Pac-12 Media Day takes place on Friday at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City. Yes, the West Coast league only stages a one-day event instead of the usual two-day gathering that is typical for other major conferences.
Here is what you need to know about the event as the road to the start of preseason camps continues with the annual press gathering out West…
– League commissioner Larry Scott will address the media at 9 a.m PT. Besides potential NCAA reform that we have heard Mike Slive, John Swofford, Bob Bowlsby and others discuss, Scott will talk about the league’s health-safety initiative (including the enforcement of contact-in-practice rules). The Pac-12 is the first conference to put in terms governing practice contact. But there's no question that the most interesting comments from Scott will occur when he is probed about the Big Five forming their own federation within the NCAA. Scott’s comments should be in line with those of Bowlsby and others. But he also could have a fresh take on it as well.
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– The preseason media poll will be announced in the morning, likely before Scott speaks. Stanford and Oregon will battle to be the favorite in the North division, while UCLA or Arizona State will likely be picked in the South. The North winner will likely be picked to win the overall conference crown.
– The first head coach to speak to the press will be media darling Mike Leach of Washington State at 9:15 a.m. PT. The rest of the coaches will appear in the following order: Cal's Sonny Dykes, Washington's Steve Sarkisian, Oregon State's Mike Riley, Oregon's Mark Helfrich, Stanford's David Shaw, Colorado's Mike MacIntyre, Utah's Kyle Whittingham, Arizona's Rich Rodriguez, USC's Lane Kiffin, Arizona State's Todd Graham and UCLA's Jim Mora.
– Players who will be in attendance include Washington QB Keith Price, Oregon QB Marcus Mariota, Stanford LB Shayne Skov, USC WR Marqise Lee, Arizona State DT Will Sutton and UCLA LB Anthony Barr. Two star players who won't be there, however, are Arizona RB Ka'Deem Carey and Stanford QB Kevin Hogan.
– The Pac-12 Networks will also be a topic of discussion, as head of operations Lydia Murphy-Stephans will likely discuss new content when she takes the podium.
– The Pac-12 and Las Vegas Bowl extended their partnership on Tuesday. The game will be slotted sixth in the conference's selection order, just ahead of the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, which announced its deal with the league on Monday. So the postseason lineup for the league beginning in 2014 is as follows: Rose/playoff, Alamo, Holiday, Kraft, Sun, Las Vegas and Buffalo Wild Wings.
– As a reminder, CLICK HERE for my Pac-12 summer power rankings from mid-June.
Other things to keep an eye on…
* Who will be Arizona's starting signal-caller with Matt Scott gone? B.J. Denker doesn't have much experience, and USC transfer Jesse Scroggins was hampered this spring by a foot injury. The Wildcats will also get a look at highly regarded true freshman Anu Solomon this preseason.
* Expect Stanford's David Shaw to get asked about his interest in eventually becoming a head coach at the next level.
* USC has been awfully quiet this offseason. Besides discussion about the quarterback battle between Max Wittek, Cody Kessler and true freshman Max Browne, we haven't heard a lot about the Trojans. Maybe that's a good thing after the team did not live up to lofty preseason expectations in 2012.
* New Pac-12 head coaches Mark Helfrich, Sonny Dykes and Mike MacIntyre will get the usual dose of questions about either keeping the momentum going (Oregon) or changing the losing culture (Cal and Colorado).