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Football: Will BYU be unbeaten when it visits Cal?

While watching BYU beat Houston on Thursday night to improve to 3-0, I wondered when the Cougars are likely to face a team that might beat them.

I came to this conclusion: BYU will be 11-0 when it visits Cal on Nov. 29.

That will have the Cougars – and their fans — convinced they ought to be in the mix for the College Football Playoff.

In the meantime, BYU fans will be cheering hard for Cal to have a good season, because the Cougars’ strength-of-schedule will need it.

Playing as an independent, BYU faces a schedule that won’t much impress the playoff committee: Utah State, Central Florida, Nevada, Boise State, Middle Tennessee, UNLV, Savannah State and Cal.

Hardly a gauntlet.

*****

Here’s the rest of Cal’s schedule, with my best guess of the record their opponents will bring on game day:

• at Arizona, Sept. 20: The Wildcats (2-0) will be 3-0 when the Bears visit after facing Nevada on Saturday. The Wolfpack beat Washington State last weekend and two years ago spoiled Memorial Stadium’s reopening. But they’ll be no match for Arizona.

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Football: In 2nd round, Bears lose out on McKinley

Below is staff writer Phil Jensen’s story:

Contra Costa College defensive end/linebacker Takkarist McKinley is headed to UCLA after signing with the school Thursday afternoon.

McKinley, a former Kennedy-Richmond star, signed a national letter of intent with Cal in February 2013, but was deemed a non-qualifier by the university. Instead, he played for the Comets and had 10 sacks as a freshman.

A paperwork error was the cause for him being deemed a non-qualifier, McKinley said. According to a text from Contra Costa College coach Alonzo Carter, “the (NCAA) clearinghouse didn’t calculate his summer school grades from his 11th grade summer school.”

Once the mistake was discovered, he was cleared to enroll. He said he will arrive at UCLA on Tuesday.

“I want to play with the best,” said McKinley, who has four years to play three seasons. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

McKinley said that in addition to UCLA, he also considered Arizona State, Oklahoma, Missouri, USC, Oregon and Cal before signing with the Bruins. He said UCLA had been his number one school since he took an unofficial visit in the summer.

McKinley was rated a four-star defensive end in the JC ranks by rivals.com.

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Basketball: Cal’s exhibition opener free to all

Cal announced that it’s men’s basketball exhibition opener — Cuonzo Martin’s first appearance as the Bears’ new coach — will be free to the public.

The Bears face Cal State East Bay on Friday, Oct. 31 — Halloween night — at Haas Pavilion. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

Cal’s second exhibition is Thursday, Nov. 6 against Cal State San Marcos. The Bears make their regular-season debut against Alcorn State on Friday, Nov. 14. The Alcorn State game is part of the 2K Classic benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project.

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Football: Lynch, Seahawks rout Rodgers, Pack

Ex-Cal star Marshawn Lynch rushed 20 times for 110 yards and two touchdowns and the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks opened the NFL schedule with a decisive 36-16 win over the visiting Green Bay Packers.

Aaron Rodgers was sacked three times and intercepted once for the Packers. The former Cal star was 23 for 33 for 189 yards with a touchdown.

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Basketball: Alcorn St is opening foe in 2K Classic

Alcorn State will visit Haas Pavilion for a Friday, Nov. 14 game that will serve as Cal’s season opener and its first game of the 2K Sports Classic.

Kennesaw State visits on Sunday, Nov. 16 in a second-round game.

Regardless of how the Bears fare in their first two games, they will advance to New York’s Madison Square Garden for games Nov. 20 against Syracuse and Nov. 21 against either Texas or Iowa.

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Women’s basketball: Jemerigbe to play in Spain

Former Cal guard Afure Jemerigbe signed a professional contract with Spanish League newcomer CB Al-Qazeres.

CB Al-Qazares will play in the Liga Femenina de Baloncesto, the top women’s basketball league in Spain, for the first time in team history for the 2014-15 season after earning promotion from the second tier of the Spanish women’s basketball pyramid last season.

Jemerigbe led the Golden Bears to a 22-10 record last season, averaging 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds.

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Softball: Former Cal star Valerie Arioto up for big award

Former Cal softball star Valerie Arioto was named a finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year, it was announced Monday.

