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SAN FRANCISCO -- Another week, another four … five … six pitchers for us at The Republic. Broadcasting from 3213 Scott St., in the Marina district of San Francisco, the weekly Bear Republic Podcast reviews last week's 30-9 Homecoming loss to USC, quarterback Zach Maynard's latest struggles, the World Series heroics of Cal baseball alum Allen Craig, the increasingly tough Bears defense and this week's home game against Utah.
The Utes will go into Saturday with an 0-3 record in Pac-12 play, as will Cal, which has started its conference season with three straight losses for the first time in head coach Jeff Tedford's tenure.
Cal will face the reigning Pac-12 and Walter Camp Fooball Foundation Defensive Player of the Week in Utah defensive end Derrick Shelby, who heads up a Utah defense that held Pittsburgh to just 120 total yards last week.
While the Utes are breaking in a new quarterback in Jon Hays, who took over for Jordan Wynn mid-game against Washington two weeks ago, Utah has a strong force in the backfield in running back John White.
White is currently on pace to be the first Utes tailback since Eddie Wide in 2009 to run for 1,000 yards, while Cal's little tailback that could -- Isi Sofele -- is also on pace to break the 1,000-yard mark, averaging 90.5 yards per game on the ground.
Last week, the Bears hosted the No. 2 junior college prospect in the country in safety Gerald Bowman, and saw linebacker commit Hardy Nickerson, Jr., selected to play for the Under-19 Team USA in a signing day contest against a team of 45 international prep football stars, the same game in which current Bears freshman Avery Sebastian played this past February.
On the basketball court, head coach Mike Montgomery recently underwent a successful surgical procedure, waking up to find his team ranked as the No. 24 team in the preseason coaches poll. The Bears hoopsters recently hosted official visits by three-star big man Landen Lucas and four-star swing man Tyrone Wallace, as well as three-star power forward Zena Edosomwan out of Harvard Westlake.
The Bears basketball team received the No. 24 ranking in the preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll, and are one of three Pac-12 teams represented in the poll. Arizona tops the trio at No. 16 with UCLA at No. 20.
The last time Cal was picked in the preseason coaches' poll, the Bears were ranked No. 12 in 2009. That season, Cal captured program's first Pac-10 title in 50 years and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
North Carolina received 30 of the coaches' 31 first-place votes and edged second-ranked Kentucky by 53 points (774 to 721) in the poll. The Tar Heels were ACC regular-season champs last season, and finished with a 29-8 overall record.
Ohio State was ranked No. 3 and defending NCAA champion Connecticut checked in at No. 4. Podcast regular Jon Doss's graduate school alma mater Syracuse held the final spot in the preseason top five. Rounding out the top 10 are Duke, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Memphis and Florida.
Pittsburgh ranked No. 11 to give the Big East four teams in the top 11. The Panthers were followed by Baylor, Kansas, Wisconsin, Xavier, the Wildcats, Alabama, Michigan, Texas A&M, and the Bruins. Marquette, Cincinnati, Gonzaga, Cal and Missouri round out the Top 25.
The Bears are coming off an 18-15 season in 2010-11 that saw them advance to the second round of the National Invitational Tournament. A dark horse pick to compete for the conference title, Cal returns four starters, led by first-team All-Pac-10 selection and team MVP in senior guard Jorge Gutierrez, who paced the squad in scoring with 14.6 points per game.
Sophomore guard Allen Crabbe, the 2011 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and -- like Gutierrez -- an under-the-radar pick for the Pac-12 Player of the Year, set the school's freshman record for three-pointers made (62). Both Gutierrez and Crabbe are on the Preseason John Wooden Award Top 50 Watch List.
Senior forward Harper Kamp and junior guard Brandon Smith are also back. Cal also welcomes returning reserves Bak Bak, Emerson Murray, Jeff Powers, Richard Solomon and Euro Trip hero Robert Thurman, as well as 2010-11 redshirts Justin Cobbs and Alex Rossi.
New additions to the squad include freshmen forwards David Kravish and Christian Behrens, as well as two freshman walk-on guards, Rob Filley (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) and Raffi Chalian (5-foot-11, 165 pounds).
Finally, the crew settles up on a long-standing bet by going glass-to-glass on Bear Fights in the video below, so sit back, relax and enjoy.