Opening the mailbag: Some love for Mike Thomas, Jahvid Best

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Trying to play a little catchup here...

Sam from Oakland writes: Hey Ted. I love your coverage on the Pac 10 but I feel like this is one of the most incredible accomplishments in the country this year and I have not heard it get mentioned once. It might be even more impressive but ESPN's records only go back 7 years on [yards per carry]. Here's a comment I posted on Jahvid Best -- Why does Miller continue to forget to mention that Jahvid posted the second highest YPC in the last SEVEN years at 8.0 (that includes approx 840 teams). That is by far his most impressive accomplishment. (Only the professional Reggie Bush had a higher YPC over that time for players with more than 125 carries, Bush posted a ridiculous 8.7 and won the Heisman).

Ted Miller: Sam would like us all to enjoy some green eggs and ham -- on a boat with a goat? -- and to appreciate California running back Jahvid Best averaging 8.0 yards per carry on his way to the Pac-10 rushing title.

Come to think about it... that is pretty freaking impressive.

So kudos, Jahvid. You're the Best.

To be fair, though, Best had 174 carries, fewest among the top 30 running backs this year. Navy's Shun White averaged 8.65 yards per carry on 118 carries and Georgia Tech's Roddy Jones averaged 9.14 on 72 carries.

Nick from Tucson writes: I would like to know why Mike Thomas of Arizona is not getting enough recognition. I am biased but still. He is four catches away from being the PAC-10s all-time receptions leader. He is one of the better wide receivers in the conference. He is one of the best return men in the nation, his speed is amazing. Hes got great hands, runs after the catch great, and is very clutch. Hes always there to catch Tuitama's pass, whether its on the mark or not.

Ted Miller: And he makes a mean omelet.

I just threw in that last part. He may make a mean omelet, but I've never tasted one he's made.

Thomas is a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 receiver. So it's not like he's been given the cold shoulder.

He's a great player. And a cool dude.

But this wasn't much of a year for Pac-10 receivers. Thomas ranked third in the Pac-10 and 58th in the nation with 67 receiving yards per game and only caught four touchdown passes.

By way of comparison, Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree and Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant hauled in 18 TDs apiece.

Thomas did all he could to help a more balanced, less pass-happy Arizona offense this year. But his lack of postseason attention is connected to his unspectacular numbers.

Alex from Centralia, Wash., writes: Hey Ted- you've probably heard by now, but Casey Locker is Jake Locker's cousin not brother.

Ted Miller: Yes, Alex, I have heard. Boneheaded mistake on my part, considering the linked article clearly said "cousin."

Adam from Los Angeles writes: Do you think a victory by USC over Penn State will say anything about the Pac-10? I am sure everyone at USC is wishing they had drawn someone from the Big12 or SEC. Then they would have had a shot at shutting up the rest of the country. I just really haven't liked Penn State a lot this year and don't envision that being a close game. How great would a game against UT, OU, Bama or Florida have been?

Ted Miller: It would have been fun to see USC beat, er, play Alabama or Florida or Texas or Oklahoma.

But I'd suggest overconfidence in regards to Penn State is a mistake. Remember this game?

I would be shocked if USC blows out Penn State. For one, I doubt the Trojans bring their A-game to their fifth Rose Bowl in six years. Second, Penn State is a good football team.

Cal from San Francisco writes: My question is about the bowl contracts, particularly the ones between the january bowls (big bowls) and non Pac 10 conferences. When are these due to expire and do you see any chance of the Pac 10 conference getting over the hump of strictly west coast bowl games that seem to get far less publicity with the exception of the Rose Bowl.

Tim from Atlanta writes: To the point of the Pac-10's lousy bowl contracts. Of course they're not going to get a deal with a florida bowl, but the issue i have is why they can't make their existing bowls better. Las Vegas - for example, or something in PHX - would be a great place to invest some money, commit a higher choice (#3) and try to get a better team from the ACC or SEC. Or make the holiday bowl more prominent, as it is already a good bowl. I'm not expert, but it seems like there's a way to improve the existing bowls to get better opponents.

Ted Miller: My guess is the Pac-10 would love to upgrade the prestige and payoff for the conference's bowl games.

My guess is the Pac-10 would love to make the Holiday Bowl a $5 million per team, Jan. 1 game that is the West Coast version of the Capital One Bowl.

My guess is that cities and businesses would love to invest in a bowl game that is going to reap big profits.

So when folks ask me about why the Pac-10's bowl situation is so mediocre, I always say because no money is chasing the idea of making it better.

Jon Wilner did a great job of explaining this here.

Tim from Bellevue, Wash., writes: Do you really think Beaver fans blame you for wins/losses? I'd like to think we are a little more intelligent than that--however, I once read somewhere that one in four sports fans believe that they can actually alter the outcome of a game that they are watching. ONE IN FOUR! I understand that if you are at the game and you are making a lot of noise (Autzen is a great example) and you can influence small things here and there (emotion, energy, false starts). But at home??? Really? College graduates think that the socks they wear could change a football game?

Ted Miller: I'm only grateful Beaver fans aren't blaming me for the current economic meltdown.

That said: I feel terrible about the Civil War defeat. My bad.

Michael from Los Angeles writes: Ted, help settle an argument I am having with my fellow Wildcat fans. With all things considered, such as wins, schedules, competition in conference, would you say Arizona improved on last year or not? I don't see the improvement that all of my Wildcat brethren are seeing.

Ted Miller: Well, are you a half-full or half-empty sort of guy?

Sure, Arizona faced a much easier schedule than past years. And the only quality win came over California.

But your Wildcats are going to their first bowl game since 1998! And it's in Vegas!

Don't nitpick.

Spencer from New York writes: Thought this article would be great for your blog. Oregon DBs join boy?s fight a
gainst cancer By George Schroeder Register-Guard columnist.

Ted Miller: Missed this as a link. But you are right. Great column from George, and kudos to Walter Thurmond III and Patrick Chung.

Jim from Los Angeles writes: Where is the Richmond Spiders football update? Come on Ted - aren't they facing Montana for the title Dec. 19th?

Ted Miller: Check it out! Go Spiders! Where are Todd McShay and Brooks Hatch when I need them? What's even better is I'm a Bobby Hauck fan, so there's some consolation here if Montana prevails.

Which, of course, it won't.