NCF Nation: Gary Rogers
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Getting deep into this week's games.
USC needs style points to stay No. 1: It's clear that USC coach Pete Carroll respects and genuinely likes Oregon State coach Mike Riley. But the Trojans can't afford to sleepwalk through the Pac-10 schedule, looking bored and sloppy while winning by seven to 10 points. The nation saw the Beavers get physically manhandled 45-14 at Penn State, and the Trojans need to turn in a similarly dominant performance if they want to remain atop the polls. While this is not a topic that coach Pete Carroll will engage, he's well aware that his team needs style points because he's not going to get much credit for just running the Pac-10 table, considering no other conference team is presently ranked.
California should bounce back: Cal didn't use its bye week to get healthy. It used it to get more physical with a lot of full-go hitting. Of course, considering what happened last year -- the team went into a tailspin when its high-expectations imploded -- the chief concern is making sure that the upset loss at Maryland doesn't ruin the season. While the Cal players and coaches didn't seem to care much about getting a dose of Pac-10 redemption against the Mountain West Conference, which is 5-0 vs. the Pac-10 thus far, the Bears should be pretty gritty for their return home. The Rams, though 2-1, were picked to finish at or near the bottom of the MWC. They don't run the ball well and only beat Sacramento State by three points. If the Bears are angry, this would be a good weekend to take out some aggression.
If the Huskies can't stop Stanford, they can't stop anyone: Washington's 2007 defense was widely considered the worst in program history. But the 2008 Huskies are putting up even worse numbers, despite hiring veteran NFL coach Ed Donatell. They presently rank 118th in the nation in total defense -- just ahead of SMU, which is last -- surrendering an eye-popping 521 yards per game. Stanford, however, will offer a much more manageable offense than Oregon, BYU and Oklahoma (which are ranked Nos. 7, 4 and 13, respectively, in total offense). The Cardinal ranks 109th in the nation in passing, though QB Tavita Pritchard improved enough to hold onto his job in the win against San Jose State. The key to stopping the Cardinal is simple: Keep RB Toby Gerhart in check and force the Cardinal to pass.
UCLA might be able to run against Fresno State: First, the Bruins rushed for a season-high 115 yards in the loss to Arizona, so they moved up from worst in the nation (119th) to 117th. Second, senior TB Kahlil Bell, who's missed essentially the entire season with an ankle sprain, is expected to play. Bell, when healthy, is one of the Pac-10's best running backs. Third, Fresno State's run defense is ranked 95th in the nation (185.7 yards per game). And, finally, the Bulldogs will be without their two starting DTs,Jon Monga (knee), perhaps their best defensive player, and Cornell Banks (ankle). Their replacements are two freshmen and a sophomore.
Things are getting tougher, not better at Washington State: A desperate situation got even more arduous for the Cougars when it was discovered that starting QB Kevin Lopina's shoulder injury was actually a "fracture of the L-4 transverse process of his vertebrae" and he'll be out two to six weeks (and here's a guess it's closer to six). With No. 2 Gary Rogers done for the year with a fractured vertebra, that means redshirt freshman Marshall Lobbestael is now the man. Lobbestael looked great coming off the bench against Portland State, but starting against Oregon is a different story. And things are thin behind him, with true freshman J.T. Levenseller likely the first option ahead of redshirt freshman walk-on Dan Wagner. Oh, by the way, the Cougars also announced that junior linebackerJason Stripling is done for the year due to a shoulder injury.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
At this point, the only certainties here are USC and Washington State. The rest feels like a muddle.
1. USC: The Trojans had an off week and gained huge ground on the rest of the conference because Oregon and Arizona State went splat at home. The Trojans might need to be worried about how bad their conference looks.
2. Oregon: Think about this: the Ducks lose at home to a non-BCS team and have huge issues at QB, yet who else should be rated No. 2? Should California be promoted because it had an off-week following its loss at Maryland? Or should Arizona perk up because it beat UCLA a week after losing to New Mexico? Somebody's got to be No. 2, and the Ducks still seem to have the most fire-power.
3. California: By not playing, the Bears had a good week compared to most of the rest of the conference. We're choosing to believe the real Cal is the one that took care of Michigan State, not the one that looked feckless for three quarters at Maryland.
4. Arizona: The Wildcats certainly didn't look like a well-oiled machine while whipping UCLA, but that might actually mean something positive. Perhaps this squad took a first step toward learning how to win.
