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Air quality concerns grow for Friday night game between Cal and Washington State

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Raging wildfires in California continue to do serious damage in northern California. Concerns about the air quality are on the rise and that poses a threat to the health and safety of anyone attending Friday night’s Pac-12 game between Cal and Washington State. For now, there is no reason to call of or reschedule the game or transplant it to another location, but the Pac-12 and Cal are monitoring the situation as best they can to be prepared to make any adjustments necessary.

“There’s a level that they keep us updated on and what’s appropriate to work out in, so we were good,” Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said, per The Mercury News. “Obviously, (we’re) watching that and monitoring constantly.

According to NCAA guidelines, all athletes should be removed from the field if the air quality rating is 200 or above. As of Wednesday, the AQI in Berkley, California was 187. Per the NCAA, all athletes should be closely monitored in environments with an AQI rating over 150.

Stanford is also paying close attention to the air quality as they prepare for a Saturday night game against Oregon. As of now, Stanford expects their game to be on as scheduled against the Ducks.

Air quality issues were monitored earlier this season on the west coast, but no Pac-12 teams needed to adjust their schedules, although Oregon did re-locate a practice to a safer location.

The wildfires sweeping through northern California have claimed 24 lives so far.

Former USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox joins Wisconsin staff

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Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator role is no longer vacant. The Badgers have announced the hiring of Justin Wilcox to be the new defensive coordinator under Paul Chryst. The hiring is pending approval from the Board of Regents, which is just a formality at this point. Wilcox spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at USC, the program the Badgers beat in the Holiday Bowl last season.

“During my many conversations with numerous football people that I trusted, one name kept surfacing, Justin Wilcox,” Chryst said. “I am very happy that we were able to get a quality coach like Justin to join our staff. I think he’s a great fit for Wisconsin and this program is a great fit for him. His addition makes us better. He has tremendous experience at some big-time schools and has coached some really good players. He does a great job putting his players in the best situations so they can be successful.”

Wilcox will replace Dave Aranda, who was hired by LSU to fill the same role in Baton Rouge. Wilcox will take over a Wisconsin defense that has tended to be very solid over the years but always seems to be overlooked by splashier teams. Wisconsin ranked second in the nation in total defense and led the nation in scoring defense last season. Wisconsin’s defense may not have many household names, but the Badgers have established a track record of having solid defensive skills, although those defenses have been overpowered against top opponents like Ohio State in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game and by Alabama in the 2015 season opener. Wilcox should be able to do some good things in Madison though, and he should manage to have some early success in the Big Ten West Division.

Wisconsin adds an experienced defensive coordinator in Wilcox as well. Wilcox has served as a defensive coordinator for the past 10 years between four programs; Boise State, Tennessee, Washington and USC.