NCAA

After three straight wins, Stanford enters College Football Playoff rankings

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USATSI

After three straight wins, Stanford enters College Football Playoff rankings

Ohio State moved into second in the College Football Playoff rankings behind Alabama, with Michigan and Clemson still in the top four after losing for the first time this season.

Louisville was fifth and Washington dropped from fourth to sixth after its first loss.

"The margin of separation between teams two and six was very small," selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt, who is also the athletic director at Texas Tech, said.

Clemson, Michigan and Washington - the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 teams in last week's rankings - all lost to unranked teams on Saturday. The Wolverines, who have three victories against teams in the selection committee's top 10, did not move after losing to Iowa. The Tigers ended up dropping two spots to No. 4 after losing to Pittsburgh.

Wisconsin was seventh and Penn State eighth, giving the Big Ten four teams in the top 10. Oklahoma was the highest rated Big 12 team at nine and Colorado was 10th.

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THE OHIO STATE PROBLEM

Michigan's loss to Iowa created a potential predicament for the selection committee with the Buckeyes. Because Ohio State lost at eighth-ranked Penn State, the Nittany Lions would win a tiebreaker for the Big Ten East if both finish 8-1 in the conference, shutting out the Buckeyes from the conference championship game.

In two years of the playoff, all the participants have been conference champions and the committee is instructed to give some preference to league champs and head-to-head results when teams are similar.

There is little question that Ohio State would have the best overall resume in the Big Ten, and maybe one of the best resume's in the country, if it wins out. But would not winning the conference keep the Buckeyes out the way it did last season?

"We do not look forward and anticipate what may happen in the future," Hocutt said.

A Penn State loss in the next couple of weeks would clear things up, but the Nittany Lions play Rutgers on Saturday and finish at home against Michigan State. They will be heavy favorites in both games.

A possible solution for the Buckeyes and the selection committee: If Oklahoma wins the Big 12 and Wisconsin wins the Big Ten, the Buckeyes would have a victory over both. Problem solved.

If Penn State wins the Big Ten and the other Power Five conferences have champions with one-loss or less (i.e. Clemson in the ACC, Washington in the Pac-12, West Virginia in the Big 12 and Alabama in the SEC) we'll see just how much that conference championship is worth.

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THE LOUISVILLE PROBLEM

The Cardinals' hurdle could be even more difficult to clear than the Buckeyes'. Without a Clemson loss at Wake Forest on Saturday, Louisville can't get to the ACC championship game because of its loss to the Tigers in early October.

Unlike the Buckeyes, who could have wins over Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Michigan, Louisville will put forth a resume that would include one marquee victory: a demolition of Florida State in September that might have been the most impressive performance of any team this season.

And having the likely Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Lamar Jackson doesn't provide Louisville any bonus points from the committee.

We don't talk about individual players in that regard," Hocutt said.

A possible path the Cardinals: The Pac-12 picks itself apart and produces a champion with at least two losses and the Big 12 does the same. Even then Louisville might have to make a case against a Wisconsin team with a Big Ten championship and a victory against 16th-ranked LSU.

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GROUP OF FIVE

No. 20 Boise State moved ahead of No. 21 Western Michigan in the rankings for the first time.

It is becoming fairly apparent that if there are no upsets in the next couple of weeks in the Mountain West, a championship game between two 11-1 teams, Boise State and San Diego State, could produce the team that earns the Cotton Bowl bid that will go to the best champion out of the Group of Five no matter what Western Michigan does.

If the Broncos stay unbeaten they would have a better chance to edge past the Aztecs, but they are not going to bump the Broncos from Boise.

Hocutt pointed out that Western Michigan has only one victory against an FBS team with a winning record while Boise State has a victory against No. 22 Washington State.

Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn caps monster season by winning Golden Spikes Award

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CAL ATHLETICS

Cal 1B Andrew Vaughn caps monster season by winning Golden Spikes Award

LOS ANGELES – One of the most prolific seasons in Cal baseball history has earned Andrew Vaughn a spot among the elite names ever to play the game on the amateur level as he has been named the Golden Spikes Award winner by USA Baseball and the Rod Dedeaux Foundation.

