Pac-12 Football: Athlon Sports Predicts There’s a Sleeper in the State of Washington!


The Pac-12 has been the 2nd best conference in the nation since adding two teams to effectively change from the Pac-10 to the Pac-12.  Since the introduction of the Pac-12 championship game, the North has been dominant, both in the Pac-12 and the Nation.  In the division there are two giants hoisting the division above and beyond the South. Those two teams the entire nation knows are a threat, Stanford and Oregon.

With two giants in the division, a lot of people have rightfully forgotten what the rest of the division even has to offer, thus creating the perfect scenario for a sleeper.  Last year the entire North, with the exception of one team (Cal), went bowling.  What was interesting about this, was a very old tradition came back to surface as the Apple Cup was for the first time in a long time, interesting.

When I look at the Washington teams this season, that’s where I see the Pac-12 get very interesting again.  I know a lot of people aren’t saying that right now but I’m prepared to make that statement.  I know the headlines stick with Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State but I’m of the mind that this is a big year for change in the Pac-12.

Quite honestly for some reason the idea of the “big 4” in the Pac-12 once again sitting firmly at the top bores me.  Maybe it was Seattle winning their first Super Bowl that inspired my hopefulness for change in the powers? In any case whatever it is, it’s real this year.  The possibility is there, and the state is indeed the same state the Superbowl champs reside, Washington.

I was over on Athlon Sports reading their predictions for the 2014-2015 Pac-12 season and while it was anything but bold, it did catch my interest when they started talking about who could mix things up in the Pac-12 this year.  When talking about a sleeper it would be easy to bring up UW in the discussion.  Mr. Steven Lassan decided to take the road less traveled and I like it.

"Washington is definitely a team that could surprise this year, but let’s use the sleeper designation on a team picked No. 5 in the standings – Washington State. The Cougars took a step forward under Mike Leach last year, finishing 6-7 and winning four games in Pac-12 play. With 12 starters back, Washington State could improve upon its win total even more in 2014.Quarterback Connor Halliday threw for 4,597 yards and 34 scores last season and has another offseason to learn Leach’s pass-first offense. The Cougars also have one of the Pac-12’s top receiving corps, along with an underrated front seven on defense. The biggest areas of concern are in the secondary, and an offensive line that has just two starters back. Expect more improvement from Washington State in 2014, and this team has potential to pull an upset or two this year – Steven Lassan"

As Steven points out UW has potential to surprise some people this year but there is no doubt that the team with the most potential that people pay the least attention to is indeed Washington State and this makes Wazzu quite formidable for a couple upsets this year. WSU has done nothing but improve at a scary rate under the unique coaching of Mike Leach.  Combine that with athletic directer Bill Moos bringing facilities up to par and Washington State is set to have a very bright future.

This year they have a favorable schedule as well when you look at the way they can slide into an upset.  They are by definition a sleeper this year and if the North isn’t ready, they could all find themselves saying “where did WSU come from?”  An interesting thought about what could tear apart the Pac-12 North rankings.