USC picked to win Pac-12 South, finish behind Oregon in conference race
USC received a split decision Wednesday in the Pac-12 preseason media poll, the Trojans picked to win the South Division but selected behind Oregon as the favorite to win the conference.
The defending Pac-12 champion Ducks were projected to win the conference by 21 of 38 media members who cast ballots, edging USC’s 15 first-place votes. Arizona State and Utah each received one vote to win the conference. The Times does not vote in media polls per its policy.
The media has correctly picked the conference champion in 31 of 59 previous polls, including four of the nine years since the Pac-12 started holding a conference championship game.
The Trojans were a heavy favorite in the South, earning 32 first-place votes and 220 points, well ahead of Arizona State’s two first-place votes and 181 points. Utah was picked to finish third in the division, UCLA fourth, Colorado fifth and Arizona sixth.
Former USC defensive lineman Jay Tufele will continue preparing for the NFL draft as his sister, Noreen, continues to recover from a serious case of COVID-19.
Oregon was projected as a runaway winner in the North, earning 35 first-place votes and 222 points. California was picked to finish second, collecting three first-place votes and 176 points. Washington was picked to finish third in the division, followed by Stanford, Oregon State and Washington State.
USC will open the Pac-12 season at 9 a.m. PST on Nov. 7 when it hosts Arizona State at the Coliseum. UCLA also plays at Colorado that day in its opener as part of a seven-game, conference-only season.
The Pac-12 title game, matching the winners of the North and South divisions, will be held Dec. 18 at the home stadium of one conference team.
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.