PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez never revealed which quarterback would start the Wildcats' opener against Northern Arizona, not even to his players.
So when the time came for the offense to take the field, B.J. Denker simply trotted out with them.
The senior handled it well, too, leading the Wildcats to a rout with his arm and legs while earning a chance to start again this week.
"I thought B.J. played pretty well," Rodriguez said. "He was solid. He understands our system pretty well."
Arizona wasn't the only Pac-12 team that had a prolonged quarterback competition heading into the season.
Half of the conference's teams were set with returning quarterbacks or backups who had been groomed to take over, including Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Arizona State's Taylor Kelly and UCLA's Brett Hundley.
The rest of the teams had competitions that lasted well into preseason camp and some right up until the first snap of the season.
Like Rodriguez, Southern California's Lane Kiffin played it close to the vest in naming his starter for the Trojans' opener against Hawaii.
Cody Kessler got the start, but Max Wittek played nearly as much.
Problem was, neither sophomore played well enough to separate himself from the other in the 30-13 win.
Kessler completed 10 of 19 passes for 95 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Wittek went 5-for-10 for 77 yards and was sacked twice.
Kiffin hasn't named a starter again this week for Saturday's game against Washington State, though both should get some playing time — maybe.
"I don't think anything's ever certain," Kiffin said. "We'll go into the game and see what happens, how everything plays out."
Oregon State coach Mike Riley had two solid choices for his starter in Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz. He ended up going with Mannion, who threw for over 2,400 yards and 15 touchdowns in the Beavers' break-out season a year ago.
Mannion had a solid opening game, throwing for 422 yards, three touchdowns and had two big completions in the closing seconds to set up a potential game-tying field goal. Good as he was, Mannion still couldn't lead the Beavers to victory, ending up on the short end of a 49-46 loss to FCS school Eastern Washington.
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