This comes as no shock at all: The USC Trojans are the preseason pick to win the Pac-12 football championship. The Pac-12 preseason media poll was released one day before Pac-12 media day in Las Vegas. USC is the leader of the pack.
It’s true that USC’s defense, particularly its defensive line, is being met with a lot of doubts before the start of the season. Not one USC defensive lineman was named to the preseason All-Pac-12 first or second team.
There are 22 slots for All-Pac-12 defense (if you confine the discussion to the first and second teams). USC got just three of those 22 slots, one on the first team and two on the second team. Safety Calen Bullock is the first-teamer, while linebackers Mason Cobb and Eric Gentry are the second-teamers.
None of this includes the bigger discussions about USC’s defensive depth and the quality of coaching Alex Grinch will need to provide.
Yet, in spite of all the questions USC faces on defense, the Trojans were picked to finish first in the Pac-12 in the regular season.
Let’s look at the full order of finish in the 2023 Pac-12 football preseason media poll, including the point totals for each team:
STANFORD, 54 POINTS
Sep 6, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Sacramento State Hornets head coach Troy Taylor against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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COLORADO, 98 POINTS
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