The strength of the Bears team this year is the defense, specifically the linebackers. Hard-hitting senior Zack Follett and fellow senior Worrell Williams lead the LB corps.
Offensively, Playboy All-American center Alex Mack leads an offensive line that returns three starters. The Bears are expected to use two quarterbacks this season. Returning starter senior Nate Longshore passed for 2,580 yards last season. But he will be pushed by sophomore Kevin Riley, who was named bowl MVP after passing for three touchdowns and running for another.
Defending Pac-10 co-champion Arizona State is picked to finish second in the poll, with Oregon edging Cal for third place.
The media poll has correctly selected the conference champion in 25 of 47 previous polls, including the last eight years in a row. Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):
|Rank||Team(1st Place Votes)||Points|