Pac-10 Media Notes and Tidbits

July 27, 2006

USC Tabbed to Win Pac-10 Conference, UW 10th
Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC has been picked to win the 2006 Pacific-10 Conference football title in the preseason poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. It marks the fourth consecutive year the Trojans have been the choice to win the title, but it differs from the last two years when USC was a unanimous pick to win the title. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support.

USC topping the media poll for four straight years is the most for one institution since Washington was picked four straight years from 1990-93. The Huskies won the crown in three of those four years. Washington was picked to finish tenth in this year's conference poll.

Here's a look at this year's poll:
1. USC (18).....................276
2. California (7)...............247
3. Oregon (3)..................229
4. Arizona State (1).........204
5. UCLA..........................145
6. Arizona.......................133
7. Oregon State...............125
8. Washington State...........96
9. Stanford.......................90
10. Washington.................50

Stanback makes some new friends
A student-athlete from each Pac-10 school was in attendance at Pac-10 media day. The experience provides the players a chance to get to know each other outside of the competitive arena, and Isaiah Stanback wasted little time in getting to know some of his conference foes. Washington State's Mkristo Bruce, who hails from Renton, Wash., was on the same flight to Los Angeles as Stanback. While waiting for their flight, the pair grabbed a smoothie and hung out together outside the gate. Just because they're friends, Stanback does not expect any preferential treatment from Bruce in the 2006 Apple Cup.

'We knew each other before this week, so that just adds to the fun,' said the Husky senior quarterback. 'He'll hit me and I'll tell him `good hit' but I'll also tell him that I'll shake him on the next play.'

On Wednesday, all the players in attendance had dinner together at the C&O Trattoria in Marina Del Rey. The time spent together gave the athletes a chance to bond and in the process, Stanback gathered the phone numbers of all the guys.

Stanback proves to be a natural in front of the camera
Media day is a hectic time for the players and coaches. With over 200 media members in attendance, the interviews can be daunting for some. Isaiah Stanback showed everyone that he was more than up to the challenge. After meeting with the print and television presses, Stanback recorded a public service announcement on sportsmanship that will be shown throughout stadiums around the country. Each of the 10 student-athletes in attendance participated in recording a PSA and Stanback stood out as a natural. While others struggled reading from the teleprompter, Stanback breezed through the announcement with little difficulty.

Stanback also grabbed the microphone for and interviewed Washington State's Mkistro Bruce and USC's Ryan Kalil. Bruce proved to be quite a ham also and was able to wrestle the microphone away from Stanback at one point and even get a 'Go Cougars' in to the taped segment.

Hoping for a different time slot next year
The Pac-10 Conference determines the order of the coach and player press conferences at media day based on the previous year's standings. Since Washington was last in the 2005 standings, Coach Tyrone Willingham and Isaiah Stanback took the stage first at 9:30 am. Willingham quickly pointed out that hopefully next year, they will find a later time slot.

'One of our major goals for next season is not to have the 9:30 slot at this meeting next year,' quipped Willingham in his opening statements.

Another advantage of going later this year would have been that fans of Washington would have been able to view the press conference on their computers. CSTV and the Pac-10 were experimenting with carrying the press conferences live on the internet, but due to bad internet connections that were not fixed until Washington left the stage, Husky fans were unable to see Willingham and Stanback live. Fans can still watch the press conference on and as the video was archived.

2006 Pac-10 Football Media Day - Player/Coach Quickie Quotes
Head Coach Tyrone Willingham:
'This is one of those exciting days that kicks off the season, as we are beginning to get our players back and seeing the fruit of their labors from this summer. I am excited because in this Conference, quarterbacking is such a key ingredient, and we are fortunate to have Isaiah. Not only is he a great athlete , but he's a person that you would like to have leading your football team. His growth will not only affect his own ability but that of our entire football team, as well ... One of the major goals for next season is not to have the 9:30 slot at this meeting next year ... Our entire Conference is stronger top to bottom and our elite teams have showcased themselves very well in the past few years.'

QB Isaiah Stanback: 'We are very excited and ready to improve upon last year. We worked very hard this past Spring and we are looking forward to the season .. I like the fact that we are playing all the teams in the Pac-10, you want to see how you can compete against everyone.'

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