SAN FRANCISCO — Reigning Pac-12 Tournament champion Oregon was favored to win the Pac-12 by the conference media with 291 points, barely edging second-place choice Colorado with 288 points — the best preseason ranking for the Buffaloes in their nine years as part of the Pac-12.
Oregon State, which was upset in the tournament by Colorado last season, was named seventh in the preseason poll Wednesday at Pac-12 Media Day.
The Pac-12 is evaluating a few different models before it adds two additional conference games next season, expanding it from an 18-game schedule to 20 games. That means teams will only miss facing two opponents twice on the schedule rather than the current schedule of missing four teams. A decision on the format will come in the next couple of months, Scott said.
“I think the idea behind it is to strengthen the conference. Really, it’s 20 high-major games,” Washington State’s Smith said. “There’s just more opportunities. And the better we do outside the conference, if our league is able to win 75% of the games outside the conference, it’s projected you’ll get six teams in the NCAA (Tournament), and that’s kind of our goal is to try to beef up the conference. We’ll do our part the best we can.”
The Pac-12 also announced a new Pac-12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge to begin next year featuring nonconference games to be played in Las Vegas. Three Pac-12 teams will take on non-league opponents at T-Mobile Arena. Other neutral sites would be used in other years. The 2020 lineup is set with Colorado against TCU, Washington vs. Oklahoma and Oregon against a Big 12 opponent still to be determined. Return games will go to American Airlines Center in Dallas for the 2021 event.
Arizona, Arizona State and USC are committed to play in the Challenge at Las Vegas in 2021.