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

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June 12, 2008 8:38 AM

Steele picks Huskies eighth

Posted by Bob Condotta

Phil Steele advertises his pre-season college football preview as "the most accurate preseason magazine the last nine years.''

If that title holds again, it could be bad news for the Huskies as Steele doesn't see a good season ahead for UW.

In his magazine, which hit newsstands this week, he picks UW eighth in the Pac-10 and concludes that the Huskies "may not top last year's 4 win total.''

Steele also writes of the Huskies that "while they will be better, they may find it tough to move into the upper half of the standings.'' However, he also leaves the possibility of an improved season saying "this is HC Tyrone Willingham's best team and after a lot of closes losses (12 by 8 or less) in his first three years, things could break right for a big move up in the standings.''

Here's how he sees the Pac-10:

1, USC
2, Cal
3, Oregon
4, Arizona State
5, Arizona
6, Oregon State
(tie) UCLA
8, Washington
9, Stanford
10, Washington State

Cal at No. 2 may be his most eye-opening pick. Steele explains that "the schedule (and some underrated talent) gets them up this high'' pointing out that the Bears get five home Pac-10 games.

Arizona at No. 5 might be his other controversial pick. Steele explains that he rates Arizona's offense No. 2 in the conference and that while UA has just three starters back on defense there is "more experience than you would think.''

Steele also rates all the teams by position. Here's how he sees UW:

QB --- 1
RB --- 10
WR --- 10
OL --- 4
DL --- 10
LB --- 7
DB --- 9
ST ---- 9
Coach ---- 6

In case you are curious about the coach ratings, here they are:
1, USC
2, Cal
(tie) Oregon
4, Oregon State
5, Arizona State
6, Washington
(tie) UCLA
8, Stanford
(tie) Arizona
10, Washington State

Comment: An obviously interesting link there between UW coaches past and present in the six hole.

In a few other UW-related notes from his magazine:

--- Steele rates UW's recruiting class No. 18 in the country and fourth in the Pac-10. He rates Dominique Blackman as the No. 35 incoming QB in the country, Chris Polk No. 18 at running back, Jermaine Kearse No. 27 at WR and Cody Bruns No. 34, Kavario Middleton No. 3 at TE, Alameda Ta'amu No. 22 among OL (maybe he missed the speculation that Ta'amu will start out on the other side of the ball) Allen Carroll No. 35, Senio Kelemete No. 66 (also headed to DL) and Drew Schaefer No. 75 and Everette Thompson No. 30 and Craig Noble No. 67 at DL.

--- UW was tied for the lead last year in his rating of team with "net close losses'' --- meaning losses by a TD or less. UW had five such defeats, tied with Kent State, SMU and Minnesota.

--- In one of his more telling stats, Steele has a category he calls "team experience ratings'' devising a points system to award teams for having senior starters, seniors in the two-deep. Teams get three points for every senior starter down to 0.5 for a sophomore in the two-deep, then get minus-points for freshmen starters. UW rates 116 out of 119 teams with 52 points (Oregon State leads the Pac-10 with 77 followed by WSU, Oregon, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Arizona, Stanford and Cal).

--- In ranking current players nationally, Steele lists Jake Locker as the No. 19 QB, and third in the Pac-10 behind Rudy Carpenter (9) and Willie Tuitama (17); Juan Garcia No. 26 at center; Casey Bulyca No. 48 at guard; Daniel Te'o-Nesheim No. 38 at DE; and E.J. Savannah No. 18 at OLB;

--- Steele also rates a Top 30 or so at every position unit in the country. The only UW unit to make any of the ratings is QB, which is No. 15.

--- Steele has a system for devising the teams he sees as being the most improved in the country each year. UW didn't make the cut in his rating of 23 MIP teams this year. Notre Dame is No. 1 on the list and the only Pac-10 team ranked is Arizona at No. 13.

--- He also has a rating of his top 12 teams that could surprise this year in terms of making a run up the national rankings. UW didn't make the cut there, either, though two Pac-10 teams did --- Cal at 9 and Oregon at 10.

