Opening the mailbag: Oregon's future is bright

How's that Civil War hangover?

Racing to get this done before I get on a plane.

This whole just 24 hours in a day thing is starting to annoy me. There's just not enough time.

'Ze notes.

Rob from Tri-Cities, Wash., writes: The Ducks will return the lions share of the team for next season. Will the preseason pollsters still blindly vote USC in front of Oregon? The future is bright for the Ducks.

Ted Miller: Yep.

That fancypants Ducks offense starts one senior, though he's a good one in tight end Ed Dickson. In fact, Dickson is the only senior on THE ENTIRE OFFENSIVE TWO-DEEP! The defense takes three hits, and it won't be easy to replace end Will Tukuafu or safety T.J. Ward, though Ward missed half the season because of an ankle injury. And don't forget senior kicker Morgan Flint.

So do you want to hear it? Oregon will be the pick to win the Pac-10 in 2010. Over USC.

And maybe my own sprained ankle -- I'm day-to-day -- has gone to my head but I'm about to make a fairly aggressive prediction.

Oregon vs. Alabama for the BCS championship next year in Glendale, Ariz.

Only remember if I'm right.

Oh, by the way, Beavers fans who are taking out their Pac-10 blog voodoo dolls -- ouch! ouch! stop! -- the Beavers will be pretty salty, too, if they can get good quarterback play from whomever replaces Sean Canfield. Eight starters are back on offense, nine on defense and both specialists.

It wouldn't be outrageous to think that we might be reading about the Biggest Civil War since the 1860s again next year.

Rod from Denver wrote: :I am a recent Oregon grad and just wanted to see if others share my feelings. With all of the excitement of the Rose Bowl, I can't help but feel slightly embarrassed. I was watching the game with my son and he wanted me to explain why No. 9 was allowed to play since he was suspended. I went on to explain that he was re-instated after his season ending suspension. My wife was quick to comment, he wasn't suspended if he was allowed to practice, wasn't he just benched? She has a good point. If the roles were reversed, I would be upset at Oregon State for playing a player that had been suspended (especially if they changed the outcome of the game). It seems that Oregon was willing to do anything to win, which might not sit well with others.

Ted Miller: Lots of mail about LeGarrette Blount, most of it from Oregon and Oregon State fans who are no fans of Blount.

Blount finished with nine carries for 51 yards with a 12-yard TD run. His impact, to me, was secondary. But some folks are touting him -- to make a negative point about him playing --- as the linchpin of the Ducks winning effort.

I don't agree with that, but that's an opinion thing, and I understand the position -- I even played up his being a "spark" in my game story.

Blount was formally suspended for seven games. That's a stiff penalty by any measure.

During that suspension, Blount was given the option to practice with the scout team if he remained in school and jumped through a number of academic and behavioral hoops that Chip Kelly refused to specify.

If you've ever played football, you know that being able to practice and not play is not a reward. Football practice, unless you're a kicker or quarterback, isn't terribly fun.

Blount was reinstated before the Nov. 7 Stanford game, thereby missing the Ducks biggest game of the year, the USC visit.

Blount didn't play in the loss to Stanford. He didn't play in the thrilling double-overtime win at Arizona, which has a smallish but athletic defense that Blount might have matched up well against.

Folks keep mentioning some shady backstory for Blount at Oregon. This is mostly myth. Blount's previous transgressions -- academics, temper -- were relatively minor.

My feeling is Kelly handled the Blount situation masterfully. His punishment was harsh, but he cracked the door open for redemption.

I'm glad Blount played, and played well.

Sam from Atlanta writes: I read that there is a chance that USC OC Jeremy Bates may take an assistant roll for Mike Shanahan if he goes back to the NFL this year. If this happens, any chance USC can land Charlie Weis as the new OC?

Ted Miller: I'd rate the chances of that at zero. For one, Weis is almost certainly headed back to the NFL. Second, Pete Carroll and Weis aren't terribly chummy, even before they squared off in their heated college rivalry.

As for Bates, I'm not sure his leaving wouldn't be good for both parties. The Trojans offense underachieved this year and quarterback Matt Barkley seemed to regress instead of improve.

If Bates does leave, it will be interesting to see what Carroll does. His pattern is to hire friends or guys he can be chummy with -- one of the reasons things didn't work out with Norm Chow. But it might be a good idea if Carroll decided to the offer the big money he paid to Bates to a proven, big-time offensive coordinator.

Marc from Albuquerque writes: Why don't we settle this Pac-10 vs. SEC thing by setting up some kind of Pac-10- SEC challenge (akin to the Big Ten-ACC challenge in hoops) where one weekend a year we get a several matchups. Obviously this would have to be a few years in the future as schedules are already set, but it would make for an exciting weekend. Your thoughts?

Ted Miller: It would be a lot of fun. The Pac-10, from the commissioner to all the athletic directors would be all for it.

Why won't something like this happen?

Like I said, every individual in the Pac-10 would be all for it.