The first National Championship of the 2013-14 school year is won by the Cal Men's Swimming team last week. Which Cal team can bring back to Berkeley the next NCAA title?
I will just quickly mention that the best bets for the next team national championship is probably from one of the non-NCAA sponsored sports. Cal Rugby is always a contender for both the 15s (Varsity Cup) and the 7s (CRC). Cal men's crew is also a strong bet for the IRA where the team national title is awarded to the school that win the Varsity 8 race.
Cal Men's Swimming: one more update
The Golden Bears are the best in the country. I love the Friday Night Light music in the video below that summarizes some of the action, very appropriate for a meet that took place in Austin.
Texas California forever.
Cal Men's Golf
Bears are not quite as strong at they were an year ago, having lost Max Homa to graduation and Michael Kim to the professional rankings. Nevertheless, the Bears returned a very strong group of golfers this year. Bears are currently ranked 2nd in the country.
What does work against the Bears in their quest for the program's first NCAA team title is that the NCAA championship switch from stroke play to match play at the very end. After the top 8 schools have been chosen based on stroke play (which the Bears dominated last year), the format turned into match play. Bears were not as good in match play last year but return 3 key guys that now have that experience. Match play is also a lot more of a crapshoot, so why not Cal (even if defending champs and current No.1 Alabama is again the favorite)?
Men's Golf NCAA championship takes place May 23-28 in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Cal Women's Crew
A Cal team that is currently ranked No.1 in the country? That's your Cal Women's crew (the first ranking of the season came out recently), who just completed a trip down to Australia to compete against some top competitions down under.
Unlike men's crew, the NCAA championship is determine by team scoring at the NCAA (May 30-June 1) in Indianapolis, that is not unlike how swimming/track&field is done. Double weight is given to the result of the varsity 8, however.
Those two teams are probably the best bets for the Bears to win more NCAA title this school year. Other Cal teams to watch out for include both Cal tennis team (particularly the women).
Cal Softball (20-11)
Who is the hottest* team in Cal Athletics right now? That would be Cal Softball, who are winners of 10 straight games, dating back to taking the last two games from Stanfurd few weeks ago and include 4 mercy rule wins. This weekend, the Bears welcome to Berkeley the 7/6 ranked Arizona State. Starting today at 3pm. All three games will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
*by "hot" I mean in performance not in appearance, although I won't disagree if you want to argue for the other definition of hot to be applied to Cal Softball
Cal Baseball (14-12, 3-3 in Pac-12)
My hope for this year's Cal Baseball team? A return to the post season. Although the Bears' record are barely above 0.500, they have played a really tough schedule. Should the Bears be able to be post season eligible, I like the Bears' chance to get an at-large bid.
The first RPI rankings of the year are out and Cal Baseball checks in at #34.— Cal Baseball (@Cal_Baseball) April 1, 2014
In Pac-12 play, the Bears opened by being swept at home by UCLA. The Bears then traveled to SLO to play No.6 Cal Poly in a 4 game series where the bats really came alive, although the Bears were only able to win 1. Last weekend at home, the Bears bounced back by sweeping the Utah Utes at home (pushing the all time record to 12-0), even if all by narrow margin.
Offensive hero of last Saturday (by hitting the go ahead homer in the 8th), Derek Campbell, is featured in this new Cal feature this week: "Cal GameDay".
The Bears are up in Pullman this weekend to take on Wazzu. All three games will be streamed online.
Cal Women's Water Polo (17-5)
Cal Women's Water Polo fans may potentially be upset that I did not include this team in the list above for likely to win a NCAA title. While the No.4 Bears have a decent shot of making it to the NCAA tournament (which has more teams than the recently expanded men's counterpart), I am still waiting for the Golden Bears to notch a win first against one of the top 3 teams (USC, UCLA, Furd).
Bears have two more regular season road games (at ASU this weekend and at Furd next weekend on the Pac-12 Networks) before the start of the MPSF tournament. The NCAA tournament is the following week (May 9-11). Both the MPSF and the NCAA tournament will be hosted by USC this year.
Cal Women's Gymnastics
The Golden Bears hosted the Pac-12 championships at the Haas a couple of weeks ago. The upstarting Bears finished a program best 3rd place. You can relive part of it from my live commenting/blogging of that Pac-12 Networks broadcast. Check out this cool video recap of the action below:
The Bears ranked No.19 right now will look to get one of the 12 berths for the NCAA championships. Bears will compete at the NCAA regional tomorrow at Minneapolis against Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Utah, San Jose State, and Illinois.
Cal Men's Gymnastics
The Cal men finished 3rd (out of 4) at the MPSF conference championships last week. That finish was no surprise given the rankings heading in. The Bears will look to get into the NCAA Championships when they compete next week (Thursday, April 10) in the NCAA qualifiers at Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Cal Men's Tennis (12-3, 2-0 in Pac-12)
The 18th ranked Bears have a tall task this weekend when they take on No.3 UCLA and No.2 USC down in LA.
Cal Women's Tennis (12-4, 5-0 in Pac-12)
The 12th ranked Bears will put their perfect Pac-12 record on the line when they host No.13 USC and No.3 UCLA this weekend.
Cal Track and Field
Milan Ristic is featured in this week's Cal Olympic Sports.
Cal Lacrosse (2-7, 0-4 in MPSF)
Cal Lacrosse lost to the Oregon Ducks yesterday. The Bears spent their spring break on an east coast trip (where they lost to La Salle, Lehigh, and Yale). The Bears will honor their seniors this Sunday when they host USC, before heading back east (or more midwest) one more time.