The College Football AP Top-25 Poll was released this morning and the Washington Huskies came in at #8.
The team that ended the Huskies’ season last year, Alabama, starts out at #1 despite their eventual loss in the title game to... The defending champion Clemson Tigers who check in at #5. Washington also starts out behind the other team to beat the Huskies last season in fellow Pac-12 member USC. The Trojans are the highest ranked conference team at #4 overall. Only two other Pac-12 teams also made the list. Stanford begin at #14 while Washington State checks in at #24.
The Huskies began last season as the #14 team in the pre-season poll before working their way slowly up to #4 by week 9. The last time that UW started out the year in the top-10 was in 2002 when they started at #9 overall. The Huskies massively underachieved that year, going 7-5 in the regular season before losing in the Sun Bowl against Purdue.
Before everyone gets too worked up about this ranking vis-a-vis USC, the difference between #4 and #8 really doesn’t mean anything at this juncture. It’s very difficult to start out unranked and work your way into the top-4 by the end of the year. When UW started at #14 last season it took some work for them to squeak in towards the end of the year. Starting at #8 means that if the Huskies keep winning then they’ll steadily climb towards the playoff.
Check out the table from the mothership here to see where every school checks in with each of the major ranking services. UW is 7th in the coaches poll, 8th in both the AP Poll and Sagarin’s rankings, and all the way down at 16th in the computer-based S&P rankings.