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Posted by TurbineSeaplane

10:08 AM, Jun 12, 2008

No way:

- Cal will fold like a lawn chair as usual.
- Oregon doesn't return nearly what ASU does, I'd reverse those two picks right away.
- OSU will find a way to be higher up than UA
- UA will underperform and Stoops will be out in December
- So will Ty if we only win 4 games, irrespective of schedule

Posted by Jake

10:19 AM, Jun 12, 2008

Bob, what about Everette Thompson? Was he left off the list of best freshmen in the country? I would think he had to fit in there somewhere in the top 100 among defensive linemen. What gives?

Posted by Bob Condotta

10:24 AM, Jun 12, 2008

Whoops -- -I missed that. Thompson was 30th and I'll amend that above.

Posted by jh

10:45 AM, Jun 12, 2008


.."as Steele doesn't see a good season ahead for UW."...

...I'd say that 8th would be a very good season...compared to his three last place finishes over his first three years...

Posted by TurbineSeaplane

10:56 AM, Jun 12, 2008

@jh:

To be fair...We did get 9th in '06.

:-)

Posted by pdxdawg

11:05 AM, Jun 12, 2008

DB 10th? Who in conference could possibly have a worst secondary than us? We proved to be so incompetent in that area last season that I don't know where we could possibly start minus a complete overhaul.

Posted by caldawg

11:21 AM, Jun 12, 2008

So there are 18 QB in the country better then Jake? Need I say more. Steele is simply an idiot who couldn't make an honest living so he got his mom to fund a magazine. And because he writes it there are those who will believe it. Sad.

Posted by TurbineSeaplane

11:24 AM, Jun 12, 2008

@caldawg:

C'mon now. Our QB, even though I love him, needs to prove he can hit wide open receivers and just be generally more accurate before we worry about his ranking.

"Running" isn't the number one job of a D1 QB, and other than running and usually good decision making, Jake hasn't shown himself to be the complete QB package yet.

Just my opinion.

Posted by Ziasudra

11:33 AM, Jun 12, 2008

So. as usual, we don't have to play the season, since we know the results already.

Posted by Bob Condotta

11:35 AM, Jun 12, 2008

I think it all makes for interesting off-season conversation, which is why I pass it along. Really no real news this time of year, so these kinds of things have to do.

Posted by uw dude

12:00 PM, Jun 12, 2008

so in the league QB rankings UW was 1st, but then it mentiones that Jake is the third best in the Pac-10. am i missing something here, or is this an obvious inconsistancy?

Posted by TurbineSeaplane

12:01 PM, Jun 12, 2008

@uw dude:

Hilarious! You are right! I just noticed that too!

Posted by kr

12:06 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Good news for Ducks fans is that they'll get their overhyped-hopes crushed the first week of the season this year instead of thinking they're going to play for a national title for eight weeks. Oh, and good news for Huskies fans as the Dawgs start the season with a win at Autzen! The reason is simple: the Dawgs have a great QB and the Ducks not so much...

Posted by srkboy23

12:08 PM, Jun 12, 2008

uw dude, I think that #1 QB ranking is not just Jake Locker, but our whole QB depth chart as a whole. That ranking probably includes our backups like Fouch and Blackman.

The most surprising stat was how we rank as one of the most inexperienced teams in the nation. It's good in the sense that it looks like we will have a good future, but it doesn't bode well for this season.

The stat I liked was how the 2nd most experienced team in the Pac-10 (WSU) was picked to finish last.

Posted by Reality Check

12:14 PM, Jun 12, 2008

I'm not overly optimistic about Ty 4.0, but I do think Steele might be giving the rest of the pac10 a little more credit than it deserves (relative to us) this upcoming year. As with any season, other teams have many holes to fill. And as such, I wonder if his position by position ranking for UW isn't a little harsh.

On another note, why in the world do we rate #116 out of 119 teams as far as how young we will be??? I've grumbled about this before, but seeing this measurement about knocked me out of my chair! In his 4th year, I would expect Ty's team to be mainly featuring upper classmen. Once again, I wonder what the heck is going on with this "rebuild". It seems we shouldn't be fielding such an inexperienced team at this juncture.

Posted by seatownsports

12:18 PM, Jun 12, 2008

If Jake Locker is the #19 QB..whisperings of the heisman trophy are non-existent..right?

