Ahead of Friday's unveiling of the official Pac-12 media ballot, we conducted a mock media ballot last week. Our 300+ respondents predicted the final standings for each of the conference's divisions. Respondents also predicted the winner of the Pac-12 Championship Game. Without further ado, let's take a look at the results.
Teams are listed in rank-order, with the percentage indicating the number of first-place votes they received.
- Oregon (57.61%)
- Stanford (21.04%)
- Cal (18.77%)
- Oregon State (0.97%)
- Washington (1.29%)
- Washington State (0.32%)
You delusional homers. 18.77% picked Cal to win the Pac-12 North?
I can understand the votes for the Ducks and the Lobsterbacks, but we received plenty of first-place votes for the Bears. Usually our predictions are pretty good about keeping homerism in check, but not this time! Predictably, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State received very few first-place votes. Barring a series of improbable events, those three (four, if you include Cal) have little chance of winning the division.
Now let's take a look at the distribution of votes. Below we have a chart showing how many votes each team received for each position. The y-axis represents the percentage of votes and the x-axis represents the predicted finish.
If not for all these Cal homers, we would have a fairly coherent set of results. Oregon is clearly ahead of Stanfurd, who sits ahead of Oregon State. The Beavers edge Washington, who is ahead of the clear favorite to finish last, Washington State. Cal, meanwhile, is all over the place and receives several votes at every position but 6th.
Aside from Cal's third-place finish I can't disagree with this ballot. I'd rank them 1a) Oregon, 1b) Stanfurd, 3) Oregon State, 4) UW, 5) Cal, and 6) Wazzu.
How did things shake out in the Pac-12 South?
- UCLA (36.57%)
- USC (33.66%)
- ASU (20.39%)
- Arizona (7.77%)
- Utah (0.97%)
- Colorado (0.65%)
As expected, we have three front-runners: UCLA, USC, and ASU. With 5 conference road games, including a back-to-back at Oregon and Stanford, UCLA has a tough conference schedule. USC and ASU each skip Oregon, although ASU has to go on the road to face Stanford. ASU has a habit of putting together losing streaks at the most inopportune times: 4-game losing streak in 2012 after starting 5-1, 5-game losing streak after starting 6-2 in 2011, 6-game losing streak after starting 4-2 in 2009, 6-game losing streak in 2008. Does this give USC an edge? No, not really. Remember, they still have Lane Kiffin. Despite the recent incompetence at ASU and USC, the Trojans and Sun Devils may be able to take advantage of UCLA's tough schedule.
Arizona, Utah, and Colorado round out the bottom three. Arizona has to find a new quarterback to complement (almost) 2000-yard rusher Kadeem Carey. Utah has struggled since joining the conference and Colorado is not equipped to make a run at a division title.
Below we have the distribution of votes.
UCLA narrowly edges ASU and USC. Very little separates USC and ASU, although USC has a slightly higher average rank than ASU. Arizona, Utah, and Colorado fit very nicely into 4th, 5th, and 6th, respectively, as demonstrated by peaks in their predictions at those positions.
Again, it's tough to disagree with these predictions. Personally, I'd put ASU at 1st, which moves UCLA to 2nd, and USC to 3rd.
Finally, we have the results of the predicted Pac-12 Champion.
1. Oregon (51.46%)
T2. Cal (18.45%)
T2. Stanford (18.45%)
4. USC (3.89%)
5. UCLA (2.91%)
6. ASU (2.59%)
T7. Washington (0.65%)
T7. Colorado?! (0.65%)
T9. Arizona (0.32%)
T9. Oregon State (0.32%)
T9. Utah (0.32%)
12. Washington State (0.00%)
Nice job, homers. The Pac-12 North is the heavy favorite over the Pac-12 South in this year's Championship Game. Oregon leads the way, followed by a tie between Cal and Stanford. The three Pac-12 South front-runners combine for about 9% of the votes. After that is an interesting mix of votes. Colorado even managed to receive a few. The poor Cougs didn't receive a single vote. Their humble, reasonable fans would never let homerism color their predictions. Good job, Coug fans.
Thanks for participating! The official media ballot will be released Friday morning.