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Football: Vincenzo D’Amato wins Pac-12 award

Cal senior placekicker Vincenzo D’Amato. who kicked three field goals and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to holder Jackson Bouza in the Bears’ 44-30 season-opening loss to Northwestern, was named Pac-12 special teams player of the week.

Colorado wide receiver Paul Richardson and Arizona safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant were honored for offense and defense. Click here for more details.

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Pac-12 media day: Bears’ tough opening stretch

First-year Cal coach Sonny Dykes said he’d like to eventually adopt an A-B-C system to nonconference scheduling.

The alphabet has been jumbled this season with a season-opening run of Northwestern, Portland State and Ohio State. That’s a three-week stretch involving two 10-win teams from the Big Ten Conference.

With a Pac-12 opener at Oregon looming, the Bears face the prospect of a 1-3 start if they don’t beat Northwestern in the Aug. 31 opener at Berkeley.

“You can’t really look at it that way, but realistically it’s got to be there in the back of your mind,” Dykes said Friday at Pac-12 media day at Sony Pictures Studios. “I’m sure when they scheduled Northwestern, they weren’t coming off a 10-win season.

“At the time, you could see how Northwestern might have been a B team. Obviously, they’re certainly not now.”

Noting that the Bears have contracted future games against Texas, Dykes said he’d like to maintain one high-profile game on the nonconference schedule each year.

“I think it’s good for college football, good for Cal,” he said.

But the arrangement also comes with the very real possibility of losing that game, adding importance to the other two to create a body of work that leads to bowl eligibility.

“Those other two games are really important,” Dykes said. “We hope we get to the point where we win all three of them every year, but you’ve got to give yourself an opportunity to be successful.

“You’ve got to win your nonconference games.”

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Pac-12 media day: Dykes soaks it all in

Wherever he went Friday at Sony Pictures Studios, Cal coach Sonny Dykes was made to feel like a star. Certainly he was a center of attention at Pac-12 football media day.

“This is different for me,” said Dykes, who coached last season at Louisiana Tech. “I went to WAC media day last year and I interviewed myself. I asked some hard-hitting questions of myself.”
 
By comparison, there were hundreds of media members at Friday’s event in Culver City.
 
“It’s good to be in a conference that has exposure and has resources,” Dykes said. “This is why these guys work so hard to play at a level like this and why you coach at all the places you coach to get to a school like Cal and a league like the Pac-12 and the chance to go to the Rose Bowl. That’s the pinnacle of college football.”
 
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Pac-12 media day: Bears feeling healthy

Cal coach Sonny Dykes said virtually all of the players who sat out spring ball with health issues will be at full strength with no limitations when the Bears begin practice Aug. 5.

That includes junior running back Brendan Bigelow, who had offseason surgery on his right knee. Bigelow is expected to be one of the Bears’ top offensive playmakers after averaging 9.8 yards per rush in limited action last season.

The exception could be TE/WR Spencer Hagan, still not fully cleared after surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

“We anticipate him being back. But he had a pretty severe injury. Is he going to be 100 percent? We’ll see,” Dykes said Friday at Pac-12 media day at the Sony Pictures Studios. “We would anticipate he will be back, but can’t say without any doubt that he will be right now.

“He’s the one guy I have a question about.”

Also cleared to practice after sitting out the spring are RB Daniel Lasco (shoulder), TE/WR Richard Rodgers (shoulder), DE Chris McCain (shoulder), DE Brennan Scarlett (hand), CB Stefan McClure (knee), DL Sione Sina (knee), WR Chris Harper (shoulder) and OL Chris Adcock (shoulder).

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Pac-12 media day: Tak McKinley won’t join Bears

Freshman defensive end Takkarist McKinley of Richmond won’t be with the Cal football team this season, coach Sonny Dykes said at Pac-12 Conference football media day on Friday.

McKinley did not qualify academically to enroll at Cal and will attend a Bay Area junior college, Dykes said.

“I’m disappointed for Tak,” Dykes said. “He worked hard and did everything he could to get eligible. He had some room to make up when we signed him and we knew this was a potential issue.

“He put the work in and we wanted to support him and give him every opportunity to get it done. And he will.”