The award, which has been given to the nation’s top amateur player annually since 1978, is considered one of the highest honors a college baseball player can earn. The announcement came as part of ESPN’s SportsCenter telecast on Thursday afternoon with three of the four finalists – Vaughn, Texas infielder Kody Clemens and Auburn pitcher Casey Mize – in studio at ESPN Los Angeles.

Vaughn is the first Cal baseball player to earn the honor and is only the second to be named a finalist, joining Lance Blankenship (1984). He is the eighth Pac-12 player to bring home the award and joins a group that includes UCLA’s Trevor Bauer (2011), Washington's Tim Lincecum (2006), USC's Mark Prior (2001), Arizona State's Mike Kelly (1991), Oddibe McDowell (1984) and Bob Horner (1978) and Arizona's Terry Francona (1980). 

The announcement came live on SportsCenter at ESPN’s Los Angeles studios. After being announced as the winner, Vaughn was joined on set by his parents, Toby and Diana, along with his sister, Madison, and Cal head coach Mike Neu. 

From a statistical standpoint, the award is certainly deserved for the native of Santa Rosa, Calif. after he turned in one of the greatest single seasons in Cal baseball history.

A sophomore first baseman, Vaughn started all 54 games and hit .402, a mark that ranks third in Cal single-season history. His 23 home runs tied the single-season record set by Xavier Nady in 1999 and his slugging percentage of .819 is the best in school history. 

He also drove in 63 runs, walked 44 times, got hit by a pitch 12 times and struck out only 18 times. His on-base percentage of .531 ranks fourth in the nation. Vaughn was also one of the conference's best defenders at his position, compiling a fielding percentage of .992 and earning a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive team.

The announcement came as part of a two-day trip to Los Angeles for Vaughn, who has stayed busy since the end of the collegiate season. Beginning the summer as a member of the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League, Vaughn left New England as the league leader in both home runs (5) and RBI (14) after 14 games played.

Before heading to Southern California, he moved down the East Coast to Cary, N.C. to begin his second stint with the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. International play begins for Team USA on June 28 when Chinese Taipei visits for a five-game series. The team will also take on Japan and Cuba as play extends into mid-July.

Cal Athletics provided this report.

WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault

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AP

WNBA All-Star sues Cal over alleged sexual assault

BERKELEY — Former California women’s basketball player and current WNBA All-Star guard Layshia Clarendon has filed a lawsuit against Cal claiming she was sexually assaulted by a longtime member of the athletic department.

The school acknowledged the lawsuit Wednesday night and said the staff member, Mohamed Muqtar, had recently been placed on paid leave. The assistant director of student services, Muqtar has been working for the university for just more than 25 years, the school said. An e-mail to Muqtar’s Cal email account was not immediately returned.

Cal said in a statement “the University is aware of the complaint, but has not received a copy of the lawsuit nor had the benefit of reviewing the allegations.”

Clarendon, who plays for the Atlanta Dream and was at Cal from 2009-13, posted on Twitter her thoughts about the lawsuit.

She said in three separate tweets:

— “Regarding the news today: I want the shame to not be my own anymore, because it’s not my shame to carry, but it’s something that I’ve had to carry. It’s a horrible thing to live in silence, to carry that pain and that weight and the guilt.”

— “My biggest hope is that he never does this to anyone else. That no one else has to suffer under his hand, or him violating their bodies again. That this would be the end of him assaulting people. #TimesUp.”

— “It feels there is a big level of responsibility there for me, to make sure this doesn’t continue. And he doesn’t continue to harm other people.”

Cal explained in its statement that this case goes beyond the athletic department for investigation.

The statement reads: “Our department policy states that once anyone in Cal Athletics is made aware of any instance or allegation of a violation of University policy involving a coach, staff member or student-athlete, those matters are referred to the appropriate departments on campus responsible for investigating them. Athletics does not have its own specific conduct process nor does it investigate allegations or cases on its own, but follows the University’s policy and works in concert with campus professionals who are responsible for those areas. All university staff are also required to complete sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention training, and those programs have increased in recent years. Cal Athletics is and will always be committed to fostering a culture where everyone feels safe, welcome and respected. We encourage anyone who is feeling distressed or troubled to contact the PATH to Care Center and other campus resources.

“Layshia holds a special place in our history for her contributions to Cal women’s basketball both on and off the court and we are saddened to hear of the allegations that are coming to light today.”