USC is back on top.
During the opening of Pac-12 Media Day, the Trojans were chosen as the favorites to win not only the South Division, but also the 2017 Pac-12 Conference football title.
The Trojans received 28 votes to edge defending Pac-12 Champion Washington which received 22 votes. Both programs received 49 first-place votes to hold down the top spots in their respective divisions.
Being on top isn’t new to USC as the Trojans were picked to finish first in 2015 and 2012. However, those years USC never lived up the hype as they finished 8-6 and 7-6. Also noteworthy is that Pac-12 South teams are 0-6 in Pac-12 championship games with the Trojans falling in its only appearance, in 2015.
But this year appears to be different as USC comes off last year’s dramatic Rose Bowl victory over Penn State to end the year on a nine-game winning streak and one of the hottest teams in the country. It doesn’t hurt either to have the return of quarterback Sam Darnold, a preseason Heisman favorite.
Utes Picked Second In South Division
The University of Utah football team looks to have finally found the respect from the Pac-12 Conference.
Despite sending eight guys to the NFL — and having the fourth-most draft picks in the nation behind Michigan, Alabama and Miami — media members still think very highly of the Utes as they were picked to finish second in South Division in the Pac-12 preseason poll.
It’s the highest preseason ranking for the Utes since joining the conference. USC led the South Division with 309 points and 49 first-place votes. Utah was next with 220, and was followed by UCLA (209) and Colorado (182). Rounding out the bottom was Arizona State (109) and Arizona (61).
The Utes finished third in the South last year and was the only team to knock off USC in the division. The Trojans finished the year ranked No. 3 in the nation after a thrilling Rose Bowl victory over Penn State last year. The Utes finished the year at No. 23 in the AP poll.
In the North Division, Washington was first with 309 points, followed by Stanford (247), Washington State (206), Oregon (163), Oregon State (101) and California (64).