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Cal’s Linebacker Corp. Getting Thin, Pac-12 Showing in Preseason Polls, Heisman Standings

With less than two weeks until the kick off for college football, Cal’s linebacker corp.lost two players over the weekend.

On Sunday, rookie Cal coach Sonny Dykes told the media that sophomore linebacker Nathan Broussard will be out for the season thanks to torn ACL that came in Saturday’s scrimmage. He is expected to have surgery in the next few weeks.

Nathan Broussard

Nathan Broussard

In 2012, Broussard played in 11 games, participating in four as a starter and grabbing 3.5 tackles for a loss.

Then there’s teammate linebacker junior David Wilkerson who received permission to transfer. He was out last season with an injured ankle. In 2010, he utilized a medical redshirt and for this season, he came to training camp as the weakside linebacker back up and saw Michael Barton pass him by for the top role, reported SFGate.com.

So who’s left in this depleted linebacker group? Penn State transfer linebacker Khairi Fortt, who came to the school and was able to immediately play from NCAA sanctions, is sitting out as he recovers from a knee injury. He’s had limited participation at camp but perhaps this will change.

For Cal, its new season will begin on Aug. 31 against Northwestern. The preseason only gets tougher as they’ll play Ohio State on Sept. 14, followed by Oregon two weeks later, on Sept. 28.

After a 2012 3-9 season, Cal will look to improve its record but it sits at 50/1 to win the Pac-12 conference this year.

Pac-12 teams in the Preseason Polls

Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

This past weekend, the Associated Press released its preseason poll and Oregon (No. 3) and Stanford (No. 4) represented the top of the Pac-12; they were similarly ranked in the preseason coaches’ poll.

Other conference teams in the top 25 included UCLA (No. 21), USC (No. 24) and Oregon State (No. 25)–also identical to the coaches’ poll. Pac-12 teams receiving votes included Arizona State and Arizona.

Oregon sits at the top for this year’s conference finish (7/4), followed by Stanford (9/2) and USC (5/1). The Ducks will open their 2013 season on Aug. 31 against Nicholls St.

I think we already know the line on that one.

Change in Heisman Race

As Texas A&M’s quarterback Johnny Manziel continues to see his 2013 in question, his bid for a second Heisman is also going down in flames. Once at the top for a repeat, Manziel’s stock continues falling and now there’s a new quarterback in town to take the top odds for the Heisman, Ohio State’s quarterback Braxton Miller at 9/2 per Bovada.

Just last week, Miller’s school landed at the second spot in both polls.

Here’s a look at the rest of the top Heisman contenders including three from the Pac-12.

Jadeveon Clowney (DE South Carolina) 6/1
Teddy Bridgewater (QB Louisville) 9/1
A.J. McCarron (QB Alabama) 10/1
Marcus Mariota (QB Oregon) 12/1
Aaron Murray (QB Georgia) 14/1
T.J. Yeldon (RB Alabama) 14/1
Tajh Boyd (QB Clemson) 14/1
Johnny Manziel (QB Texas A&M) 15/1
De’Anthony Thomas (RB Oregon) 16/1
Duke Johnson (RB Miami) 16/1
Marquis Lee (WR USC) 22/1
Devin Gardner (QB Michigan) 25/1
Taylor Martinez (QB Nebraska) 25/1
Kevin Hogan (QB Stanford) 25/1
Lache Seastrunk (RB Baylor) 30/1
Ameer Abdullah (RB Nebraska) 33/1
Stephen Morris (QB Miami) 33/1
Jordan Lynch (QB Northern Illinois) 33/1
Jameis Winston (QB Florida State) 35/1
Blake Bell (QB Oklahoma) 50/1
Brett Hundley (QB UCLA) 50/1
Jeff Driskel (QB Florida) 50/1
Ka’Deem Carey (RB Arizona) 50/1

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota

Oregon again takes all the top props for the Pac-12 with quarterback Marcus Mariota leading the way, followed by his running back De’Anthony Thomas. Mariota also received the honor (jinx) of a Sports Illustrated cover for his region.

In 2012, Mariota had 2,677 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. For this season, Bovada has the player throwing even more yards. For the regular season, he has 2,900 1/2 yards (-120 o/u).




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