Monday, May 30, 2005

Nice Words From Former Washington Coach

Former Washington football coach Dick Baird holds no punches back in an all-out assault on Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen. Here's an excerpt from Baird's opinion piece on why Hansen should retire: "Does the conference commissioner really care about the kids? Let’s not even begin to discuss the ridiculous bowl arrangement that Hansen and his staff have put together for the football teams. Sure the conference is lined up to play in six bowl games, which sounds very good, but the reality is that only ONE of those games is played on January 1st. None of the others are even considered a “major” bowl that anyone really gives a rip about. The perception is out there that this conference has been sliding for at least the past ten years. It is the wrong perception but the conference does nothing to try and change it. Remember when Nebraska lost in their conference championship game but still got to play in the national championship game? If that wasn’t bad enough, the very next year Oklahoma lost in the exact same game then went on to play in the national championship. Meanwhile we can’t even get the best California Golden Bear team in probably the history of their school into the Rose Bowl. That seems to fall on deaf ears at the Pac-10 conference headquarters. Hansen’s comments were lame and after the fact. Can you believe that an 8-3 Pittsburgh team gets into the Fiesta Bowl but California at 10-1 can’t even get into the bowl that technically belongs to it’s own conference? That is a bunch of crap."

Friday, May 27, 2005

Various USC Stuff: Trojan Rapist and Drug Dealer

USC's Leinart Throws for First Time Since Surgery
USC quarterback Matt Leinart threw footballs for the first time since January elbow surgery and reported no pain, his father, Bob, said Wednesday."He didn't have any problems," said Steve Clarkson, Leinart's personal coach. "I was a little surprised. He was ready to go."
(Note from editor: "A little surpised", huh? I thought he was ready to go pro, but he stayed for the sake of the team? What a bunch of crap.

Running back Chauncey Washington, who was recently deemed academically ineligible for the second consecutive season, is considering a transfer but has not asked USC for his release, Coach Pete Carroll said.Carroll said quarterback Rocky Hinds, who is rumored to be considering a transfer, has not asked for his release.
Suspended Trojan cornerback Eric Wright, who is awaiting a school disciplinary hearing on June 15, said he has not contemplated leaving USC.Wright has been suspended from the team since his arrest in March on suspicion of rape. No sex-related or drug-related charges were filed against Wright because of insufficient evidence, but police found 136 Ecstasy pills in Wright's room at his apartment, according to documents released by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office."There's no doubt in anybody's mind — this is where I want to be," said Wright, who completed the spring semester and is attending summer-session classes.Wright declined to comment when asked about the Ecstasy pills, referring questions related to his case to his attorney.


Former Raiders quarterback jailed again for violating probation
ORANGE, Calif. Former U-S-C and Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich is in jail again for violating probation.Marinovich was arrested Friday by Newport Beach police officers who were checking a public bathroom found him inside with what appeared to be drug paraphernalia. He was taken to a jail in Orange and pleaded innocent to resisting arrest.
He's scheduled to attend a hearing in Orange County drug court program next week.
Marinovich has had several drug-related arrests since he was at U-S-C. Last summer, he was arrested by Newport Beach police who saw him skateboarding in a prohibited area. After a brief chase, police searched him and found methamphetamine and three syringes.
He pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years' probation.

No More Secret Ballots

A ton of press today on the change in voting caused by last year's robbery of Cal.

Votes going publicSan Jose Mercury News, CA - 8 hours agoCollege football coaches can't hide behind their votes anymore. It's a good step. But it isn't the only step needed. Grant Teaff ...
Coaches to make last vote publicIndianapolis Star, IN - 12 hours agoBy Kristie Rieken. California football coach Jeff Tedford got what he wanted: From now on, balloting in the final regular-season ...
Football coaches to reveal final poll ballotsKansas City Star, MO - 12 hours agoEnding a longstanding policy, college football coaches will reveal their final regular-season ballots this season. But the group ...
Football Coaches Will Make Final Ballot PublicLos Angeles Times, CA - 13 hours agoCalifornia football Coach Jeff Tedford got what he wanted: From now on, balloting in the final regular-season coaches poll will be made public. ...
Sports in briefDetroit Free Press, MI - 13 hours agoGrant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, said Thursday the decision was best for the game. ...
Only last poll of regular season to be made publicHouston Chronicle, TX - 14 hours agoBy JOSEPH DUARTE. The American Football Coaches Association announced Thursday it will end 54 years of secrecy and allow balloting ...
Coaches' poll goes publicPittsburgh Post Gazette, PA - 16 hours agoBy Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The college football coaches who vote in the weekly ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll will ...
Football coaches will end secrecy of final ballotSan Jose Mercury News, CA - 17 hours agoBY JEFF DARLINGTON. GAINESVILLE, Fla. - (KRT) - As a result of a rule change to the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll announced Thursday ...
Coaches concerned about publicizing votesUSA Today - 17 hours agoBy Steve Wieberg, USA TODAY. Bob Stoops was outspoken a year ago, pointing to the prominent role of polls in college football's national ...
Coaches' Ballots for Football Poll Will Be PublicWashington Post, DC - 17 hours agoThe coaches' college football poll will no longer be a secret: Balloting in the final regular season poll will be made public for the first time. ...
Coaches to Publicize Votes at End of SeasonNew York Times, NY - 19 hours agoMuch of the off-season talk surrounding the Bowl Championship Series centered on increasing credibility in the system, which determines who plays in the major ...
Coaches final vote will be publicSan Francisco Chronicle, CA - 21 hours agoBy KRISTIE RIEKEN, Associated Press Writer. California coach Jeff Tedford got what he wanted: From now on, balloting in the final ...
Football coaches to make final BCS vote publicAtlanta Journal Constitution (subscription), GA - May 26, 2005College football coaches who vote in the ESPN/USA Today poll have agreed to make their votes public -- at least for the last week of the regular season. ...
Coaches' Football Poll to Be Made PublicABC News - May 26, 2005By KRISTIE RIEKEN Associated Press Writer. May 26, 2005 — The coaches' college football poll will no longer be a secret: Balloting ...
BCS coordinator: Coaches' decision wasn't requiredUSA Today - May 26, 2005By Jack Carey, USA TODAY. Bowl Championship Series coordinator Kevin Weiberg said Wednesday the decision by the American Football ...
College football coaches drop secret ballotUSA Today - May 26, 2005By Jack Carey, USA TODAY. The top teams in the final Bowl Championship Series standings Dec. 4 will play in the Rose Bowl for the BCS national title. ...
Coaches agree to air football poll votesHamilton Journal News (subscription), OH - 6 hours agoATLANTA — After a controversial ending to last college football season, coaches who vote in the USA Today/ESPN poll have agreed to make their final regular ...
Coaches set to reveal poll votingFort Worth Star Telegram, TX - 8 hours agoBy Wendell Barnhouse. COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The issues never end for the Bowl Championship Series. But now that the votes of ...
Rankings should be ceremonialGainesville Sun, FL - 10 hours agoop the champagne corks. Toss confetti into the air. Grab your girlfriend and give her a big smooch. Wait, let me call photo. We ...
Coaches' final vote won't be a secret anymoreDaily Breeze, CA - 10 hours agoAFCA executive director says the final college football poll balloting will be made public to quell any 'uncalled-for controversy.'. By Kristie Rieken. ...
Final poll now will be publicNews & Observer, NC - 10 hours agoBy KRISTIE RIEKEN, The Associated Press. California coach Jeff Tedford got what he wanted: From now on, balloting in the final regular ...
College football coaches' ballot will be publicCherry Hill Courier Post, NJ - 12 hours agoThe coaches' college football poll will no longer be a secret: Balloting in the final regular-season poll will be made public for the first time. ...

