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.
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.
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?
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.
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.