Opening the mailbag: Tebow exhaustion in the Pac-10?

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

First, lots of feedback on my restaurant recommendations for the ultimate Pac-10 road trip.

I tried to go for diversity: seafood, Italian, Pan-Asian, French, steaks, cheap, pricey, frou frou, local institutions, etc.

Some of you took real offense to certain choices ... ouch!

As for those who don't like Adam's Place in Eugene, Ore., are you aware that it's the headquarters of the Eugene Martini Association!

I'm not going to just sit here and listen to you badmouth the home of the Eugene Martini Association, an organization that does so much good in the world, trying to help as many people as possible get the martinis they need!


To your letters.

Cam from Albany, Ore., wrote: When comparing the spring production of Oregon against the tangible talent at USC, which school is deeper at QB for 2009?

Ted Miller: Interesting question.

USC has three quarterbacks who are more physically talented -- in terms of NFL possibilities, at least -- than any Oregon quarterback.

Oregon has Jeremiah Masoli, who's the top returning quarterback in the Pac-10, and Justin Roper, who has a lot of game experience.

None of USC's three quarterbacks -- Aaron Corp, Mitch Mustain or Matt Barkley -- owns significant experience running a Pac-10 offense. (Mustain's experience as a true freshman at Arkansas doesn't count for much; see his struggles with USC's pro-style offense.)

Oregon's third and perhaps fourth options are Darron Thomas and Nate Costa, if he's healthy. Hopes were high for Costa last year before he suffered another serious knee injury, and Thomas is the quarterback of the future.

Seems to me both schools are fairly set at the position. But heading into 2008, I'd take Masoli over anyone else in the conference.

Daniel from Cypress, Calif., writes: What are you hearing about the new PAC-10 commish, about making decisions that will promote viewing of PAC-10 football nationally and what do you see him doing about contributing to changing the BCS?

Ted Miller: You don't need to wait to hear from Larry Scott. Outgoing commissioner Tom Hansen told the Orange County Register this week that there have been discussions about starting a "Pac-10 network," similar to what the Big Ten has already done.

Way -- WAY -- preliminary. But it shows that the Pac-10 is finally, due to revenue woes, looking to get creative in the ways the league markets itself.

As for Scott, it's too early to know how he might change things. He's been laying low, and truth is he probably has no idea what he's going to do. Bottom line is he serves the will of the school presidents, most of whom seem dead-set against change.

And I think the Pac-10 is a long way from joining the revolt against the BCS.

Brian from Parts Unknown writes: With the recent news about Floyd at USC possibly giving Mayo's handler $1000 and the NCAA combining the basketball and football probes of USC, I am starting to believe USC will get more than a slap on the wrist. What do you make of this? What penalties would you guess will be coming if the latest allegations are true?

Ted Miller: What has been reported on the basketball side of things is significantly different than what has been reported on the football side.

This is a football blog, so I'm going to leave the Tim Floyd-O.J. Mayo mess to other folks to sort out.

As for football, as I have previously stated: It will come down to whether the NCAA finds that USC knew -- or should have known -- about Reggie Bush's relationship with a pair of would-be agents who were allegedly giving him money and gifts.

The evidence to support the notion that any USC coach had direct knowledge is scant. It basically amounts to an allegation that running backs coach Todd McNair socialized with Bush one night in San Diego when the would-be agents were around and claims by the would-be agents that they were allowed in the USC locker room after games.

Having been in the USC locker room many times, I can only say ... who isn't inside the freaking USC locker room after a game?

And, by the way, both Lloyd Lake's and Michael Michaels' lawyers said early in the case that they had no direct evidence that USC knew what was going on, according to the book, "Tarnished Heisman."

Where USC football, however, might be found most culpable is lax oversight.

Will that, combined with the basketball allegations, amount to the dreaded "lack of institutional control"? We shall see. The odds it will are certainly better than they were a few months ago.

Ryan from Austin writes: I really enjoy the blog. It is a nice dose of reality as a Trojan fan in Austin, TX. And for those wondering, coming back to Austin after flying out to Pasadena for the 2006 Rose Bowl was absolutely brutal. Vince Young SI cover everywhere for what seemed like months...wait, it was months. I digress but do have a question... Can USC get to the BCS championship game with one loss? I know there are numerous factors outside their control, but I'm curious if you think an early season loss to Cal or Ohio State ends their title game chances.

Ted Miller: Sure. As you say, a lot factors in -- other one-loss teams, USC's ranking when it loses and who it loses to, the Pac-10's top-to-bottom strength, etc.

What the Trojans need if they lose once is for the teams on their schedule to do well, the Pac-10 as well as Ohio State and Notre Dame. And it would help if the Trojans lone loss comes before November, or even mid-October.

If the Pac-10 makes a strong showing against another difficult slate off nonconference games and seven teams earn bowl eligibility, then USC probably would have a strong case with one loss.

Nate from Pleasanton, Calif., writes: If Stanford's Toby Gerhart does declare for the MLB draft who would you expect to step up for the Cardinal and how well do you think they would perform to keep the standards for rushing that were set with last years rushing attack?

Ted Miller: The good news for Stanford fans is it's starting to look like Gerhart will be back.

If Gerhart does bolt, however, Jeremy Stewart would be first in line, with a trio of incoming freshmen -- Tyler Gaffney, Usua Amanam and Stepfan Taylor -- finding themselves in the midst of an outstanding opportunity.

Moreover, coach Jim Harbaugh couldn't stop gushing about Alex Debniak this spring. He's going to double as a lineba
cker and running back.

As big an issue for the running game is filling some holes on the offensive line.

Van from Pahrump, Nev., writes: For context, I'm a rabid USC fan. I fully agree that Tim Tebow is already an all-time college great, possessed of justifiably admired awesome football skills and charismatic leadership abilities. But I really don't get the degree of unmitigated fawning over him that seems to universally anoint him as the "best ever." May I be so bold as to ask what ever happened to Vince Young? You know, that Texas QB who apparently played- and only modestly at that- many, many decades ago. I do not think any player in college history ever had an incredible performance like Vince did in the vs. Michigan Rose Bowl- and THEN came his even better performance against USC!

Ted Miller: If you've come expecting me to tweak Tim Tebow, you, my friend, are in the wrong place.

Two national championships. A Heisman Trophy and a third-place finish.

And another year in which Florida is expected to at least play for another championship.

Vince Young was wonderful in a pair of Rose Bowls. In fact, I'm not sure if his twin performances weren't the best bowl performance combination in college football history.

But Tebow has a chance, if he wins a third national title, to instantly become one of college football's all-time greats.

And, you know, he seems like a heck of a guy to me.

Manny from Scottsdale writes: Ted, Where do you hear [Arizona State quarterback Danny] Sullivan is a heavy favorite? He was horrible Spring Game and can't move. When I read ESPN I expect to hear good evaluation. Who are you getting that info from? ASU needs anything but Sullivan and we all saw it but you I guess?

Ted Miller: Dennis Erickson. Where did you hear differently?