The team rating for NCAA Football 12 are slowly starting to leak out, and the news is about what you'd expect for WSU. Last week, overall ratings for offense, defense, special teams and the big one, prestige, were leaked to the masses, and the debate has already begun. Oregon a six-star prestige and Stanford a four-star? The Ducks with better individual rankings by a nose, yet Stanford is ranked two spots higher? Feign outrage!
If you missed the team ratings, you can find the Pac-12 list here and all 120 teams here. Of note, here's Washington State's (from left to right: overall rank, team, overall grade, offense, defense, special teams, prestige.
Yeouch. But, then again, it's about what you'd expect. As fans, we always hold an amazing amount of optimism in the offseason and a skewed view of our own team. A C+ for the offense? But what about Jeff Tuel and Marquess Wilson? A D for special teams? But we were one of the best kick coverage teams in the land!*
Prestige is clearly a look at the team's recent success. WSU has been terrible for the last half-decade and it shows in the rankings. And it makes sense. What recruit cares about a Rose Bowl almost a decade ago when facilities are poor and success on the field has been hard to come by? And for a school like Washington State, the base-line is lower. Where Washington will sit around three-stars no matter what -- the Huskies have a history of success and are located in Seattle, putting them amongst the more established programs -- any drop-off at WSU will cause the perception of the program to fall.
And remember, these are all based on last year. It's impossible to accurately project all 120 teams. WSU improved in 2010, but was still at the bottom of the conference and a two-win team. Expecting the Cougs to be world-beaters all of a sudden, at least in the video game world, is unrealistic.
Besides, you can always just control the Cougs and kick the snot out of everyone.
*Reid Forrest is gone, accounting for at least a three-letter-grade drop in that ranking.