Happy Friday. Welcome to the mailbag.
To the questions!
Oscar writes: Who's got the most pressure to leave the state of Texas with a victory USC or UCLA? Also me thinks Sam Darnold ends up getting the starting gig. Am I crazy?
Ted Miller: Oscar, by your email, I understand you make custom cabinets. How many questions do I have to answer before, you know, you hook me up?
I kid. Mostly.
No question it's UCLA.
The Trojans are double-digit underdogs to Alabama, the defending national champion. The Crimson Tide are coached by a man, Darth, er, Nick Saban, already on the college football Mount Rushmore.
No one -- at least outside of the USC locker room -- thinks the Trojans are going to win that game in Arlington, Texas. And I asked everyone. In the world.
The Bruins are slight favorites on the road against a team that went 8-5 last year. The Aggies are coached by Kevin Sumlin, who is generally viewed as being on the hot seat this fall.
USC is under pressure, in Clay Helton's first season as head coach, to play hard and well for four quarters. But UCLA is expected to win, and that means losing would inspire grumbling from many Bruins fans.
As for Darnold beating out Max Browne at USC ... maybe. My impression is both USC QBs have looked pretty darn good but I haven't read or heard much to indicate that there's a notable distance between them, one way or another. It seems like it's going to be a tough decision, one that is expected to be made in eight days -- Aug. 20, according to coach Clay Helton.
DomGuff from The Dirty T writes: With all this Big 12 expansion talk and some dude talking about Oklahoma joining the SEC. Is it time to think reignite the Pac-16 hopes again?
Ted Miller: No.
The issue with potential Pac-12 expansion is a simple one and it is not dependent on what the Big 12 decides to do: Will expansion mean more revenue for the existing Pac-12 members?
The only program that would represent an emphatic "yes!" to that question is Texas, perhaps with a side of Oklahoma.
In fact, you could make an argument that Texas and Oklahoma, if they really evaluated the long-term picture, might be best served not in an expanded Big 12 but as members of the Pac-12.
As it is, my general feeling is the Pac-12 is going to stand pat, though obviously if it sees a way to make more money, it's going to remain nimble enough to make a move.
Terry writes: As your industry has evolved and the demarcation between entertainment and journalism seemingly melted, do you find pressure from non-editorial types affecting your work? It seems if Twitter is life now and in the economic and political worlds where I live, aggregators and twenty two year old reporters covering the presidential election or Wall Street are fed stuff and usually just pass it on, lacking any ability to discern validity. Are you immune to this? I mean there was this list of the greatest college football programs ever and it came out Ohio State as number one, which seems to be gibberish. USC five?
Ted Miller: I remember you, Terry! (I used to annoy him as a columnist in Seattle.)
First, no, I feel no pressure from non-editorial types on my work.
But one of my great joys is taking issue with the critics of the media, and this is a good example of a reader taking something and making it into something it's not in order to point out bias or some other sort of media skulduggery.
Yes, there was a recently released list ranking college football teams, but it didn't rank them as "The Greatest College Football Programs."
It was the Associated Press making a list of the top-25 (and top-100) teams based on its college football poll, which started in 1936.
Its methodology was straightforward and not subjective -- at least as far as aggregating the results of a subjective poll can be objective. The AP explained: "To determine the all-time Top 25, the AP formula counted poll appearances (one point) to mark consistency, No. 1 rankings (two points) to acknowledge elite programs and gave a bonus for AP championships (10 points)."
It was math, and Ohio State came out on top based on that formula.