Jennifer Buchanan/USA Today Sports

Who will rank highest in the polls: WSU, UW or Boise State?

THE AP AND COACHES POLLS come out later this month. Meanwhile, Washington State, rival Washington and the Cougs' Week Two opponent Boise State are all tightly bunched in the Orlando Sentinel’s countdown of 128 FBS college football teams.

Washington State is No. 30,  Boise State is No. 33 and Washington is No. 38 in the Orlando Sentinel’s rankings.

“Washington State is the second-most experienced team in the Pac-12 and has a relatively favorable schedule, hosting five league games,” writes Iliana Limón Romero.  “This might be a breakout season for the Cougars, who return a strong QB in Luke Falk, a strong group of running backs led by Gerard Wicks and a talented WR in Gabe Marks.

But count Romero among those who see the Cougars’ o-line and defense as areas of concern.

"The Cougars lost considerable experience on the offense line, with OL Gunnar Eklund, OL Joe Dahl, OL Sam Flor and OL Jacob Seydel all departing the program. While Washington State rotated offensive linemen heavily, the player exits still could be a significant challenge.

"The defense has improved, but five of the team's top 10 tacklers from last season are gone. Washington State likely will need to average at least 30 points a game in order to score wins."

Bottom line?

"The Cougars return enough talent and experience to avoid taking a step back in 2016. Washington State should earn a bowl bid and could shake up the Pac-12 North Division," writes Romero.

For the Orlando Sentinel's countdown, CLICK HERE

NOTABLE NOTE:
Fans won't have to wait much longer for the preseason Coaches' poll. It will be released Thursday.  The preseason AP poll will be released on Aug. 21.

RELATED STORY: Pac-12 media poll slots WSU fourth in North


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