Arioto (2008-12) was selected in the team category for her achievements with Team USA over a one-year period that ended July 31.

Arioto, from Pleasanton, helped the U.S. squad to a silver-medal finish at the International Softball Federation’s World Championships in Haarlem, Netherland, batting .474 with five home runs, 14 RBIs and 12 runs scored.

Sportswoman of the Year award winners will be determined by a combination of public vote (50 percent) and the WSF’s Awards Committee’s vote (50 percent). The winners will be the two athletes – one individual sport finalist and one team sport finalist – who receive the highest combined share of a public vote and the Awards Committee vote.

Fans can visit  http://wspr.tc/VoteTeamSOY201 to cast their vote for the Sportswoman of the Year award through 11:59 p.m. ET on Sept. 8.

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Basketball: $10 mil in improvements coming to Haas

Haas Pavilion will receive $10 million in improvements, including a center-hung scoreboard, to be completed by the fall of 2015, the athletic department announced Monday.

The renovation, made possible through a gift from the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, will also provide upgraded sound and lighting systems and modernized video production facilities.

Construction is expected to begin in May.

Originally opened as Harmon Gym in 1933, the arena was renamed Haas Pavilion in 1999 after a two-year renovation that boosted the capacity to 11,877. Walter A. Haas Jr. and his wife Evelyn provided the lead gift that allowed the reconstruction in the late 1990s.

“We’re extremely pleased to help Cal Athletics ensure that Haas Pavilion continues to be a well-equipped and dynamic venue for student-athletes, their coaches and passionate Bear fans,” Walter J. Haas, Chair of the Haas, Jr. Fund said. “My father was a devoted Cal alum, and he believed in the power of sports to galvanize not only a team but the entire community. This gift embodies his legacy.”

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Football: A week by week look at Cal’s schedule

BREAKING DOWN THE 2014 CAL FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

– Saturday at Northwestern, 12:30 p.m.
The Bears will try to snap a 16-game losing streak to FBS opponents when they visit Big Ten country.

– Sept. 6 vs. Sacramento State, noon
The Bears routed the Hornets 41-3 in 2005 in their only previous clash with the FCS opponent.

– Sept. 20 at Arizona, tba
Cal’s 33-28 home loss to the Wildcats last season was the closest it came to victory in Pac-12 play.

– Sept. 27 vs. Colorado, tba
The Buffaloes prevailed 41-24 at Boulder last year in the first measure of two programs with new head coaches.

– Oct. 4 at Washington State, tba
The Bears’ most recent Pac-12 victory came nearly two years ago at WSU, but Cougars won 44-22 in Berkeley last season.

– Oct. 11 vs. Washington, tba
Cal gets its first look at Huskies under coach Chris Petersen, architect of powerhouse Boise State program.

– Oct. 18 vs. UCLA, tba
Quarterback Brett Hundley provides first of two meetings in a seven-day span vs. Heisman Trophy candidates.

– Oct. 24 vs. Oregon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, 7 p.m.
QB Marcus Mariota is sure to make Cal’s first visit to 49ers’ new stadium a challenging assignment.

– Nov. 1 at Oregon State, tba
Cal is just 3-12 vs. Beavers since ’99 and has allowed 111 points in the past two matchups.

– Nov. 13 at USC, 6 p.m.
Bears get 12 days to prep for Thursday night bid to end 10-game losing streak to Trojans.

– Nov. 22 vs. Stanford, tba
Major goal for Sonny Dykes is to make Big Game competitive: Stanford 163-58 in past four meetings.

– Nov. 29 vs. BYU, tba
Independent Cougars get breather vs. Savannah State the week before visiting Berkeley.

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Football: Barr to join Cal radio team for Sac State

Barr-Goff

Dave Barr visits with Cal QB Jared Goff.

Cal alum Dave Barr, who passed for 6,305 yards and 48 touchdowns from 1992 through ’94, will join KGO’s radio team for coverage of the Bears’ home opener against Sacramento State on Sept. 6.

Barr, who lives in Sacramento, will pinch-hit for regular analyst Mike Pawlawski, who is helping with the Pac-12 Networks’ television coverage of the same game.