USC Football is the favorite to win the Pac-12 title in 2017, according to the annual preseason media poll taken ahead of Pac-12 media days.
The annual Pac-12 media poll is in the books with USC Football officially projected to be the conference champion come season’s end.
The Trojans received 28 votes to win the Pac-12, ahead of Washington’s 22 in the vote involving 52 media members who cover the conference.
USC’s 49 votes to win the South Division were an overwhelming majority, though Utah, UCLA and Colorado each received one vote.
The Utes were picked as runners up to the Trojans with UCLA and Colorado following. Arizona sits in the division basement with Arizona State just ahead of them.
In the North, Washington also swept through with 49 votes while Stanford, Washington State and Oregon each grabbed one first place vote.
Last year, the Trojans were voted to finish second in the Pac-12 South behind UCLA while Stanford was the favorite to win the conference. Obviously, things didn’t turn out the way the Pac-12 media expected them to, as Washington took the crown and Colorado surprised with a South title.
In fact, being picked to win the conference has not exactly worked out well for the team at the top.
The Pac-12 media has been wrong about the conference champion four out of six years since the conference was expanded in 2011. Oregon fulfilled the prophecy in 2011 and 2014, but the media missed on Washington in 2016 and Stanford in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
USC has been voted to win the Pac-12 title twice in that span, but the Trojans couldn’t get over the hump in 2012 or 2015.
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Expectations are plenty high going into 2017. USC has consistently appeared in the Top 5 of preseason rankings around the web, and remain a favorite to make the College Football Playoff in Vegas odds.
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All the while, the Trojans’ road to the Pac-12 title and the playoff has its hurdles. For one, USC will not have a bye week during the regular season, getting their week off at the end of the conference slate.
Before then, the Trojans will host Stanford in Week 2 and finish out September with a tough road trip to Washington State. USC will also have to travel to Colorado in mid-November before coming home to finish off the Pac-12 schedule against UCLA.
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If they can get through those challenges while avoiding slip ups against Cal, Oregon State, Utah, Arizona State and Arizona, the Trojans will have a shot at claiming their first Pac-12 title since 2008.