Herrion lands head job in familiar territoryBonesville, North Carolina - 12 hours agoForced out as East Carolina’s head coach at the end of last season, Herrion has resigned an assistant’s position he held at Arkansas for the last several ...
Coaches' votes to be revealedLos Angeles Daily News, CA - 13 hours agoBy Daily News Staff and Wire Services. Balloting in the final regular-season coaches college football poll will be made public, a ...

Monday, May 23, 2005

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Non-conference matchups worth watching

By Mike Huguenin Sentinel Staff Writer Posted May 22 2005

We're still 15 long weeks from the start of the college season, but that hasn't stopped us from perusing the 119 Division I-A schedules and coming up with a list of the season's top non-conference games.This list does not include non-conference games played annually, such as Florida-Florida State, Michigan-Notre Dame, Notre Dame-USC, etc.

5. Georgia Tech at Auburn, Sept. 3. These teams played every season but one from 1906-87, but have met only once since '87. This will be the first game for the Tigers without TBs Ronnie Brown and "Cadillac" Williams and QB Jason Campbell. Some see a veteran Tech team with a tough defense and a star in sophomore WR Calvin Johnson as a possible ACC title contender.4. Bowling Green at Boise State, Sept. 24. The potential for an 80-point game exists. BG has the best quarterback you've never seen in Omar Jacobs, a 6-foot-4, 228-pound junior from Delray Beach Atlantic. All he did was throw for 4,002 yards, with 41 TDs and four picks last season. Boise, meanwhile, has a top-notch quarterback of its own in junior Jared Zabransky, and the Broncos own the nation's longest home winning streak at 25 games.3. Arizona State at LSU, Sept. 10. LSU barely survived a Pac-10 team last season in Baton Rouge (22-21 in OT over Oregon State). LSU will have the talent advantage, but the Sun Devils' pass-catch combo of Sam Keller and Derek Hagan should make it interesting.2. Boise State at Georgia, Sept. 3. Boise State has lost nine times this decade, and three of those have come in its only three games against SEC foes (two to Arkansas and one to South Carolina). The Broncos return 16 starters and will be opening against a Bulldogs team breaking in a new quarterback in D.J. Shockley. Still, the Bulldogs figure to have too much defense for Boise to pull the upset.1. Texas at Ohio State, Sept. 10. You know how many times these titans have played? Try zero. (Weird that Texas' last game was against Michigan, in the Rose Bowl, and those teams never had played, either.) There will be loads of good athletes on both sides of the ball, and Ohio State WR/KR Ted Ginn Jr. and Texas QB Vincent Young can gain some prime early season Heisman attention. For all the talent, though, will either team be able to throw effectively?Six more of interest, listed in order of how much we already are interested: Oregon State at Louisville, Sept. 17; Fresno State at USC, Nov. 19; Tennessee at Notre Dame, Nov. 5; UCF at South Carolina, Sept. 1; Texas A&M at Clemson, Sept. 3; and Toledo at Fresno State, Sept. 27.Of special note: On Sept. 3, USC hosts Arkansas and UCLA hosts Oklahoma, making for a big day in Los Angeles.Next week, we'll spotlight the crummiest of crummy: the 11 worst non-conference games of the season.Grid bitsNew Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis is in the midst of a roughly month-long recruiting road trip. He left campus April 28 and won't return until May 27. By the end of the trip, he hopes to have visited at least 100 high schools in 24 states. The Irish already have six oral commitments. One is from DE/TE Paddy Mullen, of St. Louis. Is that a perfect Fighting Irish name or what?Call it the Steve Spurrier effect. The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C., reported that the school's athletic boosters, The Gamecock Club, already has raised $13 million, with seven months left in its fiscal year. The group raised $12 million total in its last fiscal year.California officials announced recently that plans to renovate 82-year-old Memorial Stadium were moving along nicely and that work was scheduled to commence after the 2006 season. That's big because Golden Bears Coach Jeff Tedford has escape clauses in his contract if the school doesn't improve its aging stadium. What's interesting: Cal may need to play in a different facility in 2007.There's nothing like making a scheduling change for this season in May, but four schools have done so in the past week or so. North Carolina State and Middle Tennessee State will meet Nov. 19 in Raleigh. Both were going to play Temple, but the Owls' move to the Mid-American Conference led to them pulling out. Temple has filled its schedule with games against Wisconsin and Western Michigan. Wisconsin originally was scheduled to play Western Michigan, but Wisconsin dropped WMU with the stipulation the MAC find an opponent.Most unintentionally funny line of the week came in the official announcement about Temple joining the MAC: "The Owls will be eligible for one of the conference's two bowl affiliations in 2005 and 2006."Former Georgia starting TB Michael Cooper is transferring to Division I-AA South Carolina State. Cooper started eight games for the Bulldogs in 2003 but was a backup last season and likely would have been a third- or fourth-stringer this season. Former South Carolina star TB Demetris Summers -- dismissed from school earlier this year -- also may transfer to South Carolina State.12th-game talkLook for the Pac-10 to fill the 12th-game hole by going to a full-fledged round-robin conference schedule. Currently, league schools play eight conference games; starting next season, it likely will be nine league contests.The Big Ten will consider adding one more conference game, but that isn't likely to happen. Big Ten teams currently play eight-game conference schedules. The Big Ten does seem likely to guarantee the Mid-American Conference a certain number of non-conference games each season, probably between eight and 12.
The addition of the 12th game means a rebirth of one of the South's oldest rivalries: LSU and Tulane have signed a 10-year deal for a home-and-home series. The schools, about 60 miles apart, played every season but one between 1911 and 1994. They've met twice since, in 1996 and 2001, with both games in Baton Rouge.This and that

It appears to be a good bet that each of the state's "Big Three" -- Florida, Florida State and Miami -- will be hosting baseball regionals next month. The Regionals are June 3-5, the Super Regionals are June 10-12 and the College World Series is June 17-27.The Johnny Bench Award, which goes to the college catcher of the year, has eight semifinalists. Two played on the same high school team at Bishop Moore -- Greg Dini of Tulane and Drew Butera of UCF.Syracuse had made 22 consecutive appearances in the lacrosse final four before losing to Massachusetts in the first round last Sunday.A Final Thought: New Air Force Coach Jeff Bzdelik now has more mature players than he did with the Denver Nuggets.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Double Feature

