The preseason Associated Press Poll was released Monday morning, and the Washington Huskies are ranked sixth.
The USA Today Coaches Poll was previously released, and they have the Huskies ranked sixth.
The Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation also put out their preseason poll Monday, and Washington is ranked fifth in that poll between Wisconsin and Ohio State.
This is the third year in a row the Huskies have garnered top-15 preseason praise from the national media. Going into the 2016 season, Washington was ranked 14th and they finished the year fourth in both polls after making it to the College Football Playoffs.
Last year the Huskies generated more buzz, having been ranked eighth presason by the AP. The USA Today Coaches poll had them seventh. They made it to as high as fifth in the AP and fourth in the coaches poll after week 7, but then dropped into the double-digits after their road loss to Arizona State.
“We just talked about how we keep that in check and what’s important,” Petersen said back in 2016 when they were preparing for the Peach Bowl and being asked about media expectations for the team. “And so they’ve been great about it, but we don’t ignore it. We don’t just block it out. I don’t think it’s realistic. But we do try to figure out how to keep straight on the train tracks, so to speak.
“We just talk to our kids all the time about where they need to focus. They’re going to hear it. They’re going to know what everybody says, for the most part. But what do we think about, what do we pay attention to, where do we focus? How do we treat all this attention coming their way?”
The attention isn’t going to stop any time soon, as the Huskies have arguably the biggest opener in school history less than two weeks away when they travel south to Atlanta to take on Auburn. The Tigers are ranked ninth in the preseason AP Poll and 10th in the Coaches poll.
Washington’s September 1st matchup with the Tigers represents a bit of history for the Huskies. It will be only the second time in school history UW will have played an opener against a top-10 program as another top-10 program. The only other time was 57 years ago when the No. 7 Purdue Boilermakers traveled to Seattle to play the No. 10 Huskies to start the 1962 season. The game ended in a 7-7 tie.
The rest of the Pac-12 is well-represented on the initial Associated Press Poll. Besides the Huskies at No. 6, Stanford checks in at 13, USC at 15 and Oregon at 24. Utah and Arizona received votes at 28 and 31, respectively.
In the coaches poll, the Huskies are 6, followed by Stanford (13) and USC (15). Four other Pac-12 schools received votes: Oregon (28), Utah (29), Washington State (44) and Arizona (49).