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Golden Nuggets: Comparing the Schedule Difficulties of the Pac-12 Football Teams; Deshae Wise Escapes Sex Trafficking

ESPNW and Cal Athletics teamed up for a speaking engagement last week.

California v Stanford Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images


  • Its a slow news time, so Jon Wilner decided to look at all the Pac-12 football schedules and rank the schedules by difficulty. Cal was ranked eighth hardest (or fifth easiest) while complaining about UW’s weird road schedule.

8. Cal

Noncon lineup: vs. North Carolina, at Brigham Young, vs. Idaho State

Conference misses: Arizona State and Utah

Toughest stretch: The mid-October turn brings a difficult four-game run with Washington, Washington State (road), USC (road) and Stanford.

Soft spot: The noncon lineup is anything but daunting and culminates with a Week Four bye.

Comment: The even-year division schedule is always home-friendly for the Bears, who welcome Washington, Oregon and Stanford to Berkeley.

  • Last year, we told you that CBS Sports ranked Justin Wilcox as one of the worst coaches in the FBS. Well, this year he’s moved up to 53! (out of 65) Yay?

Track and Field

  • Learn about freshmen Deshae Wise, whose mother was a sex trafficking victim, and how they escaped a horrible situation. Also learn how you can help with the Rebecca Bender Initiative.

Few, though, have come as far as Deshae, and not just because she hails from a country hamlet tucked away between the edges of the Umpqua and the Rogue River-Siskiyou national forests. Just 11 years ago, Deshae Wise was living in captivity with her mother, fighting always for survival. Looking back today, she can point to countless moments from her childhood that no human should ever endure. Like the time she came back from a weekend away and found her mother severely injured, face broken in five places. Or the time when she was seven and she found herself fleeing her mother’s pimp, scaling fences in the middle of the night.

Growing up, Deshae knew only that she and her mother, Rebecca, seemed always to be running. Why or from what, it was never perfectly clear to the young child. But then, finally, when Deshae was 12, Rebecca decided to explain it all. Pulling her car into a driveway, Deshae in the front seat, Rebecca’s story poured out, every word a bit of relief off her chest. But as the details poured out Deshae began to sob. Why would you stay? Why wouldn’t you leave for me?

Slowly, Deshae would come to learn the full story, to understand the difficulties of leaving. She would begin to grasp not only the depths of her mother’s pain, but also the burning desire to live free. To run.

  • Also on the track, Ashley Anderson and other black athletes on campus formed the Black Student-Athlete Committee (or BSAC). Find out what inspired her here.
  • Senior Garrett Corcoran is an All-Pac-12 Track and Field star, but he is also going to be a great Bio-mechanic (and will even do a master’s program in the field here at Cal next year).


  • ATHLETICS: Two weeks ago, ESPNW and Cal Athletics teamed up for a seminar that saw dozens of female Cal student athletes chat with legends like Natalie Coughlin.
  • WLAX: Despite having sisters at Stanford, Kirsten Swanson chose to play lacrosse at Cal, creating a sibling rivalry of sorts.
  • MGOLF: Walter Chun’s journey from being cut from the men’s golf team as a student (he would later re-make the team and do very well) to becoming not only the head coach but the Pac-12 Men’s Golf coach of the year, is very inspiring.
  • WTEN: Congrats to All-Pac-12 Women’s Tennis selections Julia Rosenqvist (first team), Anna Bright (second team) and Olivia Hauger (honorable mention)!
  • SB: To celebrate 30 years at Cal, a fundraiser is being held in Diane Ninemire’s honor. Learn more about donating here.

Go Bears! Sweep the Wildcats!