5. Arizona State: The Sun Devils, a week after losing to 23-point underdog UNLV, looked overmatched against Georgia, in large part because they couldn't run the ball worth a pooh. They figure to use an off-week to try to figure some things out. Of course, it would help if starting tailback Keegan Herring were healthy.
6. Stanford: Solid defense -- eight sacks -- and 23 unanswered points in the victory over San Jose State move the Cardinal up. RB Toby Gerhart returned to form, but the passing game still is lukewarm, at best.
7. Oregon State: The Beavers, off this weekend, will get first crack at USC on Thursday night. Enjoy.
8. UCLA: Got a feeling that UCLA will settle in down here. The Bruins have the unfortunate task of playing host to a very good Fresno State team this weekend, so the WAC figures to take another whack at the Pac.
9. Washington: This is a HUGE weekend for Washington and coach Tyrone Willingham. The Huskies had a bye week to get healthy, which also should have helped them forget the miserable first three games and get ready for Stanford, a team they beat a year ago and could beat again. But a loss at home to the Cardinal could be the last straw for Willingham.
10. Washington State: Even the great news of a dominant performance in a victory -- albeit over a FCS team, Portland State -- came with bad news, with the Cougars top-two QBs going down to injury. Moreover, backup Gary Rogers situation was scary at first: The fifth-year senior is now out for the season with a "stable cervical spine fracture," according to the Seattle Times, but the injury won't require surgery.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Lots to look for in a big nonconference weekend:1. USC RB Joe McKnight may be ready for his close-up: McKnight was burdened with stratospheric of expectations last year as a true freshman, most notably folks calling him the next Reggie Bush. He flashed some fanciness at times but didn't break through. Watching him during practices this week, however, there were a few "Reggie who?" moments. Dude's got some wheels. Saturday's game would be a nice stage for a breakout performance.
2. Good Craft or Bad Craft? UCLA can show the nation the victory over Tennessee was no fluke by beating No. 18 BYU on the road. The Bruins D will be challenged by a balanced, veteran Cougars offense playing at home, but the game likely will turn on QB Kevin Craft's ability to exploit a mediocre secondary. To do that, two things have to happen: One, he needs time to throw; Two, he needs to avoid the brain cramps that caused him to toss four first-half interceptions against Tennessee.
3. Ducks got Painter's number: Purdue QB Curtis Painter has piled up some big numbers, but he hasn't faced many secondaries as athletic as Oregon's. If the Ducks get good pressure up front, count on the DBs getting their belated first picks of the season.
4. Will the Huskies D finally show up?: Based on what it's done in the first two games -- 486 yards and 36 points per game -- Washington's defense looks poised to give up 50 or more to the third-ranked Sooners. That won't go over well in Husky Stadium, where an 0-3 start needs to arrive as softly as possible -- as in, not a five-TD spread -- or the already simmering talk about coach Tyrone Willingham will reach a boil.
5. Another round of Best highlights: See what we said last week -- California RB Jahvid Best broke out against Washington State with a pair of 80-plus yard TD runs. If he gets fancy again, such as matching his average of 240 yards of total offense per game, he officially will earn a new lead-in in media reports: "Heisman Trophy candidate Jahvid Best."
6. Is a Cougar QB change on deck? Gary Rogers has been mostly terrible in the first two games, so Kevin Lopina will get a shot at Baylor in a rescheduled Friday night game. Will Rogers respond to the challenge, or will new blood inspire the anemic offense? Or is there just no hope in 2008?
7. Speaking of QB issues, er, Stanford: The Cardinal is only saved from having the Pac-10's worst passing offense by the Cougars (105.5 yards vs. 96 yards per game). Starter Tavita Pritchard only has one TD pass in two games. He needs to step up at TCU, or he'll find Jim Harbaugh not just platooning his backups. And perhaps touted freshman Andrew Luck will get a shot.
8. Your nationally ranked Arizona Wildcats: If Arizona dispatches New Mexico with prejudice, as it should, then the Wildcats will start to win over skeptical believers. They already are getting Top 25 votes, which landed them 38th in this week's AP poll. Big number Saturday could have them sniffing the Top 25.
9. Don't get sloppy, Sun Devils: Arizona State needs to come out and stomp on UNLV early and get QB Rudy Carpenter safely on the sidelines by the middle of the third quarter. Don't screw around and risk any more injuries with Georgia coming to town next weekend.
10. Lyle Moevao, your Beavers need you: Oregon State looks out of sorts. Over the previous three seasons, a guy like Yvenson Bernard would have stepped up and made sure that the team stayed focused after a bad loss. Thus those famous Beavers second-half surges. Who steps up now? We nominate Moevao, who's got a lot of charisma. But he needs to step up with his play first. With the defense struggling, Moevao and the Beavers offense may have to win a scoring fest vs. Hawaii.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Your hump day links.
