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Utah Picked to Win South and Pac-12

NCAA Football: Rice-Eccles Stadium Views Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Utes have played the role of underdog well for years. They were the first team to bust the BCS in 2004. That, along with their win in the 2009 Sugar Bowl over the Alabama Crimson Tide, helped propel Utah into the Pac-12. Now, for the first time in Pac-12, the Utes were picked to win the conference. The Utes were expected to be the heavy favorites in the Pac-12 South after winning the division last year. But, being the favorite to win the Pac-12 was a bit surprising, given the amount of preseason hype the Oregon Ducks have with quarterback Justin Herbert opting to return to school for his senior year.

Below are the polls for each division:

North Division

1. Oregon (17) 190

2. Washington (17) 189

3. Stanford 129

4. Washington State (1) 108

5. California 81

6. Oregon State 38

South Division

1. Utah (33) 206

2. USC (2) 167

3. Arizona State 118

4. UCLA 118

5. Arizona 85

6. Colorado 46

PAC-12 TITLE GAME CHAMPION: Utah (12 votes)

Others receiving votes: Oregon (11), Washington (9), USC (2), Washington State (1)

The big question is how will Utah handle the expectations that come with being the favorite? The Utes were a great team last year and brought most of that team back, so it makes sense why they were picked to win the conference. They have been handled a golden opportunity to make yet another move up in the college football pecking order, can they seize it like they have seized so many other opportunities in the past? We will see starting next month.