Cal Picked Fourth by Media

California is picked fourth in the preseason Pac-10 media poll selected by West Coast media members who cover the conference. USC is picked as the conference favorite for the sixth consecutive year. The Golden Bears received the lone first-place vote not cast for the Trojans.

California returns 16 starters on a team that finished 7-6 (3-6) and beat Air Force 42-36 in the Armed Forces Bowl. With 41 returning lettermen the Golden Bears have experience across the board save wide receiver. Cal loses 97% of his wide receiver production from a year ago.

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):

Media Poll

Rank Team(1st Place Votes) Points
1. USC(38) 389
2. Arizona State 330
3. Oregon 295
4. California(1) 274
5. UCLA 204
6. Oregon State 192
7. Arizona 185
8. Washington 185
9. Stanford 76
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