- The world's most ridiculous protest is over: The California Tree Sitters were forced from their seats. The Bears are happy. As for the football side of things, here are some notes.
- Arizona LB Sterling Lewis did a good job stepping in for Xavier Kelly (sprained ankle) and will start at New Mexico. The Reed brothers, Arizona's Brooks and New Mexico's Lucas, won't face off because Lucas is redshirting.
- Despite a couple of pass-interference flags, Arizona State CB Omar Bolden is going to play his style. The Sun Devils LBs are hurting. Is GameDay coming for the Georgia game? Also here.
- Oregon will be tested by Purdue QB Curtis Painter. RB Jeremiah Johnson returned to practice on a limited basis after injuring his shoulder. Scouting Purdue. Oregon has run well.
- No extreme depth chart changes for Oregon State in this full report from Mike Riley's press conference. It's time for the Beavers to play team defense.
- Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said that QB Tavita Pritchard remains his starter but other QBs will play against TCU Saturday, and that may include freshman Andrew Luck. So there's no QB controversy -- understand? A Stanford WR is unimpressed with one thing about TCU: its schedule.
- It appears that UCLA RB Kahlil Bell won't play at BYU. Yes, there is a little bit of a revenge angle for the Bruins, who are banged up. UCLA OC Norm Chow heads back to BYU.
- A view of USC from an Ohio columnist. And one from LA: Bill Plaschke thinks the Trojans should be plenty motivated by comments from an Ohio State WR about "class." RB Joe McKnight pretends to be OSU freshman QB Terrelle Pryor. Ohio State is playing for more than just a big-game win. Mark Sanchez feels good about his WRs.
- Washington LB E.J. Savannah is gone, granted his release from the Huskies. Unheralded freshman David Freeman takes over at RB. Art Thiel considers the plight of Jake Locker.
- Washington State will platoon QBs Gary Rogers and Kevin Lopina, who has moved up the depth chart. It's not a QB controversy -- it's looking for a spark.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Ten big issues to consider as we enter the first weekend of action.
- Is USC QB Mark Sanchez's dislocated knee cap in the past or will it riddle him much of the season? Trojans coaches aren't shy about pointing out the vast distance between the way Sanchez is playing and the way the other QBs are. He's the guy. So, it's a blow if his knee doesn't hold up. He's an athletic guy who is unafraid to scramble, but he probably should play things fairly safe at Virginia.
- Oregon QB Justin Roper needs to take control in the huddle and show his teammates he's the man. By most accounts, one of Nate Costa's primary edges in the Ducks QB competition was leadership. Coaches always talk about taking charge in the huddle, and Costa did -- and Roper sometimes didn't. With Costa out for the season with a knee injury, Roper needs to grab his teammates by their figurative lapels and show them he's in charge. Otherwise, coaches might look to backup Jeremiah Masoli.
- We'll get a good measure of California's new 3-4 defense right out of the gate. Michigan State has a huge (average weight: 308) and experienced offensive line leading the charge for one of the most explosive running backs in the country in Javon Ringer. The Bears new linebacker-heavy defense needs to thwart the Spartans running game, or this one probably won't go well.
- Will UCLA QB Kevin Craft be able to manage the offense and avoid major mistakes? The Bruins won't win a track meet with Tennessee. The only way this one stays tight is if Craft and the offense play safe and smart and lean on their defense and special teams, which then need to do their part. If the Bruins consistently win the field position battle, the defense could force new Vols starting QB Jonathan Crompton to make his own gaffes, which could give Craft and company the short field they need.
- Will Washington State's new no-huddle offense be just the ticket for QB Gary Rogers? Rogers, a fifth-year senior, has waited a long time to take over the offense. New coach Paul Wulff's fast-paced, spread scheme doesn't seem like the ideal fit for the 6-foot-7 senior, but coaches surely mixed and matched parts to fit his skill set. Oklahoma State's defense isn't very good. The Cowboys figure to run all over the Cougars thin defense -- might the Cougars and Rogers return the favor?
- Arizona shouldn't just mail it in against overmatched Idaho; make a statement Wildcats! Arizona has the softest schedule in the conference, and these types of nonconference patsies are supposed to help a team build its confidence. But what if Arizona wins 27-24? That message is little more than a whimper. QB Willie Tuitama and his veteran offense should be satisfied with no less than 40 points, and the rebuilt defense should want to hold Idaho to no more than half of that.
