Quarterback the big Pac-12 question entering 2016

Just two seasons ago, the Pac-12 was the Conference of Quarterbacks, so much so that the New York Times penned a piece about the league's position group titled "Bonanza of Talent Out West."

Stanford coach David Shaw shared a prescient thought in that 2014 article.

"In a few years, you'll look back and say, 'Wait, all those quarterbacks that are in the NFL right now were in one conference at the same time?'" he said.

The moment that Shaw spoke of has come. As this 2016 season approaches, only four of the league's 12 teams have their quarterback situation firmly set. It seems that 2014 -- the year when the Pac-12 was stocked with future professional talent at the position -- was more than a decade ago.

That's not to say that the league is devoid of quarterback talent now. Several players impressed during spring ball, and California's addition of graduate transfer Davis Webb from Texas Tech added another quality arm to the Pac-12. There's just a whole bunch of uncertainty regarding starters at this point, and that potentially sets the table for the encore of the "Year of the Running Back" in 2016.

The Corvallis Gazette-Times' Kevin Hampton recently wrote a piece about the league's ongoing quarterback battles.

The Washington schools are set with returners Jake Browning and Luke Falk, while Josh Rosen is established at UCLA along with Anu Solomon at Arizona.

Beyond that, it seems fair to assume that Webb will be the man at Cal -- though that hasn't been officially announced yet. Colorado announced that Sefo Liufau will be the team's offensive representative at Pac-12 media days next month, so that's a good indication that the senior will be the Buffs' starter, but he's still rehabbing a Lisfranc injury in his foot.

Oregon State will start Utah State transfer Darrell Garretson. Beyond that, nothing is official in the Pac-12.

The winner in the battle between favorite Dakota Prukop and Travis Jonsen will succeed Vernon Adams, Jr. as Oregon's starting quarterback. Stanford will choose either Ryan Burns or Keller Chryst, both strong-armed options. The favorite at USC is formerly touted recruit Max Browne, though Sam Darnold is also in the mix.

Battles at Utah and Arizona State are even less predictable at this point. Three names -- Troy Williams, Tyler Huntley and Brandon Cox -- are in the mix for the Utes, while Manny Wilkins, Brady White and Bryce Perkins are expected to fight through camp at ASU.

A few years from now, we may look back at this offseason as a launching-off point for some future Pac-12 NFL quarterback talent. At this point, though, years of work still await before that becomes a possibility. The first step is settling all starting jobs come August.