Pac-12 spring football primer: Power Rankings, burning questions for every team

USC and Washington look like the clear favorites in the Pac-12 entering spring practices.
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Remember just a couple seasons ago, when this was the conference of quarterbacks? Well, now it’s the conference of question marks, including several about the College Football Playoff. Every Pac-12 team enters 2017 spring practice with significant holes to fill and questions that need immediate answers, but the top of the conference (most notably, Washington and USC) has the talent to challenge for spots in the national semifinals.

Before spring practice kicks off—or at least before spring games kick off—let us help you prep for football on the West Coast. 

More Power 5 spring primers: ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | SEC

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1. Washington Huskies

RECORD: 2016 12-2

The Huskies lost a lot on both sides of the ball after their playoff appearance in December, but until someone officially dethrones them, they still own the conference of champions.

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2. USC Trojans

RECORD: 2016 10-3

The Trojans turned in one of the best and most entertaining bowl performances of the 2016 postseason and enter the off-season with plenty of momentum, not to mention a Heisman Trophy-contending quarterback in Sam Darnold.

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3. Stanford Cardinal

RECORD: 2016 10-3

The Cardinal will again lose huge defensive production as defensive end Solomon Thomas will likely be drafted high. Oh, and then there’s the departure of a guy named Christian McCaffrey. Still, David Shaw has a habit of putting together 10-win seasons no matter his roster makeup.

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4. UCLA BRUINS

RECORD: 2016 4-8

A healthy Josh Rosen (shoulder surgery midway through 2016) is expected to participate in spring ball, but what will it take for the Bruins to finally live up to the hype that’s percolated on campus since Jim Mora arrived in 2011?

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5. washington state cougars

RECORD: 2016 8-5

With quarterback Luke Falk back for his senior season, the Cougars will be a dark-horse candidate in the Pac-12 North. Never count out the Pirate.

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6. COLORADO BUFFALOES

RECORD: 2016 10-4

One of the feel-good stories of the 2016 season, Colorado loses a lot on defense (including coordinator Jim Leavitt, who left for Oregon) but has a capable QB in Steven Montez, who won’t have to share snaps anymore.

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7. uTAH UTES

RECORD: 2016 9-4

As usual, it’s all about the lines for the Utes, who are—surprise, surprise—working with a new offensive coordinator. 

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8. oREGON STATE BEAVERS

RECORD: 2016 4-8

The Beavers ended 2016 with a lot of momentum, snapping an eight-year losing streak to their rivals down the road. Now, questions swirl around who will be the signal caller in 2017. 

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9. oREGON DUCKS

RECORD: 2016 4-8

There’s lots of new energy in Eugene, but the Ducks are probably happiest about the return of their All-America running back Royce Freeman, who decided the NFL could wait. 

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10. aRIZONA sTATE suNDEVILS

RECORD: 2016 5-7

No one wants to enter the 2017 season on a six-game losing streak, especially when you player in the weaker division of the Pac-12. Welcome to the life of the Sun Devils right now. 

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11. aRIZONA wILDCATS

RECORD: 2016 3-9

One of the game’s most innovative coaches, Rich Rodriguez, had one of his worst years, followed up by a rough recruiting period. It’s not a great time for the Wildcats. 

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12. california golden bears

RECORD: 2016 5-7

There’s a new coach and a new former FCS guru as coordinator, but how much can the Bears realistically accomplish with a roster built entirely for another system? 

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