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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

March 2, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Friday links — Where should the Huskies be ranked in the Pac-12 heading into the season

We’ll start the Friday links with one of the latest of many Pac-12 power rankings, this from the National Football Post.

The NFP has UW fourth after USC, Oregon and Stanford.

And that’s hard to really argue in either direction. UW was beaten decisively in 2011 by each of the three teams listed ahead of it, and while Oregon and Stanford have QB questions (and the Cardinal also some big losses on the OL) each has enough back to again be considered the heavy favorites in the North.

And other than the slipup at Oregon State when it played essentially without quarterback Keith Price, UW beat every team it played that is listed after it in that ranking — teams that all again appear to have their own set of issues heading into the 2012 season.

In fact, if there’s one thing UW has kind of established so far during the first three years of the Steve Sarkisian era it’s that it’s gotten better than the bottom of the Pac-10/12 but still has a ways to go to get to the top. Not real breaking news there, I realize, but the standings for the Pac-10 teams during the Sarkisian era bear it out pretty clearly. In fact, here are the combined conference records for each of the Pac-10 teams since 2009

Oregon 25-2
Stanford 22-5
USC 17-10
Washington 14-13
Oregon State 13-14
Cal 12-15
Arizona 12-15
ASU 10-17
UCLA 10-17
Washington State 3-24
(Utah went 4-5 in conference play last year and Colorado 2-7, UW beating both on the way to a 5-4 conference mark in 2011).

As I’ve said here often, the tougher task may be the one UW has to undertake now — going from respectability to true contention. As you can see, there are a lot of teams in that big middle of the Pac-12 right now. But then there’s a big divide there from the middle to the top.

The coaching changes UW made in the off-season speak to the urgency felt to start making a real move on the top rung of the Pac-12. For now, being the best of the rest is kind of where UW appears to be until proven otherwise on the field.

IN OTHER NEWS. …

— Good debate here from ESPN.com’s Pac-12 blog on which conference coach has it tougher.

— For some reason, it feels like we’ve linked this before. But just in case, here’s an early pre-season national Top 25 from Athlon’s that has UW at 20 (and as some of you have pointed out, no Stanford).

— Some interesting stuff here on the fastest players by state at the NFL Combine.

— Arizona starts spring Monday and new coach Rich Rodriguez says what seemingly every coach who every takes over a new team says — they’ve got to get a whole lot bigger and faster.

— Dr. Saturday with the usual compendium of news around the nation.

— A starting defensive lineman for San Diego State — UW’s first opponent in 2012 — has been charged with two felonies.

— Here’s a spring practice primer on LSU, UW’s second foe in 2012.

— Some good questions-and-answers on Stanford as the Cardinal begins spring practice.

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