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Golden Nuggets: Sonny Dykes and Heightened Expectations

As pre-season practice winds down, Cal Football prepares for the highest expectations of Year 3 of the Sonny Dykes System.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Volleyball

Cal volleyball takes to the road for the first time in 2015 when it travels to the Kansas State Tournament for matches this Friday and Saturday.

Men's Soccer

Chatting with Chaz: A Learning Experience

We arrived in sunny San Diego, California on Thursday August 27th to take on the University of San Diego Toreros in our season opener on Friday night. Directly upon our arrival, we got right to business and drove straight to practice before stopping at the hotel. Coach (Kevin) Grimes wanted us to practice on real grass rather than turf, as he thought that we should practice on the same type of field that we would be playing on against USD. USD's close neighbors UCSD generously allowed us to use their facilities and our day before game practice went smoothly. After practice we headed to the team hotel, which was extremely nice. It had a Hawaiian theme with a luxury pool and most importantly, strong air conditioners! It was also about five minutes from the USD stadium. For dinner, we ate in the hotel and loaded up on carbs with the signature Cal Soccer meal: salad, fruit, chicken and pasta. Completely stuffed, we went up to our rooms and called it a night.

In the morning I abruptly woke up from the loud beeping of our 9am wake up call. I didn't mind because I knew it was the day of our first game. We had a morning jog and stretch at USD to loosen up our legs and scope out the pitch for our game that evening. Following our short jog and stretch, we went back to the hotel and were given only one instruction: NAP! Feeling rejuvenated from our short snoozes we were ready for our pregame talk and headed to the game.

Rugby

Following a week of summer weather that belied a fast-paced entry into the fall semester, the 2015-16 Golden Bears entered their second week of scheduled activities Monday at the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance and on Witter Rugby Field.

Women's Soccer

Celeste Boureille became the first Golden Bear to be honored by the Pac-12 this season when she was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week, the conference office announced Tuesday.

Swimming & Diving

Team USA should have a decidedly blue and gold tone to it as the 2016 Rio Olympics draw nearer with Tuesday's announcement that 16 swimmers with Cal ties will be included on the U.S. 2015-16 National Team roster.

Football

Is this the season Golden Bears break through?

BERKELEY -- There are heightened expectations for Cal football in the third year of coach Sonny Dykes' regime, and they start at the top, in the athletic director's office.

"Sonny has told me the third year is the great year in the Sonny Dykes system," Michael Williams said last spring on the day he was named Cal's permanent athletic director. "No pressure."

Williams did have a smile on his face when he said it, but Dykes' new boss clearly is expecting more in 2015 after seasons of 1-11 and 5-7.

He isn't the only one. The media picked the Golden Bears to finish third in the Pac-12 North, and the players are eager to return Cal to a bowl game for the first time since 2011.

"This third year is the change year," senior defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil said. "All the changes are put into place that will let us finally get over the hump."