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Pac-12 media days 2016: WSU picked to finish 4th in North

Don’t worry! The Cougs were picked to finish 5th last year, and we know how that turned out.

Idaho v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

Coming off a nine-win season and returning an all-Pac-12 quarterback, the conference media still doesn’t seem to think a whole lot of WSU, voting the Cougars fourth in the Pac-12 preseason poll, which was released this morning as Pac-12 media days got underway in Hollywood.

Here’s the full breakdown, as Stanford leads the way once again, picking up 24 of the possible 33 first place votes. And there’s one pretty big surprise (at least to me):

North Division
Place Team (1st place votes) Points
1. Stanford (24) 186
2. Washington (8) 163
3. Oregon (1) 132
4. Washington State 112
5. California 67
6. Oregon State 33

It looks like the writers across the Pac-12 have willingly gotten on the Washington hype train, like most everyone else, voting the Huskies second in the division — and not by a small margin. The Huskies, of course, have a strong returning defense and a pair of precocious players in the offensive backfield who seem poised to take big steps forward. I’m not sure how that’s enough that so many people picked them so decisively over Oregon.

The Cougars, meanwhile, are completely loaded on offense, what with Luke Falk pulling the strings and Gabe Marks, Gerard Wicks, and others poised to do some serious damage. There are still some questions about the WSU defense, though, as the Cougars lost a bunch from the front seven, and perhaps that’s why WSU was picked such a distant fourth.

The interesting thing is that the writers in the state of Washington placed the Cougs above the Huskies. Hmmmm. Here's to hoping some intrepid media member asks Marks during WSU's time on stage today about being picked fourth.

Oregon State was a unanimous last place selection, while California was a near unanimous fifth place selection. The Golden Bears did pick up one fourth place vote, which means someone probably voted them above the Cougs. Hmmmmm.

In the South, UCLA beat out USC for the preseason nod — by a narrow margin:

South Division
Place Team (1st place votes) Points
1. UCLA (19) 180
2. USC (12) 173
3. Utah (2) 127
4. Arizona 87
5. Arizona State 85
6. Colorado 63

Stanford was picked by 20 writers as the title game champ, while USC (5), Washington (4), UCLA (3) and Utah (1) each also picked up votes. That game will be in Santa Clara, California, on December 2.

Oh, and by the way: WSU was picked to finish fifth last season.