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Football: Bears schedule North Carolina, TCU

Cal has scheduled home-and-home nonconference football series against North Carolina and Texas Christian, two opponents the Bears have never faced, the school announced Wednesday.

Cal will face North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Sept. 2, 2017, then host the Tar Heels on Sept. 1, 2018.

The series vs. TCU begins with a game at Berkeley on Sept. 5, 2020, before Cal treks to Fort Worth, Texas, for a rematch on Sept. 11, 2021.

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Football: Defensive end commits to Cal

Cal got an oral commitment from Westlake Village-Oaks Christian High defensive end Trevor Howard, who made the announcement via twitter on Sunday.

“I have just committed to the University of California Berkeley! Thank you for believing in me!” he said in his twitter post.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder is rated as a three-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Howard is the 10th player from the class of 2015 to commit to Cal.

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Basketball: Bears to play Syracuse at 2K Classic

Cal will play Syracuse for the third straight season when the two square off in the opening round of the 2K Classic Benefitting the Wounded Warriors Project, Nov. 20 at Madison Square Garden.

Tipoff is 6 p.m. PST and the game will be televised on ESPN2.

Pairings, announced Wednesday, have Texas facing Iowa in the other semifinal.

The championship game will be played Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. PST, preceded at 2 p.m. by the consolation game.

Cal is 0-3 all-time vs. the Orange, including a 92-81 loss last season at the Maui Invitational and a 66-60 setback in the 2013 NCAA tournament at San Jose.

The teams’ first meeting was in 2010 at the 2K Classic in New York, where Syracuse scored a decisive 95-73 win over a Cal squad that went on to win the Pac-10 title.

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Basketball: Can Frayer’s decision influence other prospects?

Could Oscar Frayer be a recruiting domino for Cal basketball?

The four-star class of 2016 small forward from Moreau High gave new Cal coach Cuonzo Martin an oral commitment Monday afternoon, and his decision could influence others to do the same.

Does that include Bishop O’Dowd forward Ivan Rabb, rated by ESPN as the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2015?

Or Moreau point guard Damari Milstead, a promising sophomore-to-be?

“No comment,” said Frank Knight, Frayer’s coach at Moreau.

But all three play for the Oakland Soldiers. And all three are good friends.

“They’ve all been talking,” Knight said. “Now that Oscar’s committed, a lot of other local players will consider it.

“When Oscar decided to come to Moreau, we had like 20 other kids decide to come.”

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Basketball: Four-star 2016 small forward picks Cal

Small forward Oscar Frayer, a rising junior at Moreau Catholic High and four-star prospect according to Scout.com, tweeted that he has made an oral commitment to attend Cal.

The 6-foot-5, 175-pounder is new Cal coach Cuonzo Martin’s first commit to the class of 2016.

Frayer, who plays for the Oakland Soldiers AAU team, is rated by Scout as the No. 11 small forward in his class, No. 45 overall.

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Football: Bears get commitment from Little Rock DT

On the eve of the start of fall practice, Cal got an oral commitment Sunday from a defensive tackle who will join the Bears’ 2015 class.

Luc Bequette of Catholic High in Little Rock, Arkansas, announced his decision via twitter.

Bequette, 6-foot-3, 285 pounds, is rated as a two-star prospect by Rivals.com and is not rated by Scout.com.

He had other offers from Memphis and the three military academies — Air Force, Army and Navy.

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Football: Four key issues entering fall camp

As Cal prepares to open fall training camp Monday, here are four issues the Golden Bears must resolve before their season opener on Aug. 30 at Northwestern.

Only four, you say? My editors asked for four; as we know, the list is potentially longer:

* Is there sufficient depth and talent at defensive tackle?

Harrison Wilfley and Marcus Manley emerged from spring ball on the top line of the depth chart after lone returning starter Jacobi Hunter transferred. The Bears are hoping junior Mustafa Jalil will be a force after sitting out last season with knee problems. Two more JC players, Trevor Kelly and David Davis, will be in the mix at a position coach Sonny Dykes hopes can become an area of depth. For now, it’s a big question.

* Who wins the running back job?

