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Ranking the 2017 Pac-12 backfields: Washington and USC are loaded at QB and running back

Ranking the Pac-12 backfields from top to bottom.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Championship-Colorado vs Washington Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
  1. Washington (QB Jake Browning Jr. RB Myles Gaskin Jr. RB Lavon Coleman Sr. RB Sean McGrew Fr.)

The Huskies are neck and neck with the Trojans here, but I will give the Huskies the nod for having two (proven) elite running backs in their backfield. Browning and Gaskin are known elite talents, but don’t forget about Coleman who is a 225-pound playmaker with a knack for making big runs.

2. USC (QB Sam Darnold So. RB Ronald Jones Jr. RB Aca’Cedric Ware Jr. RB Dominic Davis Jr. RB James Toland IV Sr. RB Stephen Carr Fr.)

Darnold and Jones are an amazing QB/RB combo which is one of the best in the nation. The rest of their backfield is very interesting as it is comprised of veteran players looking to fill Justin Davis’ void and five-star recruit Carr who could be a future Heisman contender.

3. Oregon (QB Justin Herbert So. RB Royce Freeman Sr. RB Tony Brooks-James Jr. RB Kani Benoit Sr. RB Taj Griffin Jr.)

The Ducks may have struggled in 2016, but their backfield is still dripping with talent going into 2017. Herbert looks like he is on his way to becoming a star, a healthy Freeman is the conference’s scariest running back and TB-J, Benoit and Griffin are as good of depth backs as you could ever find.

4. Colorado (QB Steven Montez So. RB Phillip Lindsay Sr. RB Kyle Evans Jr. RB Donovan Lee Sr. RB Beau Bisharat So.)

Montez is right there with Herbert as a sophomore quarterback with great size and athleticism who is ready to be a star. Lindsay is the best running back in the conference in my opinion and Evans and Lee are decent depth backs.

5. Washington State (QB Luke Falk Sr. RB Gerard Wicks Sr. RB James Williams So. RB Jamal Morrow Sr. RB Keith Harrington Jr.)

We all know about Falk, but don’t sleep in the running backs. Wicks, Williams, Morrow and Harrington really stepped up in 2016 and together put up the numbers of a great back and offer different skills.

6. UCLA (QB Josh Rosen RB Soso Jamabo Jr. RB Bolu Olorunfunmi Jr. RB Jalen Starks So. RB Brandon Stephens So. RB Nate Starks Sr.)

This is all about a healthy Rosen who really boosts the UCLA backfield. The running back group is as talented as any in the conference, but needs to step up production in 2017.

7. Arizona State (QB Blake Barnett So. QB Manny Wilkins Jr. RB Kalen Ballage Sr. RB Demario Richard Sr. RB Nick Ralston So.)

The Sun Devils are undecided at QB, but Barnett and Wilkins are probably average at worst options. Ballage and Richard is a top-flight combo at running back with great size.

8. Arizona (QB Brandon Dawkins Jr. RB Nick Wilson Sr. RB J.J. Taylor Fr. RB Zach Green Sr.)

Dawkins has electricity and could progress into one of the conference’s best quarterbacks. Wilson is a 1,000-yard rusher if he can ever stay healthy and Taylor looked to be an 1,000-yard rusher and fire plug before he got injured at the start of Pac-12 play.

9. Utah (QB Troy Williams Sr. RB Armand Shyne Jr. RB Zack Moss So. RB Jordan Howard Sr.)

Williams is probably the least-dangerous returning full-time starting quarterback in the conference, but should progress to at least be average in 2017. Shyne and Moss look like the next great Utah running backs if they can stay healthy as both are big with great speed and racked up yards before they got injured in 2016.

10. Oregon State (QB Darell Garretson Sr. RB Ryan Nall Jr. RB Artavis Pierce So.)

Garretson feels like a player who could really improve as a senior, but this backfield is all about Nall. Nall has great size and was on fire in the second half of 2016.

11. Stanford (QB Ryan Burns Sr. QB Keller Chryst Sr. RB Bryce Love Jr. RB Cameron Scarlett Jr. FB Daniel Marx Sr.)

Quarterback is a mystery as Chryst is still injured and Burns was ineffective in 2016, but I guess they are still the two most-likely starters. Love broke out in the Sun Bowl and could become the next standout Cardinal back.

12. Cal (QB Ross Bowers So. QB Max Gilliam Fr. RB Tre Watson Sr. RB Vic Enwere Sr.)

Another quarterback question mark with no exciting candidate in the fold. Watson and Enwere are a very nice running back combo though.