Long Beach Poly's DeSean Jackson will play football for Cal but also is a top baseball prospect who could be an early draft pick
By Dan Arritt, Times Staff Writer
In the fall, DeSean Jackson won The Times' Glenn Davis Award as the top high school football player in the Southland.In the winter, he accepted a scholarship offer from California, choosing to play wide receiver for the Golden Bears over dozens of high-profile programs, including USC.
And this spring, Jackson may make news again, except this time on a different playing field.The Long Beach Poly senior is a top baseball prospect who could be an early-round choice in the Major League Baseball draft next month.A switch hitter who plays center field for Poly, Jackson wowed scouts with his play last summer at the Area Code Games, an annual showcase of the nation's top high school players."It's like being recruited all over again," Jackson said of the baseball draft.There are five tools major league scouts seek: hitting for average, hitting for power, arm strength, fielding ability and running speed. Jackson's best attribute is his speed. His hitting skills, however, are relatively unpolished.Jackson is batting a modest .296 with only two extra base hits for Poly, which finished third in the Moore League and will open play in the Southern Section Division I playoffs Friday against Pacific League champion Crescenta Valley.In Friday's game, Jackson probably will face right-hander Trevor Bell, another top senior prospect whose fastball has been clocked as high as 94 mph.Chris Gwynn, a Poly graduate and a former major leaguer who works as a scout for the San Diego Padres, said a prospect such as Jackson offers a baseball team plenty of risk and reward."The risk would be that football is still his premier sport," said Gwynn, whose older brother, Tony, starred at Poly, San Diego State and then for the Padres. "He hasn't got that out of his blood yet. The reward is you're getting somebody that has athletic ability you don't see in too many kids."Jackson, who is 5 feet 11 and 185 pounds, said he will sign a professional baseball contract if the money is right, but he's not sure how much it will take to make him give up his football scholarship. He is considering playing both sports.Jackson said he has permission from football Coach Jeff Tedford to play both at Cal. Jackson said some teams have talked about signing him to a contract that would allow him to play rookie ball during the summer and play football in college.Matt Ware and Ricky Manning Jr., former standout defensive backs at UCLA, had similar deals. Before joining the NFL, each struggled against minor league pitching, but the paychecks made the strikeouts more tolerable.Ware, who hadn't played baseball since his freshman year at Los Angeles Loyola, was selected in the 21st round of the 2001 draft by the Seattle Mariners and signed for $200,000 over five years. After his junior season in football, Ware was selected in the third round by the Philadelphia Eagles.Manning, chosen by the Minnesota Twins in the 22nd round in 1999, had set Central Section records for career hits and stolen bases at Fresno Edison. He earned $70,000 each summer until he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the third round in 2003. He has become one of the league's top young cornerbacks."Some of these athletes, they try to make something out of [playing two sports]," Chris Gwynn said, "but they're probably more comfortable playing football. Sometimes the money changes the equation." It won't be a surprise if Jackson develops into an NFL prospect. He caught 58 passes for 1,075 yards and scored 15 touchdowns last season, including eight of 60 yards or more, and led the Jackrabbits to the Southern Section Division I title. He was chosen the division's player of the year and earned recognition on several All-American teams.Then again, in baseball everyone seems to agree that Jackson has the makeup of a future major leaguer. Clearly, his best asset is his acceleration and speed, which allows him to steal bases with relative ease and track down fly balls seemingly destined for the gaps. "I saw him run down a ball earlier this season," said Brendan Hause, a scout for the Padres. "He just glided to it. It looked like a wide receiver going for a long pass."

Pac-10 football: A team-by-team look at what to expect this fall

Everything but Cal has been read the whole thing, click here:

Marshawn Lynch's runs, and maybe a rebuilt passing game, will carry Cal.
Storyline: Bears looked to replace several key offensive performers and most of their defense from a 10-2 team.
New doin's: Highly touted JC QB Joe Ayoob struggled to learn Jeff Tedford's offense, and RS freshman Nate Longshore grabbed the lead entering fall.
What happened: RB Marshawn Lynch is dynamite but might not have the complementary passing game enjoyed by departed J.J. Arrington. ... OL, with four starters back, might rival USC's as best in the Pac-10. ... WRs Noah Smith and David Gray each had promising moments. ... On defense, Bears looking for leaders, but they get back rehabbed starters Tosh Lupoi (DE) and Donnie McClesky (SS). ... Key newcomers will be JC All-America LB Desmond Bishop (JC teammate of Ayoob), JC DE Nuu Tafisi, JC WR Lavell Hawkins and freshman WR DeSean Jackson.
Fun fact: On first day of season-ticket sales, Bears sold more than 5,000, twice the number that went in 2004.
Fall call: Don't expect Bears to unveil a lot the week before they travel to Washington on Sept. 10; they open with Sacramento State. If Cal can get by the Huskies, it should be 5-0 going to UCLA on Oct. 8.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

A career in injuries Ex-Cal receiver Lyman starts over after latest setback

Bruce Adams, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, May 15, 2005

Chase Lyman, graced with uncommon talent and cursed with unfathomable luck, is on the mend once again.
The former Cal wide receiver is preparing for surgery on his left knee, the same scarred knee that cut short his final season as a Golden Bear. It is the latest setback in a star-crossed career in which he has logged hospital time at the rate of a first-year medical resident. The only constant has been his unshakable resolve.
Lyman was taken in the fourth round of last month's NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, who acknowledged he would have gone much higher without questions about his knee.
On May 6, shortly after taking the practice field with his new team for the first time, Lyman re-tore his anterior cruciate ligament. For one more agonizing time he will be a spectator, not a participant, spending at least six months recovering and rehabilitating.
"I went from being about as high as you can be one week to being about as low as you can be the next week," Lyman said Friday. "The thing I've learned is that getting mad and upset in pointless. If anything, I'm embarrassed."
Lyman missed eight games this past season with the torn ACL. He missed all of 2002 with a torn hamstring that needed to be surgically re-attached to the bone. He has endured a series of other injuries -- shoulder, finger, ankle -- and missed the 2001 season opener with an appendectomy. He has lost count of the surgeries, which go back to his career at St. Francis High in Mountain View. In five years at Cal, he made just eight starts.
His father, Brad Lyman, who played football and ran track at UCLA in the early 1970s, said his son seems to grow stronger with each setback.
"I'm a parent and, of course, I'm proud of him," he said. "But my respect for him is what's over the top."
When healthy, Lyman is a top-tier talent.
A turning point came in the 2003 Insight Bowl when as a late substitute for the injured Geoff McArthur he caught five passes for 149 yards and one touchdown in Cal's 52-49 win over Virginia Tech.
Then, this past fall, Lyman was putting together a dream season. Going into the Oct. 9 game at USC he was No. 1 in the nation, averaging 32.2 yards a catch. He was an early All-America candidate and already a bona fide NFL prospect, with sure hands, open-field speed and the body of the prototypical pro wide receiver at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds.
In the third quarter of Cal's 23-17 loss to the Trojans, Lyman was running a short slant pattern. He made the catch even though his left knee had already given out when he planted to make his cut.
His season was over with 14 catches for 414 yards and five touchdowns in not-quite four games.
He underwent surgery, attacked his rehabilitation with vigor and apparently was at full strength at the NFL scouting combine in late February. He was timed at 4.42 to 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He was checked, and cleared, by doctors.
Then at the Saints' minicamp, Lyman's knee failed when he planted his left foot on his very first pass route, a speed-out to the right.
"It doesn't make sense," he said. "I've been doing it the last six or eight weeks. I've run that route a hundred times."
The Saints would like him back in time for the last five games of the season.
"I take all the blame," Lyman said. "I know I pushed the rehab too fast. I was focused on running fast at the combine. I didn't form a good base."
He admits that when doctors told him he could start working out again, he already had been secretly running for two weeks. He said he was aware of the risks, knowing that 5-to-7 percent of ACL surgeries fail.
"I've learned my lessons," he said. "I'll definitely do this one slower and be smarter about it."
Lyman is back in California for now, but said he will do his rehab in New Orleans, "under their watch." While he enjoyed the support of his teammates at Cal, he hasn't had time to build meaningful friendships within the Saints' organization.
"I think it's going to have to come from myself," he said.
Lyman said he will sign his contract with the Saints in July. He had already signed the medical paperwork before the minicamp.
Lyman graduated from Cal in December with an American studies major. He is about three-quarters of the way to earning a real estate license. But football remains his first passion.
His father compares his son with a boxer who keeps getting up off the canvas.
"If he said 'enough is enough' that would be fine," Brad Lyman said. "That's not his deal."
"I don't think about it," Chase Lyman said. "It's just natural. I just see it as the only option."