Junior Daniel Lasco emerged as the leader after spring ball, but he was a bit fragile last season. Versatile speedster Khalfani Muhammad was productive as a freshman last fall, but hardly seems an every-down back. Then there are two promising freshmen, Tre Watson and Vic Enwere. Watson rushed for 3,734 yards and 50 touchdowns last season at Corona-Centennial, while the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Enwere gained more than 1,500 yards each of the past two seasons in Missouri City, Texas. The Bears need a more productive running game, whether one player carries the load or it’s shouldered by committee.

* How will the defensive backfield sort out?

Coach Sonny Dykes said the secondary is the Bears’ biggest area of concern. The staff wants to pair former cornerback McClure alongside Sebastian at safety, but they are coming off injuries that limited them to a combined six games last season. The key is whether the Bears can find a three or four capable corners among returnees Darius Allensworth, Cameron Walker, Cedric Dozier and Trey Cheek and JC transfer Darius White.

* Can the offensive line gel into a capable unit?

Injuries and subpar performance resulted in the Bears using nine different O-line starters last season in six different lineup combinations. The result was Cal quarterbacks were sacked 34 times and the running game failed to crack 150 yards in the team’s first nine games. The Bears are hoping for more production and consistency this fall. The tentative starting five: LT Steven Moore, LG Chris Borrayo, C Chris Adcock, RG Alejandro Crosthwaite, RT Jordan Rigsbee.

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Football: Could Bears make future visits to Levi’s?

Cal’s visit to Levi’s Stadium to face Oregon on Friday, Oct. 24 may not be the Bears’ only trek to the South Bay in coming years.

Coach Sonny Dykes, while acknowledging he’d prefer never to take a home game out of Memorial Stadium, conceded it could happen again.

“I don’t know. That’s going to be something we have to talk about with our new leadership, to figure out where we’re going moving forward,“ Dykes said during Wednesday’s Bay Area College Football Media Day at the 49ers’ new home facility.

The problem is that all schools in the Pac-12 are required by the current media rights agreement to play two weeknight home games every three years. That creates a severe challenge for Cal, where parking on campus is limited. Spaces used by fans on Saturdays are taken by students, faculty and staff during the week.

“You always want to play games in your own stadium. We have one of these best venues, if not the best, in college football,” Dykes said. “Moving a game from that venue, there’s got to be a reason for it.

“This year, there’s clearly a reason, Playing on a weeknight in Berkeley is a very difficult thing to do because of classes and parking.”

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Football: Cal to keep most August practices open to public

Beginning Monday at Memorial Stadium, Cal will hold 12 practices that are open to the public in the three weeks leading to the Golden Bear Day on Saturday, Aug. 23.

Six of the team’s seven scheduled practices for next week are open to fans. Practice runs from 3:30 to 6 p.m. next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday’s workout is closed, but Friday (3:30 p.m.), Saturday (noon) and Sunday (3:30) are open.

Week 2 practices that are open are Tuesday, Aug. 12, Friday, Aug. 14 and Friday, Aug. 15, all beginning at 3:30 p.m.

During Week 3, Monday, August 18 (3:30 p.m.) and both sessions on Tuesday, Aug. 19 (10 a.m./3:30 p.m.) are open.

The team will hold a short practice that is closed to fans on Saturday, Aug. 23, prior to Golden Bear Day activities, from 2 to 4 p.m. The free event will be held at Goldman Plaza and at the concourse level of Memorial Stadium.

Football players and coaches will attend, as will dozens of other athletes representing many of Cal’s 30 sports teams. Fans can talk with players and coaches and get autographs. There will be concession stands and a ticket booth open.

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Football: Ted Agu continues to inspire teammates

Nearly four months after his death following an offseason training run, Ted Agu continues to inspire his teammates.

Asked about Agu during Wednesday’s Bay Area College Football Media Day at Levi’s Stadium, junior defensive end Brennan Scarlett said Agu’s influence won’t soon disappear.

“It’s crazy how something like that can really bring a group of people together. Because it’s hard to shoulder something like that on your own,” Scarlett said. “It’ll be huge for us, one of the biggest motivational factors for out team. I don’t think it will fade away for years to come.”

Scarlett, asked several times about Agu during an informal interview session, said his unfluence extends beyond football.

“It’s football, obviously, with workouts and on the field. But Ted was a great student. Ted was going to go to med school. He was a great person. He was friendly to everyone. That’s influenced a lot of people on our team to be more like that.

“For me, and I can speak for a lot of other guys, as far as who I am as a person and who we are as a team, it’s changed a lot for us.”