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ESPN's Pac-12 way-too-early ranking has the Cougars in top 5

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Is it actually ever too early for a ranking?

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama defeating Clemson 45-40 in the 2016 National Championship game last night was actually somewhat beneficial for the Cougars. With the official end to the 2015 college football season we can start to take a look at what is to come next season for Washington State. And with the way the season ended for the Cougars who wouldn't want to look forward.

ESPN released their way-too-early rankings for the 2016 season for the Pac-12 on Monday evening and it features a familiar name sitting at the #4 spot. The Cougars sit behind Stanford, Oregon, and then USC. Stanford will be running their offense without Kevin Hogan but will have Heisman runner-up Christian McCaffrey. Oregon will be starting with a new quarterback for the second year in a row. The Trojans will be starting the 2016 season with a new head coach.

The Cougars seem to have one of the best cases to be at the top of the rankings. The defense improved greatly as the season went on, Luke Falk and Gabe Marks will be returning as well as many new names who are looking to have their time.

Washington lands right behind the Cougars at #5 but the reasoning behind the ranking does not seem so confident for their spot.

The rest of the rankings are as follows: Utah, UCLA, California, Arizona State, Arizona, Colorado, and Oregon State finishes it off.

The Cougars are ranked at #20 in ESPN's offseason top 25 that was also released Monday.

Football:

Cougar Football Early Signees Officially On Campus - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Four new Cougars arrived on campus this week.

Way too early College Football Power Rankings for 2016: Lots of SEC - CBSSports.com
The 2015 season just ended ... but we're already here with a College Football Power Rankings to get you ready for 2016. Look for some big moves from major programs.

WSU Cougars football adds four early enrollees to roster | The Seattle Times
The spring semester at Washington State began Monday, and the Cougars football team welcomed four new faces to Pullman. Junior college defensive lineman Garrett McBroom and early signees receiver Isaiah Johnson, Bellevue quarterback/athlete Justus Rogers and defensive back Jalen Thompson are all on campus and enrolled in classes

Oregon turns to Dave Yost to bridge the passing gap - Pac-12 Blog- ESPN
Mark Helfrich has reportedly selected former Washington State inside receivers coach Dave Yost to be Oregon's next quarterbacks coach.

Way-too-early 2016 Pac-12 power rankings - Pac-12 Blog- ESPN
Welcome to the way-too-early 2016 Pac-12 power rankings, which will tell you where each team stands now ... with a long way to go before next season.

Clemson Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide lead the 2016 Way-Too-Early Top 25
Alabama has just won the national title, but we're already looking to next year. A College Football Playoff with Art Briles and Jim Harbaugh? We're in. The Pac-12 shut out again? Oh boy.

Spirit squad:

WSU Spirit Squads Head to Nationals - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Fans have the chance to catch the national routines, Tuesday, Jan. 12 at Bohler Gym.

Basketball:

Pac-12 week two women's basketball power rankings - The Daily of the University of Washington: Local Sports
Women's basketball power rankings