The Holiday Bowl is just over 24 hours away, and the UCLA beat writers are beginning to rouse themselves from their Christmas dinner food comas.
Jack Wang wrote a profile looking at Anthony Barr's (Notre Dame) family background and his switch from offense to defense in today's Daily News.
... In his first turn at linebacker since he was 14, he earned spots on the All-Pac-12 first team and The Associated Press All-American second team. He says he's leaning toward spending another year on campus, but is waiting on his draft evaluation.
Earlier this season, Mora described that meeting as "one of those cosmic encounters." He, like plenty of others, has never seen any transformation quite like Barr's: virtual newcomer to unquestioned star in mere months.
Even Lori, his most passionate supporter, didn't see his success coming so quickly.
"You just go, 'Wow, where did that come from?'" she says. "I did imagine it. I just didn't know if it was actually going to happen."
Chris Foster wrote a story for today's LA Times on Baylor starting QB Nick Florence. After three years backing up RGIII - but with some extended periods of play as an injury replacement - Florence got his chance to lead the Bears from the start this fall, putting up numbers not very far removed from last fall's Heisman campaign by Griffin - the supporting cast that Art Briles has surrounded him with does not hurt.
Baylor "makes you defend every blade of grass," UCLA Coach Jim Mora said. Florence had 300 or more yards passing in five of the first six games. He and All-American receiver Terrance Williams were rolling up numbers, but not victories.
The emergence of Seastrunk took the pressure off. Seastrunk had 693 yards rushing in the last five games, four of which were Baylor victories.
"Having a guy like that to hand the ball off to is huge," Florence said. "He can go 80 yards in one play. I don't have to throw for all of it."
Also impressive is Florence's academic progress; as a true Senior, he long ago earned his bachelor's degree in economics, and is just a few graduate credits shy of receiving an MBA.