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Trojans and Ducks the teams to beat in Pac-12

By John Marshall

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 1 2012 4:47 p.m. MDT

Notes: Neither Brehaut nor Prince seemed to be a good fit for former coach Rick Neuheisel's Pistol offense, but will play under a new offensive coordinator in Noel Mazzone, the former O-coordinator at Arizona. ... UCLA was either really good or really bad under Neuheisel and is hoping for more consistent results under Jim Mora, the former NFL head coach who hopes to instill more discipline. ... UCLA was the Pac-12 South champion last season because rival USC was ineligible for the postseason and finished with a losing record (6-8) after losing to Illinois in the Fight Hunger Bowl.

ARIZONA — Key players: QB Matt Scott, RB Ka'Deem Carey, LB Jake Fischer, RB Taimi Tutogi, LB Brian Wagner, S Tra'Mayne Bondurant. Returning starters: offense 6, defense 7.

Notes: The hiring of Rich Rodriguez, the former West Virginia and Michigan coach, has generated a buzz in Tucson. Rodriguez had an acrimonious run in Ann Arbor, but his enthusiasm and go-go-go offense have heated things up for U of A football in the desert. ... Scott was once expected to be The Man before becoming the understudy to Nick Foles the past two seasons. He redshirted last season and is looking forward to his chance in the spotlight without having to look over his shoulder. ... Carey has a nice combination of speed and power, but didn't quite live up to the heralded-freshman hype last season. ... Wagner led the nation in tackling last season at Akron before transferring to Arizona.

ARIZONA STATE— Key players: RB Cameron Marshall, RB Jamal Miles, DT Will Sutton, LB Brandon Magee, CB Osahon Irabor. Returning starters: offense 4, defense 4.

Notes: After taking some heat for bolting Pittsburgh after just one season, new coach Todd Graham has won over Arizona State's players and its fan base, creating some long-awaited excitement in Tempe. ... The biggest decision will be picking a replacement for quarterback Brock Osweiler, who's now with the Denver Broncos. Mike Bercovici and Taylor Kelly are competing with highly touted freshman Michael Eubank, but none have started a college game. ... Marshall is healthy after a nagging ankle injury hampered him last season. ... Magee, back after tearing his Achilles tendon before last season, signed with the Boston Red Sox but will play for the Sun Devils this season.

COLORADO — Key players: QB Connor Wood, RB Tony Jones, T David Bakhtiari, DT Will Pericak, LB Doug Rippy, S Ray Polk. Returning starters: offense 3, defense 6.

Notes: The Buffaloes had a rough initiation into the expanded Pac-12, going 3-10, and could be in for some more difficult times this season with one of the youngest teams in the nation. ... Wood is the likely front-runner to start at quarterback after sophomore Nick Hirschman broke his foot for the second time in less than a year last March. ... Paul Richardson, one of Colorado's top returning receivers, is out for the season after tearing his ACL in the spring. ... The Buffaloes struggled last season, but did manage to end a 23-game road losing streak.

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