Pac-12 media days kicked off this morning, and while WSU's portion won't come until tomorrow, the two-day festival started with a bit of a thud for the Cougars, even if it wasn't all that surprising: The Cougs have been picked by the media to finish fifth in the North Division.
Here's how the voting shook out for both the North and South:
I don't know if any of this comes as a huge shock. The top two teams in the North are obvious choices, and everyone's pretty down on Oregon State. The interesting thing to me is the spread between 3-5.
While most of us think WSU isn't that far behind Cal, the Golden Bears are a trendy pick to improve a bunch. To me, they look a heck of a lot like last year's WSU team -- some reason for optimism, but still some glaring holes that could sabotage the whole thing. In that sense, I was a little surprised that Cal/UW/WSU weren't a little bit closer -- I'm not sure what the reasoning is for Washington to be that much better than WSU. The defense has lost a ton, and the QB position has the potential to be a total boondoggle.
That said, with WSU breaking in a new QB and defensive coordinator coming off a three-win season, I understand the skepticism.
If you're looking at the South, it's worth noting the Cougars will play the predicted 2, 3, 4 and 6 teams, missing USC and Utah in this schedule rotation. And for what it's worth, the media picked USC to win the whole dang thing.
As far as we know, they all did that with the understanding that Steve Sarkisian is the coach.