Marcus Mariota's admirable qualities are many, but perhaps what made him the best was his consistency. As fans, we knew exactly what we were getting out of Mariota every time he took the field; 250+ yards passing, a smattering of runs, two or more passing touchdowns, and zero interceptions. In fact, Mariota put up this particular game line nineteen times in his career. Since his freshman year, Mariota failed to throw for 200 yards in a Pac-12 game only once - the 2013 Cal game that took place in a monsoon. Having that "sure thing" at quarterback is what Oregon will miss most next year. The Ducks have quarterbacks on the roster who can do the things Mariota does, but none of them can do it week in, week out, nearly without fail. At least, they can't yet.
On the bright side, Oregon has a bona fide quarterback battle on their hands, and the field is as wide open as it's been since 2008, when Justin Roper, Nate Costa, Chris Harper, and eventual starter Jeremiah Masoli attempted to replace Dennis Dixon. In the two QB battles since, the arguments has been divided into two camps (#TeamCosta vs. #TeamThomas, and #TeamBennett vs. #TeamMariota, to be specific). This year, there are a number of players fans can back as their preferred starter. This kind of decision can be tough. To help you all out, I've gone full BuzzFeed and created a quiz that will hopefully illuminate the right quarterback for you.
1. What is your favorite Olympic event?
c) 100 meter dash
2. What's you go-to gameday snack?
a) slow-cooked pulled pork
b) combination pizza
c) Buffalo wings
d) lamb kebabs
e) chips and 7-layer dip
3. Before you sits a five-car garage. You can have any one of the vehicles inside. Which door do you choose?
Door A) a '67 Mustang
Door B) a Subaru WRX rally car
Door C) an NHRA dragster
Door D) a Tesla Model S
Door E) The garage door won't open, so you can't tell what's inside. It's probably good though, and you love surprises!
4. What song pumps you up before a Ducks game?
5. What's your favorite Pixar movie?
b) Toy Story 3
c) The Incredibles
d) Finding Nemo
6. What's your drink of choice when you need a pick-me-up?
b) Mountain Dew
c) Red Bull
d) 5 Hour Energy
e) Four Loko
7. Who's your favorite ATQ writer?
a) David Piper
b) Matt Takimoto
c) Brandon Levesque
d) Sean Larson
e) Matt Daddy
8. What's your perfect first date?
a) dinner and a movie
b) food trucks, an off-Broadway show, and then cocktails
c) Burning Man
d) a raging house party; kegs, beer pong, lampshades
e) a warehouse rave that starts at 2 AM
9. Who's your pick for President in 2016?
a) Hilary Clinton
b) Michael Bloomberg
c) Chris Christie
d) Cory Booker
e) Donald Trump
10. Finally, what's your favorite Oregon game of the Marcus Mariota era?
Check your results...
Carry the one...
If you answered with mostly A's... you chose Jeff Lockie! You value many things, not the least of which is time and experience. You appreciate Lockie's place as elder statesman and heir apparent. You probably think Nate Costa and Bryan Bennett would have done well as Oregon starters. You believe that in a race this unclear, Lockie's game experience and two years spent as Mariota's backup is better preparation than anything the other candidates possess. Welcome to #TeamLockie! It's comfortable here.
If you answered with mostly B's... you chose Morgan Mahalak! You're entranced by his dual-threat skills, his compact throwing motion passes your eye test, and you aren't afraid to hand a redshirt freshman the keys because you've watched Darron Thomas and Marcus Mariota succeed as starters after sitting out the season before. You've probably fallen victim to Tako's MAHALAK4HEISMAN campaign since he started it in late 2013. #TeamMahalak awaits you!
If you answered with mostly C's... you chose Ty Griffin! Vroom vroom, ya'll, the Georgia Tech transfer and brother of Oregon RB commit Taj Griffin has wheels, and he intends to use them. Arguably the most physically gifted member of the competition, Griffin is very much a raw prospect as a thrower, but his playmaking ability with his legs will provide him with ample opportunity to keep the Ducks offense rolling, and since you loved watching Jeremiah Masoli play, you're okay with a QB who has to make some of his money on the ground. And you definitely don't mind a quarterback learning on the job, if you think it'll pay off down the road. Welcome to #TeamGriffin!
If you answered with mostly D's... you chose Travis Waller! Oregon hasn't officially signed Waller, a four-star dual threat QB, but he's as solid an Oregon commit as you can get, and it's a safe bet Oregon will be getting his letter of intent on signing day. The fact that he hasn't gotten to Eugene yet doesn't bother you, because you've watched his recruiting tape ninety times and know the kid has skills. You watched Royce Freeman go from high school to a breakout college star in a few months time, so why not Waller? #TeamWaller has another member, and it's you!
If you answered with mostly E's... your QB isn't on the roster yet! Mark Helfrich has stated that Oregon isn't ruling out an under-the-radar QB making their way to Eugene via a transfer or a late recruiting flip. You live on the wild side, and you're willing to roll the dice with a guy we aren't yet considering. Maybe you're enamored with Eastern Washington's Vernon Adams. Maybe you have a sneaking suspicion the Oregon coaches and recruiters will swoop in and steal another 2015 QB like Kyler Murray, Brady White, or Sam Darnold at the last minute. Or maybe Braxton Miller is your white whale, and you're holding out hope he'll still transfer. You're hashtag is still coming, but you're patient.
Congratulations! You are now a member of an Oregon quarterback's rooting team. Now go take your hashtag to Twitter, and be sure to belittle anyone who disagrees with you, for this is the Internet, and propriety is useless.
Apologies to Taylor Alie, who we all hope will continue his stellar play as kick holder/swinging gate wizard, despite not being included in the quiz. If you end up the starting quarterback, I'll write 2000 words about how much better you are at everything than I am.