Some coaches don't want to announce a starting QB until the week of the first game. Some coaches believe it's important to announce a starter as soon as possible so he can take a leadership position in front of his teammates.
Former USC coach Pete Carroll fell into the latter category. He specifically believed in "anointing" -- his term -- a starter after spring practices so his teammates would know who to look to as the guy fronting the offense.
Other coaches profess that they'd love it if a guy stepped up and won the job quickly and decisively, but that rarely happens.
And some coaches just like to keep secrets.
Yet the fact is, fans and reporters tend to get a pretty good idea of a pecking order after spring practices. Recall Marcus Mariota's performance in the 2012 spring game, one that made it pretty clear he had pulled ahead of Bryan Bennett. Ducks coach Chip Kelly told us not to get ahead of ourselves, as was his wont, but the scuttlebutt all summer was Mariota, Mariota, Mariota.
Only four teams appear to have legitimate competitions -- Arizona, Washington, USC and Utah -- though we have included an "other" in this poll if you think an incumbent starter might lose his job to a young upstart.