Los Angeles — Washington is the overwhelming favorite to win the Pac-12 in the annual preseason poll of media members.
Coach Chris Petersen wasn’t exactly celebrating Wednesday after Washington received 37 of 43 votes as the media’s choice to win the Pac-12 for the second time in three years.
“That doesn’t mean anything to us,” said Petersen, the Huskies’ fifth-year head coach. “There’s no more expectations put on us from the day that we walked into that building. We expect to be good and win games, and that’s never changed, so because other people think that we might win some games, that doesn’t really change our mindset. I think the only thing about it for me is, I like to be on a different team than (the media) are on. I’d rather prove you wrong than to prove you right. Now we’re working to prove you right rather than prove you wrong.”
The Huskies and defending Pac-12 champion Southern California were picked to win their respective league divisions in the poll released before Pac-12 media day in Hollywood.
Petersen’s disappointment aside, Washington’s returning talent and sustained excellence are obvious reasons to make it the big favorite heading into fall. Two seasons after their run to the College Football Playoff, the Huskies are led again by veteran quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin.
Stanford was picked second behind Washington in the Pac-12 North, followed by Oregon, California and Washington State.
Tennessee rape trial begins
A woman who says she was raped by two former Tennessee football players testified Wednesday in Knoxville and explained why she initially told police she didn’t want the men arrested.
She says A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams raped her during a party at Johnson’s apartment Nov. 16, 2014, hours after a Tennessee football victory over Kentucky.
“They looked like animals,” the woman said. “I was intimidated.”
Johnson was a star linebacker and Williams was a defensive back for Tennessee at the time, though they were suspended from the team less than 48 hours after the party and never played for the Volunteers again. Each faces two counts of aggravated rape.
Defense lawyers have said the woman intentionally had sex with both men at the same time and lied that she was raped afterward.
On the night in question, the woman originally told police she didn’t want anyone arrested. The woman said Wednesday that her initial reluctance about pressing charges shouldn’t be interpreted as uncertainty about what had happened.
“I knew enough to know that was a big decision,” the woman said.
“I just didn’t know what I wanted to do yet.”