The Oregon Ducks are favored to win the Pac-12 Conference in 2014 as voted by members of the Pac-12 media on July 23.
Twenty-four of 39 voters voted in favor of the Ducks, per ESPN's Kevin Gemmell:
"The media who cover the Pac-12 predict there will be a new champion in 2014.
"Oregon is the decided favorite, with 24 of 39 voters predicting the Ducks would win the conference. UCLA was second with 13 votes, while USC and two-time defending champion Stanford received one vote each.
"Of the 39 voters, 37 predicted Oregon would win the Pac-12 North, with Stanford receiving two votes. UCLA also received 37 first-place votes in the South Division. USC and defending South champion Arizona State each received one vote.
"This is the fourth time in five years Oregon has been picked to win the conference. The media have correctly picked the champion in 11 of the past 14 seasons.
"The Pac-12 championship will be played Dec. 5 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. This is the first year the game will be at a neutral site. The previous three seasons, the team with the best conference record has hosted the game."
USA Today's Scott Gleeson breaks it down even further:
"Oregon was picked to win the 2014 Pac-12 Conference title, according to a poll of media members at the Pac-12 Media Days on Wednesday. The Ducks were the clear-cut favorite to win the league's North Division -- garnering 37 of 39 first-place votes.
"Oregon had 24 votes to win the league, beating out South Division front-runner UCLA (13 votes to win the league). The Bruins had 37 of 39 first-place votes and 231 total points as the favorite to capture the South Division.
"Stanford (192 total points), Washington (142), Oregon State (125), Washington State (87) and California (41) rounded out the projected order of finish in the North Division. USC (181 total points), Arizona State (163), Arizona (119), Utah (82) and Colorado (43) rounded out the projected order of finish in the South Division."
Ducks return to top of media poll http://t.co/OExlefUEgX— Oregon Ducks Hub (@OregonDucksSoup) July 24, 2014
With Oregon riding high expectations in 2014, quarterback Marcus Mariota has accepted the fact he is without question the face of the Ducks, per The Oregonian's Tyson Alger:
"There's a reason why everyone wanted a piece of him. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound junior is Oregon's most prolific quarterback since Joey Harrington and he's building a case to be the best Duck ever. Oregon is predicted to be the top team in the conference and that is directly linked to No. 8 being on the field.
"Mariota understands this attentionl; he's had it for the last two years. It doesn't mean he's comfortable with it. He's trying, though.
"'Definitely how I talk to the media,' he said when asked what he needs to improve the most. 'I want to be a lot smoother and say all the right things.'
"He said he's come out of his shell slowly over the years. It's not just with the media, either. As Oregon's non-opposed leader, Mariota can do things on the field that some players could only dream of. Yet he's still developing a voice amongst his teammates.
"Mariota is never going to be the guy that has a big outburst for everyone to see. The last time he did that, he said he blew up a receiver in high school. Really gave him a piece of his mind. Later in that game, the same guy ran the wrong route again and Mariota decided the outburst wasn't an effective method.
"'It's a funny story to look back on, at the same time, I understand I can be the voice (the Ducks) need,' he said. 'Not necessarily blowing my lid and getting extremely upset, but I can have a voice and be influential.'"