Defending Pac-12 champion Oregon is the choice to win the 2011 Pac-12 Conference football title in a preseason poll of media members who regularly cover the league. WSU is picked to finish last in the North Division.
The Ducks were listed in the top spot in the North Division by 29 of the 42 voters participating in the poll, collecting 239 points. Twenty-eight of those pollsters tabbed the Ducks to come out on top in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game. Stanford was picked to finish second in the North Division, collecting the other 13 first-place votes in the balloting for the division race, with 11 of those members of the media casting a vote for the Cardinal to capture the Pac-12 title.
Washington State was picked to finish last in the North, collecting a mere 51 points from the media members.
USC was picked to win the South Division with 230 points, edging out Arizona State, which tallied 207 points. Due to NCAA sanctions, USC is on probation and ineligible to participate in the postseason. Therefore, the Trojans would not be able to represent the South Division in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Should USC capture the South Division crown, the team finishing second would be the South Division’s representative in the Pac-12 Championship Game. Arizona State collected 13 first-place votes in the division race, with three of the pollsters predicting a Pac-12 Championship crown for the Sun Devils.
The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 27 of 50 previous polls, including 10 of the last 11. Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):
1. Oregon (29) 239
2. Stanford (13) 220
3. Washington 142
4. Oregon State 120
5. California 110
6. Washington State 51
1. USC (24) 230
2. Arizona State (13) 207
3. Utah (4) 170
4. Arizona (1) 140
5. UCLA 89
6. Colorado 46
PAC-12 TITLE GAME CHAMPION: Oregon (28 votes)
Others receiving votes: Stanford (11), Arizona State (3)
The inaugural Pac-12 Championship Football Game will take place Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. PT and telecast to a national audience on FOX. The Championship game will match the winner of the North Division vs. the winner of the South Division. The game will be played on the campus of the division winner with the best overall conference record. The winner of the inaugural Pac-12 Championship will earn the league’s automatic BCS berth.
POLL NOTES: Preseason media poll has correctly picked the Conference champion 27 of 50 times and has been very accurate of late in correctly identifying the Conference champion in 10 of the last 11 years … Oregon is picked to win the league for the third time (2001, 2010, 2011) … The diverse voting of the pollsters in selecting the South Division champion had Arizona, Arizona State, USC and Utah each receiving first-place votes.