The 10 most intriguing spring quarterback battles

These competitions are worth watching. Dave Miller

Print This March 26, 2012, 02:00 PM EST

Five more

Boise State: It's hard to envision Boise State without Kellen Moore, but the Broncos must move on without their prolific record-setting four-year starting QB. Junior Joe Southwick is best positioned to take over Robert Prince's offense, but it will be interesting to see how Grant Hedrick responds from his knee injury. Early-enrollee Nick Patti has a good arm and is fleet-footed, so we'll see if he can pick up the offense quickly. Jimmy Laughrea is also in the mix.

Joe BrennanICONIf Joe Brennan wins the starting job in Madison, can he live up to the expectations set by Russell Wilson?

Wisconsin: Former N.C. State transfer Russell Wilson departs after helping lead the team to Pasadena last season. His backup in 2011, Joe Brennan, entered spring as the de facto starter after appearing in six games last season. However, he attempted only 15 passes in mop-up duty. Redshirt freshman and former walk-on Joel Stave also is in the mix as well as Curt Phillips. Phillips, however, missed each of the last two seasons while trying to come back from multiple knee injuries and it's uncertain how much he can compete this spring. The major concern is Jon Budmayr, who would have likely started last year if Wilson hadn't arrived and if he would have been healthy. Budmayr will miss spring practice due to a nerve in his right elbow not properly healing, so his career could be in jeopardy. In addition, freshman Bart Houston, who arrives in the summer, needed surgery on his right throwing arm. Landing former Maryland starter Danny O'Brien would be a big coup for new OC Matt Canada, who replaces Paul Chryst.

Stanford: The Andrew Luck era has come to an end on The Farm, so redshirt sophomore Brett Nottingham will try to hold off juniors Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo. The strong-armed signal-caller was Luck's backup last season, playing in six games but throwing only eight passes. Freshmen Kevin Hogan and Evan Crower are also on the QB depth chart.

Texas A&M: Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin and quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury will have a really interesting decision to make in this quarterback derby as A&M transitions into the SEC. Many wonder if the offensive staff will place a little more emphasis on the run as opposed to some of Sumlin's teams in the past. What we do know is that three dual-threat QB's are in this race: Jameill Showers, Johnny Manziel and Matt Davis. Matt Joeckel is more of a traditional dropback passer. The talented Showers was Ryan Tannehill's backup last season, but Manziel has great Texas prep credentials and is a great athlete with a strong arm.

Texas: This was one of the bigger national storylines surrounding the Longhorns when they opened spring camp, but all reports out of Austin suggest that this is David Ash's job to lose. Head coach Mack Brown has suggested that Texas could employ a two-QB system in the fall, so Case McCoy could still see plenty of time on the field. What Brown doesn't want is a situation like last year, where an unprepared freshman had to step in when it was apparent that Garrett Gilbert wasn't the answer under center. So it will be interesting to see if Class of 2012 signal-caller Connor Brewer impresses enough to see action or if he is redshirted. Ash was solid in the team's Holiday Bowl win over Cal, but the accomplished runner must improve on his passing, as he threw four touchdowns compared to eight interceptions in 2011.

Also of note

Who will emerge as Bill O'Brien's quarterback at Penn State? Incumbent Matt McGloin is challenged by Rob Bolden and Paul Jones. Jones may have the most talent, but he needs to stay out of academic trouble.

Connor Wood has essentially won the starting job at Colorado, as he continues to take all of the first-team snaps with the Buffaloes.

The addition of junior-college transfer Bo Wallace was huge for an Ole Miss program looking for stability at quarterback under first-year head coach Hugh Freeze. He knows Freeze's offense from his time at Arkansas State, which gives him a big advantage. Seniors Randall Mackey and Zack Stoudt combined for nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season, while West Virginia transfer Barry Brunetti will also compete after losing the starting job last year.

It's unclear whether Jeff Tuel or Connor Halliday will be the starter for Washington State's opener, as both quarterbacks will split reps evenly in spring drills. No matter who wins the job, though, he will be productive under new head coach Mike Leach. And that could lead to a minor bowl berth for the Cougars, especially when you consider that Leach never missed the postseason at Texas Tech.

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