The initial Associated Press Top 25 of the season is out — you can see it here — and the Huskies finished second among others receiving votes with 55, putting them unofficially at 27th.
As you can also see, your humble blogger in this space did not vote for the Huskies — I am the voter for the state of Washington again this season.
I heavily considered UW — they were definitely on my list of “others receiving votes.”
But ultimately I had UW just outside the top 25 on my ballot, due to the questions about how much the defense will improve and replacing the lost production of some of the skill guys of last year and, as much as anything, the overall youth of the team.
Here’s my full Top 25:
6, Florida State
8, West Virginia
11, South Carolina
12, Ohio State
13, Michigan State
16, Virginia Tech
17, Kansas State
23, Boise State
24, Oklahoma State
I had USC at the top even before the news of Tyrann Mathieu’s dismissal — the AP allowed voters to re-vote after that occurred. I did switch Alabama and LSU after that news.
As evidenced by the votes they got, you can make a pretty good case for each of the top three as the No. 1 team. I sided with USC due to the presence of Matt Barkley and the overall returning talent base.
I’m sure I will get some criticism for having Utah rated and not UW, especially since Washington beat the Utes last year in Salt Lake. To be clear, I have Utah about two spots ahead of UW on my ballot, so it’s not like there’s a really wide gap there. But you’ve got to ultimately narrow it to 25 and I gave a slight lean to the Utes. And obviously, you can’t really play the game of “who beat who?” last year when putting together a ballot for the following season, though the overall success of a team the year before certainly plays into it.
Utah will be a pretty veteran team this season, with nine or 10 seniors projected. It returns what may be the best running back (John White) and defensive player (DT Star Loutulelei) in the conference, and gets back its quarterback (Jordan Wynn). Its defensive line could be the best in the conference, and its receiving corps and passing game (its biggest weakness a year ago) projects to be a lot better.
Washington will obviously have lots of chances early to prove it deserves to be in the Top 25.
As for the poll itself, one thing to remember is that the AP poll is not part of the BCS formula. So ultimately, it has no more importance than an observer wants to give it. I like the polls as a good way to incite discussion while also giving the casual fan a good sense of the college football landscape.