- Arizona State's offensive line can start shutting up the so-called pundits by not allowing a sack against Northern Arizona: It's as easy as that. Last season's 55 sacks -- the oft-repeated stat of ignominy in Tempe -- will no longer be brought up as soon as the line shows QB protection problems are a thing of the past. The Lumberjacks aren't USC, but they certainly will come after QB Rudy Carpenter. If Carpenter's pants are free of grass stains after the final gun, mission accomplished.
- Give me the, er, darn ball! USC coach Pete Carroll has repeatedly -- endlessly -- insisted that he sees no problem in trying to give as many as four TBs carries in a game. That means Joe McKnight, Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and Allen Bradford will each get touches at Virginia. McKnight, due to his versatility, is a sure-thing. But how will the ball be distributed among the other three?
- All eyes are on QB Kevin Riley, but don't be surprised if TB Jahvid Best steals the show: Best is one of the nation's fastest football players. My guess is he's a step (or two) faster than Michigan State's Javon Ringer. So it's possible Spartans defenders will be shocked when the pursuit angles they've taken on Ringer leave them looking at Best's rear end.
- Washington's defense will be better, but by how much? The Huskies don't have amazing talent, but the biggest thing veteran NFL coach Ed Donatell can do to improve the defense is install a sound scheme the players understand. Last season, the Huskies often didn't know where to go and didn't understand why they were asked to do things. Without a sound plan, a team has no hope against Oregon's potent, elusive spread option.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
And so it begins. Pause for a moment and imagine yourself 14 weeks hence. Are you smiling? Love the optimism!
- It's the worst-case scenario for Oregon QB Nate Costa -- knee injury ends his second-consecutive season. You may not like the Ducks, but it's hard to be unsympathetic to this guy -- a great talent who deserves a break. A look at those scheming coordinators. Three questions for Mike Bellotti -- with video!
- Don't Tase me, man! The 'Zona Zoo stadium policy for Arizona games hopefully will be clearer this season. The Wildcats new special-teams coach isn't new to the Wildcats. The offense is hoping for successful drives, but this guy knows a thing or two about doing those drives fast.
- Arizona State may sit starting TB Keegan Herring against Northern Arizona. Here's how to keep up with the progress of former Sun Devils coach (and all-around great guy) Bruce Snyder, who's battling cancer. Noting the Sun Devils. Hey, Coach, you guys need a long-snapper? Er, yeah.
- A California preview. Concerns from Wednesday's practice: Are CB Syd'Quan Thompson and WR Michael Calvin healthy? Ray Ratto takes a look at Bay Area college football and the types of faith on either side of the Bay Bridge.
- The Oregonian's College Football Preview. Oregon State QB Lyle Moevao is playing it cool. It's going to be hot at Stanford, perhaps in more ways than one, because the Beavers are hoping for a fast start.
- A Stanford preview. The Cardinal have some questions at WR. The keys to success. And 10 things to watch for in the Standford-OSU game.
- UCLA's Rick Neuheisel has a plan. Part of that plan is probably for DT Brian Price to terrorize offenses. Price suffered through a lot of pain before arriving in Westwood. It appears OT Micah Kia will be able to start against Tennessee with a cast on his injured hand. Here's how starting QB Kevin Craft ended up at UCLA. Practice notes.
- If USC QB Mark Sanchez goes down, it will be Aaron Corp coming in, not Mitch Mustain. Some reaction from Mustain. Checking in with Taylor Mays. And Virginia's 3-4 defense will be a good preview for California's new look.
- At Washington, a former walk-on will replace E.J. Savannah at LB. It's urgency time for Tyrone Willingham. A good way to improve: Stop the second-half meltdowns, which might happen with a more savvy, experienced Jake Locker. Noting Wednesday's practice. Success depends on a handful of freshmen growing up quickly.
- Bud Withers considers how long Washington State's Paul Wulff will need to adjust to Pac-10 football. He also looks at fifth-year senior QB Gary Rogers. T
he Cougars like playing a game in Seattle. From an unrecruited walk-on to Cougars OL starter, that's the short trip for local product Brian Danaher.
- Will 2008 be nearly as nutty as 2007? We shall see. Jake Curtis previews the Pac-10. So does Jonathan Okanes here.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Happy College Football Eve!
- Judge rules for California: Is the Memorial Stadium showdown coming to a close? Hopefully the Tree Sitters will find a new valuable cause -- like maybe helping a human being.
