At least a dozen NFL scouts will be at Husky Stadium on Saturday to watch one of the most-anticipated quarterback duels of the college football season: Stanford's Andrew Luck against Washington's Jake Locker.
Locker, a senior, is expected to be a top-five pick in the NFL draft in April.
Luck, a draft-eligible sophomore, could be the first overall pick if he leaves school.
"They're both outstanding candidates," said Oregon State's Mike Riley, who coached the San Diego Chargers for three years. "They've got the arms and the feet, and when you talk about tangibles, that's what you're looking at. And I sense they have the mental and physical toughness it takes."
But for all the NFL eyeballs in Husky Stadium, the Locker-Luck showdown might not be the most entertaining in the Pac-10 this season.
Three weeks ago, Luck and USC's Matt Barkley combined to complete 48 of 69 passes for 675 yards and six touchdowns (and no interceptions).
Saturday evening, Barkley faces Oregon's dynamic sophomore, Darron Thomas.
Next week, Luck is scheduled to go head-to-head with Arizona junior Nick Foles, another future draft pick.
The Pac-10 is so stocked at quarterback that Arizona's State's Steven Threet ranks 54th in the country in passing efficiency but is only No. 9 in the Pac-10.
It is so stocked that the league's reigning offensive player of the week is a backup quarterback (Arizona's Matt Scott).
"You're looking at guys now who are experienced," Riley said. "Locker and Luck are very good examples of that. Foles played a year, and he's outstanding. And Barkley played a year, so he's better.
"There's nothing like experience, and that's what our guys have."
Long known as the conference of quarterbacks, the Pac-10 has been anything but that recently. It was the conference of linebackers. And the conference of running backs. And the conference of defensive backs.
But the league that produced John Elway, Warren Moon, Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe, Jake Plummer, Carson Palmer and Aaron Rodgers turned out just one first-round pick at the position in the past four years (USC's Mark Sanchez).
The Big 12 -- once the bastion of option football -- became the place to go for pro-style quarterbacks.
But that will change in April with Locker, who would have been a top-10 pick last spring but opted to remain in school.
Luck is a lock for the top five when he turns pro, and Barkley, who is a year away from being eligible, won't be far behind.
"There are a lot of good quarterbacks in the league," said Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, who played quarterback in the NFL for 15 years. "Some are in different points in their development,"
Locker and Barkley were five-star recruits who grew up on the West Coast, but several teams went elsewhere to find their stars.
Oregon's Thomas, who is from Houston, had scholarship offers from Florida and LSU.
Luck, another Houston product, could have gone to Alabama.
And Foles, who grew up in Austin, Texas, picked Arizona over Texas Tech once he decided to transfer from his original school (Michigan State).
"They've done a pretty good job recruiting," said one NFL scout, who requested anonymity. "It seems like everyone has somebody who can play."