Bruin Bites: Nick Pasquale Lives On, Epenesa Catches On, and more Bruin Preseason Rankings

Welcome to the NFL, Seali'i - Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Pasquale's Big Brother and friends continue to be affected by his life and death, Seali'i Epenesa finds an NFL home and Baxter Holmes gives his former colleagues in LA a lesson in journalism.

We are heading closer to the end of this week, with 6 more to go until the Bruins break camp in San Bernardino on Monday, August 4th. With recruiting season well behind us and training camp still those several weeks in the future, we are in the slow part of the college football season - and really for all college sports. Time for human interest stories and more preseason rankings among other things.

But there is also still time for another Bruin to find a place to work toward earning their way onto an NFL roster and achieving that childhood dream. The New England Patriots signed Seali'i Epenesa to fill their final roster spot heading into training camp. Congrats Seali'i, and good luck in catching on with the Patriots, or anyone else in the league (yes, even the Seahawks if it comes down to it).

Uclaluv already shared this next story as a fanshot, but for those of you who missed it. Teddy Mitrosilis at Fox Sports has written a touching, in depth story on AJ Pasquale and the effect that his little brother Nick's death is having on the path that AJ and some of his friends are taking with their lives. It really is a must read.

Our SBN colleagues blogging on the Oklahoma Sooners at Crimson and Cream Machine are in the middle of unveiling their preseason top-25. Wednesday's installment saw UCLA's first mention of that series, with one of the two participating writers ranking the Bruins at #13, one spot behind Stanford based on some uneasiness with both squads as well as a belief that the Pac-12 really isn't that good. Their other writer has a near-opposite view, with both teams in his yet to be released top 10, and thinks enough of our conference to have ASU at #11. Whether or not I follow their view of the team or conference, I know how much effort it takes to do these sorts of previews right and applaud their effort.

Stewart Mandel has rated the Bruins September 13th game against Texas at Jerry World as his 5th most anticipated non-conference game of the upcoming season.

Led by quarterback Brett Hundley and two-way star Myles Jack, the Bruins enter this fall as dark horse playoff contenders -- lofty expectations for a program that last reached a BCS bowl in 1998.

And in broader football news, the US Patent and Trademark office has issued a ruling nullifying the trademark held by the Washington DC-region's NFL team relating to its nickname. The team can (and most certainly will) appeal the ruling to federal court (PDF) - depending on the team's legal theory or strategy, to either the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in DC, or as a civil action filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The team's trademark protection will stand during appeal; a loss on appeal would not force the team to give up the name, but would make it easier for parties to produce and sell unlicensed merchandise to the financial detriment of the team and the rest of the NFL.

Former LA Times sportswriter/current Boston Globe reporter Baxter Holmes has written a piece for Esquire on the origins of that team's nickname and his reaction to the term as a Oklahoman of Native American ancestry. After that article went live on Esquire's website, some people questioned his claim regarding the history of the term. Like any good reporter, he read through all of their responses, found that one of his critics used a comma instead of a semi-colon, tweeted that finding and thought his work done... No, that's not quite right. After receiving challenges to the argument he made in his story, Baxter wrote another piece for Esquire in which he defended his earlier claim by countering those counterarguments while presenting further evidence which supported the initial story.

With an approach to reporting like that, it is no wonder that Baxter got the hell away from the LA Times sports department as quickly as he could.

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