LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) – Utah fans are not the only ones expecting a historic season for the Utah football team.
For the first time since joining the Pac-12, the Utes were picked to win the conference at Pac-12 Media Day in Los Angeles.
Utah also placed five players on the preseason first team, led by running back Zack Moss, defensive linemen Bradlee Anae and Leki Fotu, along with defensive backs Jaylon Johnson and Julian Blackmon.
Utah won the Pac-12 South title last year, but lost in the Pac-12 Championship Game to Washington, 10-3.
The Utes received 12 votes to earn the preseason nod, edging Oregon (11) and defending Pac-12 Champion Washington (10). The Utes garnered 33 first-place votes to hold down the top spot in the Pac-12 South Division, while the Ducks and Huskies each collected 17 first-place votes, with Oregon securing the predicted North Division race by one point.
Utah (206 points) was the overwhelming selection to capture the South Division ahead of USC (167), which picked up two votes to win the division.
The media expects the North Division to provide a competitive race with Oregon (190) edging Washington (189), Stanford 129) and Washington State (108), which picked up a lone first-place votes.
The media has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 31 of 58 previous polls, but only four times in the last 12 polls. Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):
|North Division||South Division|
|1. Oregon (17)||190||1. Utah (33)||206|
|2. Washington (17)||189||2. USC (2)||167|
|3. Stanford||129||3. Arizona State||118|
|4. Washington State (1)||108||UCLA||118|
|5. California||81||5. Arizona||85|
|6. Oregon State||38||6. Colorado||46|
The Utes also had three players make the preseason All-Pac-12 second team in offensive lineman Darrin Paulo, defensive lineman John Penisini and wide receiver Britain Covey.
The Utes kick off the 2019 season on August 29th at BYU.