WASHINGTON STATE’s Mike Leach, Jeremiah Allison and Joe Dahl won’t take center stage until Friday at the Pac-12 media days in Burbank, Calif., but the media poll has been released and the Cougars aren't in the cellar. In addition, commissioner Larry Scott touched on the ongoing saga with DirecTV and a variety of other topics in his opening remarks.
WSU is picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 North in the poll vote of 45 media members. USC is picked to win the south and the Pac-12 title game.
Oregon was picked to win the North, followed by Stanford, Cal, UW, WSU and Oregon State. In the South, USC was followed by ASU, UCLA, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.
Scott opened the proceedings by saying he was hopeful discussions would take place “very soon” with DirecTV about adding the Pac-12 Networks to its offerings but he didn't know if a deal could be struck in time for this season. He said discussions have yet to take place.
Scott said he "certainly" did not anticipate having to cut the subscriber rate with existing partners in order to make a deal with AT&T/DirecTV but also said he couldn't hypothesize on where future discussions might lead. The Pac-12 has over 70 deals in place with providers including four of the top six in the country. AT&T’s takeover of DirecTV was approved last week. The Pac-12 and AT&T have a business relationship that includes distribution, sponsorship and equipment.
Scott emphasized the conference’s continuing model of ownership and control of the Pac-12 Networks and said 850 live events would be televised this year.
Other items of note from Scott included:
He doesn't see the Pac-12 expanding in the foreseeable future.
Fans at Pac-12 games this fall will for the first time be able to see replays on the video scoreboard of plays that are being reviewed by the officials in the booth.
He pledged more transparency in officiating and pointed to the hiring of David Coleman as the new vice president of officiating.
The Pac-12 will again have the nation’s toughest schedule and Scott pointed out the Pac-12 is the only conference that plays nine conference games and a conference championship game.
Spotters will attend every Pac-12 game to help identify players with possible concussions.
The conference is looking at the time devoted by student-athletes to their sport and implied reductions could be coming down the road in terms of mandatory hours.
He noted the implementation this year of conference schools covering the full cost of attendance for their scholarship athletes, increased coverage of medical expenses, guaranteed four-year scholarships and assistance to student-athletes who return to finish their degrees.
The Pac-12 is celebrating its centennial this season and Scott noted the Pac-12 has won the most NCAA titles in 14 of the past 15 years, including nine last school year. Scott also said the Pac-12 has been the most successful conference in the country in its 100 years of existence.
For the full Pac-12 media poll, head here:
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