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2019 preseason Pacific Takes Top 25: Washington, Utah, and Oregon neck-and-neck

Ranking the nation’s Top 25 before the season starts.

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl Game-Ohio State vs Washington Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Clemson
  2. Alabama
  3. Georgia
  4. Ohio State
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Texas
  7. LSU
  8. Florida
  9. Notre Dame
  10. UCF
  11. Michigan
  12. Washington - I’m giving Washington the slightest edge over Utah and Oregon because of how well they’ve transitioned talent and experienced under Chris Petersen and staff and the optimism a QB like Jacob Eason who has legit first round NFL talent brings. The Huskies could easily be a borderline Top 25 team though a few weeks into the season as they have to replace a massive amount of experience.
  13. Utah - The Utes have Washington’s recent history of replacing talent and experience well and playing lights out defense, but they actually have a ton of experience and talent returning this year. They won the South last year, but struggled offensively against Washington and it cost them a trip to the Rose Bowl. They have the potential to push themselves over the edge this season with some offensive improvement.
  14. Oregon - Most preseason magazines and polls have the Ducks atop the Pac-12. I’m not ready to do that given how above average they, and Justin Herbert have been the past couple of seasons. Still, the Ducks have a ton too like and could easily jump past Utah and Washington with a win over Auburn in the opening weekend. That opening week test will be huge for the Ducks and Herbert because they’ve been woeful on the road and have their three biggest Pac-12 games (Washington, Stanford, USC) on the road this season.
  15. Auburn
  16. Wisconsin
  17. Texas A&M
  18. Washington State - The Cougars are a perennial contender under Mike Leach. I think whoever wins the QB jobs is at least pretty good and their system does the rest. They’re still a drop below the conference elite going in, but can get right into the mix the way they have the past few seasons by winning big conference games early. I don’t love their schedule as they have Oregon, Utah, and Washington on the road, but they should give just about every team in the conference headaches each Saturday.
  19. Iowa
  20. Stanford - The Cardinal are hiding as a darkhorse Pac-12 champion candidate, led by an underrated veteran QB in KJ Costello who was better than Justin Herbert in 2018. It’s all about picking their offensive line and defense back up and replacing amazing playmakers in Bryce Love and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. No easy task, but the Cardinal are pretty well stacked at running back and receiver. It’s just about players stepping up and if they do, watch out for Stanford.
  21. Michigan State
  22. Northwestern
  23. Iowa State
  24. Nebraska
  25. Penn State

On the edge

Mississippi State, Missouri, Miami, Army, Boise State