Here are the results of the preseason media poll for the Pac-12. Not a lot of shocking stuff here, but let's review.
Pac-12 North (in reverse order)
Note: Point totals are distributed in order of finish (6-5-4-3-2-1)
6. Washington State 33
Nothing interesting there. You go 1-8 in Pac-12 games last year, you're going to need to prove yourself.
5. California 47
I see the Bears being a much improved team in 2013, but that's just a hunch and the media appears to disagree.
4. Washington 84
For all the preseason hype that Keith Price and the rest of the Huskies have been getting from places like ESPN, the Pac-12 media seems more hesitant to give Washington credit. I think they'll be better than Oregon State, but I don't get a vote.
3. Oregon State 95
Not a big gap between UW and the Beavers. The unresolved QB situation between Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz could be a reason for that, as could losing Jordan Poyer and Markus Wheaton to the NFL. The defense should still be good with Scott Crichton returning after an First Team All-Pac-12 season as a sophomore.
2. Stanford (11 first place votes) 139
This is a bit of a surprise because Stanford is the defending Pac-12 Champion, but they lost some talent on defense in linebackers Trent Murphy and Chase Thomas as well a lot on offense in running back Stefan Taylor and tight end Zach Ertz. Quarterback Kevin Hogan and tackle David Yankey help mitigate some of those concerns and there is still a ton of talent on this defense with Ed Reynolds, Henry Anderson and Shane Skov among others. This'll be a strong and physical team that should win a lot of games.
1. Oregon (15 first place votes) 145
Oregon is still ridiculously fast and talented. That sentence seems simple, but it is probably why the media thinks that losing Chip Kelly as head coach isn't that big of a deal. Quarterback Marcus Mariota comes back for his second season and DeAnthony Thomas along with a stable of young running backs look to replace the production of Kenjon Barner. The defense is still one of the most athletic groups in the country, though they still can struggle with bigger offensive lines.
Pac-12 South (in reverse order)
6. Colorado 28
Not surprising here. Going 1-11 and replacing a head coach isn't going to inspire a lot of confidence. They should be helped with the return of wide receiver Paul Richardson from injury and a year of growth from their young players.
5. Utah 60
Utah could surprise in the Pac-12 South. Kyle Wittingham is too good of a coach to rest on his laurels after missing a bowl game. With a group of upperclassmen entering their third year of playing in the Pac-12, Utah should be used to the speed and intensity of the conference. Losing Star Lotulelei and Joe Kruger to the NFL could take a toll on their defense.
4 Arizona 76
This is the weirdest voting result of the whole conference to me. Not necessarily the placement, but the fact that they are closer to Utah in voting than Southern Cal is perplexing. Losing Matt Scott at quarterback isn't as big of a deal as it is made out to be. All Rich Rod's offense needs are playmakers (no one in the Pac-12 can match the 1-2 punch of Ka'Deem Carey and Austin Hill at the skill positions) and an athletic QB (they have like 4 options).
3. Southern Cal (4 first place votes) 117
I could make a lot of jokes about this, but I'm taking the high road. Marqise Lee, Silas Redd and Nelson Agholor are all NFL talents. The QB situation is the biggest story and will determine if Southern Cal has a chance at winning the South. Their defense is a bigger question than people are making it out to be. Moving Morgan Breslin to OLB makes no sense to me. Just because he was undersized at DE, doesn't mean he needed to move. I'm not sold on the DC either. They're talented enough to win 8 games without a coach, but Lane Kiffin will do his best to disprove that (couldn't resist).
2. Arizona State (10 first place votes) 130
Their defense might be the most talented in the conference. Carl Bradford and WIll Sutton are the two best defensive lineman in the Pac-12. Alden Darby is a very good corner and they keep churning out linebackers that produce every season. Taylor Kelly had an under-appreciated season in his first year and will only get better this year. After being a field goal away from winning the Pac-12 South last year, they remain the biggest threat to win the division outside of UCLA.
1. UCLA (12 first place votes) 135
For the first time since 1998, UCLA was picked by the media to finish first in the Pac-12 South. Granted, in 1998 the media only picked one team to win as opposed to two division champions and there was no conference championship game until two years ago. Still, that is a big gap between recognitions. The stars are First Team All-Pac-12 players Xavier Su'a-Filo and Anthony Barr, along with quarterback Brett Hundley. The defense features as talented a front-seven as any in the conference with Eric Kendricks, Cassius Marsh and Jordan Zumwalt. The offense will have to replace Johnathan Franklin, but inevitable improvements on the offensive line make the offense as potent as ever. There's no reason to doubt the ability of this team to win the Pac-12 Championship Game, even against the two favorites up in the North Division.
Pac-12 Chamionship Game (in reverse order)
UCLA (3 votes)
3 media members pick UCLA to get to their first Rose Bowl since 1998. This is plausible since UCLA was in control of last year's Pac-12 Championship Game against Stanford until an Ed Reynolds interception return flipped the momentum of the game.
Stanford (8 votes)
As last year's Conference Champion and Rose Bowl winner, Stanford is obviously a threat to win the Pac-12 again. Good coaching (who would have said that a few years ago about David Shaw), good-to-great offensive and defensive lines, and a season of Kevin Hogan at quarterback are a good recipe for a winner.
Oregon (14 votes)
All but one of the media members who gave Oregon a first place vote picked them again to win the title game. This is understandable when you look at the results of Oregon's last game against every team in the Pac-12 South.
Utah: 31-24 (all the way back in 2009)
Southern Cal: 62-51
Arizona State: 43-21
UCLA: 49-31 (2011 Pac-12 Championship Game)
Those are big gaps to make up against a team.
That's what the media came up with, share your thoughts below in the comments.