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Media pick USC to win Pac-12 in preseason poll
The Trojans received 25 out of 36 first-place votes while the two-time defending conference champion Utah Utes appeared at the top of six ballots.
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1. Media pick USC to win Pac-12 in preseason poll
The Trojans received 25 out of 36 first-place votes while the two-time defending conference champion Utah Utes appeared at the top of six ballots, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Adam Bradford.
On Thursday, the Pac-12 media released its annual preseason. According to the writers, USC is the consensus favorite to win the conference in 2023.
The Trojans received 25 out of 36 first-place votes. Two-time defending conference champion Utah appeared at the top of six ballots, while Washington ranked first on four. Oregon received the final first-place vote.
This is expected to be the strongest season for the Pac-12 in many years. All four of the conference’s top teams won double-digit games last season, and all four return star quarterbacks in 2023—Heisman Trophy winner junior Caleb Williams of USC, redshirt senior Cam Rising of Utah, redshirt senior Michael Penix Jr. of Washington, and redshirt senior Bo Nix of Oregon. With all that star power, the Pac-12 will look to send a team to the College Football Playoff for the first time since 2016.
This will also mark USC’s final season in the conference before they depart for the Big Ten in 2024. USC will look to win the conference in its final season—something that the Trojans have done just once since the league expanded to 12 teams in 2011. (It should be noted that the 2011 USC team went 7-2 in Pac-12 play with a road win over eventual-conference champion Oregon, but was ineligible to play in the title game due to NCAA sanctions.)
2. First Uninterrupted Film Festival shines light on present and future of NIL
NIL panel featuring USC’s Juju Watkins, Malachi Nelson, and Ceyair Wright highlights the first-ever film festival by Uninterrupted, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Wilko Martinez-Cachero.
Name, image, and likeness (NIL) is all the furor on Capitol Hill, college campuses, high schools, and at the inaugural UNINTERRUPTED Film Festival.
“Is this the new reality?” New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux asked, who moderated an NIL panel featuring USC’s Juju Watkins, Malachi Nelson, and Ceyair Wright.
The panel was part of the first-ever film festival celebrated by UNINTERRUPTED, LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s athlete empowerment brand, in partnership with Tribeca.
It also happened as NCAA president Charlie Barker said that NIL’s current structure could be “terrible” for athletes, and as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seek to rush through federal legislation concerning NIL deals.
3. Ekeler talks about his camp, running back situation, and OC Kellen Moore
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler held a camp in Carlsbad, Calif. to over 200 kids, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Fernando Ramirez.
A poster of Carmelo Anthony hung on the wall of Austin Ekeler as a youth. The former Denver Nuggets star had signed it. Even though Ekeler had never met him, the poster inspired him.
Growing up on a ranch, Ekeler admitted the only connection he had to a pro sport was that Anthony poster, which motivated him throughout his childhood.
That poster is why Ekeler hosted a football camp in Carlsbad, California.
“When we come out and make that connection, it’s so powerful in these kids’ lives,” Ekeler said. “I don’t know where it will take them, but I know it’ll sit in their room somewhere, sit on something, and they’ll be looking up to that. So that’s really what it is about today.”
4. Sparks losing streak up to 7 after close loss to Lynx
The Sparks start off the second half of the season with a loss in Minnesota, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Rey Moralde.
The Sparks put up a fight in the second half after being down by 20 but, in the end, it was Minnesota that closed it out to snap their own losing streak, 73-70.
The first quarter was close like it was the old rivalry again. Nneka Ogwumike caught fire, scoring 13 points in the first 10 minutes. The City of Angels led after the first period, 19-18.
But then it was all Minnesota in the second quarter. Dorka Juhasz led a huge 24-3 run against L.A. and it looked like it was going to be curtains early for the Sparks. Juhasz finished the half with a perfect 6-for-6 as a dominant second period put Minnesota ahead at halftime, 46-29.
It looked more of the same early in the third quarter but then the waterbug guards of the Sparks rallied back. Two returning guards, Layshia Clarendon and Lexie Brown, joined Jordin Canada and Rae Burrell (still on a hardship contract) in an incredible 18-2 stampede as the Sparks cut the deficit down to 57-55 by the end of the third quarter.
5. Aces knock off Storm behind dominant defense
The Las Vegas Aces improve to 20-2 on the season after defeating the Seattle Storm, 79-63, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Jared Feldman.
On a night when the Las Vegas Aces were held to less than 80 points for the third time this season, they defeated the Storm and improved to 20-2.
The Las Vegas Aces improve to 20-2 on the season after defeating the Seattle Storm 79-63.
A’ja Wilson led the Aces with 23 points and 15 rebounds, while Jackie Young had 22 points and Kelsey Plum had 20.
Ezi Magbegor and Jewell Loyd led the way with 12 points each, Jordan Horston finished with 11 points.
6. Padres get shutout 4-0 in series finale
The San Diego Padres bats go cold in Toronto in a shutout defeat to the Blue Jays, writes The Sporting Tribune’s Isaiah Zuravel.
The Padres coming in to Thursday were going for a series sweep vs the Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, the Padres failed to amount any runs which would lead to a 4-0 defeat. Blake Snell who started for the Padres Thursday managed to walk 7 batters but only allow 1 run. The Padres had chances to score but ultimately failed. Xander Bogaerts got it going today against the Blue Jays going 3-4.
7. Odds and Ends presented by Circa Sports
Here are some odds at Circa Sports if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
8. Ticket Time presented by TickPick
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game Friday.
6:38 p.m. – Pirates at Angels – $15
9. On the Air presented by The D Las Vegas
Here are the game times and television channels for professional teams in the region today.
3:40 p.m. – Padres at Tigers – Apple TV
5:05 p.m. – Dodgers at Rangers – SportsNet LA
6:38 p.m. – Pirates at Angels – Bally Sports West
7:30 p.m. – San Diego Wave at Thorns – Paramount+
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
The Sporting Tribune’s Arash Markazi is joined by Adrian Hernandez, Brandon Deutsch and Armani Buckets as they talk to Slam Dunk champion Mac McClung.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Bet in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii. You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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