The College Football Championships have come and gone, and now we’re left with the final rankings of the 2022 season. The Washington Huskies finished at 11-2 and ranked 8th in both the AP and Coaches polls. That’s pretty incredible, considering where we came from: a total disaster of a 4-win program who needed a complete coaching overhaul.
I would also argue it’s incredible based on where we were just six weeks into the season. At 4-2 – following back-to-back road losses to UCLA and the lowly Sun Devils – it looked like this season was going absolutely nowhere. Well, maybe not nowhere, but certainly more middle-of-the-pack in the Pac-12 than a top 10 program nationally. Then, we ripped off seven wins in a row to close out the year, including a hard-fought Alamo Bowl victory over Texas. Color me wildly impressed!
I should also point out that the Huskies were the highest-ranked Pac-12 school at the conclusion of the bowl season. That’s thanks to both USC and Utah losing their respective matchups to Tulane and Penn State, respectively. Hence why we sit sandwiched between those two schools in the rankings.
Are we better than Penn State? I’d like to think so, especially at this point in the season. The only non-playoff teams ranked ahead of us are Alabama (5), Tennessee (6) and the aforementioned Nittany Lions (7). I don’t know if we’d beat Bama, but I’d give us a fighting chance against all those schools.
I’ll plan to revisit this discussion later on, when the opening rankings come out. For now, ESPN has their own “way-too-early” rankings, which seem to be constucted for the sole purpose of infuriating me. I’m not going to bother running through all the schools, because who has the time? I’m just saying it’s idiotic that they automatically bump USC and Oregon ahead of us, leaving us outside the top 10 at number 11.
I don’t know what tea leaves they’re reading, or how this bodes for our prospects heading into the AP’s initial poll (whenever they get around to releasing it), but I’m going to be upset if we’re left outside the top 10, considering the talent we have – talent, by and large, that could’ve gone pro, but is all coming back – and the talent we’re bringing in. Along with a full offseason of continuity between coaching staff, quarterback, and hopefully all our receivers (here’s to Rome Odunze sticking around one more year).
But, then again, that kind of snubbing might just put the chip on our shoulder we need to get ahead in this world. In spite of all that, the nation is still going to disrespect us and not believe in us?! Bring it on! And let’s go kick some ass!
As for the rest of the Pac-12 in those way-too-early rankings, they have USC 7th, Oregon 9th, Utah 13th, Oregon State 17th, and UCLA just missing the cut. For the record, I think they have the Beavers too low. I’m also never surprised when the Cougs over-achieve. But, that’s still pretty cool that the Pac-12 figures to have so much representation in the Top 25. It looks like things are starting to turn around. It’s too bad – after 2023 – we won’t have USC or UCLA here to enjoy the fruits of all our hard work.
As far as realignment goes, I really hope we get SMU, or some other comparable Texas school to join the Pac-12. I’m ambivalent about San Diego State or whatever other California school joins our ranks. But, for recruiting alone, we need a footprint in Texas if we’re going to hope to stay relevant.