Here's a quick look at five position battles we're looking forward to come fall.
Safeties, Cal: Safety is without question the make-it-or-break-it group for the Cal defense, which needs significant improvement to give the Bears a shot at a bowl. Without Stefan McClure, Patrick Worstell and Griffin Piatt in the spring, Luke Rubenzer, a converted quarterback, and Derron Brown, a junior-college transfer, received a lot of reps. If defensive coordinator Art Kaufman can find a pair he's comfortable with, the Bears could take a big step forward.
Quarterback, Oregon: It's been presumed that Vernon Adams would be the starter after his high-profile transfer announcement from FCS Eastern Washington, but we, as a college-football consuming public, shouldn't be writing off Jeff Lockie quite yet. The junior completed 9 of 9 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns in the Ducks' spring game and has had three years to grow in the offense. Adams' talent is obvious and seemingly a great fit for what the Ducks do, but the job won't be handed to him.
Quarterback, UCLA: The company line is that it's a four-man race among true freshman Josh Rosen, junior Jerry Neuheisel, junior Mike Fafaul and sophomore Asiantii Woulard, but anyone who believes Rosen won't eventually win it is in a small minority. “I think a lot of people want to see us just hand the job to Josh, and, you know what, it's hard not to recognize his talent because it is very, very special, but there's more to it than just talent alone,” UCLA coach Jim Mora told Mason and Ireland on ESPN LA 710 last week. However the competition is handicapped won't change the fact that it'll be among the biggest storylines in the conference until a starter is named.
Receivers, Utah: After Utah evolved into such a run-heavy team during the course of last season, it could have been easy to forget the Utes had some of the best top-tier talent at receiver in the conference. They're currently the only Pac-12 team slated to have two rookie receivers in NFL training camps -- Kaelin Clay (Tampa Bay) and Dres Anderson (San Francisco) -- and also need to replace tight end Westlee Tonga, who finished third on the team with 391 yards receiving. Kenneth Scott has star potential, but after him it's a group of relative unknowns. Tim Patrick (16 catches) is coming off an injury, Bubba Poole is converting from running back, while Delshawn McClellon, Jameson Field, Raelon Singleton and Tyrone Smith earned praise at varying times during spring practice.
Front seven, Washington: Of the starters listed on the Apple Cup depth chart, only Travis Feeney returns. The task of replacing DT Danny Shelton, OLB Hau'oli Kikaha, LB Shaq Thompson and DE Andrew Hudson (Hudson signed as an undrafted free agent with Buffalo) will be among the most difficult for a team this offseason.