Cal running backs Khalfani Muhammad and Tre Watson are named preseason candidates for the Doak Walker Award

We keep you up to date on all the Cal happenings at Pac-12 Media Days, with awards and preseason voting.

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Sonny Dykes (10 AM)

"As a program, we're excited about the progress that we've made. We got off to a bad start, and we built on that. We're proud of the guys that were part of the turnaround. As good as that was, the thing Im most proud of is what our players have done in the classroom. We went from a 923 APR to a 997 last year -- dead last in the Pac-12 to first in the Pac-12. That's a credit to our student-athletes, their work ethic and their maturity."

"I really think, in 20-something years of coaching, this is my favorite team. I like these guys. We're young, we're invested, we're a very unselfish, very mature group, a very focused group, a very hard-working group."

On DeVante Wilson and Steven Moore: Moore is going to be the RT, four-year starter, "the most solid player in our program, a blue-collar guy who's exactly what you want as an offensive lineman. He's developed into one of the leaders in the program."

On Wilson: "Much like Steven. he got a second chance, went to USC, went to a JC, overcome a lot, and I'm really proud of what he's developed into. He's a name you may not know much right now, but you will by the end of the season."

"There are some freshman that will have an opportunity to play for us. We're going to be a young team, but a talented team. As everyone in the room is aware of, we lost a pretty good quarterback last year in Jared Goff, but we have a lot of momentum."

"The thing that we have done every year, is we've gotten better. The challenge for us is to improve on 8 (wins). We have to replace our quarterback, but we have some very viable options, guys who are very good players, and some interesting battles will take place in fall camp. We're going to need to make a relatively quick decision."

"There are more 'or's on our depth chart than I've ever seen, and I like that."

Cal will not have Damariay Drew early, Dykes says, in hopes that they will have him late. I'll find out more about the details surrounding his knee injury later, but it looks like Cal is at least hoping he's able to come back. I rather doubt it.

Dykes has spoken with many NFL staffs who have traveled to London, and had a lot of concerns about the Australia trip, when initially proposed. The team has plans to get players up and moving around the plane, stretching, and adding a compression element to recovery on the way back. Cal will get to Australia on the Tuesday before the game.

Q&A (9:19 AM)

Does Scott worry about the playoffs, with so many strong teams? "Our conference will always take on all comers. The other thing that one notices is, with the advent of the College Football Playoff, we know in any given yar, there will be teams with similar records. A determining factor is based on strength of schedule, and our conference prides itself on playing tougher schedules. USC playing Alabama, UCLA playing Texas A&M, USC and Stanford playing Notre Dame -- the philosophy of our conference is to play the best, strongest schedule they reasonably can, and the strongest conference schedule and a championship game ... Our teams will get the benefit of the doubt."

No news on DirecTV. "While our team will continue to knock on the door and push and offer the same opportunity that the 75 other distributors have said 'yes' to, we are focusing our efforts on our current partners, as evidenced by the Comcast and COX announcements." ... Former Verizon FiOS now with Frontier is a "major add" for SoCal fans.

Comcast and COX: "This started last year. Now that we have 850 live events across 7 different networks, 850 is too many for one network, from a scheduling standpoint. In many of our markets, Comcast, COX, Time Warner had the regional network that was on their expanded platform, which means that certain football and basketball games, the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas, there were local teams that weren't available. Fans could only get them on the National Network, which was on the sports tier, and in some cases, the provider had it in SD, rather than HD. The significance of the agreement that we announced with COX and Comcast, is that they'll now put the national network -- the one with all 35 football games, over 100 men's basketball games -- in HD on the expanded basic platform."

Pac-12 Bingo (9:16 AM)

Larry Scott is off to a very strong start.

Pac-12 Media Days: Preamble (8:23 AM)

So, the first news to come out of Pac-12 Media Day, for Cal, is that Khalfani Muhammad and Tre Watson -- two of the Bears' three leading rushers last season -- are carrying on the tradition of Daniel Lasco, and have both been named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List.

Last season, Muhammad, Watson and Vic Enwere helped Cal become the first college football team in recorded history to have three 500-yard rushers and six receivers with 40 or more catches. Only two players per school were able to be selected, with Enwere just missing out. Enwere has played in 25 games in his carer, leading all active Cal players with 10 career rushing touchdowns and 140 carries, for 698 yards -- second only to Muhammad.

Muhammad played in 12 games, starting five, with 606 yards on 87 carries, with one touchdown run (he also caught 17 balls for 189 yards and two touchdowns). Enwere, Cal's second-leading rusher, ran for 529 yards on 106 carries, playing in all 13 games, with eight scores. Watson played in 11 games, with one start, and is the presumptive nominal starter this season. In 2015, he rushed 89 times for 517 yard and three touchdowns, while also catching 10 passes for 106 yards and one touchdowns.

Watson averaged 89.75 rushing yards per game in each of his final four contests of 2015, with a career high of 110 against Oregon State. He was Cal's leading rusher in each of those four games, averaging 6.9 yards per carry.

Watson has played in 23 games with one start over his first two seasons at Cal in 2014 and 2015, and has rushed for 598 career yards on 114 carries (5.7 ypg) with four rushing touchdowns. 

The PwC SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will name 10 semifinalists on Wednesday, Nov. 16, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will cast votes to determine the three finalists, who will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 22. The committee will cast a second vote beginning Monday, Nov. 28 to determine the recipient, who will be announced live on The Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Thursday, Dec. 8, on ESPN. The Doak Walker Award Presentation Banquet will be held in Dallas in early 2017.

Other preseason watch list members for the Bears include graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb (Maxwell Award), kicker Matt Anderson (Lou Groza Award Watch List) offensive guard Chris Borrayo (Outland Trophy Watch List, top interior lineman).

Media Polling (8:38 AM)

The Pac-12 media poll (which I voted in) has been released. Here's how the media, as a group, voted, with total voting points (first-place votes in parentheses):

1. Stanford 186 (24)
2. Washington 163 (8)
3. Oregon 132 (1)
4. Washington State 112
5. California 67
6. Oregon State 33

1. UCLA  180(19)
2. USC 173 (12)
3. Utah 127 (2)
4. Arizona 87 
5. Arizona State 85
6. Colorado 63

Here were my votes:

1. Stanford
2. Washington
3. Oregon
4. California
5. Washington State
6. Oregon State

2. USC
3. Arizona
4. Arizona State
5. Utah
6. Colorado

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