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Monday, February 3, 2014
A review of the Pac-12's Top 25 list

By Ted Miller

The Pac-12 blog's Top 25 list is complete now that we named Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota No. 1, a position he also held after the 2012 season.

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.

Marcus Mariota
Marcus Mariota is one of four QBs from the 2013 Pac-12 Top 25 who returns in the fall.
By team:
Arizona: 1
Arizona State: 3
California: 0
Colorado: 1
Oregon: 4
Oregon State: 3
Stanford: 4
USC: 1
Utah: 1
Washington: 2
Washington State: 1
Notes: So every team besides Cal had a player on the list. And, no, no Golden Bear was even considered. Last year, Cal, Colorado, Washington and Washington State were shut out. Oregon, Stanford and UCLA led the way with four players each. Not terribly surprising. Last year, Stanford and Oregon combined for 11 players. USC had only one player on the list. How many years in the history of the conference do you think the Trojans would have had that little representation? Of course, they had only two last year.

By unit:
Offense: 15
Defense: 10
Special teams: 0
Notes: Last year, the breakdown was 13, 11 and 1. Offense typically finishes ahead because of the fancy-pants numbers.

By position:
Quarterback: 4
Running back: 4
Receiver: 3
Tight end: 1
Offensive line: 3
Defensive tackle: 1
Defensive end: 3
Outside linebacker: 2
Inside linebacker: 2
Cornerback: 1
Safety: 1
Notes: The biggest news is all four QBs are coming back: Oregon's Mariota, UCLA's Brett Hundley, Arizona State's Taylor Kelly and Oregon State's Sean Mannion. And none of the running backs is returning. Combined with the losses on defense, we expect the Pac-12 to be high-flying through the air in the fall of 2014 -- even though none of the three receivers is coming back.

Who made the preseason list and missed the postseason list?
3. Marqise Lee, WR, USC
11. Ed Reynolds, S, Stanford
14. De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
17. Kevin Hogan, QB, Stanford
19. Morgan Breslin, OLB, USC
20. Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
21. Carl Bradford, LB, Arizona State
25. Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford
Notes: Injuries or getting the boot (Lyerla) was the biggest reason these guys fell off the postseason list. Reynolds' numbers fell off, and the Cardinal's pass defense slipped to the middle of the conference, but I'm sure David Shaw would tell us we blew it. Hogan had a good season but maybe didn't take as big a step forward as some of us thought he would. Bradford, as previously noted, had a good, but not great, season and was eclipsed by other players.

So who's coming back in 2014?
No. 1Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
No. 8Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
No. 10Leonard Williams, DE, USC
No. 14Taylor Kelly, QB, Arizona State
No. 15Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
No. 21Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon State
No. 23Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon
No. 25Myles Jack, LB/RB, UCLA
Notes: That's just eight out of 25. Last season, 12 of 25 -- and four of the top five -- came back. Still, the QB class is incredibly strong -- the first-team All-Pac-12 QB seems almost certain to be an All-American.

Also coming back (in no particularly order -- honest): Stanford WR Ty Montgomery, Arizona State WR Jaelen Strong, Arizona State OL Jamil Douglas, Stanford OT Andrus Peat, Oregon State OL Andrew Seumalo, Washington DE Hau'oli Kikaha, USC LB Hayes Pullard, Washington CB Marcus Peters, Arizona WR Austin Hill, Arizona WR Nate Phillips, Arizona LB Scooby Wright, Arizona State DB De'Marieya Nelson, Colorado LB Addison Gillam, Oregon WR Bralon Addison, Oregon OT Tyler Johnstone, Oregon RB Byron Marshall, Oregon State S Ryan Murphy, Oregon State DB Steven Nelson, Stanford DE Henry Anderson, Stanford CB Alex Carter, UCLA C Jake Brendel, UCLA LB Eric Kendricks, UCLA DE Eddie Vanderdoes, USC RB Javorius Allen, USC WR Nelson Agholor, USC S Su'a Cravens, USC CB Josh Shaw, Utah WR Dres Anderson, Utah LB Brian Blechen, Washington LB Shaq Thompson, Washington OT Micah Hatchie, Washington WR Kasen Williams, Washington State QB Connor Halliday, Washington State WR River Cracraft and Washington State DE Xavier Cooper.

Of course,  I could go on and on. I'm sure Arizona, Washington and Washington State fans want me to name every single one of their returning receivers.

Your Pac-12 bloggers, of course, can't wait to feel the love again when we make our preseason Top 25.