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Questions persist over Cal's stadium project

Cal took the next step toward renovating its football stadium by announcing Monday the hiring of an architect, but that step also illustrated just how far this project has to go.
University officials selected Kansas City-based HNTB to upgrade and seismically retrofit aging Memorial Stadium. Considered a leader in college stadium designs, the architect has overseen projects at Ohio State, Purdue and Oregon State.
That's the good news.
Everything else seems to fall under the wait-and-see category.
Cal officials said Monday they don't know what the renovations will cost, what they will look like -- beyond the initial and vague concept they outlined in February -- or even whether the timeline for construction will require the Cal football team to play elsewhere for a season.
"A lot depends on once we have a design and we have a timeline, as it relates to what the construction will consist of," Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said. "We will build from there."
Here's what officials do know.
They want the detailed design in place by this fall. That will include an environmental analysis. The definitive cost estimate will follow, hopefully by the end of the year, said Tom Lollini, associate vice chancellor for facilities.
With that in mind, Lollini added, construction could begin after the 2006 football season. The Times had previously reported that the project was tentatively scheduled to start after this upcoming season.
"We are on track with our working timeline," Lollini said.
To date, cost estimates have ranged from $160 million to $180 million.
Barbour said the athletic department has raised more than $40 million for the renovations, including $25 million from an anonymous donor, which Cal received in the past month.
As for the minimum total she hopes to collect, Barbour declined to set an exact amount. "The minimum will be what the thing is going to cost," she said. "Any time you start throwing out numbers, then they become the minimums and the fixed amounts, and if those change, you're answering a lot of questions about why."
She added that the target number for fundraising will depend on the cost estimate attached to the final design.
"When we have that number, it will bring great definition and clarity to the project," she said.
What it won't bring is certainty.
Two of HNTB's recent clients exceeded their estimated budgets for college stadium renovations. Michigan State spent $3 million more than planned on its $61 million renovation of Spartan Stadium. Ohio State's stadium cost $37 million more than the $150 million estimate.
However, HNTB also oversaw construction at Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium, which met its $70 million budget.
As of now, Cal has negotiated only initial fees with HNTB, Lollini said. The architect's fees for schematics and construction won't be finalized until a full plan is developed, he added.
The final design also will dictate what happens to Cal's football team during construction. Initial renovation plans have called for tearing down the west side of the stadium. Despite that, Lollini suggested Cal might still play at Memorial Stadium during construction.
Oregon State has done that at Reser Stadium, where HNTB is adding an upper deck and parking structure.
"It's a little more tricky when you have existing stadiums," said Tony Gonzales, vice president of HNTB's Los Angeles office. "We did that at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, so we know it can be done."
Any displacement of Cal's football team will not extend beyond one season. Barbour was emphatic on that point.
"One season, maximum. That was one of our goals," she said. "We made that loud and clear when we spoke with the architects."

MV star commits to CalBy Bill Kolb

May. 10, 2005
Beginning in 2006, Old Blues will be rooting for Big Red.
Heavily recruited Monte Vista High School lineman Mike Costanzo has orally committed to continue his football career at Cal. He can not make it official until national letter of intent day next February.
Costanzo, a first-team All-Times selection on both the offensive and defensive lines as a junior in 2004, is expected to focus on defense at Berkeley after playing out his senior year in high school.
"I'm looking to go to a college where I can get an education," said Costanzo, whose red hair and freckles long ago garnered him the nickname Big Red. "Cal's the best way to do that. It's the best education in the world. Plus, the football program, the way the coaches are and their philosophy appeals to me. They're building a crazy team -- they're on their way to a dynasty and a national championship. I want to be a part of that."
He also cited the proximity to his family's home in Danville as a factor, and said that he made an early decision so that he can focus on academics and football during his senior year.
At 6-foot-3, 300-pounds, Costanzo was one of the top two-way forces in the area last year, anchoring a Mustangs offensive unit that ranked No. 1 in total offense during the regular season at 458.3 yards per game. He also was a destructive force for a defense that allowed an average of just 238.6, good for seventh in the area.
Costanzo, the son of former Nebraska lineman Richard Costanzo, was the only player to be named first-team All Times both ways in 2004.
He first grabbed the attention of Cal coach Jeff Tedford at Cal's summer camp before his sophomore year, and was offered a scholarship about three weeks ago.
"They offered me as an offensive lineman because I've gotten more accolades on offense," Costanzo said. "But before I committed, we discussed for me to start out at defensive tackle. They said they think I can do well there, and that's where I want to play."
Costanzo was being recruited by virtually every other Pac-10 school. USC, Oregon and Nebraska were three of the most aggressive suitors he turned down in favor of the chance to play for Tedford and the Bears.
"The fact that they've changed a no-name football program into the No. 4 team in the nation in two years is unbelievable," Costanzo said. "I just felt like Cal's the way to go."
Another local defensive lineman, Isaac Leatiota of Wilcox-Santa Clara, also has orally committed to Cal.