McKinley, from Kennedy High, will become a “free agent” on the recruiting front, with anyone able to pursue his talents. He signed a national letter-of-intent with Cal last February, but the Bears will have to re-recruit him at this point.

Fellow would-be freshman defensive end Garrett Hughes of Centennial-Corona also won’t be with the Bears this season, but is expected to enroll for the spring semester in January.

“Bottom line, just kind of came down to numbers — that was something that communicated during the process,” Dykes said of Hughes. “He had more (academic work) to get done and (there were) some scholarship numbers as well.”

Cal will miss the two young defensive ends, expected to compete for playing time in the Bears’ new 4-3 defensive alignment. But Dykes said linebacker is an area of depth and that outside linebackers such as Brennan Scarlett and Chris McCain will be used at the end spots.

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Pac-12 media day: Cal picked 5th in North

Not surprisingly, Cal was picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North in the media poll released Friday at media day at Sony Pictures Studios.

“I’m not surprised,” linebacker Nick Forbes said. “We lost a couple key guys and we were 3-9 so we’re going to get dumped. We’ve been working tremendously hard in the offseason and we’re coming together as a team.

“Nobody expects or dreams to be bottom of the Pac. We’re doing the things it’s going to take for us to be successful.”

Oregon was tabbed first in the North, earning 14 first-place votes and 139 total votes. The Ducks edged defending Rose Bowl champion Stanford, which was picked second in the North with 11 first-place votes and 134 total points.

The Ducks also were projected to win the Pac-12 title game.

UCLA won a close vote for the South title over Arizona State. The Bruins earned 12 first-place votes and 130 total points, with ASU securing nine first-place ballots and 124 points.

Here’s the poll:

Pac-12 Football Media Poll

NORTH: 1. Oregon (14) 139 points; 2. Stanford (11) 134; 3. Oregon State 91; 4. Washington 81; 5. Cal 45; 6. Washington State (32).

SOUTH: 1. UCLA (12) 130; 2. Arizona State (9) 124; 3. USC (4) 113; 4. Arizona 73; 5. Utah 58; 6. Colorado 27.

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Tom Shields (swimming), Layshia Clarendon (basketball) earn Pac-12 Hansen Medals

W-Basketball Portraits 20122012 Men's Swimming 

Swimmer Tom Shields and basketball star Layshia Clarendon are Cal’s recipients of the 2012-13 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal winners for achievement by a senior athlete in scholarship, athletics and leadership.

Shields led the Golden Bears to a victory at the Pac-12 championships, where they snapped Stanford’s 31-year hold on the conference title. Shields was named Swimmer of the Meet after winning five events and finishing second in a sixth.

At the NCAA championships, he won the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard fly, tying Michael Phelps’ national record in the longer event. Shields and the Bears finished second in the team competition, with Shields pushing his career total to 11 NCAA titles.

Clarendon led the Cal women to their first Final Four, averaging 21.4 points in five NCAA tournament games. The first-team all-Pac-12 guard averaged 16.4 points for the season, spearheading the Bears’ charge to a record-setting 32-4 season.

 

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Football: Oregon gets off easy with NCAA

The NCAA hit Oregon with three years probation Wednesday, and took away one scholarship for infractions that stemmed from paying a Houston-based scouting service $25,000.

Former Ducks coach Chip Kelley was given an 18-month “show cause” order, meaning that another school cannot easily hire the man now working as head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles.

What the NCAA did not do was slap the Ducks with a bowl ban, despite determining that Kelly and the university failed to properly monitor the program.

Inside the offices of the Oregon athletic department this morning, there is no doubt quiet celebration. This couldn’t have gone much better for the Ducks.

Here’s more on the story.

 

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Rowing: Cal women win 6th straight Pac-12 title

The No. 2-ranked Cal women’s rowing team won its sixth straight Pac-12 title on Sunday, with victories in the varsity four and second varsity at Lake Natoma.

The Bears totaled 39 points to edge second-place and top-ranked USC (37.5) and third-place and fourth-ranked Washington (36.5) in the team standings.

Cal, which has won nine of the past 10 conference titles, awaits Tuesday’s seeding for the NCAA championships, to be held May 31 through June 2 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.