SAN FRANCISCO — After powering Cal to an upset of No. 25 USC Sunday evening, sophomore forward Ivan Rabb earned the first Pac-12 Player of the Week honors of his career, the league announced Monday.
With Cal down 73-72 in the waning seconds of the USC game, Rabb hit both of his free throws to give the Bears a 74-73 edge. The Trojans began mounting their comeback with 5.2 seconds on the clock and as Jordan McLaughlin went up for the final shot with one second remaining, Rabb blocked the shot. It was one of two blocks he logged after picking up four fouls, earning his fourth foul at 9:44 of the second half.
Rabb finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds to go along with two assists, two blocks and three steals in Cal’s first true road win over a Top 25 opponent since Feb. 21, 2013.
In Thursday's matchup with No. 4 UCLA, Rabb helped the Bears pull within five points of the Bruins late in the second half, using a 17-point, 20-rebound outing. Rabb's career-high 20 rebounds made him the first Golden Bear to log 20 rebounds since Leon Powe's 20 vs. USC on March 9, 2006, and is the highest total in Pac-12 action this year.
Rabb led his teammates by averaging a double-double with 17.0 points per game and 14.0 rebounds per game this weekend, and also led the Bears in steals (4).
Cal returns to action at Haas Pavilion this weekend, hosting Washington on Thursday at 6 p.m. and Washington State on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Cal media services
Jim Harbaugh is being proactive in addressing the rumors this year: No, he isn’t leaving Michigan to return to the NFL, he says.
"I can't be any more clear about this -- it's not true," the former 49ers coach told ESPN’s Adam Schefter this weekend. "I'm not going anywhere."
Harbaugh’s success in San Francisco -- a 44-19-1 record and a Super Bowl berth in four seasons (2011-14) -- leads some to speculate each year that an NFL return could be in the cards. Harbaugh hinted that chatter could be planted by others to hurt him in recruiting players to Michigan, where he's 38-13 in four seasons as coach.
"This is a choreographed message that comes up at this time every year before signing day," Harbaugh said. "It's people spreading messages to further their own personal agenda.”
Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan in the mid-1980s. Schefter, the reporter, also is a Michigan alum.
FL teams that need an offensive-minded coach who can develop a young QB surely will inquire about Harbaugh’s availability, though. For example, should the Arizona Cardinals, who’ve struggled to a 3-9 record, decide one season with coach Steve Wilks is enough, they certainly could consider Harbaugh and the impact he’d have on rookie QB Josh Rosen.
That would mean seeing Harbaugh and his signature pleated khakis on the Levi’s Stadium sideline once per season. Not sure how 49ers fans would feel about that.
Everyone knew Kyler Murray was a great college football player. But his Big 12 Championship Game performance, along with Tua Tagovailoa's SEC title game struggles, showed he was the best college football player, thus worthy of the 2018 Heisman Trophy.
Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples shared a graphic that revealed Tagovailoa received the majority of Heisman votes made before and during the conference championship games, but Murray cleaned up after all was said and done.
It makes sense that the majority of Heisman voters who waited to cast their ballots picked Murray. The Oklahoma quarterback completed 25 of 34 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 39-27 win over Texas that pushed the Sooners into the College Football Playoff field.
Tagovailoa, meanwhile, struggled for Alabama, going 10-of-25 passing for 164 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions before leaving the SEC Championship Game against Georgia with an injury. Jalen Hurts relieved Tagovailoa and rallied the Crimson Tide to a 35-28 win that kept them in the CFP field.
Of course, the A's, who voted for Murray to play baseball by drafting him last summer, hope he sticks with his original plan. Or, at the minimum, pull a Bo Jackson and play both sports.