Gimino: Football Cats will finish 8th in a down season for Pac-10

Tucson Citizen
The Pac-10 is the toughest conference to predict this football season.
At Lindy's Football Annuals, where I am senior editor, we finalized all of our team rankings two weekends ago as the first of our series of preseason magazines - the SEC edition - went to print. No conference produced more angst, more shoulder-shrugging, more dart-throwing than the little ol' Pac-10.
And this is in a year when seven of the 11 Division I-A conferences have changed membership, creating mixed marriages that are hard to read.
After the no-brainer choice of USC as No. 1 - in the conference and in the nation - the Pac-10 is wide open with four legitimate candidates for the second spot and probably four legitimate candidates for the last spot.
We were going to pick Arizona seventh in the Pac-10. We ended up picking the Wildcats eighth.
The process for our preseason predictions is so very contrary to the way the Bowl Championship Series picks its teams. No computers, no formulas, just a bunch of people getting together and talking college football (ahhhh... life is good).
Here's how it works in the Pac-10: Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times canvasses coaches and schools for information and ranks the teams for Lindy's. Somebody - OK, me - disagrees and asks him to reconsider. Other input is sought from writers around the conference. Once we get something close to a consensus, we cross our fingers and consider it done.
Thing is, there wasn't much of a consensus this season.
UCLA has the talent to be second in the league but hasn't been able to sustain any momentum under coach Karl Dorrell, as indicated by last season's Las Vegas Bowl loss to Wyoming.
Oregon has been on a slide (corresponding with the loss of Jeff Tedford as offensive coordinator), having lost 17 games in the past three seasons.
Arizona State should stay at a winning level but lost record-setting quarterback Andrew Walter and has had a tumultuous offseason.
Cal's talent drain is significant (only nine returning starters), but mad scientist Tedford schemes as well as anyone in the nation and has stars-in-waiting, such as sophomore RB Marshawn Lynch.
So, who is No. 2?
The Ducks.
I suspect Oregon might rank higher in Lindy's than in most preseason magazines, but the tiebreaker for us was Kellen Clemens, a senior who should be the second-best quarterback in the conference behind Matt Leinart. Those three other schools have more-unsettled situations at quarterback.
The Ducks also have a new-look shotgun-spread passing game put in by first-year offensive coordinator Gary Crowton (a former BYU head coach).
Plus, dominating defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is finally completely healthy after an ACL tear in the 2003 opener.
The second half of the league is a jumbled mess, too.
Arizona was in the discussion as high as sixth, over Washington State and Oregon State.
Ultimately, the Cougars (never mind they should have lost at UA last season) look more complete on paper. The Beavers suffered key losses at quarterback, defensive line and in the secondary, but they get the benefit of the doubt, having been to five bowl games in six seasons, while Arizona has been to none.
In an effort to show how close we thought it was, we picked Oregon State 53rd nationally and Arizona 54th.
Sometimes, programs in their second year under a new coach have breakout seasons, which, we concede, could happen at Arizona. UA coach Mike Stoops knows this firsthand on a large scale. He was an assistant at Oklahoma in 2000, when the Sooners went 13-0 and won the national championship under his brother, second-year coach Bob Stoops.
"The first year is the most traumatic," said Mike Stoops, who was 3-8 in his first season at Arizona.
"My brother Bob told me this, and he heard it from Lou Holtz. He said you get better three ways. You get better by developing your players. You get better by recruiting great players and you get better by losing players."
By not wanting to buy into the new system, by being unwilling to meet the staff's more rigorous workout regimen or by being unable to keep up in the classroom, maybe 16 or 17 players have left early, Stoops estimated.
"We lost a lot of players in this program, and we're a whole lot better," he said.
Holding the Wildcats back in the preseason rankings is a lack of experience at quarterback, although this appears to be a down year overall for the Conference of Quarterbacks, so the gap in most games won't be as great as it was last season.
Stanford and Washington were the candidates for the conference cellar.
Under Tyrone Willingham, the Huskies won't be a mess like they were last season, although the talent level is woefully inadequate for the program.
New Stanford coach Walt Harris has even more rebuilding to do than Washington.
The Cardinal lost six players to the NFL, which says a lot about how successful Willingham was in recruiting at Stanford early this decade, and how unskilled Buddy Teevens was in coaching those talented players.
So, there they are, 1 through 10.
By August, I might want a do-over. Maybe by next week.
Cal gets going on Memorial, work set for '07
Bruce Adams, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
The long-awaited renovation of Cal's Memorial Stadium is showing signs of progress, with a tentative target date set to begin construction and recent successes in fund raising.
In a conference call Monday to announce architects for the project, Tom Lollini, associate vice chancellor for facilities, said construction would "hopefully" begin after the 2006 football season. It would last about one year.
Athletic director Sandy Barbour said $40 million had been raised for the athletic department's portion of the funding -- including an anonymous gift of $25 million two months ago -- and she expected additional "leadership" donations in the next three to six months.
Beyond that, details were sketchy pending further definition of the project, being billed by the university as a new vision for the southeast quadrant of the Berkeley campus. In addition to the stadium improvements, there would be improvements at the business and law schools, which also are responsible for raising money.
HNTB Architecture, which has designed upgrades at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Ohio Stadium at Ohio State and Ross-Ade Stadium at Purdue, has been retained to do the design work on the stadium. Moore Ruble Yudell will handle the design work for the academic commons building shared by Haas School of Business and Boalt Hall.
Lollini said he expects design details by the fall.
Until the architects come up with specific plans, the university will not provide any cost estimates, although estimates for earlier concepts ran in the $180-$200 million range.
The project has been in the works since 1997, when the regents mandated seismic upgrades at the stadium, which sits on top of the Hayward Fault.
The impetus behind the project is the success of Cal's football program, with coach Jeff Tedford consistently saying the team needs improved facilities -- including better meeting, locker, conditioning and training rooms -- to remain competitive. He has escape clauses in his contract if the work isn't done.
It certainly is the major item facing Barbour, who replaced Steve Gladstone in September 2004. Her department has an annual operating deficit of between $3 million and $5 million, with increased football revenues from an improved stadium a possible way to close the gap.
She is confident more donors will step forward once the project is further defined.
"I have no doubt," she said. "We know the base is out there."
Lollini said the football team would be displaced for only one season and even hinted that work could be done while play continues at the stadium. There was no word on where the team might play if it did have to move.
Tony Gonzales, lead architect for NHTB, offered few specifics on early plans for the 82-year-old stadium, other than to note that the seating bowl would not be changed and the emphasis for fans would be on sight lines, concession stands and rest rooms.
"It's a wonderful place with a long history," Gonzales said. "We're going to be looking at capturing those elements of historical significance."
He also acknowledged the need to improve Memorial's facilities for the football team and said Tedford and his staff would be involved in planning.
In particular, Gonzales said recent projects have shown the need for adequate space for weight training facilities. Currently, football players have to lift in shifts in Memorial's weight room. Meeting space is so scarce that the offense and defense can't gather at the same time.
"Those facilities are very important in Division I athletics," he said. "They have a lot to do with recruiting and the athletes' time management."
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced the project in February. It also includes a new plaza area to the west of the stadium.
"It's hard to overestimate the value of the integrated approach," said Buzz Yudell, lead designer on the academic commons building, which will include the athletic department's study center.
At the time, officials said architects would be named in March. Despite the apparent delay, Lollini said that the project is "on track.

Berkeley names architects to stadium team

Cal said Monday that it selected an architecture team for the planned renovation of Memorial Stadium.
The campus has reached an agreement in principle with HNTB Architecture to lead the architectural renovation of the football stadium.
School officials said they don't know how much the Memorial Stadium renovations will cost because they have not yet finalized designs. The school is already calling on alumni and others to raise money for the project. Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said the department has raised more than $40 million so far and is "very, very pleased where we are from a fundraising standpoint."
She said the university got a "great boost" from a $25 million donation. She declined to name the donor, who pledged the money two months ago.
Cal officials said they want to begin construction on 73,347-seat Memorial after the 2006 football season.
Cal wants to renovate 82-year-old Memorial Stadium, which sits upon the Hayward fault line and needs upgrades to reinforce the structure in case of an earthquake. The university said it wants the renovation to "preserve the historic character" of Memorial while expanding it so that other intercollegiate teams can use the facility for training.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

College football: A stormy spring

By Rob Moseley
The Register-Guard
It was a wild spring in the Pac-10 Conference, and not always for the right reasons. While the Ducks experimented with their new spread option offense and the Beavers searched for a new quarterback, injuries, suspensions and arrests marred spring drills around the league.
Among the star players who missed spring with injuries were USC quarterback Matt Leinart and Washington State linebacker Will Derting, who will be among the top candidates for Pac-10 offensive and defensive player of the year honors next fall. Running back LenDale White was among a group of Trojans who missed drills due to academics, and both USC and Arizona State had their camps marred by criminal allegations.

