The results are in of our decidedly unscientific poll of readers of this blog to predict the order of finish in the first season of Pac-12 football.
And in a prediction somewhat bucking the consensus of the pre-season magazines, the readers have picked Stanford as the overall winner. (Okay, so maybe that little UW-Oregon rivalry might have something to do with choosing the Cardinal over the Ducks, as well). I asked readers to pick the order of finish in each division as well as an overall. Many just picked the divisions. But of those who did pick an overall champ, Stanford got the most votes.
Readers also picked Stanford to win the North Division and USC to win the South, though a few need reminding that the Trojans are NOT eligible to play in the conference title game this year. USC will play its games and if it finishes with the best record in the South, it can raise a banner if it wants proclaiming itself the winner of that division. But the team with the best record in the division not named USC is the one that will play in the conference title game against the winner of the North.
Readers were also about as conflicted about what to do with some of the teams in the South as a lot of other prognosticators — it indeed looms as a pretty wide-open race on paper. Every team in the South other than Colorado was picked by at least one person to win the division (yes, one selected UCLA) with Arizona seeming to result in the most varation— the Wildcats got at least two votes to finish at every spot from one to six.
Obviously, readers of a blog like this might be tempted to favor the home team, and a few did pick UW to win it all — six selected the Huskies as not only the winner of the North but also of the conference title.
But in general, the readers of this blog picked UW about in line where most of the pre-season magazines have — third in the North. The Huskies were picked everywhere from first to fifth (and hey, who knows? Maybe the optimistic ones will turn out to be right).
Here’s a look at how readers picked the two divisions:
5, Oregon State
6, Washington State
2, Arizona State
For the most part, the picks look pretty much like a lot of others released so far, other than Stanford/Oregon. Arizona State has been a popular pick to win the South in a lot of places, but it hasn’t been uncommon to see USC predicted to finish at the top, as well. Readers paying close attention may have put some stock in the rocky off-season ASU has had in losing a few key players, news that occurred after most magazines make their picks.
The official Pac-12 media poll will be released at the conference’s media day in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and the above picks could be pretty similar to those released there, though the middles of each division are pretty muddled.
However, I’m betting Oregon gets the nod by the media to win the North, despite the recent controversy enveloping the program. Odds are that nothing will develop quickly enough in regards to that issue (assuming it ever does) to impact this season, and the coaching change and a few more significant personnel losses make Stanford a harder team to read when looking strictly at what may happen on the field. UW was a pretty solid pick for third over Cal (though the Bears got a couple votes to win the division, as well) and Oregon State, with WSU a pretty consensus pick to finish last.
It also won’t surprise me if Arizona State gets the media nod as the team to beat in the South, despite what was mentioned above about some of the team’s off-season issues (specifically, losinig standout cornerback Omar Bolden to a knee injury and seeing defensive end James Brooks quit the team).
Utah and Arizona were pretty close in the race for third in the South, but the Utes won out with a little more consistency among their votes. UCLA and Colorado bring up the rear.
If nothing else, a little clip-and-save entry to use to compare what the readers thought, and what actually happens, as the season progresses.