NCAA

Pressure's on Cal, Tedford against Southern Utah

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Pressure's on Cal, Tedford against Southern Utah

Southern Utah. That should be a W right?Cal gets a second chance to christen remodeled Memorial Stadium with a victory this coming Saturday. They take on the Thunderbirds, a team that lost its opener last week to Utah State and went 6-5 in 2011.That should be a W, right?But nothing feels certain though after the abysmal home opener against Nevada last Saturday. Even three days later, the post-game dissection has the aura of confusion and panic. Defensive players conceded that, as cornerback Steve Williams said, we got fatigued. We were just out of it.Coach Jeff Tedford said his players were not very happy theyre upset, mad about it. Theres no feeling sorry for ourselves. We cant keep looking back, but we cant forget about it. We have to learn from it and improve.REWIND: Pounded by the pistol: Nevada tallies up yards in 31-24 win at Cal
There are many questions in the wake of the 31-24 loss. Questions about learning. About preparation. About scheduling a team that crushed you in 2010 for the stadium opener. About expectations.Questions about Tedford.Make no mistake, Tedford the winningest coach in Cal history - has done more for Cal football than most anyone could have envisioned when he arrived in late 2001. He put the darkness of the Tom Holmoe era so far in the past, some people dont even remember that it ever happened and think its the Bears natural birthright to be considered a Pac-12 title contender. He did more to make the new stadium happen then any other single person. He raised the bar to previously inconceivable heights.But when you raise the bar that high, youre expected to clear it every year. And when you dont and when you open a season of high expectations with a loss to Nevada - people start talking about your job security.Thats happening right now, all around the Bay Area. It will happen on the Chronicle Live Blitz tonight. Is Tedford on the hot seat?The immediate answer is no. He signed a contract extension through 2015 and theres no way that Cal a public institution is in any position to buy him out of the contract three years early.But that doesnt mean Tedfords seat isnt getting warm enough to cause serious perspiration. A lot of powerful Old Blues donated to make the stadium happen and, darn it, it wasnt so they could see losses to Nevada. A lot of them look across the Bay to Stanford and say, We want what theyve had.Tedford is operating in a world of raised expectations, beyond the hopes and dreams he himself created within Cal. There are exterior expectations as well, with the power move of the Pac-12 conference, the pressure exerted by Stanford (though we will see with the exit of Andrew Luck how sustainable that is) and the overall heightened insanity of college football.The early schedule isnt kind to Cal. The rest of September includes back-to-back trips to Ohio State and USC. The Bears could easily be looking at a 1-3 start.But Southern Utah should be a W, right? Who thought it would come to that?

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.