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After losing Jake Locker to the NFL two years ago, the Huskies have been looking to Keith Price to lead them back into contention.
Price brings brings enough agility and poise to the quarterback position to land him in the mix of “Heisman hopefuls” for 2012. In his first full season with the Huskies, Price set three school records, passing for 33 touchdowns while compiling a 66.9 completion percentage and 161.9 QB rating.
While the Huskies are returning just four players from last year’s powerful offense, the five returning starters on defense still raise the biggest question.
Can the Huskies' 106th-ranked defense keep them in contention?
With a returning starter at quarterback and running back, UCLA is another roster I am very high on.
Last season the Bruins were given a spot in the Pac-12 championship game due to the sanctions against USC, But they were absolutely dismantled, losing to Oregon 49-31.
In the previous game, the Trojans spanked UCLA 50-0, clearly hinting at the Bruins' everlasting thirst for redemption.
In total, the Bruins welcome 13 starters back to campus, including the third-best rushing offense in the Pac-12.
Look for new head coach Jim Mora Jr.’s NFL experience to make this year’s Bruins a contender in the Pac-12.
In their first Pac-12 season, the 8-5 Utes finished 4-5.
Going into 2012, the Utes are led by nose tackle Star Lotulelei, a 6’4’’, 320-pound behemoth projected to go early in the NFL draft.
A Week 5 matchup with the No. 1 USC Trojans raises the question: Can a Lotulelei-led defense stop Matt Barkley’s offensive attack?
Losing Andrew Luck for 2012 cripples the Cardinal on paper. However, Stanford returns 13 starters, seven on defense.
Stanford also landed the best recruiting class in the Pac-12 (according to ESPN), including two standout offensive linemen to replace David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin.
Though Stanford will likely fall in the BCS rankings, the Cardinal still are a threat to knock off USC or Oregon.