The final rankings are in on the 2011 season, and they show the Huskies will indeed face a gauntlet in the first half of their 2012 season — four games against teams ranked in the top seven of the final AP poll.
Those four are LSU (2), Oregon (4), USC (6) and Stanford (7), teams that went a combined 46-7 this season — all teams UW will face by Oct. 13 of next season.
And if Jon Wilner’s self-described “ridiculously early” guess at a Top 25 for 2012 comes close to fruition, UW could face three of top four in next year’s poll. Wilner has LSU No. 1, USC No. 2 and Oregon No. 4 (and you’ll note his only other Pac-12 team ranked is Cal, though he adds Washington as a team that could deserve consideration).
As Wilner notes, LSU now adds highly-touted Zach Mettenberger at QB to what is a loaded roster everywhere else — here’s a story on Mettenberger’s road to the starting job.
USA Today, meanwhile, has USC, LSU and Oregon as its 1-2-3 in its early 2012 poll.
The Orlando Sentinel also has USC-LSU-Oregon 1-2-3, but is the only one of these I'[ve seen that also includes the Huskies, at No. 23.
So yes, UW had better have some things figured out early in 2012.
IN OTHER NEWS. ..
— As you can see in the poll linked above, UW received two votes in the final coaches poll, none in the AP. Here’s the complete list of where UW finished in every poll.
— Bud Withers looks at the best, worst and otherwise of the bowl season.
— Here’s Percy Allen’s story on the decision by Austin Seferian-Jenkins to play basketball.
— ESPN.com’s Ted Miller has UW fifth in his final Pac-12 power rankings.
— CollegeFootballTalk looks at the top five storylines of 2012.
— Wilner also comments on the Pac-12’s bowl record, Cal’s recruiting, and more.
— The Eugene Register-Guard rounds up all the underclassmen that have left early in the Pac-12 in its weekly notebook.
— The BCS title game didn’t get a great TV rating.
— Finally, today is the 30th Anniversary of the play that made Nick Montana’s dad famous.