The quarterback position got hit hard this year, with a ton of quality passers from all across the FBS either graduating or jumping ship early to the NFL. Not so in the PAC 12, with only Keith Price and BJ Denker . Certainly considerable losses for their respective teams, but the conference still has plenty of returning talent at the position. It’s a good mix too, with cagey veterans, rising youngsters, dual threats and pocket passers littered throughout. So, how do they rank? Read on and find out. Feel free to offer any opinions, objections or abuse in the comments section, or find me on Twitter.
12. TBC, Arizona(November 22, 2013 – Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)
Rich Rodriguez likes to play his hands close to his chest, so don’t expect an announcement on who’s to replace Denker until the final week of summer camp. Right now it’s a battle (realistically) between former JUCOs Jesse Scroggins (number 1 in the spring game) and Jerrard Randall, redshirt freshman Anu Solomon and Texas-transfer Connor Brewer. While the ranking is no reflection on their talent, the group has combined to complete ZERO passes at the FBS level. Is RichRod just blowing smoke and has a secret favorite, or is he concerned that no one has taken a step forward?
11. TBC, Washington(November 8, 2013 – Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)
The likely starter here is 2013 backup Cyler Miles, who flashed some ability in limited opportunities as a freshman, even starting a game against Oregon State. Miles wasn’t running a full playbook, but completed 37 of 61 passes (60.6%) for 418 yards and 4 TDs, with 2 interceptions. He showed some wheels too, running for an even 200 yards on 23 carries. He hasn’t won the job outright yet, and a 3-month suspension has given his contenders a chance to gain some ground. Also in the mix are Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams, neither of whom has thrown a pass in a collegiate game. Four-star recruit KJ Carta-Samuels arrives in the summer, and could push for a starting job. He was a great signing for Chris Petersen and the Huskies, and being the “coach’s guy” could work in his favor if the competition is close at the end of camp.
10. Sefo Liufau, Colorado(November 1, 2013 – Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)
It didn’t take long for coach Mike MacIntyre to realize Connor Wood wasn’t the answer at quarterback for the Buffaloes. After bombing away on Colorado State and Central Arkansas, he completed just 25 of 67 passes for 351 yards, 2 TDs against the Oregons . After 3 incompletions and an interception against Arizona State, Wood was sent to ride the pine and the Liufau era began. The Washington native was pressed into a tough situation as a true freshman, trying to lead a former power that had fallen on hard times. He certainly had his moments though, completing 59.4% of his passes for 1779 yards and 12 TDs, with 8 interceptions. With Wood leaving the team, only JUCO Jordan Gehrke and walk-on Trent Sessions join him on the roster.
9. Jared Goff, California(October 25, 2013 – Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America)
Tough year in 2012? New coaching staff? New systems on offense and defense? What else does a struggling team need? How about a true freshman quarterback? Goff won the job in camp, and hit the ground running. Or should that be passing? He threw an arm-numbing 63 passes in his first start, and never let up, throwing more than 43 passes 9 times. Unsurprisingly, he needed shoulder surgery after the season. Goff was pulled a couple of times in favor of backup Zach Kline, and it was apparent as the season went on that Goff was wearing out. He still managed to complete 318 of 529 attempts (60.1%), passing for 3488 yards and 18 TDs, with 10 interceptions. Even more impressive, he managed to do it and stay relatively healthy, despite getting pummeled behind a shaky line. If they can protect him this season, he could explode.
8. Connor Halliday, Washington State(September 6, 2013 – Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America)
Halliday has been in and out of the starting lineup over the last 3 seasons, but he got the keys to Mike Leach’s shiny offense for keeps in 2013. He certainly had his good and bad days, but few at the collegiate level carried as much of their offense’s weight on their shoulders. The junior never threw less than 36 passes, and even had a game with 89 (Oregon), en route to completing 449 of a humungous 714 attempts (62.9%), throwing for 4597 yards and 34 TDs, but with 22 interceptions. His performances suffered greatly against the better teams on the team’s slate, completing 59.8%, but averaged just 5.5 yards per attempt. He threw just 9 TDs and 13 interceptions. It’s not quite fair to write him off yet though, as he played in a tough conference, and on a team that won 12 games over the last 5 years. As the talent around him improves, and it is, Halliday could be more of a factor this season.
7. Travis Wilson, Utah(October 11, 2013 – Source: George Frey/Getty Images North America)
**Injury Warning** – Last season was a rough one for Wilson. An injured hand cost him playing time midseason, then a concussion cost him the last 3 games. When doctors were examining him post-concussion, they discovered a pre-existing medical condition that put his football career in jeopardy. In typical Wilson style, he defied the odds and fought back, and is currently atop the depth chart with plenty of room between him and the next contender. Wilson reflects the Utes style well – scrappy, not always pretty, but getting it done. Prior to his hand injury he had Utah at 4-2, including a tough win over Stanford, but the team struggled without him at the helm. For the season he completed 56.1% of his passes for 1827 yards, with 16 TDs and 16 interceptions. Fifteen of those interceptions came in losses, but six of them came post-hand injury. If Wilson can stay healthy this season, he could be on the verge of a big year.