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Bruin Bites: BANG! 99 Days Until UCLA Football Edition

While baseball and softball continue their drive for #113 (and #114?) later today, let's take a quick look around the UCLA-iverse this morning to see what sort of Bruin news is happening.

The Big Bang happened about 13.7 billion years ago, and this singularly great University was a result.
The Big Bang happened about 13.7 billion years ago, and this singularly great University was a result.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's actually 98 days, but I'm writing this a day ahead of publication, and the headline is catchier that way. Don't worry, we'll all tune in for kickoff on the right day.

  • But speaking of the start of football season, in the way-too-premature-to-evaluate-these-sorts-of-things department, ESPN gave a run down of the Bruins first three non conference opponents in 2015. The season begins at The Rose Bowl against Virginia, the same team that gave the Bruins a surprisingly tough opener last season but who should be an easier matchup this time around, then follow with a trip to Las Vegas to meet what looks to be a weak UNLV, and finish the non conference season back in Pasadena against a respectable BYU team. ESPN predicts, correctly, that the Bruins should get through those first two games pretty easily which should be a good intro for the new starting quarterback (ahem...Josh Rosen) and should be undefeated when the Bruins head in to Pac-12 play at Arizona. That's 120 days away.
  • Overall, the season sets up nicely for the Bruins, with the rotating schedule against the Pac-12 North giving us games against Oregon State and Washington State, and skipping over Oregon and Washington. Our friends at Pacific Takes ranked the Bruins schedule is the easiest in the Pac-12.  The toughest matches look to be at Utah who always plays better than paper predicts, and at Stanford where the Bruins always play worse than paper predicts.
  • And of course there is Southern Cal, who is reloading the roster now that sanctions have passed, But even with seven win Sark to muck things up along the way, some people are still all negative about the Bruins chances of running the win streak over the trogans to 4. That game is mandatory for any sort of successful season for U.C.L.A., but the Bruins have bigger goals for the year. CBSSports reports that the early odds from 5Dimes have the Bruins and the Ducks over/under on wins at 9.5, more than any other team in the conference. After watching the team this spring, and accounting for the losses of the seniors, that prediction looks about right to me.
  • If you just can't wait the 98ish days for football, then you can hang on for just 11 more days. Yes, it's a different kind of football, but it should hold you over just fine in the meantime. The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup begins next weekend, and the US Women's National Team starts begins pool play on June 8th against those really nice people from Australia. Canada is hosting the World Cup, so time zones will be in our television viewing favor for this tournament. The USWNT includes two Bruin stars Lauren Holiday and Sydney Leroux. Leroux is a really fascinating person, and Louisa Thomas wrote a great piece for Grantland this week chronicling Leroux's unconventional path from rowdy Canadian childhood to US Women's Team star. It's definitely worth the read.
  • Moving over to Men's Volleyball, the Official Site announced that middle blocker Mitch Stahl, libero Jackson Bantle, and outside hitter Michael Fisher were named to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation 2015 Scholar-Athlete team. All three were sophomores on Coach John Speraw's team this season. Though the team had a disappointing year on the floor this year, it's always great to see Bruins represented on the All-Academic teams, and this is an impressive accomplishment for these three players.
  • Congratulations are also due to senior Women's Rowing member Cathy Stolitzka on being named to the All Pac-12 Women's Crew Team. The crew team deserves more press than they get here, and I remember my overnight shifts at access control in Sproul Hall and seeing the crew members leaving the dorm about 4:30 every morning to get to practice. That's hard core. Props, Cathy, on your outstanding career!
  • We hear a lot of BOOM! around our little corner of the Internet, but there are also some Big Bangs making news on campus, too. The creators of the long running CBS sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, announced that the show will initiate a scholarship for U.C.L.A. students in math, technology, engineering, and science based on need and academic merit. The show has two Bruin connections: David Saltzberg, the show's science consultant, is a physics and astronomy professor at U.C.L.A., and star Mayim Bialik got her Ph.D. in neuroscience at U.C.L.A. This is the first time a TV show has endowed an academic scholarship, and $4 million has already been raised for the Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment. Yay, South Campus!

Stay tuned to Bruins Nation today for updates and live threads on the diamonds as the baseball and softball teams continue their post season runs.