Washington State's Alex Brink (10), the former Sheldon High standout, saw plenty of time at quarterback for the Cougars this spring thanks to injuries to last year's starter, Josh Swogger. WSU coach Bill Doba says he still expects Swogger to be his starter this fall.
Photo: Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images
But there was also plenty of action on the field for Oregon's 11 opponents next fall. Note that the Ducks don't play UCLA this season, and that the Washington State game will be followed by the Nov. 19 Civil War with Oregon State at Autzen Stadium to close the regular season.
Sept. 1, at Houston
A wealth of depth at one position and a lack of numbers at another dominated camp for the Cougars.
Hoping to take advantage of his strong group of linebackers, coach Art Briles switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense this spring. The Ducks will see a 3-4 front from at least two opponents this season, Houston and Stanford.
Offensively, Briles is concerned about his lack of depth on the line. Quarterback Kevin Kolb is an accurate thrower who has started for two seasons, but the Cougars must block for him.
Sept. 10, vs. Montana
The Grizzlies, defending Big Sky champs, spent spring drills trying to settle on a quarterback. Redshirt freshman Cole Bergquist tried to fend off Jason Washington, a transfer from Bowling Green, with Bergquist posting the better numbers in scrimmages.
Not that those were great numbers. Montana's defense mostly dominated the offense this spring. In the final scrimmage, lasting 69 plays, the offense was held to just 108 yards while allowing seven sacks, six turnovers and two touchdowns by the defense. Montana linebacker Shane MacIntyre, the team's leading tackler last fall, is on the watch list for the Lott Trophy, given to the nation's defensive player of the year.
It's too bad this matchup couldn't have occurred a season earlier. In that case, Oregon could have faced off against a former Duck, tight end Willie Walden, who was an honorable mention all-league pick last year as a senior at Montana.
Sept. 17, vs. Fresno State
The Bulldogs have 18 starters back, just one reason coach Pat Hill thinks this could be the best team he's ever had at Fresno State - better even than David Carr and company. Among the starters lost were two taken in the NFL draft, one more than the Ducks can claim.
The Bulldogs are stacked in the backfield, where quarterback Paul Pinegar is poised to become a four-year starter. There is also a logjam at tailback, where last year's tandem of Bryson Sumlin and Wendell Mathis is joined by Dwayne Wright, a 1,000-yard rusher in 2003 who missed last season with a knee injury. Wright may not be back in time for the Oregon game, unless his rehabilitation goes particularly well this summer.
On defense, tackle Louis Leonard missed spring with a wrist injury, though he is expected to start in the fall. The Bulldogs are looking for a replacement for two-time all-WAC safety James Sanders, who entered the NFL draft as a junior.
Sept. 24, vs. USC
After a two-year reprieve, the Trojans are back on the schedule for Oregon this fall, and the Ducks will see a significantly different team from the one USC fielded this spring. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Leinart and all-purpose threat Reggie Bush sat out after surgical procedures, and tailback White missed spring drills to concentrate on academics.
The Trojans also endured the arrest of cornerback Eric Wright on suspicion of rape, though, ultimately, he wasn't charged. For a time USC only had one scholarship cornerback this spring, due to Wright's arrest and various injuries. Then there was the broken jaw suffered by tight end Dominique Byrd - himself academically ineligible - while fighting with teammate Steve Smith.
It wasn't all injuries and suspensions - in the absence of Bush and White, tailback Chauncey Washington stepped up. And the USC offensive line benefited from the return of Winston Justice, one of the most talented linemen in the conference. Justice missed last season while suspended from school.
Oct. 1, at Stanford
The Cardinal opened camp under first-year coach Walt Harris, who said he will stick with a 3-4 defensive front while running a West Coast offense. The big question remains who will run that offense; both Trent Edwards and T.C. Ostrander started at quarterback last season.
Edwards seems to have the lead after spring drills, though Ostrander isn't out of the picture. As a whole the offense struggled to adapt to the new system, but with 10 starters back, a quick learning curve should be expected. It's not rocket science, after all - and some of these guys are smart enough to be majoring in rocket science.
The defense didn't face such dramatic change this spring, which is good for a unit that lost six starters. One of the five returners, pass-rushing linebacker Jon Alston, missed camp with a knee injury.
Oct. 8, at Arizona State
No camp was more tumultuous this season than Arizona State's, which endured tragedy beyond the scope of a coaching change or major injury. Running back Loren Wade's arrest on murder charges cast a pall over Sun Devils camp that probably won't lift until the fall.
On the field, Arizona State was so depleted by injuries in the secondary that basketball player Jason Braxton spent three weeks as a cornerback before deciding the injury risk was too high. The Sun Devils will eagerly await the arrival of two JC transfers and two freshmen in the fall, not to mention the return to health of corners Jason Golden and R.J. Oliver.
Oliver was granted a sixth year of eligibility due to medical hardship, as was safety Emmanuel Franklin, though he missed spring drills for undisclosed reasons. Also, potential starting linebacker Matt Fawley left the team for personal reasons.
Oct. 15, vs. Washington
New head coach Ty Willingham got down to business in a hurry with the Huskies - facial hair was limited, and players couldn't wear their hair below the shoulders. It might have helped the team's aesthetics, but Washington's lack of talent in relation to the rest of the Pac-10 should be a bigger concern.
Once again, the Huskies spent spring drills trying to decide on a starting quarterback. By the conclusion of the spring game, the athletic Isaiah Stanback was atop the depth chart, with Oregon transfer Johnny DuRocher second. The ascension of Stanback probably shouldn't be set in stone, as the Huskies amassed just three points on offense in their spring game.
And that was against a defense depleted by injury. Linebackers Joe Lobendahn and Scott White missed most of the spring, and the line was equally sapped. Washington also has to replace both starting cornerbacks, and will look to the arrival of three JC players in the fall for help.
One bright spot was the play of Joe Toledo, who moved from tight end to tackle this offseason and could be a starter in the fall - a nice story, but what happened to the guys on the roster who had been playing tackle their entire careers?
Oct. 22, at Arizona
The intensity didn't wane in the Wildcats' second spring under fiery head coach Mike Stoops, particularly on defense. Though the offense outscored the defense in Arizona's spring game, the UA defense was without four regulars, and still managed to tally four interceptions and six sacks.
Of course, the Wildcats were without their starting quarterback throughout the spring. Richard Kovalchuk sat out drills after undergoing back surgery, allowing walk-on Adam Austin to take over the first string - a telling sign of the talent gap that still exists as Stoops tries to rebuild at Arizona.
One bright spot this spring was the renewed vigor of tailback Mike Bell, a shifty back who is being urged to employ a more powerful running style. He went for 106 yards on nine carries in the spring game before going to the sidelines due to a hyperextended knee suffered on a 50-yard carry.
Nov. 5, vs. California
The Golden Bears restocked their supply of JC players after the departures of J.J. Arrington, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Riddle and company. The most important of the newcomers is quarterback Joseph Ayoob, who enrolled in time to compete with freshman Nate Longshore for the starting job this spring, though Longshore appeared to have the lead coming out of camp.
Despite the departure of safety Matt Giordano, the Bears think they will be much improved in the secondary. All four cornerbacks from the 2004 two-deep are back, and safety Donnie McCleskey hopes to be fully recovered from knee surgery by the fall.
The defense also got a boost by the return of end Tosh Lupoi, who was granted a medical hardship. Chase Lyman wasn't so lucky on the offensive side, which was also without three linemen this spring due to shoulder surgeries.
Nov. 12, at Washington State
Yet another team whose quarterback questions weren't answered this spring. With Josh Swogger limited by an injury, Sheldon High School's Alex Brink stepped in and played well, though coach Bill Doba insists that Swogger will still be the starter as fall camp opens.
The Cougars spent the spring looking for two new starting tackles, and the running game was inconsistent due to the presence of only one scholarship tailback - Jerome Harrison. Allen Thompson quit due to injuries, and Kevin McCall was suspended.
Washington State was also without star linebacker Derting. He hoped to participate in spring after undergoing offseason wrist surgery, but the injury didn't heal quickly, and he had another surgery late in camp to speed up that process.

