Pac-12 links: USC’s Josh Shaw (doesn’t) save nephew from drowning

» USC cornerback Josh Shaw sprained his ankles saving his nephew from drowning during a family social on Saturday. Remarkably, Shaw leaped off second-story balcony when he saw the 7-year-old struggling, landing on the concrete before crawling into the pool.

UPDATE: Serious doubts about Shaw’s story have surfaced, and USC is investigating further.

» Anu Solomon officially became Arizona’s starting quarterback, marking the first time since freshmen became eligible in 1972 that the Wildcats will open the season with one behind center.

» A closer look at the running ability of Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly, whom Jim Mora called “tough as nails.” Continue reading

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Pac-12 Media Days roundup: Bruins and Trojans and Huskies; oh my!

Photo gallery from Day 2 of Pac-12 Media Days (Andy Holzman/Daily News)

The Pac-12 stretched its annual media event across two days for the first time, In case you missed any of it, here’s a roundup of all the coverage that appeared in Los Angeles News Group newspapers.

Day 1
– Columnist Jill Painter, on the “glitz and glamour” of the Pac-12′s coaches and athletes.
– The Pac-12 returns 10 of its starting quarterbacks … leaving defensive backs somewhat forgotten.
– It’s a high-scoring conference, but its member teams find the end zone in different ways.
Steve Sarkisian does not care that his USC team received just one division vote to UCLA’s 37.

Day 2
– He isn’t the biggest UCLA name, but linebacker Eric Kendricks is ready to play.
– How many good quarterbacks does the Pac-12 have? Not one, not two, not three
– Washington suspended quarterback Cyler Miles, the Pac-12 Networks are going international, and other conference notes.

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Pac-12 notes: Mike Leach thinks Connor Halliday is better than your quarterback

Connor Halliday is the best quarterback in the country, according to Connor Halliday’s coach.

After talking up the Pac-12′s depth behind center on Wednesday, Washington State’s Mike Leach said he would take his redshirt senior over just about anybody else.

“You might be rooting for your guy, and I don’t care what you think,” Leach said. “He’s better than your guy is.”

Some other Pac-12 Media Day highlights from the conference’s most quotable coach (as well as other coaches and players) …

» Asked how he would pick a bear-hunting partner between Washington coach Chris Petersen and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham: “We get a large bag and we stick in Coach Petersen, Coach Whittingham, and we shake that bag up really high and really hard.”

» On his fishing trip this summer: “My staff and I went fishing up in McCall, Idaho on the Snake River and got a huge 9.5-foot, 350-pound sturgeon, probably 95 years old. Of course, turned him loose so he could pull somebody else’s boat around for a while next time.” Continue reading

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Oregon picked to win Pac-12 title over UCLA in preseason poll

Oregon and UCLA are both overwhelming favorites in their respective divisions, but for the fourth time in five years, the Ducks are the preseason pick to win the Pac-12.

Media members gave Oregon 24 votes to win conference title game at Levi’s Stadium on Dec. 5, nearly double the 13 votes UCLA received. Stanford and USC also received one vote each to win the league, though they only combined for three votes to take their respective divisions.

The preseason poll has correctly picked 28 of 53 conference champions, and 11 of the last 14. Continue reading

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UCLA loses three-game series to USC for the first time since 2008

UPDATE: With a 7-4 loss on Saturday, UCLA suffered a sweep to USC for the first time since 2005.

***
With two losses to open the weekend, UCLA baseball has dropped a three-game series to USC for the first time since 2008.

The Bruins lost 3-2 on Friday night at Jackie Robinson Stadium, falling to 22-18 on the season and 9-8 in Pac-12 play. They had dropped a 10-0 decision to the Trojans on Thursday, a game that ended a nine-game streak over their crosstown rivals

Riddled by injuries as well as significant losses to the MLB, UCLA looks like an unlikely bet to defend its first-ever national title. Without starting pitchers Adam Plutko and Nick Vander Tuig, the team’s ERA has risen from 2.55 to 3.01 entering this series.

It is also now 7-8 in one-run games after going 17-2 during the 2013 championship run.

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Notes and quotes: Norman Powell scores season-high 21 at USC

Norman Powell scored a season-high 21 points in UCLA’s 83-73 win at USC last night, 10 of which came in the first 7:08 of the second half as part of his team’s 27-6 run.

It’s not the first time the junior has played the spark plug role this season. In a 70-68 win at Oregon, he scored eight of UCLA’s first 10 points of the second half. In a 69-56 win at Colorado, he scored 19 and forced Buffs guard Askia Booker into early foul trouble.

What made his latest outing a bit different was the return of his shooting stroke. He entered the game shooting 18.4 percent from beyond the arc, but made 2-of-4 against the Trojans. It was the second time this season that he drained multiple 3-pointers.

His eight field goals on Saturday were also a single-game record for a UCLA player in the Galen Center, which was built before the 2006-07 season.

Powell’s improved play has come with increased playing time — though why that uptick hadn’t come earlier is still a pertinent question. The guard has played at least 30 minutes in three of his past four games. He had only cleared that mark in two other games: the first two of the season, against Drexel and Oakland. Continue reading

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UCLA overcomes sloppy start in 83-73 win at USC

On its most recent road swing, UCLA hardly looked like the second-best team in the Pac-12.

It lost at Oregon State, a team that has finished eighth or lower in four of head coach Craig Robinson’s first five seasons. It barely held on at Oregon, a team that had dropped five of its first six conference games.

And yet, it entered Saturday night 2.5 games behind Arizona and half-a-game ahead of a third-place quartet. In retrospect, the preseason talk of a vastly improved conference was perhaps overblown.

Despite its recent hiccups, the Bruins sauntered into the Galen Center and — after a sloppy start — smacked around rival USC in an 83-73 victory. Continue reading

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Five-star cornerback Adoree’ Jackson picks USC

Gardena Serra standout Adoree’ Jackson picked USC this morning, giving the Trojans a big push in a rivalry that had been tilting quickly to UCLA.

Last year, the Bruins finished with a consensus top-10 recruiting class for the first time since 2010, also their first haul ranked higher than USC’s by both Rivals.com and Scout.com since 2002. This year, UCLA whiffed on nearly every major recruit it hoped for heading into National Signing Day — including Jackson, who at No. 6 overall was the highest-ranked uncommitted player left in the country.

Missing out on the five-star cornerback/athlete ended a disappointing day for the Bruins, who reeled in a solid class but one that will finish outside the top 15 nationally.

The team also missed out on five-star linebacker Rashaan Evans (Alabama), five-star receiver Malachi Dupre, and four-star defensive end Davon Godchaux (LSU). They did manage to wrangle four-star linebacker Kenny Young out of Louisiana, but will finish this cycle without any five-star recruits.

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UCLA dismantles USC with 107-73 blowout

At the halftime buzzer, Jordan Adams soared up next to the basket and tipped in a wayward 3-point attempt — giving UCLA a commanding 24-point lead at the break.

Some 30 seconds later, officials waved off the two points after a review. It was about the only break USC caught all Sunday afternoon, as the Bruins thoroughly dismantled them 107-73 at Pauley Pavilion.

The scoring total was UCLA’s largest this season, and tied for its highest total ever against the Trojans as well as the second-highest margin of victory. Continue reading

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