The WSU Cougars continue to get a bit of national attention in the run-up to the 2016 football season, this time finding themselves in yet another post-spring Top 25 -- this one by FoxSports.com's Bruce Feldman.
Wazzu had a breakthrough season with Luke Falk stepping up at quarterback. They won nine, including two road games as a double-digit underdog. The offense should be even more potent. Gritty Gabe Marks is back and he may lead the country in receiving. Freshman James Williams adds to a solid crew of running backs that provide a solid change of pace to the pass game.
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch now has a good secondary, much improved from where it was before he arrived in 2015. Just how stout a rebuilt D-line proves to be will determine whether this group can take another step forward and compete for the Pac-12 title. They get a good test in Week 2 at Boise State, and have a rough start to October with a trip to Stanford sandwiched by home games against Oregon and UCLA. The good news: They don't have to face Utah or USC in the regular season and they get Washington at home.
Feldman certainly is no stranger to WSU football -- he co-authored Mike Leach's biography, "Swing Your Sword," and thus has paid a bit closer attention to the ascension of the program in the four years under Leach than most writers on the national beat.
However, Feldman doesn't appear to think much of the Pac-12 as a whole -- or, at least, he thinks the parity is such that the schools will simply beat each other up over the course of their 12 or 13 games: Washington checks in as his top team at No. 13 (have fun with that one in the comments!), and Stanford (No. 16), Oregon (No. 21), WSU, USC (No. 23) and UCLA (No. 25) follow.
"I expect the league -- especially the North -- to be very balanced," Feldman said in his write-up on UW.