Opening the mailbag: Should Oregon fans worry about Chip Kelly?

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Good questions this week... which is annoying because it's hard to get folks in the know on the phone in July. So if you asked a good question and it doesn't get answered... sorry.

Couple 'o things.

  • Got some notes about this quote before the lunch links. That was me getting a little Englishmajory on you. It's William Faulkner talking about why he created Yoknapatawpha County, Miss., as the setting for many of his novels. Hey, can't quote Caddyshack every day, right?

  • Couple of folks have commented on me apparently owning only one suit based on the last few videos. While I considered noting that we taped all the videos in one day, I'll keep quiet since some offered to buy me a new suit. 42 regular. By the way, I only wear Brioni.

  • Also... A little bird (Devil?) told me this is not an exact replica of the new Arizona State jersey... correcting a lunch link here.

To the notes.

Tyson from Portland writes: Here is my question: On your blog and in the comments I don't read much about any kind of sense of worry about the coaching change "situation" at Oregon. Should we Duck fans be worried about Chip Kelly taking over for MB even at all?

Ted Miller: As a fan, it is your duty to worry about everything.

What if an anvil falls on quarterback Jeremiah Masoli's head? What if Walter Thurmond III is eaten by wolves? What if Kelly shows up at his first game wearing his underwear over his khakis? What if those new uniforms are actually made out of flesh-eating bacteria?

Seriously. Be concerned.

And feel free to add Kelly to that list. He's a first-time head coach. He's only worked on the BCS level for a couple of seasons.

Of course, you could just have faith that one of the best offensive minds on the West Coast, who's received rave reviews from just about everybody, is probably going to be OK.

Ross from Corvallis, Ore., writes: I recently gave a speech on why college football should have a playoff system for the post-season. I was wondering, what are your thoughts on this? It seems that every year there is question as to who really deserves national champion.

Ted Miller: I would like to see a playoff. But I've stopped thinking about it because I don't think it's going to happen within the next decade.

Todd from Mission Viejo, Calif., writes: Recent chatter suggests strong teams from the traditional powers of Washington and UCLA are good for the Pac-10 as a whole. If so, which schools are then the least important to the conference as a whole?

Ted Miller: My spidey senses are tingling on this one... sounds like a trick question.

So I'm going to answer it in reverse because I'm not going to write that any Pac-10 team is "least important."

Washington and UCLA are big market, urban teams with good football traditions that play in big stadiums. That's why they are important: They reach beyond a regional fan base in terms of name recognition and are capable of generating big revenue -- for themselves and the conference.

In large part, it's just economics.

Micah from Berkeley, Calif., writes: I am glad that you are picking Cal as USC's biggest challenger this season, and I am hopeful that they are able to oust the Trojans from their seat atop the Pac-10. There is one aspect of the Golden Bears that worries me. How will the departure of fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou affect the running game. This worries me because Will was (in my humble opinion) an underrated fullback, and I have not heard anything about his replacement. He opened up huge holes for Jahvid, and was even involved in the passing game at times. Are my concerns unfounded? Will there be an adequate replacement for Will?

Ted Miller: Good point. Ta'ufo'ou was a bad man on those lead blocks. You are not alone, by the way, in your thinking.

Here's the post-spring depth chart at fullback.

33 Brian Holley (5-9, 235, Sr.)*
31 John Tyndall (6-3, 236, So.)*
22 Will Kapp (5-10, 216, So.)*

I don't know anything about these guys, and my understanding is things are pretty fluid in terms of the pecking order. Holley is a walk-on and none of these three had a bio in the Emerald Bowl media guide.

My guess is, whoever ends up starting, Jeff Tedford will look for ways to cover up taking a step back at the position.

Slip from Palo Alto, Calif., writes: Ted, I thought you did your research better than this: "USC figures to be the only team in the nation to play four nationally ranked opponents on the road -- Ohio State, California, Notre Dame and Oregon." (quote from your Pac-10 blog today)Have you looked at Arkansas' 2009 schedule? -- at Alabama, at Florida, at Ole Miss, at LSU. Forget about ranked opponents -- those 4 teams are all certain to be top 15 to open the season!! Then mix in what is effectively a quasi-road game at Jerry Jones Stadium in Arlington, TX versus Texas A&M.

Ted Miller: Fair enough... went back and put this "editor's note" on the entry: "A reader pointed out that Arkansas will play at Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU. That's a comparable road schedule and maybe even a little tougher. But Arkansas also plays Missouri State, Eastern Michigan and Troy."

LJ from Huntsville writes: I understand that the OOC schedule of SEC/Big 10/Big 12 teams are sub par however, those games only make up between 33-25% of the entire schedule.My question is, why has the OOC part of schedules received so much limelight and the entire body of the schedules taken the back seat?

Ted Miller: It's about breaking out of a closed system and a team proving itself in national instead of merely regional terms.

When a team plays four patsies and then its conference slate, the rest of the nation really doesn't know that much about said team, particularly if the rest of conference subscribes to the same scheduling philosophy.

And don't lean too heavily on the "strength of schedule" ratings you see all over the place. Not only does scheduling three or four patsies pad a team's -- and a conference's -- rec
ord, a strategic selection of patsies creates artificial heft with the computers.

Some conferences rely on the, "Trust us! We're the best!" approach. The rest of the nation is not required to buy in.

Moreover, it's cowardly to avoid competition.

And here's a trivia question for you: What superawesome conference finished with a 6-9 regular-season record vs. other BCS foes in 2008?

Sweatervested1 from Mobile, Ala., writes: Ted, Good day to you sir! I would like for you to announce the following on your blog. Alabama vs Virginia Tech, Sept. 5, 8pm(e) on ABC! I just want to share with "yall" what football really is. I am so assured that we will beat the turkeys that I will be willing to make a little wager with you. Here goes! If some how the Turkeys upset us, your blog will never see "Good Ole" Sweater again. It will be like I went into oblivion (where Tommy Bowden is) or something. However, if we win you must post on your blog great things to say about Alabama for my amusement. Trust a Southern Gentleman. Like the bald guy says "Deal or No Deal?"

Ted Miller: Didn't we have this deal before the Sugar Bowl?

And this sounds like the old, amusing you. I missed you! I prefer the Funny Sweatervested to the Angry One.

I'll assign maxneopayne, eminium08, ducktails777 and snyderjl8 to keep track of this.

And even if the Tide loses, which they won't, you are always welcome on the Pac-10 blog.