HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Washington State remained in contention to win the Pac-12 North until the final day of the regular season in 2018, but after losing the conference’s career passing leader, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and a highly regarded defensive coordinator, the Cougars were picked to finish fifth by the media in Wednesday’s preseason poll.
Washington received 40 of 42 votes to win the North, USC 22 votes as the favorite in the South. The Huskies were overwhelmingly projected to win the conference title, with 37 votes. USC (two), Oregon (one), Stanford (one) and UCLA (one) also received votes to win the championship. UW hasn’t been picked to win the conference title in 18 years, although the Huskies were also the projected winner in the Pac-12 North last season.
The Cougars, picked to finish third in last year’s poll, received 98 points – 10 fewer than fourth-place Cal and 53 more than sixth-place Oregon State.
The media has picked the conference champion in 30 of 57 previous polls, but only three times in the past 11 polls.
The complete poll:
1. Washington (40) … 249
2. Stanford (1) … 198
3. Oregon (1) … 178
4. California … 108
5. Washington State … 98
6. Oregon State … 45
1. USC (22) … 225
2. Utah (14) … 209
3. Arizona (3) … 178
4. UCLA (2) … 116
5. Colorado (1) … 80
6. Arizona State … 72
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