Culver City, Calif. • The Utah Utes might think they are in for a good season in 2013, but apparently few else believe in the Utes.
Utah is picked to finish 5th in the Pac-12 South in the media poll released Friday morning at the league’s media event held at Sony Pictures Studios.
The Utes received just 60 votes, to finish just ahead of Colorado (28) but far behind the favorites. UCLA was picked to win the South with 135 votes followed by ASU (130), USC (117) and Arizona (76).
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham met the news of where the Utes were picked with a shrug of his shoulders.
“First, fourth, seventh, 12th, that doesn’t matter to us,” he said. “We don’t pay attention to it and we just want to go in and control our business. We have some deficiencies to correct and those are what we are going to focus on.”
Oregon was picked to win the North with 145 votes followed by Stanford (139), Oregon State (95), Washington (84), California (46) and Washington State (33).
The Ducks were tabbed as the title favorite with 15 votes while UCLA received 12 votes and Stanford received 11 votes.
Friday’s poll marks the first time since the Utes joined the Pac-12 that they weren’t expected to be among the better teams in their division.
The Utes were picked to finish second in 2012 but failed to meet those expectations as Utah struggled with injuries to key players and an inconsistent offense.
Utah finished 3-6 in the league and 5-7 overall and didn’t qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2002.
The Utes were picked to finish third in 2011. They finished 4-5 that year in league play and 8-5 overall.
Utah defensive end Trevor Reilly wasn’t surprised at the poll and didn’t want to dwell on it.
“It means nothing,” he said. “The first year we were picked to finish third or fourth and we almost won the whole thing so it means nothing. It takes the pressure off us and it just gives us that much more motivation to play harder.”
Pac-12 media poll
1 • UCLA, 135 (12)
2 • Arizona State, 130 (10)
3 • USC, 117 (4)
4 • Arizona, 76
5 • Utah, 60
6 • Colorado, 28
1 • Oregon, 145 (15)
2 • Stanford, 139 (11)
3 • Oregon State, 95
4 • Washington, 84
5 • Cal, 47
6 • Washington State, 33
Pac-12 title game champion: Oregon, 14.
Others receiving title-game votes: Stanford, 8; UCLA, 3.
First-place votes in parenthesis