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SEATTLE (AP) — For at least this season opener, there is much less hoopla focused on Washington coach Chris Petersen.

This time, all the hype surrounds his team.

No. 14 Washington opens the season on Saturday hosting Rutgers burdened with the label of being the "it" team in the Pac-12 this year that could jump into contention for a conference crown.

Those projections don't come without justification — the Huskies return one of the strongest defenses in the country, not to mention sophomore offensive standouts in quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin.

The preseason ranking for Washington is its highest since 2002 and comes after a rocky 7-6 season last year. The hype is something that Petersen despises and he's tried to temper throughout the Huskies' fall camp.