The Pac-12 unveiled its preseason media poll to kick off its 2018 media day, and the Washington State Cougars have been picked to finish fifth in the North Division by the conference’s 42 voting media members.
It’s a low slot for a program that has finished no worse than third in the division and won 26 games total over the past three seasons, but it makes sense given the personnel losses suffered by the Cougars and is in line with what most other publications have predicted during the offseason.
Unsurprisingly, the Washington Huskies lead the way by picking up 40 of the possible 42 first place votes, followed by the Stanford Cardinal and Oregon Ducks (who each picked up a first place vote) and then the California Golden Bears. The Oregon State Beavers were a near-unanimous pick to finish last.
2018 North Division Media Day Poll
|1. Washington (40)||249|
|2. Stanford (1)||198|
|3. Oregon (1)||178|
|5. Washington State||98|
|6. Oregon State||45|
There was much more disagreement in the South, as the USC Trojans got the nod, but only by 16 points over the Utah Utes. They were followed by the Arizona Wildcats, UCLA Bruins and Colorado Buffaloes — each of whom picked up at least one first place vote. The Arizona State Sun Devils, under new coach Herm Edwards, were picked sixth.
2018 South Division Media Day Poll
|1. USC (22)||225|
|2. Utah (14)||209|
|3. Arizona (3)||178|
|4. UCLA (2)||116|
|5. Colorado (1)||80|
|6. Arizona State||72|
The Huskies also were the overwhelming pick to win the conference championship, gaining 37 votes. USC was a distant second with two votes, while Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA each picked up a vote.
Like I said, it’s no big surprise that the Cougs were picked to finish fifth, given all of the team’s issues both on and off the field. Whoever plays quarterback will do with zero experience for WSU, the defense will be trying to replace its best lineman in 15 years, half the coaching staff has turned over, and it’s unclear how Tyler Hilinski’s death will ultimately affect the team.
However, a fifth place finish suggests not making a bowl game, which certainly doesn’t jive with what I’ve seen many of you say you’re expecting for the upcoming season. How do you feel about this? Is it a reflection of conference media types consistently underestimating WSU (the Cougs have finished well above their prediction in two of the past three seasons), or does this seem about right to you?
For what it’s worth, the last time WSU was picked to finish fifth was 2015. The Cougs overcame a rough non-conference start to finish third with an inexperienced quarterback named Luke Falk, eventually winning nine games.
How do you feel about the Cougars’ predicted 2018 finish?
This poll is closed