It was noted here earlier in the spring that college football analyst Phil Steele named Chris Polk and Jermaine Kearse to his All-American Team (each on the fourth team).
Time now to review what his football preview magazine (the cover of the Northwest regional edition is pictured) has to say about the Huskies and the Pac-12.
— Steele picks UW to finish in a tie for third in the Pac-12 North with Oregon State, behind Oregon and Stanford and ahead of Cal and WSU (he cites the Beavers as a team that makes his Most Improved list nationally).
— He doesn’t pick exact records for teams but does project UW to make it to the New Mexico Bowl and play Colorado State (which raises the question of if Husky fans would consider that a success).
— Steele writes of the Huskies that: “The Huskies were rather fortunate to make it to a bowl (last year) as they had 3 net close wins and had some key factors go in their favor down the stretch. When they caught a disinterested Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl they were able to pull the upset and finish with a winning (record). While (last year’s) team needed a lot of luck to achieve that, this year’s squad will not need as much. They have 15 (returning starters, which he says is tied for third most in the conference) making it (Steve) Sarkisian’s most talented team in his three years, and despite losing the 8th overall pick in the draft (QB Jake Locker) could actually put up improved passing numbers. They do have just 4 Pac-12 (away games) with WSU being a neutral site (UW likely having a slight crowd edge).”
— He has Polk, Kearse, Alameda Ta’amu and Erik Folk on his all-conference first team; Desmond Trufant on the second team; Senio Kelemete and Cort Dennison on his third team; and Everrette Thompson and Quinton Richardson on his fourth team. (You can view the entire team here).
— He rates UW’s position groups among the entire Pac-12 this way: QB 11th, RB 2nd, WR 3rd, OL 9th, DL 5th, LB 12th, DB 3rd, special teams 8th, coaching 6th.
— His Pac-12 coaching rating reads like this: Oregon State, Oregon, Utah, Arizona State, Cal, UW (tied with UCLA and Arizona), USC, WSU and Colorado and Stanford tied for 11th.
— He rates UW’s WR corps 13th in the nation as well as the RB corps and has the defensive line at No. 35 and the secondary at No. 21.
— While he picks UW to finish ahead of Cal in the Pac-12 North, he has Cal rated at No. 48 nationally with the Huskies not on his list of the national top 52 (and obviously, he could be surmising Cal’s non-conference and overall records will be better).
— He has USC winning the Pac-12 South followed by ASU, UCLA tied with Utah (Steele likes to pick a lot of ties), Arizona and Colorado.
— Steele also rates UW as having the eighth-toughest schedule in the country this year (and fourth in terms of 2010 opponent winning percentage). You can view those pages of the magazine on-line. He has four Pac-12 schools among the top eight with Colorado at No. 1, Oregon State 4th, USC 7th and UW 8th.
— He also lists UW 14th on his list of Most Improved Defensive Rush teams (meaning defending the run) for 2011.