The Huskies' No. 8 AP ranking was hardly a topic of conversation in the team locker room, players say.
Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven had no idea where the Huskies were ranked in The Associated Press preseason poll released Monday morning, or that the poll had even come out.
He’s sure none of his teammates knew much about the Huskies’ No. 8 ranking either.
“Honestly, the first I’ve heard of it is from you, so I think that tells you all you need to know,” Burr-Kirven said after practice late Monday afternoon. “That’s not in our mind at all.”
The No. 8 ranking is the Huskies’ highest in 20 years. UW came into the 1997 season ranked No. 4 in the AP poll.
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Of the 61 AP voters, 21 ranked the Huskies in the top six. One voter — some nerd at The Seattle Times – had them ranked third, their highest placing. Their lowest ranking, at 16, came from Pat Dooley at The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun.
Three other Pac-12 teams are ranked in the AP poll: No. 4 USC, No. 14 Stanford and No. 24 Washington State. That measns Stanford and WSU are the only teams on UW’s regular-season schedule currently ranked.
Not that Burr-Kirven and the Huskies were given any of that much thought Monday.
“We’re still in camp mode,” he said. “That’s all there is — we’re just coming out here trying to get better. We’re not thinking about rankings, we’re not thinking about other teams, we’re not thinking about Rutgers. We’re just thinking about doing our deal and working on fundamentals and just improving.”
That mindset, Burr-Kirven said, is what UW coach Chris Petersen preaches to the team regularly. (Petersen was not available for interviews Monday.)
“I think our guys are wise enough to know, they couldn’t care less about preseason polls,” Petersen said earlier this month, after the Huskies debuted at No. 7 in the season’s first coaches’ poll. “You want to talk about polls? Let’s talk at the end of the year. I’m all ears, they’re all ears. That doesn’t mean anything. There’s not a team in the country that cares about what our ranking is coming in.”