PULLMAN—For some people, football season’s arrival is heralded by orange hues of leaves on trees. Others see election ads on TV and grimace, then perk up when they remember that pigskin season is just around the corner.
And then for a few of us cretins, we really know football is back when we start seeing arbitrary lists ranking teams based on their performances in previous years with players who are no longer in college.
Fortunately, I get to be a part of this annual tradition. Here is my contribution to the meaningless preseason guesswork party.
1. Stanford – Yes, Christian McCaffrey is an exceptional all-purpose player. But coach David Shaw asks me to remind you that every Stanford Man is a Christian McCaffrey at life.
2. UCLA – Josh Rosen will answer the age-old question of whether it is more important for a quarterback to possess an NFL arm or a filter with the media.
3. USC – USC probably has some five-star guys, right? (Checks internet) Yep!
4. Washington State – Cougars haven’t been this excited for an opening since the ribbon was cut in front of Ferdinand’s.
5. Washington – The Huskies may have the greatest backyard football defense ever assembled. But about that offensive line…
6. Utah – It seems like everyone is down on the Utes this season except for people who know anything about the Utes.
7. Oregon – Few teams have more elasticity than Oregon, which could win the conference or finish in its bottom half and not surprise either way.
8. Arizona State – Quick! Name ASU’s quarterback!
9. California – Davis Webb might be really good. But Jared Goff was the No. 1 overall pick, had better wide receivers and Cal was still a profoundly meh team.
10. Colorado – Boulder is a very pretty town with many kind, generous people living in it.
11. Arizona – The Wildcats missed their window due to injuries, now they have to rebuild.
12. Oregon State – The story of a very successful Big Ten coach take over a moribund program with severe recruiting disadvantages will be fascinating, if ultimately depressing.