Washington is going to be a media darling this offseason. Every way-too-early poll will call the Huskies the team no one paid enough attention to. They’ll be the sleeper in Kalen DeBoer’s second season. They are likely to be a trendy pick for winning the Pac-12 next season, maybe even crashing the College Football Playoff.

To that end, the Huskies are already a top-10 team in a college football insider’s way-too-early 2023 ranking.

The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy has UW ranked eighth in his personal ranking for next season. The Huskies are the highest-ranked team in the Pac-12 for McMurphy, sitting two spots ahead of Oregon. McMurphy also has UCLA at No. 24, Utah at No. 16, USC at No. 15, and Oregon State at No. 13.

The Huskies are set to return the nation’s leading passer from 2022, Michael Penix Jr. They’ll also bring back one of the breakout players in all of college football this past season in wideout Jalen McMillan. That wideout group should be loaded, and that’s before we even know what will happen with Rome Odunze — who has a draft decision to make.

UW should once again be powered by its offense, which this season ranked among the country’s best in both per-play efficiency and explosiveness through the air. No one was better on third downs than Washington, and Penix was a big reason why. He should have some favorable Heisman odds when the 2023 campaign gets closer.

But UW also has some defensive stars returning in the linebacking corps — Bralen Trice, Zion Tupuola-Fetui, Edefuan Ulofoshio, Alphonzo Tuputala. Washington ranked top-20 nationally in sacks this past season.

The nonconference schedule next season features Boise State and Tulsa at home, and then a return trip to East Lansing to battle a Michigan State team that UW beat in 2022 to surge into the national spotlight. UW will also face USC on the road and Utah at home next season.