Monday, May 02, 2005

There is a new addition to the California commit list

Favre wonders: How’s Rodgers doing?

By Dylan B. Tomlinson
Even though quarterback Brett Favre stayed home in Mississippi during the Green Bay Packers’ post-draft minicamp, the 15-year veteran was curious about the progress made by rookie Aaron Rodgers.
“He said, ‘How’s the young guy doing?’” coach Mike Sherman said Sunday as the five-day minicamp came to a close.
“I told him he’s a pretty smart kid and that he’s responding well to everything.”
Sherman said he doesn’t think for a second that Favre, 35, was threatened in any way about the Packers using a first-round pick on a quarterback.
“Brett has no angst about that at all. He just wants to win. That’s all he cares about,” Sherman said. “He’s not afraid of competition. Trust me, at no point in his career does he have to worry about that, not this year or four years down the road.”
Rodgers again said he hoped Favre would be at the next minicamp in early June, but conceded he wouldn’t be surprised if he has to wait until training camp to meet him.
“I’d love him to be here, but he certainly doesn’t need to be here,” Rodgers said. “There will be plenty of time to work with him.”
Even though Favre sat out the minicamp with Sherman’s blessings, he started an intensive six-week workout regimen with a personal trainer.
Sherman again said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll let Favre miss the June minicamp.
“In the back of my mind, I have an idea, but not officially yet,” he said. “I haven’t made my mind up yet.”
Sherman seemed to be hinting at the possibility of Favre missing the June camp, but he said he won’t worry about Favre’s conditioning.
“I talked to Brett last night and he’s crying that he’s working harder there than he would be here,” he said. “He said he’s so sore he can hardly walk and that he’s discovering muscles he didn’t even know he had.”
Dylan B. Tomlinson writes for The Post-Crescent of Appleton.

Pac 10 Spring Grid Drills Lead to Fearless Forecast

By Pigskin Pete Spring football drills have just concluded around the Pac 10 and we look at what may happen during next fall's conference wars. No question that defending national champion Southern Cal has the tools returning to craft a repeat performance. Yet there may be a surprise brewing in Eugene, where the Oregon Ducks have made some radical changes to upgrade a program that slumped into a 5-6 season ion 2004, the first losing record coach Mike Bellotti has compiled in the 10 years as head Duck. USC and Oregon are the only conference members with proven stars returning at the crucial quarterback position, Matt Leinart at Troy and Kellen Clemens at Duckville. These proven pass-masters will face each other in the league opener for both, in the Webfoot-friendly confines of Autzen Stadium September 24. Oregon will enter this nationally-televised fray with three games under its belt (Houston, Montana & Fresno State), with the latter pair also at Atzen. SC will be coming off a home date with Arkansas after traveling to Hawaii for an opener. The scheduling edge is definitely with Oregon. This could end a Trojan winning streak that stretched to 22 entering the 2005 season. Oregon has radically revamped its offense, placed under the new control of Gary Crowton, former head coach at Brigham Young. Crowton earned national note for his spread and shotgun formations that will be a predictably welcome change for Clemens, who became a prep all-American at little Burns, Oregon in a similar attack scheme. Clemens is a skilled scrambler, throws well on the run and has yet to truly be turned loose as a collegian. He will have a collection of quick, skilled and experienced receivers as throwing targets. Oregon rushing game retooled Rushing has been a noticeable Duck weakness of late, but should show dramatic improvement this fall. The running ranks will show depth and talent. Last season's 1,000-yard rusher Terrence Whitehead returns and will have some impressive new running mates with Terrell Jackson, a 2004 redshirt who starred this spring and incoming freshman Jonathan Stewart, considered as no less than the nation's finest prep runner. The Ducks lost three front line blocking stalwarts to the NFL, but potentially stellar replacements exist in a group of sophomores that were last year's recruiting gems. Defense, or lack thereof, has been a major contributor to the Duck decline in recent seasons. Remedies are coming forth in the form of a pair of all-American prospects up front in returnees Haloti Ngata and Devan Long, backed by a bevy of secondary players finally due to demonstrate the benefit of experience.
Oregon has the tools and the schedule to make a serious bid for national prominence. Apart from the returning talent overload at USC, a look around the Pac 10 reveals serious weaknesses:
OREGON STATE--reeling from an unprecedented spate of player off-field criminality, coach Mike Riley has been given a new sministrative code of conduct to bring discipline to his program. That indicates a failure in coaching control that new printed rules will not repair. Last season Riley reached a 7-5 record with senior stars recruited by his predecessor Dennis Erickson. This time around, no solution has yet been reached as to whom will replace the three-year starter at QB, Derek Anderson, and the defense suffered key losses with the graduation of five players earning NFL attention. The schedule opens with a sure thing at home vs. Portland State, but the next two foes, Boise State and Louisville, seem sure Beaver losses. Fortunately, the Beavs will not play SC in 2005. A losing season seems likely.
WASHINGTON--new coach Tyrone Willingham inherits a weak talent pool and indecision as to a quarterback. The coaching transition is at least a year away from returning the Huskies to the winners' circle they occupied for decades. Defensive veterans will be the Dawgs' best hope for respectability and we doubt any bowl games will come calling at this season's end.
WASHINGTON STATE--the Cougars went 5-6 in 2004 and don't figure to markedly improve. Defense veterans do abound, but running backs are in very short supply and the QB situation was not resolved this spring.
ARIZONA STATE--beyond Oregon and SC, this squad has the best potential after a 9-3 record last year. However, QB is a question after the graduation of last year's leader, Andrew Walter. Coach Dirk Koetter is a solid former Bellotti Assistant and can be expected to chalk up another winning season with a deep collection of effective linemen on both sides of the ball.
ARIZONA--Mike Stoops enters his second season as Wildcat head coach. He had a 3-8 record last year, though he won his last two games. QB is a quandary. Expected starter Rich Kovalchek sat out the spring with a back injury and no promising backup became evident.
CALIFORNIA--Coach Jeff Tedford, another former Bellotti disciple, went 10-2 in 2004 and had long suffering Bear fans thinking of a national title. However, QB Aaron Rodgers and rushing star J.J. Arrington have both moved on as top NFL draft picks. A veteran offensive line can be expected to make tailback Marshawn Lynch an offensive force. Who steps in at QB is as yet undecided and there are major questions on defense.
UCLA--Coach Karl Dorrell broke even at 6-6 a year ago, his third season. Bruin faithful will demand his replacement if he doesn't do markedly better in 2005 as they compare him to the golden record compiled by his cross-town rival at SC, Pete Carroll. No obvious answers have been crafted yet at QB, with last season's stalwart Drew Olson yet to show a complete recovery from a severe bowl game injury, and no effective replacement yet evident.
STANFORD--new coach Walt Harris is installing a new offensive system, with a decision yet to be made as to which of three veteran QB's will be the chosen leader after a 4-7 2004 record that sealed the demise of now ex-coach Buddy Teevens. Harris has a coaching career record of 63-68 and is unlikely to go significantly on the winning side in 2005.
We forecast the following Pac 10 rankings at the end of the upcoming season:
Oregon and USC the league's best, with a title decided early on at Autzen. The other conference members will limp home in the following order...Arizona State, Washington State, Cal, UCLA, Washington, Stanford, Oregon State and Arizona.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

