Pac-12 commish optimistic after postseason pitfalls for football, basketball

LOS ANGELES -- As the Pac-12 tries to put its woeful 2017 football season behind it, commissioner Larry Scott made the case that things are not as bad as the national perception indicates.

"Much was written and discussed about our bowl record last year," Scott said. "From our perspective, a handful of season-ending games are not a communicator of a conference's overall strength and competitiveness."

The conference finished with a 1-8 bowl record last season -- the worst record ever for a major conference -- leading to an offseason short on optimism about its direction. It didn't help matters when just one men's basketball team, Arizona, reached the Round of 64 in the NCAA tournament and was promptly upset in the first round.

"Nine of our 12 teams qualified for bowls and we placed two teams in the six New Year's bowls," Scott said. "At the end of the season, we have four teams among the top-25. It's clear by all those measures we've got a strong, deep and highly competitive conference that provides our fans with great matchups every week."

If the Pac-12 has a team that could help change its fortunes, it's likely the Washington Huskies, who are the overwhelming preseason media favorite to win the conference title after receiving 37 of 42 votes.

USC edged Utah as the favorite in the South division, while Arizona, UCLA and Colorado also received first-place votes.