Lear Pilot spoke, and the sports writers of America listened.
Your Washington Huskies have finished a season in the AP top 25 for the first time in over a decade. Apparently, Marques Tuiasosopo was able to accomplish something that Steve Sarkisian never could ... finishing with a ranked team.
The USA Today Coaches Poll treated UW roughly the same way, showing them finishing as the first "others receiving votes" team in the poll - essentially, 26th in their rankings.
Washington closed out the season in typical strong fashion, with decisive wins in their final three games against an Oregon State team that outplayed but lost to Oregon, a rising WSU program and an always-tough BYU team that had performed well in one of the nation's toughest schedules. The on-field success of key players such as Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who won the Mackey award, and Bishop Sankey, a Doak Walker finalist, undoubtedly helped to bolster the position of the Huskies in the minds of pollsters.
The final polls from the two major services generally mirror the final F/+ rankings that come from Football Outsiders and are generally considered the premier advanced stats based college football ranking system. The Huskies, in the F/+ rankings, finished the year as the #19 team in the country - just behind LSU and Missouri and just ahead of Georgia, Virginia Tech and Texas A&M.
(Update: RedmondLonghorn was kind enough to point out that the Sagarin final rankings had the Huskies at #11)
Finishing this highly across the polls bodes well for a team that is going through a transition. The hiring of Chris Petersen and a new staff to replace the departing Steve Sarkisian regime combined with the graduation / retirement of key players such as Keith Price, Sean Parker, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Bishop Sankey create a lot of questions for the team as it moves into the 2014 offseason. A top 25 finish to this season along with the buzz around the Petersen hire will keep the Dawgs in the minds of pollsters to start the next season.
AP Top 25 - Final Poll
USA Today Coaches Poll- Final Poll
|RANK||TEAM||RECORD||POINTS||FIRST PLACE VOTES||PREVIOUS RANK||CHANGE||HI/LOW*|
Others Receiving Votes: Washington 67; Fresno State 54; Northern Illinois 21; Marshall 17; Texas Tech 13; Kansas State 11; Mississippi 7; Texas 4; Miami (Fla.) 4; East Carolina 3; Cincinnati 3; Arizona 2; North Texas 2; Utah State 2; Navy 1; Louisiana-Lafayette 1.