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Times reporter Bob Condotta keeps the news coming about the Montlake Dawgs.

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June 2, 2008 9:46 PM

Athlon's picks Huskies seventh

Posted by Bob Condotta

In my latest installment of reading through the pre-season magazines so you don't have to, today's trip to the newsstand yielded the Athlon's Pac-10 preview.

The cliff's notes version is that the magazine doesn't see a great season ahead for the Huskies.

Athlon's picks UW seventh in the conference and 50th in the nation and says there are only two sure-wins in Washington's schedule --- home games against Stanford and Oregon State. The mag pegs the Notre Dame and Washington State games as toss-ups and rates the other eight as losses.

Here's how Athlon's sees the Pac-10:

1, USC
2, Arizona State
3, Oregon
5, Cal
6, Arizona
7, Washington
8, Oregon State
9, Washington State
10, Stanford

In better news, QB Jake Locker was named as to the mag's pre-season All-Pac-10 team, ahead of ASU's Rudy Carpenter, who is on the second team.

But no other Husky is on the first team and only one is on the second team --- OL Casey Bulyca. DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, OL Ryan Tolar and punter Jared Ballman are all on the third team.

Most interesting in the Washington preview section may be a feature tabbed "Scouting the Huskies'' featuring quotes from anonymous opposing coaches.

Among the comments:

"Washington has a chance to be very good because of Jake Locker. Now, with his experience, he has the ability to be one of the better playmakers in the conference with his running ability and the fact that he's becoming more consistent as a passer. He's so competitive, couple that with his experience, I think he's going to be a guy to contend with, for sure.''

"I think they do have talent on their team. Consistency is the thing that seems to be eluding them.''

"They should have a better team than last year, but once again the schedule is brutal. They host BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame? Are you kidding me? BYU is very good, Oklahoma can win a national title, and Notre Dame will be better.''

"They have recruited well the past few years. They brought some studs in this year. They have the talent now; can they get it together and win? They have to --- soon. Those fans aren't going to put up with it much longer.''

"Losing (tailback Louis) Rankin will hurt. I thought he was very good for them last year. They have to find a playmaker at that position.''

In its section rating the Pac-10 teams by position, Athlon's judges UW this way:

QB --- 1
RB --- 9
WR/TE --- 10
OL --- 3
DL --- 9
LB --- 10
DB --- 10

Most surprised there to see the linebackers rated last in the league and ranked as even worse than Washington's defensive line, which I think anyone close to the program admits is the shakiest position on the team. I would put UW's LBs a lot higher than that, something I'll discuss in more depth in a future post.

In its look at the nation, the magazine rates Locker as one of "Twelve others to watch'' in the Heisman race after its list of the top six favorites, making about the thousandth reference to Locker being the West Coast's version of Tim Tebow.

Athlon's also has a new feature rating players based on their fantasy football value, with college fantasy leagues beginning to take off. Locker is rated as the No. 16 quarterback and the 77th most valuable player overall.

And in another staple of every such magazine this year, Tyrone Willingham tops the magazine's list of coaches "on the hot seat'' writing that "Washington decided to bring Willingham back after the Huskies limped through a difficult schedule. But this season's schedule includes nonconference games against BYU, Oklahoma and Notre Dame, which could make achieving a .500 record unlikely.''

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