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Sunday, May 15, 2011
Polls reaction: What you think, what I think.

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

On Thursday and Friday, we took the pulse of the Pac-12 with a series of polls, and thousands of you responded.

Democracy rocks!

Here's how you voted, and my reaction.

Rick Neuheisel
Rick Neuheisel brought in Mike Johnson and Jim Mastro to tweak the Pistol offense into its current incarnation.
Which is the biggest can't miss game in the Pac-12?
53 percent LSU vs. Oregon
32 percent Oregon at Stanford

Comment: Concur. I understand the idea that the Stanford-Oregon game is the favorite to decide the Pac-12's top team, but the LSU-Oregon game will have significant national ramifications that figure to ripple throughout the season. Of course, same could eventually be said for Ducks-Cardinal, but we know RIGHT NOW that the Oregon-LSU game will match top-10 teams. We don't know what everything will look like on Nov. 12, when the Ducks visit Stanford.

Which team will be the biggest disappointment?
27 percent Arizona State
24 percent Washington

Comment: Interesting. Lots of Sun Devils doubters out there, and more than a few apparently don't believe the Huskies have actually turned the proverbial corner. Thought one of the North favorites -- Oregon and Stanford -- might have garnered more attention. Of the five choices, Oregon ended up last, so folks are pretty confident that the Ducks won't disappoint.

Which team will be the biggest surprise?
33 percent Utah
20 percent Washington State

Comment: Concur. While some believe that the Utes contending for the Pac-12 South Division title will be a surprise, a corresponding group believes that's just what's going to happen. The Cougars will be picked to finish last by just about everyone, but this is the first time in a while many will pause before doing so. And might even change their minds.

Who will win the Pac-12?
54 percent Oregon
27 percent Stanford

Comment: Not a surprise. Mildly surprised it wasn't a little closer between these two. But, then again, Oregon fans are very, er, active in support of their team.

Which Pac-12 coach needs to win the most?
46 percent UCLA's Rick Neuheisel
20 percent USC's Lane Kiffin

Comment: Don't agree. I'd rank Washington State's Paul Wulff No. 1 and Neuheisel No. 2. And I'd be very surprised if Kiffin isn't back in 2012. His numbers here probably included a few Tennessee fans, no?

Who is the offensive player of the year?
41 percent Stanford QB Andrew Luck
33 percent Oregon RB LaMichael James

Comment: Yep. Two returning Heisman Trophy finalists makes this obvious. At least in the preseason.

Who is the defensive player of the year?
42 percent Oregon CB Cliff Harris
28 percent Arizona State LB Vontaze Burfict

Comment: As an added bonus for participating in this poll, Burfict will be visiting everyone who didn't vote for him. We'll post what happens on YouTube. By the way, Vontaze, you got my vote.

Who will be the conference's biggest impact player?
36 percent Stanford QB Andrew Luck
35 percent Oregon QB Darron Thomas

Comment: Concur. Luck is the best player in the nation. Thomas, even more than James, likely will decide just how good the Ducks' offense will be in 2011.

Who will be the conference's most improved player?
39 percent Oregon State QB Ryan Katz
24 percent Alameda Ta'amu

Comment: Reasonable choices. Katz's improvement might hinge on his supporting cast -- as in, if he gets receiver James Rodgers back at full speed after a knee injury, Katz will "improve" more. My vote, however, would go for Colorado defensive tackle Conrad Obi, who could go from career disappointment to All-Conference and NFL draft pick if he keeps his eye on the prize.

Toughest player to replace?
44 percent Washington QB Jake Locker
36 percent Oregon State RB Jacquizz Rodgers

Comment: I'd have voted for Rodgers. Locker just didn't have a good 2010 season, and, in large part, the Huskies started "replacing" him when they began leaning on running back Chris Polk. Rodgers, whom everyone knows I highly esteem, was such a versatile player -- run, receive, block, lead -- that you know in advance the Beavers won't really replace him.