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The Pac-12 has a California recruiting problem

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NCAA Football: Southern California at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll admit, it’s been fun to point and laugh from afar while watching USC continue to tumble from its perch atop the Pac-12.

The Trojans have had issue after issue in the last few years. On the field. Off the field. In the admissions’ office. It was easy to laugh when they again retained Clay Helton despite the begging and pleading from roughly the entire fanbase.

But, the cause of all that laughter may come around to haunt WSU on future signing days.

That is a snapshot of the top recruits in California in the 2021 recruiting class. Sure USC is represented, as is Oregon, but that is a lot of talent leaving the Pac-12.

So why does this matter for WSU? To steal a point from fellow CougCennter author Zane Murfitt, it is best for WSU if USC is landing the best of the best in California, because it gives WSU a better shot at the rest. WSU is unlikely to ever compete for the 5-star California recruits, but has proven it can build very talented rosters off 4-star and 3-star California recruits. We want the Gabe Marks and Jalen Thompsons to make their way to Pullman.

With USC — and the Pac-12 as a whole — weak and vulnerable, teams like Clemson and LSU are poaching that top talent. That sends USC scrambling further down the recruiting boards. Now, instead of WSU competing with teams like Oregon State and Utah for those recruits, USC is also in the mix.

I’m not saying you should explicitly root for USC to be good. But, as a whole, the Pac-12 needs to retain the top talent on the West Coast or the entire conference is going to be left fighting for scraps.

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Women’s basketball:

Hristova Moves Up on the Pac-12 All-Time Scoring List in Loss at UCLA - Washington State University Athletics
Borislava Hristova moved into 20th on the Pac-12 Conference all-time scoring list on Sunday against No. 10/10 UCLA, but the Washington State University women's basketball team fell to the Bruins, 66-50, at Pauley Pavilion to bring an end to their weekend in Los Angeles.

Onyenwere's 23 Points Get No. 10 UCLA Past Washington State - The New York Times
Michaela Onyenwere scored 23 points and Chrisma Osborne added 16 as No. 10 UCLA recovered from a slow start to earn a 66-50 victory over Washington State on Sunday.

Tennis:

No. 1 Stanford Too Much for Cougars - Washington State University Athletics
Washington State Tennis ran into the defending national champions and despite a late WSU rally, Stanford looked every bit the part, defeating the Cougars 4-0 in the second round of the ITA Kickoff Weekend, Sunday at the Taube Family Tennis Center.