Oregon coach Mark Helfrich and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott both used the league's opening media day to praise Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota for staying in school.
The rest of the Pac-12 isn't quite as excited about Mariota's return, but he's just one reason why the Ducks are favored to win their highly competitive league again.
Mariota and Oregon were picked to win the Pac-12 title Wednesday in the preseason media poll, topping that chart for the fourth time in five years.
Mariota says he returned to enjoy the college experience. Since he's only taking golf and yoga this fall to finish up his degree, he'll have plenty of time.
Southern California coach Steve Sarkisian thinks his Trojans also can challenge for the league title in his first season back home.