- "Six or seven" true freshmen will make their Arizona debuts against Idaho. Good news for the punt team: All-Pac-10 pick Keenyn Crier is back after missing much of camp.
- An Arizona State walk-on may win a starting job at CB opposite Omar Bolden, who, by the way, wants to return kicks. Ryan McFoy adds speed to the Sun Devils LB corps. Here's a look at Northern Arizona.
- California coach Jeff Tedford praises how QB Nate Longshore has handled not winning the starting job as a senior. The Bears speak, and Tedford probably is there to listen because he's taking a more active role. Noting Tedford's press conference.
- Oregon's new backup QB, Jeremiah Masoli, will play against Washington, coming in as a counter-punch for starter Justin Roper. Story also updates the depth chart winners, including Spencer Paysinger at weakside LB. Making Bacon at inside LB. Expect the Ducks to try to run against the Huskies, considering they piled up a school-record 465 yards on the ground a year ago. Oregon notes include a suspended WR, and is touted JC DT Justin Thompson really on his way to Eugene?
- Your complete guide to Oregon State football, courtesy of The Oregonian. How about this rooting dilemma -- Booooo Dad! Got a feeling these Rodgers Brothers are going to be fun to watch. Beavers need a fast start to make a statement. Some further thoughts.
- Stanford is optimistic, but the injury bug has caught on of late. LB Clinton Snyder talks about the Cardinal D, and here's something on OL chemistry.
- The Rose Bowl will not be full Monday night, with only 65,000 expected for the UCLA-Tennessee tilt. More on the UCLA advertisement that touted the end of the LA football monopoly. What about this version? Can't we just realize that Neuheisel-Carroll is going to be fun? About that O-line. How the Bruins can beat Tennessee. Or is Neuheisel's optimism giving way to harsh reality? Vols coach Phil Fulmer on the UCLA game.
- USC QB Mark Sanchez struggles a bit in practice but then is cleared to play at Virginia. Aaron Corp has won the backup job over Mitch Mustain -- for now. It's national championship or bust, according to some.
- The Seattle Times looks at all things Washington. Nice story here about the return of Jordan White-
Frisbee, now an offensive guard. The Huskies are young in many spots, so why not at kick returner? Wonder what Jake Locker 2.0 will look like. No cupcakes on UW schedule.
- More on the departures of DT Andy Roof and OL Dan Rowlands at Washington State, the latter by choice, the former, not. Not a great day for the Cougars.
- Half-empty or half-full? Only one Pac-10 QB -- Washington State's Gary Rogers -- will be making his first start this week, and Rogers is a fifth-year senior who's seen significant action. On the other hand, only four have started seven or more games.
- There's a lot of money in college football. Dan Raley's first batch of Pac-10 notes. The Oregonian looks at the Pac-10. As does the LA Times.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
You are the quarterback of these links. Congrats (But your offensive line... neh).
- Arizona's long-beleaguered OL might no longer be beleaguered. Despite a lot of contact during camp, the Wildcats are fairly healthy. The competition at long snapper is hot and friendly at Arizona.
- Arizona State will play a number of freshmen this fall. It's been a long wait behind Rudy Carpenter for Danny Sullivan. A notebook on team captains and injured linemen.
- California's center of the future is now starting at OG. There's still position intrigue at QB and other spots. Jonathan Okanes post-practice Monday.
- A decision on Oregon's QB will be made this week. Oregon's kicker is a good athlete. Notes on injured RBs and the surprise guys who stepped in.
- Story on Oregon State's new Artful Dodger. The Beavers practiced in Reser Stadium due to heavy rain. Checking in with suspended OL Tavita Thompson.
- Stanford will have another closed scrimmage, but it appears that Tavita Pritchard remains the favorite to start at QB.
- Kevin Craft was named UCLA's starting QB on Monday. Another look. And another. One more. And a columnist says that Rick Neuheisel shouldn't go back to Ben Olson when he's healthy again around mid-October.
- USC QB Mark Sanchez and the most-watched knee in LA. My take from practice. Another take. And another. The inside story of USC receiver Damian Williams' decision to transfer from Arkansas. Scott Wolf's notes include a coach who thinks he should be fired.
- Washington QB Jake Locker returns to practice and looked to be at full-speed. Notes from practice. True freshmen may be in the mix, including at running back.
- Washington State feels pretty good about its linebackers. Jim Moore seems excited about QB Gary Rogers
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
|Rick Scuteri/US Presswire|
|Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter is the Pac-10's top QB.|
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.