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Take 2: Fewest spring questions in Pac-12

We've been looking at changes and personnel voids Pac-12 teams face this spring, but what about the teams with the fewest issues?

Kevin Gemmell and Ted Miller take a look at which teams enter spring practices with more answers than questions.

Gemmell: Spring is all about asking questions that we won’t get answers to for a while. Depending on how you take your glass – half-full or otherwise – spring can produce euphoric optimism or salty cynicism. (And yes, that was a direct parallel between the most optimistic of the Pac-12 reporters – me -- and the saltiest – Ted -- doing a Take 2).

When I look at Washington, I don’t see the same questions I see for the majority of the conference. Always the first question … do they have a quarterback? Check. And Jake Browning is a pretty good one.

We can already eliminate eight teams from this “best shape” list – two-thirds of the league – because those eight have some sort of quarterback competition, vacancy, injury, inexperience, question mark, etc. (That's Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, USC and Utah, in case you were wondering.) That’s not to say that by fall their stock will rise. Remember … questions we won’t get answers to for a while.

Washington's offensive line? Solid, with multiple starters returning. Skill positions? Outstanding, with a 1,000-yard back in Myles Gaskin and a blazing receiver in John Ross III, who makes his return after missing all of 2015 with a knee injury. In case you didn’t see the results of the Husky Combine, Ross posted a 4.25 40 (hand-clocked, but still, dang!).

A lot of starters are back from the No. 1 defense in the league from 2015, to boot. Are there questions surrounding this team? Of course. Are they glaring? Not so much. Head coach Chris Petersen starts his third season on Montlake with the blessed combination of youthful experience and depth. This time can be spent developing second-team and third-team guys and bolstering depth while refining and improving the skills of the projected starters – most of whom already have a season of Pac-12 competition to their credit.

It’s classic coachspeak to say that every position is a position battle. There is truth to that. But the offensive line coach probably cares more about the battle at center than you do. But for our purposes here, Washington doesn’t really have any “high-profile” competitions. There aren’t believed to be any major injury issues, so returning starters will be available. And at this point, it’s making a team with outstanding potential start to realize it. I’d call that being in great shape.

Miller: While it hurts to type this, Kevin is (ouch) probably (ouch) right about Washington. Lots of quality experience coming back. The Huskies look poised for a breakthrough in Year 3 under Chris Petersen.

Yet my mild counter is... exactly.

Therein lies the biggest question for the Huskies: Can they actually do it? For, let's face it, going 8-4 and losing to Oregon again won't feel transformative. Quacking Ducks fans, in fact, seem to have fetishized the belief that the media has been predicting a return to relevance for Washington for years, one that has yet to manifest itself in our space-time continuum.

And, therein, lies the grounds for my pick: Stanford. The Cardinal have done it, over and over again. Even when Stanford doesn't win the North, it finds a way into the rankings. When it slips to 8-5 and has a few people (embarrassed cough) wondering if the pillars of the Cardinal Acropolis are showing cracks, it immediately reverses course, goes 12-2 and wins the Rose Bowl.

Stanford is replacing 14-year starter Kevin Hogan? Well, it replaced Andrew Luck and crops continued to flourish on The Farm. Stanford has questions on the offensive and defensive lines? Yeah, and Taylor Swift is surely out of inspiration for insufferably catchy pop songs.

Is the Stanford culture still there? Yes. Is celebrated strength coach Shannon Turley still ensconced in his lab like a well-adjusted Dr. Frankenstein? Yes. Is the returning skill talent and overall team speed, topped by Heisman Trophy runner-up Christian McCaffrey, probably better than it's ever been? Yes.

Is David Shaw still Stanford's coach? Yes. (We probably should have saved time by starting and finishing with that Q&A).

Stanford will be ranked in the preseason top 10 and it will be projected to win the Pac-12. Why?

Because "Stanford" has become a statement, not a question.