Opening the mailbag: USC hate, BCS issues and general worries

For our restaurant enthusiasts who might want to get ahead on the new Pac-12: Check this out.

I have a feeling I'm going to be pretty happy with covering games in Boulder, Colo.

By the way: This is your brain. And this is your brain if you follow me on Twitter.

To the notes!

Jason from Northern California writes: Let's say Cal being unranked gives them what they needed (irrelevance) and they manage to beat Arizona in Tucson. How much does this affect the global view of Pac-10 football? I'm thinking there isn't much respect for my Golden Bears anywhere right now and them beating UA might just lower everyone else's view of the overall conference since Arizona's a serious contender, which in turn hurts our BCS rankings, etc. Would it be better for the conference if Cal just finished off a mediocre year 7-5 -- losses to Oregon, Arizona, Stanford (it pains me to say it), and Washington -- and won a meaningless bowl?

Ted Miller: Are we looking big-picture for what's best for the conference?

Best for the conference: Two victorious BCS bowl teams, one winning the national title, preferably over undefeated Alabama. And then a nicely laid out second and third tier of teams winning their bowl games.

Not saying that's going to happen, obviously, but you asked.

As for Cal: Well, if the Bears use the upset loss at Nevada, which goes on to upset Boise State and win the WAC, as a touchstone for winning the rest of their games, they will get plenty of credit. And a Rose Bowl berth.

It's too early to start projecting hypotheticals, though I realize it's ridiculous to try to stop such speculation. Even if Arizona lost to Cal, it still would have a win over Iowa. And if Iowa ends up winning the Big Ten, that's pretty darn good.

My gut feeling is we are going to have plenty of strange results this years, with teams soaring one week and crashing the next.

One Big Duck Fan from Medford, Ore., writes: If USC is not eligible for any bowl games &/or a Pac 10 championship game or title, WHY play them at all ?A win against them doesn't help. A loss does. But mainly injuries. A season could be won or lost on an injury against a team that doesn't count.To me, it's a lose-lose. You?

Ted Miller: Well, first of all, USC didn't get the death penalty, so the Trojans get to play this season.

And a win against them could very well help you. Let's say, for example, your beloved Ducks are tied with UCLA atop the Pac-10 heading into the final weekend of the season (I know; work with me here). Your Ducks win at Oregon State, and the Bruins lose at home to USC.

Your beloved Ducks are the champs! Thanks to the Trojans!

Does a successful season from USC hurt the Pac-10? Yes, in many ways. If the Trojans hand out a bunch of conference losses, those teams drop in the polls and/or their odds of bowl eligibility fall.

The solution, of course, is to beat USC.

But there's another side to this: Say USC goes 11-1, its only loss to Oregon. That quality win for the Ducks would be recognized in the polls (even in the coaches poll, which can't rank USC, would recognize a quality win when ranking the Ducks) as well as the computer rankings.

Truth is, for teams at the top of the conference, a good USC isn't necessarily a bad thing -- as long as those top teams beat the Trojans.

A. Morales from Maricopa, Ariz., writes: I think it's garbage that USC is banned from a potential conference title game. If the Pac and NCAA didn't want USC completing for a conference title, they should have banned them from playing any conference games at all. My team, Arizona, tied for the conference title in 1993 but it sure didn't feel like we won or tied considering UCLA played in the Rose Bowl that season. If the Cats somehow win the conference this year and miss the Rose Bowl because of the non-AQ agreement it will also not feel much like a conference win unless we somehow earn a trip to the national title game. Every Pac-10 fan knows the real reward for winning the conference is the Rose Bowl. What's your take on this?

Ted Miller: Boy, some USC hate today.

First, see above.

But let's also clarify the Rose Bowl selection procedure this year.

Here it is from the BCS website:

For the games of January 2011 through 2014, the first year the Rose Bowl loses a team to the NCG and a team from the non-AQ group is an automatic qualifier, that non-AQ team will play in the Rose Bowl.

So if Arizona -- or any team -- wins the Pac-10 outright this year, it's either: 1. Going to the Rose Bowl; 2. Going to the national championship game.

And if Arizona is tied for the Pac-10 title but wins the tiebreaker with the team or teams it's tied with, it will go to the Rose Bowl.

How could things go wrong?

Well, say undefeated Oregon is selected to play for the national championship. Most years, the Rose Bowl would select the No. 2 Pac-10 team, if it qualified for an at-large berth (nine or more wins; 14th or higher in the BCS standings). But this recent addition to the BCS rules means the Rose Bowl is required to pick an eligible non-AQ team.

