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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

June 19, 2012 at 12:02 PM

A quick review of USA Today’s College Football preview

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In our continuing series reviewing the college football preview magazines so you don’t have to, we’ll look at a new edition to the roster, the one produced by USA Today (which did more of a newspaper-style preview last year).

The West region cover is shown at right, featuring USC’s Matt Barkley and Oregon’s Kenjon Barner.

If you’re familiar with USA Today, the magazine is true-to-form in that it won’t take you a really long time to get through it and in some respects is probably designed more for the casual fan — the non-Top 25 team previews won’t tell a hardcore fan much about his team that he doesn’t already know.

But there’s some interesting stuff in here, including some of what is written about UW.

The magazine picks UW fourth in the Pac-12 North, with a 5-4 conference record and 7-5 overall, and has an order for the North not quite the norm of some of the other magazines. Like all I’ve seen so far, Oregon is first (picked to go 11-1 and 8-1). But USA Today has Cal second in the Pac-12 North at 10-2 overall and 7-2 in conference play, followed by Stanford (9-3, 6-3), UW, WSU (5-7, 3-6) and Oregon State (3-9-, 207).

Oddly, though, the predicted order of finish in the conference is out of sync with the Top 25, which of Pac-12 teams has USC at No. 2, Oregon fourth and then Stanford at No. 21 — with no sign of a Cal team it picks to go 10-2. So there’s no real reasoning given for why the magazine likes the Bears so much.

Of UW, the magazine writes that a best-case scenario for the Huskies could see them go 8-4 as long as “the defense navigates through coaching and scheming changes (and) the offense performs to Steve Sarkisian’s expectations.”

Its worst-case scenario for UW is stated this way: “The defense lets a couple of games slip away and the Huskies finish 5-7 to miss the postseason.”

The magazine lists only a first team for its All-Conference Team, with just one Husky mentioned — cornerback Desmond Trufant as one of four defensive backs.

UW is spotlighted favorably in a section in the front of the magazine that serves as an overall preview of the season in the category of “Sleeper Team.” One of the writers, Reid Cherner, picks UW, writing: “Steve Sarkisian has been a brilliant pick as coach, and quarterback Keith Price proved in the Alamo Bowl loss to Baylor that he’s among the most exciting players in the game. When the Trojans comes to Washington on Oct. 13, both teams could be looking at magical seasons.”

Cherner also lists Price as one of his potential Heisman Trophy “spoilers,” while predicting Barkley to actually win it.

As for the rest of the Pac-12, the magazine sees the South this way: USC (12-0, 9-0), Utah (9-3, 6-3), Arizona State (6-6, 3-6), UCLA (4-8, 3-6), Arizona (4-8, 2-7) and Colorado (3-9, 0-9).

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