- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's wonderful that everyone came to the same conclusion: The list is perfect. You wouldn't change a thing.
Let's break down the list.
Arizona State: 2
Oregon State: 3
Washington State: 0
Notes: The shutting out of California, Colorado and Washington State probably surprises no one. A goose egg for Washington? Well, that hasn't been terribly popular, particularly with two clear candidates in cornerback Desmond Trufant and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The rest of the numbers make pretty good sense based on the standings, with Oregon and Stanford combining for 11 players. In fact, the Ducks and Stanford had a couple of elite guys who were left off. So, basically, no one is happy.
Special teams: 1
Notes: We didn't spend a lot of time worrying about balance between units. It just worked out that way. The preseason list was 16 to 9 in favor of offense.
Offensive line: 1
Running back: 4
Tight end: 1
Inside linebacker: 1
Outside linebacker: 4
Defensive tackle: 2
Defensive end: 1
Kick returner: 1
Notes: Pretty good balance here. Obviously, the Pac-12 had a lot of good backfields in 2012. After quarterback, running back overtook receiver as the marquee position. The preseason list featured four top-10 receivers. The postseason list featured four top-10 running backs. You could say it wasn't a great year for linemen. Some of that is more teams using a 3-4 look on defense, which has defensive ends becoming outside linebackers.
Who's coming back?
No. 1: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
No. 2: Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
No. 3: Marqise Lee, WR, USC
No. 5: Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
No. 11: Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
No. 15: Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
No. 16: Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford
No. 18: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
No. 19: David Yankey, OL, Stanford
No. 21: Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State
No. 22: Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
No. 24: Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
Notes: That's 12-of-25 and four of the top-five. Not too bad. A good mixture of offense and defense, too.
Also coming back (in no particularly order -- honest): Seferian-Jenkins, Stanford DT Ben Gardner, Oregon WR/RB De'Anthony Thomas, Stanford QB Kevin Hogan, Arizona WR Austin Hill, UCLA LB Eric Kendricks, Oregon TE Colt Lyerla, Washington RB Bishop Sankey, USC DE Morgan Breslin, Arizona State LB Carl Bradford, Oregon State C Isaac Seumalo, Stanford LB Shayne Skov, Oregon S Avery Patterson, USC DT Leonard Williams, Arizona State RB Marion Grice, Oregon CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon State QR Brandin Cooks, Oregon C Hronis Grasu, UCLA OG Xavier Sua-Filo, Washington State S Deone Bucannon, California RB Brendan Bigelow, Colorado WR Paul Richardson, Arizona State H-back Chris Coyle, Oregon State LB D.J. Alexander and Oregon DE Taylor Hart.
Just to name a few (I had to stop adding guys. I'd never finish this post).
So the preseason top-25 list will be easy to make and be just as uncontroversial as this one.