Keep in mind though: That non-AQ team would have to be eligible. In other words, probably undefeated.

So lighten up. If your team legitimately wins the Pac-10, it will either play in the Rose Bowl or for the national title.

Erin from Eugene, Ore., writes: What do you think the chances are of the PAC-10 getting two BCS berths if, for instance, Arizona and Oregon win out except against each other?

Ted Miller: Extremely good.

In that scenario, 12-0 one and 11-1 the other, I'd almost guarantee two BCS bowl berths. In fact, if a Pac-10 team goes undefeated, I'd lay big money -- if, of course, I were a betting man -- that it would play for the national title.

By the way, it's not like an undefeated Pac-10 team has ever been screwed by the BCS. It's only when there's a loss involved.

Eric from Belgium writes: I just wanted to thank you, for everything you do in regards to keeping me in touch with PAC-10 football. Its hard to stay in touch being military and overseas but you make serving overseas a little less harder. Thanks..... Also go Arizona beat Cal this weekend!!

Ted Miller: Yeah, I'm over here doing important stuff while you help defend our country.

So... thank you.

And how freaking good is the beer over there? I'm more of a liquor guy, but man, oh, man, do they know beer in Belgium. Might have to pop an Affligem Tripel in celebration of you, Eric, as soon as I finish typing.

Thoms from Los Angeles writes: Ted, your readers might enjoy this website. It compiles the bcs era conference head-to-head records. not surprisingly, the sec has a losing record to the pac 10. and that's despite oregon state's kicking debacle at lsu a few years ago. but, hey, give them this: sec teams were fantastic in their 78 games against division 1-aa teams (more than double the number of 1-aa games played by pac 10 teams during the same stretch).

Ted Miller: The National Championship Issue is a good website, and that's an interesting chart.

What was most interesting to me was the overall winning percentage vs. BCS conference foes: The SEC was 53.14 percent; the Pac-10 was 52.47 percent.

The other four BCS conferences had losing records.

But I'm not going to mention the Pac-10's 12-9 record vs. the SEC since 1998, because then all the Big East fans would point out they are 19-14 vs. the SEC. And then the Big Ten fans would wonder if they were really that much slower with a 20-22 record vs. the SEC.

Duck Quixote from Eugene, Ore., writes: how many national championships in a row do you think this duck team will win? 5? 6? I think we're looking at a minimum nine-peat. And, how much better do you think Thomas is than Masoli? Dixon? Is he better than Tom Brady yet? Joe Montana? Abraham Lincoln? Chuck Norris?? What do you think are our chances of increasing our point per minute scoring average? I mean, I think we will easily put a 100 on somebody this year but could we average that for the season? Should we really even play the rest of our games? What is the precedent for a team leaving its conference and joining the NFL. I still think we would go undefeated but at least we could get a little better competition.

Ted Miller: The answer, of course, to all of this is "Chuck Norris."

Anyone else see an Jack Kerouac influence here?

Andrew from Boise writes: I feel obliged to mock you for picking a team that is at least a 2 TD dog in an away game at a Top 10 team for the 2nd time this season, but I think it might be better to refer you to a mental institution.

Bill from Eugene, Ore., writes: Boise State scoring the same number of points AT HOME against the Beavers as Louisville did in Corvallis next week? That seems a bit unrealistic to me. Sitting in Corvallis last week, I saw Louisville burp up the opportunity for 14 more points. I like the Beavs, (I am a virulent anti-Duck) but I am realistic. I would be shocked to see them within 2 touchdowns of the Broncos at game's end.

Tim from Seattle writes: Can't believe you are picking the Beavers to win. No pressure defense, a serviceable young QB, and a sad linebacker crew. Have we been watching the same games? BSU looks good...at home...with an experienced team.I can't remember when I felt more skeptical of a 1-1 OSU team than this. I can see OSU having a losing record pretty easily in 2010. We have a few stars but little depth. With a stronger Pac-10 can we really finish better than 7th?

Steve from Eugene, Ore., writes: What's with picking my Beavs for the upset on the smurf turf? We need all the karma we can get for the game with the Blue Donkey's this weekend. All signs point to a thorough beat-down which is why we need you to pick against the Beavs so it guarantees a win. Your ineptitude at predicting the outcomes of previous Beaver games has been a source of confidence for us fans of the Orange and Black. No offense of course. Keep up the good work with the Pac-10 predictions but please remember to also maintain your track record of bad work with the OS(U) predictions.

Ted Miller: Not much support for my pick of Oregon State to upset Boise State.

We shall see.