Media Makes USC The Overwhelming Favorite In The PAC

Oregon St. was picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North in the Conference Media Poll. Beavers Coach Mike Riley, WR Markus Wheaton, and CB Jordan Poyer talked about why they have hope of higher things this season today at Pac-12 Media Day. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea, US Presswire)

The Pac-12 Media poll has made USC the near-unanimous favorite to win both the Pac-12 South and then the Pac-12 Championship, defeating Oregon, who is nearly as overwhelming a choice to capture the Pac-12 North. Its worth noting that while the media was once woeful at accurately picking the conference champion, in the 21st century, we scribes have been nearly spot on, calling the eventual winner 11 of the last 12 times.

Both the Trojans and the Ducks drew 117 of 123 votes cast to win their divisions, but USC got 110 votes to win the conference championship game, which indicates most probably think home field will hold serve when the teams meet in the LA Coliseum on Nov. 3, and that it will probably put the rematch in the same place 4 weeks later. Three members of the media have clearly drank the Todd Graham cool aid, picking Arizona St. to not only win the South, but also the title game.

My picks laid out this way:

Northern Division

1. Oregon

2. Stanford

3. Washington

4. California

5. Oregon St.

6. Washington St.

Southern Division

1. USC

2. Utah

3. UCLA

4. Arizona

5. Colorado

6. Arizona St.

Pac-12 Champion

USC

You can review my reasoning for the South and the North in case your expectations are otherwise.

The only differences between my take and the overall picks are flipping the bottom 2 teams in each division. There isn't a huge difference between the vote points for the Cougars (228) and the Beavers (205), and if those 3 Sun Devil fanatics hadn't been so convinced of what Arizona St. will accomplish, the margin between ASU and Colorado wouldn't have been as big.

I don't think that USC is as prohibitive a favorite as the general numbers suggest, mostly because of what could be a perilous lack of depth at some positions, at least by USC standards. But its easy to understand, given the uncertainty at Oregon about the quarterback position, the advantage the Trojans have by playing the Ducks at home, and their breakthrough last year in Autzen with mostly the same squad. We probably have a situation where about 90% of the voters think there the odds are about 55/45 in favor of USC.

In case you missed any of today's Pac-12 Media Day, you can watch a replay of each team's time on stage or read the transcript of the q & a, as the Pac-12 has a link to each session's video and text up.

Here's what Oregon St.'s Coach Mike Riley, WR Markus Wheaton, and CB Jordan Poyer looked like and said.

All in all, there wasn't a lot of earthshaking news, but after the depressing news on the Penn St. story yesterday, it was nice to focus on the positives of the upcoming season for a change.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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