Posted by UW Alum

12:24 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Apparently Steele doesn't do as much homework as he claims, our best OL is Ryan Tolar (and that includes when Juan Garcia is healthy), Tolar was a frosh all american as was Locker. I like the UW to finish better than WSU, Stanford and Ariz so somewhere in the middle of the pack. We will only be a significant underdog in the games against Okie and USC. We have Locker, everyone else does not, we have a chance in every game we will play this year. The Washington LockerPolkMiddletons will reign supreme. I think we should take the W off the middle of the field and put a portrait of Jake Locker (assuming he throws more accurately this season).

Posted by Gabe

12:25 PM, Jun 12, 2008

The long and short of it is that UW hasn't earned the benefit of the doubt in any category. So Steele's ratings, whether justified or not, can't be a surprise. All this just sets the stage for Aug 30, when the Huskies will shock the world by upsetting the ducks on their own pond. Troy Must Be Destroyed (ducks demolished)

Posted by Blue

12:27 PM, Jun 12, 2008

uw dude -- Not only that, but Jake is rated #19 nationwide, yet "Steele also rates a Top 30 or so at every position unit in the country. The only UW unit to make any of the ratings is QB, which is No. 15."

Posted by dawg4life

12:44 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Red....your bold statement follows "Ducks are 12-1 in home openers under Bellotti. "

Upon further examination, the 13 opponents you refer to included the likes of Houston, Stanford, Montana, Indiana, Nevada...3 times, Mississippi State and Texas El Paso.

Wow, very impressive home opener scheduling Red.

Posted by paul

12:47 PM, Jun 12, 2008

*Sigh* another week, another national hack who probably didn't do anything more than pencil us in at #8 due to our past performances. No biggie. Until our team proves itself on the field, we won't be getting any love from the media hacks.

I am confused as to why Cal is getting so much preseason love however. I guess time will tell. Let the season begin!

Posted by caldawg

1:55 PM, Jun 12, 2008

have said it over and over. These guys that make a living predicting college ball need to get a real job. Does anyone go back and check how they did prior years. Oh, I'm sure if a person purchased their rag it tells us how great they are. My contention stands they don't have the time or energy to really look at every team in any depth. So they mix up players and positions, year in school etc. etc. And then they suffle a couple of the easier picks, USC will be in top ten, as will the Buckeyes, LSU etc. and go to publication. For as many years as I have followed PAC 10 it is hard to win without an experienced QB. And I don't see how anyone would figure Jake for number 18 in country. Some are keeping an eye on him for Heisman. Not going to happen but that doesn't sync up with #18. So when you are done with Steeles's rag put it out in the out house where it belongs. There is always a shortage of TP out there.

Posted by Formerly Guest

2:10 PM, Jun 12, 2008

So two things I find hard to beleive but no one has questioned yet-

1) He finds Middleton the #TE prospect in the LEAGUE, of entering freshmen? My undertsanding was that scout had him #2 in the country, behind the guy going to ND. Am I missing something there?

2) He finds OSU to be the league's most experienced team? I find this surprising, as my understanding was they lose over 10 starters, the majority of whom are on defense.

If anyone can clarify if I am missing the boat here, please do.

Posted by Formerly Guest

2:17 PM, Jun 12, 2008

I think Cal is getting so much preseason love because people are looking at their last 4 years, rather than just their last 4 games. I would too.

While I just criticzed this guy in the post above, I would not expect him to know every inner working detail of every program and get it all right.

I think Jake has merited some mention as a darkhorse Heisman candidate because of his potential, and his physical resemblance to last year's winner. That having been said, I can see there could be 15+ QBs around the country that are better than him. He has had his flaws, which may not be corrected before the season is over.

Granted, everyone looked good against our secondary last year. Nonetheless, I would think it reasonable to rate Tuitama and Carpenter as primed for a better year than jake, based on how polished they were last year.

Posted by caldawg

3:04 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Cal is likely to struggle because Longshore is not the guy to lead them to the promised land, Rose Bowl. And as someone suggested by the time we get to Cal they could be ripe for the picking. Especially if we have a bowl game in reach. And it will be after a dismantling of the Cougs and the opening day win against the ducks.

I think both Carpenter and Tuitama are lacking between the ears. I think they are over rated.

