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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

August 21, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Stanford picks Nunes, another out-of-the-box choice

In a 2012 training-camp session full of quarterback decisions in the Pac-12, Stanford just named fourth-year junior Josh Nunes its starter over Brett Nottingham.

All he has to do is follow Andrew Luck.

It’s another in a series of Pac-12 decisions at quarterback that haven’t exactly followed form.

— Colorado went through an entire spring practice using Texas transfer Connor Wood. And then Kansas transfer (and graduate) Jordan Webb showed up in July and won the job.

Brett Hundley, the UCLA redshirt freshman, won the competition under first-year coach Jim Mora, which can’t be termed a surprise — unless you consider that there was vastly more experience with the other two choices Mora passed over, particularly Kevin Prince. Think about this: Prince has 26 starts at UCLA.

— At Arizona State, Taylor Kelly was widely considered No. 3 entering fall camp to Michael Eubank and Mike Bercovici, but it’s Kelly who won the job.

By no means was Nunes a darkhorse pick, but many observers figured third-year sophomore Nottingham, more gifted physically, would step up and claim the prize at Stanford. But Nunes’ (pronounced NOON-es) steadiness prevailed. That element clearly counted for something with head coach David Shaw, in a season in which the Cardinal has a very good defense and a terrific runner in Stepfan Taylor. So efficient rather than spectacular was more of a premium for Shaw.

So what’s next? The only real undecided quarterback picture left (unless you count Utah, where the favorite is Jordan Wynn) is at Oregon. If the trend holds, the Ducks will name redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota — because Bryan Bennett did a boffo job backing up Darron Thomas last year and has an extra year experience.

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