With September in the books, let's play a quick game of "If the season ended today ..." as it relates to the All-Pac-12 quarterback -- with past performance and preseason hype removed from the equation.
It's safe to say that Oregon State's Sean Mannion would be the pick as the first-team all-league QB.
Nobody has a better combination of statistics, quality wins and success in the clutch -- that 10-play, 75-yard game-winning drive Saturday in Tucson was a thing of beauty.
What strikes me, though, is that USC's Matt Barkley wouldn't even be the second-team pick.
Oregon's Marcus Mariota has been superb; same with UCLA's Brett Hundley and ASU's Taylor Kelly. (Washington's Keith Price has the misfortune of facing two of the nation's top defenses in LSU and Stanford.)
Barkley is fifth in efficiency rating, played below par in USC's biggest game (Stanford), and threw for six of his 12 touchdown passes against Syracuse.
There's plenty of time for Barkley to reclaim the mantle we all expected him to own for 14 weeks. But the bigger story is the play of the league's young QBs.
The freshmen (Mariota and Hundley) and sophomores (Mannion and Kelly) all have efficiency ratings above 150.
Three of the four, with Mannion being the exception, work from a version of the spread offense.
Three of the four, with Mariota as the exception, have shown their mettle on the road (Seattle doesn't count as a true road game
Whether they maintain the efficiency and success in the crucible of league play is another matter. But even if there's a drop-off, the quartet stands as the league's best crop of young quarterbacks since ...
... Probably since the 2000 season, when Joey Harrington was a junior (first year as full-time starter) and Carson Palmer, Kyle Boller and Jason Gesser were all sophomores.
To the ratings ...
1. Oregon (5-0, 2-0)
Last week: 1
Result: Beat Washington State 51-26
Next up: vs. Washington
Comment: Any day now, the Ducks will play a true road game. No, check that: Not until Oct. 18 will they play a true road game.
2. Oregon State (3-0, 2-0)
Last week: 4
Result: Won at Arizona 38-35
Next up: vs. Washington State
Comment: Beavers have five tough games left: Three on the road (BYU, Washington and Stanford) and two at home (ASU and Oregon).
3. UCLA (4-1, 1-1)
Last week: 5
Result: Won at Colorado 42-14
Next up: at Cal
Comment: With a victory this week, Bruins should finish no worse than 8-4. Would that be good enough for Mora to be Pac-12 COY? Riley and Graham may have something to say about that.
4. USC (3-1, 1-1)
Last week: 3
Next up: at Utah (Thursday)
Comment: Dropped the Trojans due to monthlong absence of positive vibes: They were so-so against Syracuse, unimpressive at Stanford, nothing special against Cal, and then the bye.
5. Washington (3-1, 1-0)
Last week: 8
Result: Beat Stanford 17-13 (Thursday)
Next up: at Oregon
Comment: DC Justin Wilcox earning 75,000,000 pennies this season, and he's worth every one.
6. Stanford (3-1, 1-1)
Last week: 2
Result: Lost at Washington 17-13 (Thursday)
Next up: vs. Arizona
Comment: As noted previously: The Pac-12 ratings don't always match my AP top-25 ballot; they're far more subjective. And right now -- given the way it lost (blown lead, no offensive TDs) -- Stanford's momentum is decidedly negative.
7. Arizona State (4-1, 2-0)
Last week: 7
Result: Won at Cal 27-17
Next up: Bye, then at Colorado (Thursday)
Comment: Only two penalties at Cal ... Two! Erickson's teams would have had two penalties on the opening kickoff (at least one would be unsportsmanlike conduct).
8. Arizona (3-2, 0-2)
Last week: 6
Result: Lost to Oregon State 38-35
Next up: at Stanford
Comment: One week after facing the physical OSU running game, the Wildcats face the ... physical Stanford running game. Could the 3-3-5 give up 335 yards on the ground?
9. Utah (2-2, 0-1)
Last week: 10
Next up: vs. USC (Thursday)
Comment: Utes have yet to score more than 24 points against FBS opponents. They'll need that by the end of the third quarter to have chance on Thursday.
10. Cal (1-4, 0-2)
Last week: 9
Result: Lost to Arizona State 27-17
Next up: vs. UCLA
Comment: It's October, and the Bears are 0-fer against FBS competition. The speed of the collapse has been remarkable.
11. Colorado (1-4, 1-1)
Last week: 11
Result: Lost to UCLA 42-14
Next up: Bye, then vs. Arizona State (Thursday)
Comment: The Buffs on ESPN next week: Not sure the college football world is ready for that.
12. Washington State (2-3, 0-2)
Last week: 12
Result: Lost to Oregon 51-26
Next up: at Oregon State
Comment: A little more than a month ago, we were all wondering if the Cougars could rise to .500 in Mike Leach's first season. Now? 3-9 seems about right.