The Pac-10 media have picked Cal to win the conference title, and the Associated Press poll has the Bears at No. 13, their highest pre-season ranking since 1993-94. Cal has not started the season ranked in the AP poll since 1995-96, when they were 25th to begin the season.
The Bears were voted No. 12 nationally by the coaches in the ESPN/USA Today poll. In both the AP and coaches polls, Washington checked in exactly one spot behind Cal.
As expected, Kansas was voted No. 1 in both pre-season polls, with Michigan State and Texas at second and third.
In the Pac-10′s annual basketbal media poll, Cal was voted No. 1 in a survey of 37 voters, earning 25 first-place ballots. Defending champion Washington, which had seven first-place votes, finished second and UCLA was third, picking up the final five first-place votes.
Stanford wound up last in the media poll.
The Bears were voted No. 1 in the conference pre-season poll just once before, in 1993-94, when they featured Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray. Cal also was No. 6 in the pre-season AP poll that season. That team wound up in a tie for second place in the final Pac-10 standings, then lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Cal has not won a regular-season conference title since 1960 — legendary coach Pete Newell’s final year.
The writers have correctly picked Pac-10 regular-season winner 10 of the past 17 seasons. The league’s coaches made the picks from 1990 through ’92, and got two of three years correct.
Over the past 20 seasons, Cal has exceeded expectations eight times, topped by last year when Mike Montgomery’s first team was picked to finish eighth and wound up third — five spots higher.
The Bears have failed to meet expectations 10 times, and have finished where they were predicted on two occasions. In fairness, they have wound up within one slot of where they were picked nine times.
Yearly Pac-10 Media Poll
Year Picked No. 1 Actual No. 1 Cal pick Cal actual
2010 Cal ??? 1st ???
2009 UCLA Washington 8th tied 3rd
2008 UCLA UCLA 7th 9th
2007 UCLA UCLA 5th 8th
2006 Arizona UCLA 5th 3rd
2005 Arizona Arizona 7th tied 8th
2004 Arizona Stanford 3rd tied 4th
2003 Arizona Arizona 5th 3rd
2002 UCLA Oregon 5th tied 2nd
2001 Arizona Stanford 5th tied 4th
2000 Arizona Ariz/Stanford 6th 7th
1999 Stanford Stanford 5th tied 5th
1998 Arizona Arizona 5th tied 6th
1997 UCLA UCLA 6th tied 2nd
1996 UCLA UCLA 5th 4th
1995 UCLA UCLA 3rd tied 8th
1994 Cal Arizona 1st tied 2nd
1993 Arizona UCLA 2nd 2nd
1992 Arizona UCLA 6th 9th
1991 Arizona Arizona 4th tied 6th
1990 Arizona Ariz/OSU 5th 3rd
Note: Pac-10 coaches made the picks from 1990 through ’92; writers have voted since then.