USC shows signs of wear and tear

By John Henderson Denver Post Staff Writer
When in the history of college football has a two-time defending national champion on the verge of a dynasty ever had to defend itself? It's happening at Southern California, where critics say the Trojan horse is starting to crumble.
First, coach Pete Carroll suffered an exodus of four assistants who catapulted themselves to better jobs. Gone are offensive coordinator Norm Chow (Tennessee Titans), quarterbacks coach Carl Smith (Jacksonville Jaguars), defensive line coach Ed Orgeron (Mississippi) and offensive line coach Tim Davis (Miami Dolphins).
Then came word that Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart said he might have rethought his decision to stay in school had he known about Chow, who, some say, wanted more credit than Carroll was giving. This was before Leinart had elbow surgery that kept him out all spring.
When spring ball came around, sitting on the sideline were five starters. Four were for academics: tailback LenDale White, a Chatfield High School graduate; defensive end Frostee Rucker, a Colorado State transfer; tight end Dominique Byrd; and defensive tackle Manuel Wright. The other was cornerback Eric Wright, who was charged with rape. The case was dropped, but it's now in the hands of a student-conduct investigation and he's not expected back.
This was all before Byrd got his jaw broken by wide receiver Steve Smith, who owed him money for video game bets and took up Byrd's challenge for a fight.
So let's just say USC's celebration of its undefeated season seems as distant as the Marcus Allen era.
Sure, USC will be a probable unanimous No. 1 in preseason, but the nation will wait for the cracks to become chasms.
"We are going to shock people that doubt us," Carroll said.
He has reason to be cheerful. The cracks aren't that big. Manuel Wright is the only Trojan whose fall eligibility is in danger, and Leinart will start throwing soon - much sooner than he did last year, when he recovered from a sore arm.
As for Leinart missing Chow, Carroll dipped into the NFL for three staff replacements and promoted Lane Kiffin from receivers coach. At 29, he's the youngest offensive coordinator in the six major Bowl Championship Series leagues.
"The offense should improve," Carroll said. "The offensive line, a year ago, had never played. They played the whole season and have been through camp together. They are a savvy and experienced group."
But if Manuel Wright doesn't return, they will be reaching at nose tackle and may start a true freshman at middle linebacker.
No school has three-peated since Yale in 1888. If the Trojans do, they will have earned it.
Bramlet has Wyoming poised to make some noise
College football reporter John Henderson addresses the top happenings out of spring practice:
Georgia Tech: Should have one of nation's best defenses with nine starters back and erratic QB Reggie Ball showing signs of stardom this spring. Also has one of nation's most underrated receivers, Calvin Johnson.
Florida: Ron Zook didn't coach well, but he sure did recruit. Urban Meyer will find out as he works with talented QB Chris Leak and his 5,632 yards and 45 TDs the past two seasons. Scratch this note if tailback DeShawn Wynn doesn't get academically eligible.
Tennessee: It's Vols' turn to enter national title picture. They return 15 starters, including TB Gerald Riggs, who made Auburn look like Auburn High in SEC title game. Five return from a terrific front seven.
Iowa State: Cyclones in Big 12 title game? Why not? They're talking about one of school's best teams after losing only two impact players from last year's national surprise. Sophomore QB Bret Meyer is getting better. Hit 22-of-34 passes for 318 yards and a TD as starters rolled up 523 yards in spring game.
Wyoming: Utah is rebuilding and Wyoming is rolling. Cowboys have 19 starters back from team that beat UCLA in Las Vegas Bowl, and Corey Bramlet lit up last controlled scrimmage of spring, hitting 11-of-15 for 111 yards and two TDs.
Indiana: It gave up 453 yards and 31 points a game last year, and the offense loses quarterback Matt LoVecchio and star receiver Courtney Roby. Leading rusher BenJarvus Green-Ellis transferred to Mississippi. What was Terry Hoeppner thinking taking this job?
Cincinnati: Lost 10 starters on defense and nine on offense and is coming off a season-ending 70-7 drubbing against Louisville. At least Bearcats are leaving Conference USA for a weaker league: the Big East.
Washington: Your 14 points per game was last in the nation and your two top quarterbacks return in awful Casey Paus and erratic Isaiah Stanback. What do you do? Add new coach Tyrone Willingham, who was run out of Notre Dame for failing to develop an offense. The spring game score: 3-0.
California: Forget replacing QB Aaron Rodgers, tailback J.J. Arrington and receiver Geoff McArthur. Cal loses eight defensive starters. The Bears must hope Jeff Tedford's three consecutive strong recruiting classes kick in, starting with sensational soph TB Marshawn Lynch.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers blew it. Last year was their year. Now they must replace their top two quarterbacks with either redshirt freshman Pat White or sophomore Adam Bednarik, who sat out spring with shoulder surgery. White did rack up 235 yards total yards offense in the spring game. Good. They also lost tailback Kay-Jay Harris.
California: Who's Cal's next QB to the NFL? Check back this fall. Highly acclaimed JC transfer Joseph Ayoob went 7-of-9 for 192 yards and a TD in the spring game, while redshirt freshman Nate Longshore hit 5-of-6 for 106 yards and three scores. It's too close to call.
Oklahoma: A dead heat among junior Paul Thompson, who redshirted last year; sophomore Tommy Grady, last year's backup; and redshirt freshman Rhett Bomar, the star recruit from 2004. None looked good rotating in spring game. Thompson threw two interceptions, and Grady and Bomar combined for 14-of-34 with two picks.
Ohio State: Junior quarterback Justin Zwick likely will start the opener against Miami of Ohio, but only because junior Troy Smith is still suspended for accepting money from a booster. Expect Smith to start Game 2 against Texas.
Florida State: Bobby Bowden bucked the critics and is sticking with son Jeff as offensive coordinator. Spring didn't prove 'Noles' 63rd-ranked passing attack will improve much with weak-armed junior Wyatt Sexton hanging on to the job. No. 1 offense scored one TD all spring against the No. 1 defense.
Miami: Sophomore Kyle Wright, Larry Coker's top recruit from 2003, was named starter over freshman Kirby Freeman after throwing for 159 yards and two TDs in spring game. Freeman went 7-for-18 for 107 yards and two picks.
Brian Calhoun, RB, Jr., Wisconsin, from Colorado: Will start for home-state Badgers after beating out last year's backup to Anthony Davis, Booker Stanley.
Ben Olson, QB, Fr., UCLA, from Brigham Young: Looked shaky all spring after two-year mission to Canada. He's fighting senior David Koral and freshman Pat Cowan to back up senior Drew Olson (no relation), who's coming off knee surgery.
Johnny DuRocher, QB, So., Washington, from Oregon: Getting equal chance to win job from struggling incumbents Casey Paus and Isaiah Stanback, plus sophomore Carl Bonnell.