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Monday, July 14, 2008
Who's the best, worst Pac-10 QB?


 
 Rick Scuteri/US Presswire
 Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter is the Pac-10's top QB.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Quick: Which quarterback will be named first-team All-Pac-10 in 2008?

Most years, there's an consensus shortlist. No so in 2008.

Folks down in Tempe justifiably would point at Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter, who figures to finish his career ranked among the conference's top-three all-time in career yards and touchdown passes.

But just down South, Arizona's Willie Tuitama might post the season's biggest numbers in his second year with offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes spread offense and a veteran receiving corps -- think 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Up North in Seattle, Washington's Jake Locker flashed so much dual-threat brilliance as a redshirt freshman, he could be a darkhorse.

UCLA's Ben Olson and California's Nate Longshore both have talent and fantastic games on their resumes. Both also would be good comeback stories, so there's a potential sentimental angle to sway voters.

And no one in their right mind would say this: "No way USC's quarterback earns first-team All-Pac-10 honors." So Mark Sanchez has to be on the list.

This is not a bumper year for Pac-10 QBs. Only three schools are locked at the position: Tuitama, Carpenter and Locker.

There's a clear leader at four schools -- Oregon (Nate Costa), UCLA (Olson), USC (Sanchez) and Washington State (Gary Rogers). But it wouldn't be shocking if any of the four lost his job at some point this season.

Meanwhile, competitions are wide open at California (Longshore vs. Kevin Riley), Oregon State (Lyle Moevao vs. Sean Canfield) and Stanford (Tavita Prichard vs. Jason Forcier, Alex Loukas and Andrew Luck).

In other words, ranking the conference's QBs before the first snap may well be a fool's errand.

Well, you know what they say: Nothing ventured... Nothing ventured.

  1. Rudy Carpenter, Sr., Arizona State: He enters his senior season with 65 touchdowns and 8,000 yards passing, meaning he's going to dust such luminaries, such as Matt Leinart, Jake Plummer, John Elway and Carson Palmer in the Pac-10 record book. Moreover, the Sun Devils figure to finish in the top-third in the conference.
  2. Willie Tuitama, Sr., Arizona: It's hard to imagine if he stays healthy that he won't lead the conference in passing and touchdown passes. And if he leads the Wildcats to their sixth or seventh win and their first bowl berth since 1998 with an upset victory over ASU, it would be hard to deny him.
  3. Mark Sanchez, Jr., USC: Got a feeling Sanchez, an outstanding talent, will break through this season in large part because an underachieving receiving corps is due to, er, achieve.
  4. Jake Locker, So., Washington: If he were surrounded by budding NFL talent, he'd be Tim Tebow. Locker is an outstanding runner who improved on his passing accuracy this past spring. His receivers are athletic but unproven. It wouldn't be shocking if he accounted for 3,500 to 4,000 yards of total offense.
  5. Nate Longshore, Sr., California: In 2006, he looked like a budding NFL draft pick. In 2007, he looked befuddled and overwhelmed. He might not even beat out Kevin Riley. Or he might again throw for 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns.
  6. Ben Olson, Sr., UCLA: He remains a big talent but Olson has lacked consistency and can't stay healthy. Of course, a few years ago in LA, Norm Chow hooked up with another talented but inconsistent QB: Carson Palmer.
  7. Nate Costa, So., Oregon: Ranking Costa ahead of more experienced QBs is a leap of faith due to this: I've heard so many great things about this dual-threat that it's hard to believe he's not going to become a star.
  8. Lyle Moevao, Jr., Oregon State: He'll have to be more than a game-manager relying on a great defense this season, and he could lose his starting perch. Still, he looked good this spring and is a respected team leader.
  9. Tavita Prichard, Sr., Stanford: He beat USC, which is good, but he didn't do much else. He completed just 50 percent of his passes with nine interceptions and five TDs.
  10. Gary Rogers, Sr., Washington State: He's huge -- 6-foot-7, 233 pounds -- but he's an unproven guy running a new offense. Helps that he has a solid group of receivers, led by Brandon Gibson.