The voters have spoken, and they believe 2017 will be the year of the Dawg.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll was about Pac-12 North Division football. The Pac-12 season gets started in full this weekend, with 10 of the conference’s 12 teams engaging in league contests.
The question posed was about which team would claim the North Division title. Last year Washington beat Washington State in an Apple Cup that was a winner-takes-all affair. Going into this weekend there were four undefeated teams in the division — Washington, Washington State, Oregon and California — with the Huskies (No. 7), Cougars (No. 18) and Ducks (No. 24) all ranked in the Associated Press top 25. That didn’t include Stanford, which began the season ranked but has dropped out after losses to USC and San Diego State.
So with so many contenders in the division, I asked voters which team they thought would prevail this year. Here’s what people said:
POLL: Who will emerge victorious in Pac-12 North football this year? Full context here: https://t.co/MZ1u6ayFHB
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) September 18, 2017
It was a landslide. Add the two together and Washington ran away with the vote, garnering 70 percent of the tally. Washington State was a distant second at 20 percent, while Oregon came in at just eight percent. Only two percent believe it will be Cal, Stanford or Oregon State.
I suppose this shouldn’t come as any surprise. Washington is the defending champ, and the Huskies returned a lot of their key performers, most importantly quarterback Jake Browning, running backs Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman, and receiver Dante Pettis (not to mention Snohomish County being located in Husky territory). That said, while Washington is 3-0, the Huskies have yet to run into any real competition, while WSU (Boise State) and Oregon (Nebraska) have beaten schools with legitimate FBS programs.
We should get a better sense of where the teams stand following this weekend’s play. The Huskies play a road game against undefeated Colorado in a rematch of last year’s Pac-12 championship game, Oregon tries to validate its resurgence with a road game against Arizona State, and Cal has a chance to prove itself with a visit from No. 5 USC. Washington State has more of a lay-up with a non-conference home game against winless Nevada.
But early indications suggest it will more than a two-horse race the way it was last year.