LOS ANGELES — Washington is the overwhelming favorite to win the Pac-12 in the annual preseason poll of media members.
Coach Chris Petersen wasn’t exactly celebrating Wednesday after Washington received 37 of 43 votes as the media’s choice to win the Pac-12 for the second time in three years.
“That doesn’t mean anything to us,” said Petersen, the Huskies’ fifth-year head coach. “There’s no more expectations put on us from the day that we walked into that building. We expect to be good and win games, and that’s never changed, so because other people think that we might win some games, that doesn’t really change our mindset. I think the only thing about it for me is, I like to be on a different team than (the media) are on. I’d rather prove you wrong than to prove you right. Now we’re working to prove you right rather than prove you wrong.”
The Huskies and defending Pac-12 champion Southern California were picked to win their respective league divisions in the poll released before Pac-12 media day in Hollywood.
Petersen’s disappointment aside, Washington’s returning talent and sustained excellence are obvious reasons to make it the big favorite heading into fall. Two seasons after their run to the College Football Playoff, the Huskies are led again by veteran quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin.
Stanford was picked second behind Washington in the Pac-12 North, followed by Oregon, California, Washington State and Oregon State.
Defending league champion USC edged Utah as the Pac-12 South favorite, getting 22 first-place votes and 225 total points to the Utes’ 14 first-place votes and 209 points.
Arizona and new coach Kevin Sumlin were picked third in the South, followed by UCLA, Colorado and Arizona State. Every team except the Sun Devils got at least one first-place vote in the South, reflecting the lack of an overwhelming favorite with the powerhouse Trojans still figuring out who will succeed New York Jets rookie Sam Darnold at quarterback.
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