Pac-12 media day is now just about 36 hours away, with it taking place Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. My colleague Jon Wilner will be making the trip for the BANG newspapers and will have extensive coverage.
The Pac-12 preseason media poll will be released Tuesday morning. Here is how I voted:
4. Oregon State
6. Washington State
3. Arizona State
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP: Oregon over Utah
And now for some comments:
- I have a strong feeling Cal will end up being picked just where I picked them. There is a growing sense out there that Washington is a program on the rise. With top skill players Jermaine Kearse and Chris Polk back, the Huskies will still need to get some quarterback play to be a good offense. But truth be told, Jake Locker wasn’t exactly great last season. Washington also has an improving defense.
- It’s hard to pick Cal over Oregon State, not only because the Beavers have had their number in recent years, but because the Beavers have been so consistent in recent years as well. Last year, of course, didn’t go quite as well for OSU. The question is whether that was an exception or a sign that the Beavers are falling off.
- The Bears simply have too many holes on offense right now to choose them above anyone but Washington State in the North. They should have a very good defense, but relying on defense leaves too little margin for errors. Cal figures to play in a lot of close games. But with an unproven quarterback and field goal kicker, it’s hard to feel confident they are going to win a lot of them. The quarterback position could end up being good; we just don’t know right now.
- Top to bottom, USC still has the most talent in the conference. Of course, the Trojans also have a lot of distractions and baggage, and that may have hurt them last season. I still see them winning the South and then giving way to Utah in the Pac-12 title game because of NCAA sanctions.
- Utah should be one of the elite teams in the conference for the time being. The Utes have already proven to be one of the top mid-major programs in recent years and joining a BCS conference will only help them, especially in recruiting. Utah can now tell recruits they will be on network television often and will travel to Los Angeles every year as well.
- I’m not on the Arizona State bandwagon. Many are picking them to win the South. I don’t see enough talent at the skill positions. The Sun Devils should once again have a strong defense, but their offense isn’t at a championship level.
- And before you all get on me for picking Cal so low, just a reminder I picked them seventh last season and that ended up being generous. The Bears ended up finishing eighth in the Pac-10.