The 2010 BCS runner-up Oregon Ducks have been voted to win the Pac-12 title in a preseason media poll, per a press release from the conference offices. The Ducks (12-1) ran the table last season before falling to Heisman winner and eventual no.1 overall draft pick Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers 22-19 in the Tostitos BCS Championship game. The Ducks will be returning much of last year’s team and are poised to make another run at the BCS crown behind Heisman candidate LaMichael James and emerging star quarterback junior Darron Thomas.
Stanford, who features Heisman favorite QB Andrew Luck was picked as the runner-up in the North Division with USC voted to win the new Pac-12 South, although NCAA sanctions would prevent the Trojans from participating in any post season games. Here is the official full release via pac-12.org:
OREGON TABBED TO WIN PAC-12 TITLE IN PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
LOS ANGELES -- 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. 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.
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 Friday, December 2 at 8 p.m. ET/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.