Posted by shlomo

3:22 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Formerly Guest -

Despite losing a lot of starters, Oregon State still has plenty of juniors and seniors. They just have a lot of players, using the full scholarship allotment and also having abundant walk-ons. Possibly this is the result of good program stability. This depth might also be the reason that they have tended to play better toward the end of the past two seasons than most pac-10 teams.
shlomo

Posted by Craig

3:33 PM, Jun 12, 2008

There isn't a coach in this conference that wouldn't give his left nut to have Jake Locker as his starting QB. The fact that he is rated 3rd by Steele in the conference is an absolute joke - 3rd in the country? That I could buy into.

Posted by UWHuskytSkeet

3:36 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Anyone see this story about Garcia on ESPN?

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3439019

Posted by K Dub

3:44 PM, Jun 12, 2008

The most telling stat in all of this is the points system he gives teams with experience. That is the inconvenient truth for all the negadawgs out there who always like to spout the "no more excuses" line.

Perhaps someone can explain exactly how a team with next to no Senior/Junior experience (as compared to the rest of the conference) can be reasonably expected to win 8+ games with the toughest schedule in the country?

If UW pull off a bowl game overcoming these two factual and massive obstacles, I think that will be an overwhelming achiement. '09 is the year that this team will be completely "back" with experienced talent and talented depth.

Posted by Dawgfan1

3:54 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Why is every publication picking Oregon so high? Are they really going to be that good? Without going down their entire roster, it seems to me they lost some really key components -- like their starting QB (Dixon) and their "best running back in school history." I think the defense also lost some key players, although safety Chung ended up staying for his senior year. Anyway...

The last few years of losing have given me a new perspective on bad to mediocre teams. With the exception of the 1-10 season when the huskies were just plain bad, each season has had a handful of close games --- enough to turn a 4-9 season into a 7-6 season, for example. So until the huskies are actually good again, their season will turn on those 3-5 close games. If they win those, their record will be decent, if they don't their record will be bad.

I have more hope this year because I think Locker will make plays at the end of the game that he was unable to make last year. I also think there are more play-makers on this team, even if they are young and will be somewhat inconsistent. Those play-makers give us a better chance to win games at the end. The defense just needs to be respectable (6th in conf?), and the offense has to bear the load.

Go Dawgs!

Posted by Dawgfan1

4:00 PM, Jun 12, 2008

UW Alum:

Who named Tolar an All American? I could swear I saw this somewhere, but I have not been able to track it down since.

Thanks!

Posted by Formerly Guest

4:29 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Schlomo- Thanks for your insight. Yes, OSU has really gotten the most out of the least, especially in the 2nd half of the season, the last few years.

Caldawg- I think the younger guy starts at QB for Cal, and they do about 8-4 like they always do (with the exception of last year's metldown)

I think tuitama had 28 TDs for 10 interceptions last yr, and Carpenter was about the same. I can see Jake doing something like that at some point, but until it happens, It is not unreasonable to rank him behind someone (or two people) who did it last season.

It took Tuitama 2 years to get there, and it may take Jake as well.

I am not going to speculate in what coaches in our league say about their testicles when they discuss our QB. That is their business.

Posted by Malibu

6:12 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Bottom line: we have to go out and prove it on the field. I believe we will with 7 wins this year. Until we get the Ws no pundit out there will be a believer. With regard to our WR crew: I know they are untested, but our talent and speed at WR makes this an important unit along with TE. I can see why Steele rated us No. 10 at WR, on paper, but I believe this unit can really excell and surprise in 08. We'll see.
Malibu

Posted by ArtV

7:11 PM, Jun 12, 2008

@ Reality Check

This being Ty's 4th year, doesnt that make it his 3rd recruiting class? Meaning Locker and other Redshirt Sophs are the first players he recruited?

Any "Upper Classmen" wouldn't be TW's unless they played as true freshmen.

Criticizing his coaching is one thing, but whining about his recruiting??? Wow.

