HOLLYWOOD – USC football is picked to win the Pac-12 Conference in the 2017 season, according to a preseason media poll released by the Pac-12 on Wednesday morning.
The Trojans received 309 total votes and 28 first-place votes to edge last year’s conference champion, Washington, which received 309 total votes and 22 first-place votes.
Last season, USC finished the season 10-3 overall and 7-2 in conference play and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl, where they narrowly defeated Penn State.
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UCLA ranked third in the South Division with 209 votes.
The Bruins ended last season with a 4-8 overall record with a dismal 2-7 conference mark.
“I think you make a huge mistake if you make excuses or scoop it under the rug,” said head coach Jim Mora on Wednesday at Pac-12 Media Days.
“You have to look at everything you do, the way you meet, the way you practice, to your schemes, to how you coach, to the words you use, the culture in the building, how you let them recover. And you just pull it all apart.”
Stanford, the team of Hart grad and wideout Trent Irwin, is picked to finish second in the North Division with 247 votes.
Arizona State, the home of Valencia alumnus Jay Jay Wilson (linebacker) and Hart grad Brady White (quarterback), ranked fifth in the South Division.
Former Hart offensive lineman Colby Pursell’s University of Colorado is one slot above the Sun Devils at fourth place in the south.
The preseason poll has proven correct the past 29 of 56 times it has been released, but only two times in the last ten.
The Pac-12 Football Championship Game will be at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Dec. 1.
Coaches and players from Arizona, California, UCLA, Oregon State, Colorado and Washington addressed reporters inside the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood on Wednesday. The conference’s other six schools will be represented Thursday.