2020 Chrony Sports Pac-12 Football Media Poll

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Levi’s Stadium, the site of the Pac12 Championship Football game in Santa Clara, CA on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (Photo by: Justin Prather | The Daily Utah Chronicle).

 

At the beginning of the month, the Pac-12 Conference released their annual media poll for the conference. In this year’s poll, Oregon edged out USC for the conference title. Utah came in third place with four first-place votes. 

We here at The Chrony wanted to see how we felt about the team’s in the conference, so we ran our own media poll. Oregon easily won the North, receiving all seven first-place votes, but the Pac-12 South was more of a mixed bag of predictions. 

We ran our poll as follows — A team who was picked to finish first would receive six points, second place would get five points, third would get 4 and so on. 

The desk voted the teams of the north like this: 

Pac-12 North: 

First place: 

Oregon: 42 points 

Second place: 

Cal and Washington: 31 points  

Fourth place:

Stanford: 18 points 

Fifth place: 

Washington State: 17 points 

Sixth place: 

Oregon State: 8 points 

 

Writer Eric Jensen explains why he voted the way he did for the Pac-12 North:

The Pac-12 North for all intents and purposes is Oregon and everyone else. Even with key opt-outs from several Oregon players, they still look to be the best-constructed team in the Pac-12. It is built like an SEC team with a ferocious front on the offensive and defensive side of the ball — all despite losing one of the best left tackles in the country when Penei Sewell opted for the NFL draft when the Pac-12 announced its original cancellation of fall sports. The quarterback is the biggest question for the Ducks as sophomore Tyler Shough will be replacing first-round pick and now Los Angeles Chargers signal caller Justin Herbert.

Cal slots in at two for me. They have a returning QB, a good defense and a solid coaching staff — but no one is going to compete with Oregon though. Stanford at three is more a vote of confidence in David Shaw as a head coach than it is the roster which has a lot of new faces and is coming off two very down years for Stanford standards. Chris Peterson’s retirement ushers in a new age of Washington football. I would not be shocked if we saw a down year compared to their standards. A Pac-12 only schedule really helps them out this year. Oregon State at five. Head coach Johnathan Smith has this program going in decidedly the right direction. This was a team that went from two wins in 2018 to five in 2019. The Beavers also played games extremely close last year. Outside of a blowout loss to Utah, they remained competitive through the entirety of last year and are a team that is now experienced on both the defensive and offensive lines. The question mark is junior QB Tristan Gebbia who will start for the first time. Washington State is about to take a nosedive. People ought to sing Mike Leach’s praises more. Pullman is not an easy place to recruit to. 

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@eric18utah

 

The Pac-12 South had a lot more diversity of polls across the desk. 

 

Pac-12 South: 

First Place:

USC: 39 points 

Second Place: 

Utah: 36 points 

Third Place: 

Arizona State: 29 points 

Fourth Place: 

UCLA: 18 points 

Fifth Place: 

Arizona: 14 points 

Sixth Place: 

Colorado: 11 points 

 

Writer Justin Prather explains why he ranked the teams in the south the way he did:

To be clear, my predictions for the Pac-12 South look a bit different than above. Sure, USC is good, but they have to play Utah in Salt Lake City this year. Just like the Utes struggle in the Coliseum, the Trojans seem to have a tough time at Rice-Eccles Stadium with a 1-3 record in Utah’s Pac-12 era. It is going to be a tough game for sure, but under duress, I think Utah will edge out USC in a matchup that will span all four quarters and stress the hell out of fans. On aggregate, USC was chosen by our desk to win the south with the lone vote for Utah coming from yours truly — perplexing my editors and later myself as to why I was asked to write this. USC is a solid No. 2 though, followed by a talented but still flawed Arizona State at No.3 led by an overrated Jaydon Daniels.

For No. 4, I again broke with the pack and picked Colorado. There are administrative issues in Boulder that have led to the Buffs having a different head coach at the beginning of the most recent three seasons including 2020. Karl Dorrell came to Colorado from the NFL where he was the wide receiver and assistant head coach for the Miami Dolphins. I’m not making the argument that things will go perfectly in Boulder this season, but I do think they are headed in the right direction by recruiting talent for future seasons. Their depth at QB and WR is young but looks promising. This season, Colorado will be middle of the pack, but as the coaching staff and players settle in the Buffs, they will be a force to reckon with in the south.

No. 5 Arizona is going to drop their first three games of the season playing Utah in Salt Lake, USC in Tuscon and back up to Seattle to play Washington. Their last three against UCLA, Colorado and Arizona State are more or less toss-ups with the hardest challenge being their in-state rivals to close out the season. I have mad respect for Kevin Sumlin but he’s 9-15 going into his third season as HC, and I see no sign of things getting better.

Moving on, Chip Kelly’s tenure at UCLA is a 7-17, $3.5 million a year dumpster fire that rather oddly continues to burn. UCLA has one of the best recruiting profiles in the conference, but that talent is wasted by poor management. That might change with new Athletic Director Martin Jarmond at the helm, but until it does, UCLA is a solid last place contender for the Pac-12 South.

[email protected]

@JP_at_TheChrony