Stanford is favored to repeat as the conference champion.

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Washington was picked to finish second in the Pac-12 North and Washington State was selected fourth in a preseason poll of media members, the conference announced Thursday morning.

The Huskies, a trendy “sleeper” pick this offseason, received eight first-place votes from the 33 media members polled — and four votes to win the Pac-12 championship.

The selections mark the highest preseason placing for both programs since the conference expanded to 12 teams (and split into two divisions) in 2011. Previously, the Huskies were selected to finish third on three occasions (in 2011, ’12 and  ’14); since 2011, the Cougars hadn’t been picked higher than fifth (2012, ’14, ’15) in the media poll.

Stanford, which has won three of the last four conference championships, was selected as the favorite in the Pac-12 North — and the favorite to repeat as conference champion.

UCLA was chosen as the favorite in the South.

The poll was released ahead of the start of the two-day Pac-12 media days event at the Hollywood and Highland.

North:
1. Stanford (24 first-place votes) — 186 points
2. Washington (8) — 163
3. Oregon (1) — 132
4. Washington State — 112
5. California — 67
6. Oregon State — 33

South:
1. UCLA (19) — 180
2. USC (12) — 173
3. Utah (2) — 127
4. Arizona — 87
5. Arizona State — 85
6. Colorado — 63

Pac-12 title game champion: Stanford (20 votes)

Others receiving votes: USC (5), Washington (4), UCLA (3), Utah (1)

The media poll has correctly selected the conference champion in 29 of 55 previous polls, but only twice in the last nine polls. Last year, USC was predicted as the conference champion and wound up losing to Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game.