Posted by Ducks 45 Dawgs 13

9:26 PM, Jun 12, 2008

DawgFan 1...the reason people are high on the Ducks is because they return a TON of talent. Yes they will break in a new QB, Nate Costa, but he is a great QB. He played the spread in high school and the coaches said he would have stepped right in where Dixon left off last year had he not been hurt. The kid is a stud. At RB, Jeremiah Johnson is coming back. He didn't play against UW last year because he blew out a knee against WSU. If he had played, he would have broken 200 yards. The kid is awesome and has the best stiffarm since Walter Payton. In addition, we picked up the #1 JC RB in the country in LaGarette Blount who is an animal with the size of Jonathan Stewart. We are loaded everywhere else on offense, especially the O line. Defensively, we have one of the best secondaries in the country and two pocket collapsing DE's. Some ? up the middle, however some very good young LB's. I won't go so far as to say we are reloading, but we are not dropping off as much as you might think/hope.

See you August 30th.

Posted by Ducks 45 Dawgs 13

9:36 PM, Jun 12, 2008

I've been talking a lot of Ducks, but I'll chime in on the rest of the Pac.
1. USC - Why pick against them? I wonder how well Sanchez will do.
2. ASU - Erickson wins the games he's supposed to win and with a highly experienced Senior QB they might win a tough game.
3. Oregon - Brutal road schedule will bite us at some point in time.
4. Cal - I wonder how Tedford will get the team going after last year's collapse? I believe DeSean Jackson's prima donna attitude had a lot to do with their demise. On a side note, why does everyone on this blog talk about Cal "folding like a tent like they always do". It only happened one season, last year.
5. UW - UW will take their lumps in the first half of the year, especially at Autzen, but a more favorable schedule and overall team improvement will result in a solid second half of the season.
6. OSU - Many ? on D and the QB play is not that great. Riley always seems to pull something out of his a** but I don't know about this year.
7. UA - Stoops steps too far out on the field one too many times and gets steam rolled by and O lineman. Then he gets sacked from the program.
8. UCLA - Can the Weasel really make that much of a difference? Not this year, the cupboards are bare and the QB's are dropping like flies.
9. Stanford - Wonder what Harbaugh can pull off this year.
10. WSU - Going to be ugly in Pullman. This rebuilding job may be worse than the Husky debacle that Ty inherited.

Posted by Formerly Guest

9:57 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Ducks 45,

I hope we kick the sh*t out of your guys 8/30, but I cannot deny your projections in your last two posts sound reasonable.

Posted by jed

1:01 AM, Jun 13, 2008

The most encouraging thing on Steele's lists is our OL rated 4th in the league. I hope he is right. If the OL is solid we have a chance at real improvement. We are incredibly young and inexperienced at multiple positions but the speed and talent level especially at the skill positions is much improved. There is enough speed and quality talent albeit young at WR, TE and RB that with a solid line and Jake they could cause some havoc for opposing defenses.

I don't blame Steele for his ratings of our defensive components after the defense we had last year but I think they will be better (could they be worse?). LBs and DBs will be improved in talent and depth. The DL is a major concern. Time will tell.

Posted by Dawgfan1

8:13 AM, Jun 13, 2008

Ducks 45,

You mean reload from the 4th place finish, Sun Bowl Championship season? Oooh, I'm scared! Sorry, I couldn't resist.

In all seriousness, I've always thought J. Johnson is a very good back, but was overshadowed by Stewart. The ducks may turn out to be pretty good this year, but I still think there will be an adjustment period with a new QB. Year after year, experience at the QB position is the best predictor of success. Last year you had a senior in Dixon and this year you have a newcomer in Costa -- there will be a drop off. Also, I wasn't overly impressed with the ducks D last year, but maybe I didn't see enough to judge.

I think the opener on 8/30 will be a close game. Heck, last year's game was tied with about 7 min to go and that is when the ducks were in "national championship" form and the dawgs were giving up yards at will.

Top to bottom, I think your predictions for the conference are pretty solid.

Posted by jh

8:42 AM, Jun 13, 2008

...being "tied" for 9th in a ten team league...still puts you in "last" place...

Recent entries

Jun 12, 08 - 03:37 PM
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Jun 12, 08 - 12:20 PM
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Jun 12, 08 - 08:38 AM
Steele picks Huskies eighth

Jun 11, 08 - 04:27 PM
Wednesday notes and links

Jun 11, 08 - 09:11 AM
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