Opening the mailbag: Why all the blah-blah about UCLA?

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

The Pac-10 blog is never a dead letter office...

Matt from Portland writes: That was a very sad story about Jake Locker and Kyle Roger, but thank you for sharing it. I wasn't sure if you are aware of these articles regarding Oregon DBs Walter Thurmond III and Patrick Chung, but it is another heart-wrenching loss of a young man.

Ted Miller: Glad you and many others liked it, Matt. Great execution of a story by Greg Johns and you can tell why so many reporters speak so highly of Locker as a person.

And, gosh, Kyle Roger ... that brave kid should remind us to maintain our perspective during these tough times.

And I linked those outstanding columns from George Schroeder before, but I can find no reason not to do so again.

We read so many negative things about college athletes that it's sometimes worthwhile to remember that the vast majority are quality young men and some are exceptionally selfless and caring.

Nick from the Bay Area writes: Why are people paying so much to the recruiting class from ucla? who cares? they're not going bowling or winning more than 5 games, ucla is just an awful awful program! GO BEARS! best4heisman!

Ted Miller: Hmm. My guess is people are paying attention for a handful of reasons.

  1. It was a great class

  2. The class addressed specific needs, most particularly on the offensive line

  3. Coach Rick Neuheisel was under a lot of pressure to produce after telling folks he wanted to go head-to-head with USC

  4. Many are anticipating a lot more entertaining hijinks between Neuheisel and Pete Carroll in the LA rivalry.

As for UCLA next season, we shall see. I'm leaning toward the Bruins showing a lot of improvement.

And, Nick, I'm sure your irritation doesn't have anything to do with a certain offensive lineman who chose UCLA over Cal does it?

Kevin from Renton, Wash., writes: Why no talk of a medical redshirt year for Jeremy Perry? Is his injury so severe he could not play? If he wants to play in the NFL doesn't he need a year to prove he's healthy? OSU could use him in 2009.

Ted Miller: Kevin, good question. Word from Oregon State is Perry is not in school and there are no plans for him to petition for another year.

Preseason projections were positive for Perry, who, when healthy, was a mauling run-blocker. But the 338-pound guard never got healthy in 2008.

Let's hope his luck turns and he gets a shot at the NFL.

Andrew from San Francisco writes: Ted, did you really meant it when responding to a question posed during your chat today, you said there isn't a Pac-10 coach that you would strenuously object to coaching your son?

Ted Miller: Yes.

Jeremy from Vancouver, Wash., wrote: Whatever happened to the dude who chose Cal over Oregon, only to find out later that it was all a charade.

Ted Miller: Answering this for the second time, but this is also a very good "Outside the Lines" report on this young man's effort to put the incident behind him.

Tyler from Parts Unknown wrote: Just a quick comment on your "Mt. Rushmore" article. Found a small error in that Pat Tillman was from Arizona State, not Arizona. Gotta keep our sundevils from being accused of being a traitor. Errors happen, it only becomes a mistake when it is not corrected.

Ted Miller: Tyler, I appreciate you writing about a perceived error in a friendly way. That said... it wasn't an error. Tillman is one of the four faces of Arizona... the state. The Mt. Rushmore project was "state-by-state." You'll notice in the next sentence I identify John Wooden as one of the faces of California, not UCLA.

Marv from Portland writes: Ted: Your blog fails to answer the most pressing question of the weekend: How did you do in Vegas?!

Ted Miller: Thanks for asking, Marv.

I did OK. Spent a lot of time on the tables and ended up just south of breaking even.

Good time with my boys from home -- it's an annual get-together -- though my ACC friends made a much better showing than my SEC buddies, which is probably for the best because it's not fun to listen to Dawgs endlessly bark about Urban Meyer.