Sports Illustrated Picks Cougars No. 7

Aug. 7, 2002

PULLMAN, Wash. --- In its annual college football preview issue, Sports Illustrated tabbed Washington State the preseason No. 7 team in the nation.

The magazine cites WSU's seven returning starters as the strength of the team, led by Heisman Trophy contender Jason Gesser at quarterback. SI also pointed to a pair of quarterback attacking defenders as a key for the Cougars.

'The Cougars have a pair of top-flight defensive stoppers in junior ends D.D. Acholonu and Isaac Brown,' Ivan Maisel wrote.

Like many other preseason publications, Sports Illustrated's top 25 is full of Pac-10 powers. Oregon and Washington appear at No. 9 and No. 11, respectively, while USC is ranked No. 21. Oregon State and UCLA are among the top 40 teams.

Sports Illustrated also sized up the Heisman contenders, listing Florida's Rex Grossman, Miami's Ken Dorsey, Chris Simms of Texas, and Chris Rix of Florida State as four of the top candidates, with Gesser right behind them.

'Good arm, good feet and, as he proved in last year's 10-2 campaign, he can win,' Maisel wrote. 'A big game and a victory at Ohio State on Sept. 14 will bring him national attention.'

Sports Illustrated's college football preview hits stands Monday. The Cougars begin the season Aug. 31 in Seattle against Western Athletic Conference foe Nevada.

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