Quarterback Marcus Mariota and head coach Mark Helfrich
Who is the best quarterback in the Pac-12?
Some teams have not named their starter, so the quarterbacks on those teams will be placed at the back of the pack for now.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota may be on everyone's Heisman list this season, but he's going to have serious competition from quarterbacks on a few teams from the Pac-12 South and at least one from the North. Who is that guy?
Let's take a peek at what the Pac-12 quarterbacks are ready to unleash this fall.
There are currently five quarterbacks who are competing for the starting spot but three stand out among the rest.
B.J. Denker and Jesse Scroggins are the two front runners with freshman Anu Solomon also competing.
Denker is a senior so he has a sentimental edge but Scroggins, a transfer from USC, could make a major push. Scroggins is recovering from foot surgery.
Whichever quarterback starts, he'll be without receiver Austin Hill, who will be out for an undetermined amount of time after tearing his ACL. Hill was the league's second-leading receiver in 2012.
Head coach Sonny Dykes
The Golden Bears are adjusting to the Bear Raid offensive scheme installed by new head coach Sonny Dykes, and the offense appears to be moving at a pretty fast clip.
Predictably, there are a lot of positions up for grabs, including quarterback.
Austin Hinder, Jason Goff and Zach Kline are all in the mix.
Quarterback Connor Wood
Connor Wood has the inside track, but new head coach Mike MacIntyre won't name a starter until incoming freshman Sefo Liufau competes in fall camp.
Woods has experience. He's completed 21-of-42 passes for 265 yards. But he's also thrown four interceptions and only one touchdown pass. While that's not enough to nail down the starting spot, he showed improvement in the spring.
Given MacIntyre's incredible turnaround at San Jose State, there's good reason to believe he will have similar success at Colorado. And that figures to include improved play at quarterback.
No official starter has been named at Utah, but Travis Wilson had a great showing in the Utes' spring game and figures to be the guy. His production should be good behind a deep offensive line.
As a backup as a true freshman last season, Wilson threw for 1,311 yards, with seven touchdowns and six interceptions.
As long as the running game progresses, Utah should be in good shape with the mobile 6'6", 220-pound quarterback under center.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach has not officially named his starter. That's fairly normal for the Cougar coach, but Leach's practices may have tipped his hand.
Junior Connor Halliday has taken the most reps with the first team. Unless redshirt freshman Austin Apodaca continues to progress—and he has throughout the spring—Halliday should wrap up the starting spot this fall.
Last season, Halliday threw for 1,878 yards, with 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. For his career, he's thrown for 2,838 yards, with 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
The battle at USC is between Max Browne, Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, and that will continue into the fall.
All three quarterbacks were highly rated coming out of high school, so the Trojans have quality depth.
But the reason why these quarterbacks are ranked in the middle of the league is that they have been practicing against a secondary that, so far, has not impressed, making it difficult to get an accurate read on their progress.
All three look very good—Kessler appeared to have the edge after the spring game—but the secondary's inconsistent defense against the deep ball has helped elevate the quarterbacks' spring stats.
2012 was a rough season for Keith Price, but it wasn't due to his arm. The Huskies' offensive line was hit with serious injuries, and the depth chart seemed to change week to week. Price was sacked 37 times, but he still managed to complete 60.9 percent of his passes.
This year, head coach Steve Sarkisian has installed a no-huddle, uptempo offense that should enhance Price's abilities as a runner and passer.
When there is pass protection, Price is lethal. And this season, his line is much more experienced.
The Oregon State Beavers have an interesting quandary: Do you start the guy who was leading the country in passing productivity before he got hurt, or do you go with the guy who did an outstanding job when asked to replace the injured starter?
Last October, Sean Mannion injured his knee, which required surgery, so reserve Cody Vaz was thrust into the starting role.
In his first game as a starter against BYU, Vaz went 20-of-32 for 332 yards and three touchdowns in the Beavers' 42-24 win. But Vaz also had a miserable day against Texas in the Alamo Bowl, going 15-of-28 for 194 yards and two interceptions—he also had 10 carries for minus-81 yards.
Beaver head coach Mike Riley was asked repeatedly about the battle between Mannion and Cody Vaz by reporters, and so far, he hasn't shed light on his decision.
Whatever his decision, the Beavers should be just fine.
Kevin Hogan should continue his phenomenal campaign at Stanford.
Last season, he threw for 1,096 yards, with nine touchdowns and three interceptions in his six starts. Hogan, who was only sacked 11 times, relies on his escapability and field awareness to avoid the pass rush.
His skills were instrumental in Stanford's 17-14 (OT) defeat of Oregon, the Ducks' only loss of the season. Hogan went 25-of-36 for 211 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
Taylor Kelly is one of college football's most underrated quarterbacks. Last season, he threw for 3,040 yards and 29 touchdowns while throwing only nine interceptions and completing a laser-like 66.9 percent of his passes.
There is no reason why Kelly can't continue his meteoric rise as a redshirt junior.
From Kelly's official Arizona State profile page:
Set the Arizona State school record for most consecutive completions in a single game with 18 against WSU (11/17), finishing 20-of-23 for 246 yards and four touchdowns.
Oregon's Marcus Mariota should be on every Heisman watch list. So should UCLA's Brett Hundley.
The Bruins' offense may not be as flashy as the Ducks', but Hundley is going to be turning heads this fall. He's bigger, showing more authoritativeness in the pocket and just looks like a field general. With the departure of running back Johnathan Franklin to the NFL, Hundley may have to pass more to put points on the board.
Mariota has already wowed us with his arm and legs, and nothing should change this fall. With De'Anthony Thomas now getting the majority of the carries at running back, this Oregon team could be more electric than last year's version. But Thomas may also steal some of Mariota's thunder.
It's hard to compare apples and oranges, so we're going to put both of them in one basket.