1. Oregon...The Ducks were able to avoid last springs off season distractions which is a huge sign of progress for the program. On the playing field we really didn't see anything that would keep us from picking the Ducks to win the division or the overall championship.
2. Stanford...The Cardinal have a new head coach but they return perhaps the best QB in the nation in Andrew Luck. Harbaugh left enough talent stockpiled that another BCS run is not out of the question for this squad. Going forward David Shaw needs to show he can recruit as well as Harbaugh to keep the train on the tracks.
3. Southern Cal...It has been too quiet down in SOCAL this spring. Even though Kiffin and the gang have their collective backs against the wall because of sanctions their is hope that the NCAA will lessen them in the near future. QB Matt Barley had a solid spring and is ready to break out.
4. Arizona State...ASU is still the media's pick to have a breakout season but injuries in the defensive backfield have stymied some of that enthusiasm as of late. Dennis Erickson needs to win in 2011 if he has any hope of getting an extension.
5. Washington...Keith Price seized the starting QB job this spring by clearly playing Nick Montana who didn't play badly either. The early consensus is that the Huskies will lead with their running game and defense which will take plenty of pressure off Price.
6. Arizona...The Wildcats have some rebuilding to do on the offensive line and on defense. They do however have a returning senior QB which means that this program will likely go bowling again in 2011. Stoops has done a nice job making this program competitive but can he take it to the next level which would include a BCS bowl game?
7. California...Zach Maynard isn't going to make anyone forget about Kevin Riley. The Bear offense won't move until they develop a capable signal caller. Defensively the Bears recruited extremely well. Expect to see quite a few of those highly regarded players get early shots at quality playing time.
8. Utah...What do you expect from Utah as they head into their first Pac 12 campaign? QB Jordan Wynn missed spring practice while recovering from shoulder surgery. Norm Chow has joined the staff to help retool the offense for the Pac 12.
9. Oregon State...James Rodgers may have played his last down as a Beaver. That certainly isn't good for the Black Bandits of Benton County. That being said nobody should every ignore Coach Riley and the year to year potential of his program.
10. Washington State...Paul Wulff escaped the hangman at the end of last season by putting together a team that competed extremely well over the last half of the 2010 season. The wins needs to come early and often against a cupcake schedule to open the season for the momentum to continue.
11. UCLA...The Rick Neuheisel era at UCLA has been nothing short of a train wreck. Nothing short of a miracle will produce the turn around needed to help Rick keep his job. The offense continues to be a major concern with QB play being the main culprit. Look a little deeper and you find a program that hasn't recruited well enough up front.
12. Colorado...Jon Embree has his work cut out for him but the good news is he probably has four years to get this mess turned around.