Pac-12 Football: Marcus Mariota and the top 10 players of the century

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Dec 13, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota kisses the Heisman Trophy during a press conference at the New York Marriott Marquis after winning the Heisman Trophy. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Home to some of the nation’s best talent, the Pac-12 has been a historically dominant conference — and the 21st century has been no different. Here are the top players so far in this century. 

Every team in the Pac-12 has had great players — even some have had all time greats. Before the 2000s, the Pac-10 was a dominant conference in college athletics. Following the turn of the century, nothing changed — excluding the addition of two more teams in 2011 (Colorado and Utah). Consistently a competitive conference in all sports, football has been a highlight for the Pac-12.

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In the past 15 years, some of the best teams in college football history have been products of the Pac-12. From USC’s dynasty to Oregon’s recent domination, the Pac-12 truly is “The Conference of Champions.”

Each of those teams consisted of some very talented players, and you could bet that an all-time all Pac-12 team could hold its own against any other all-time team. It would also potentially feature some of the all time bests at each position.

John Elway at quarterback, backed up by Matt Leinart, Marcus Mariota and Andrew Luck. Marcus Allen and Reggie Bush in the backfield? Unstoppable. What about Ronnie Lott and Troy Polamalu in the secondary and Junior Seau and Terrell Suggs in the front seven? Unrivaled.

Alas, this list will only feature the top-10 players of the century, and though there have been so many great players in the Pac-12, the top-10 of the 21st century have come from just a handful of schools. Click through and see if your favorite player or team made the cut, and feel free to leave a comment with your top-10 and who you think is the biggest omission from this list.

Next: LaMichael James