At Cal & Stanford, running back is the story. Each team lost a big-name back from 2009, Jahvid Best for the Golden Bears, Toby Gerhart for the Cardinal. At least for Cal, Best's season faded badly and Shane Vereen was already getting the bulk of the carries. Vereen is back this year. Stanford has to replace the Heisman runner-up and start from scratch. One place there's no question marks in the backfield is Corvallis, where Oregon State returns the Rodgers boys, James and Jacquizz, who made such a marvelous tandem last year, both running and catching the ball.
Places where quarterback talk is pre-eminent are at UCLA, Arizona and Washington. The Bruins return Kevin Prince who started last year as a freshman. The defense carried the team to a bowl game and they are hoping Prince can help them reach another level. Nic Foles, off a very good year in Tucson is back and has to carry the load for a defense that is rebuilding. And perhaps nowhere is optimism higher than at Washington, where Jake Locker is the most prominent of 18 returning starters.
Arizona State and Washington State are both rebuilding, although WSU has taken that to a new level. The Cougar program is perhaps the worst in the BCS conferences, while Arizona State's rebuilding is a little more within the norm.
Our spring overviews conclude next week with the Mountain West, plus a look at Notre Dame, Boise State and other prominent midmajors.