Chat with Ted Miller
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller will stop by to talk some college football.
Miller has been covering college football since 1997, starting with Auburn and then heading West to Washington and the Pac-10. His columns for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer won first place in 2007 APSE Best Writing contest. The Atlanta native and University of Richmond graduate presently lives with his wife in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Send your questions now and join Miller Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Ted Miller (3:00 PM)
Howdy folks... after missing the past few weeks due to travel, I wanted to chat today... only problem is that I'm at the BCS meetings and will have to bolt if the meetings adjourn before 1 p.m. PDT... so fire away quick!
Ted, You say my cougs should sneak up and suprise at least one pac 10 team this year, what are the chances (based on you seeing every pac 10 team) that they sneak past a few and into a bowl game?
Ted Miller (3:01 PM)
Andrew... chances are remote. What could have helped was an easier nonconference schedule, but games at Oklahoma State and SMU will be tough. Hard to imagine the Cougs can win six or seven games this season.
Chris (Concord, Ca)
Hey Ted, great job covering spring ball. As a Duck, I am curious as to what you liked and didn't like in each of the Duck's qb's when you visited camp. Did the offense look smoother with one qb over the others? keep up the great work!
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
A caveat: I watched a practice early in camp. At that point -- and during one practice -- I thought Costa seemed smoother and more in control. It seems that Thomas has picked up the pace of late. It sounds like a close competition that will continue into the fall. Lots of fans are intrigued by Thomas' talent. I like Costa's experience, particularly for a visit to Tennessee.
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
Folk... all 10 reporters just bolted the room... got to follow... I'm come back if I can... the thrill of BCS business pulls me away.
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
false alarm! I'm back.
Ted, in your visits to different practices, which teams have impressed you the most and/or which teams showed you something that you didn't expect to see?
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
Oregon and USC looked very fast and very good. USC, of course, always LOOKS good. The pace of Oregon's practice is impressive... fast, fast, fast. USC's defensive line really stood out.
Bret (Warsaw, Poland)
It seems that Geographically, not many schools actually fall into contention for Pac-10 expansion. The only high-profile football schools that are geographically friendly appear to be Boise State and Fresno State. Could we see these 2 gobbled up or will they look to the next level of geographically adjacent teams in BYU and Utah?
Ted Miller (3:09 PM)
OF the teams you mention, I think the only serious candidate is Utah. And in recent days, I've started to lean toward the idea the Pac-10 might not expand...
Hi Ted. Can we now conclude that Oregon's succession plan to have Chip replace Belotti was a failure? All it did was force Belotti out of what he loved doing and created instability within the administration, which has been in turmoil ever since the season ended. My question is: should colleges abandon the idea of a succession plan, (the Conan/Leno succession plan didn't work out either).
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
Hmm... where was Oregon on Jan. 1? What was blown was the administrative handling of Bellotti. The football team seemed to do just fine, on the field at least. And Oregon is dumping the lawyer who helped make everything so messy. That said... not a big fan of succession plans. But if a school thinks it's best, I expect it will do so.
What are the chances of the Pac 10 splitting into two 5 team divisions and playing a championship game, if they could get this provision granted from the NCAA?
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
Jon... Chris Dufresne of the LA Times and I were just talking about that... that's entirely possible. And Larry Scott talked specifically about holding such a game as a hometeam affair, with the No. 1 seed playing in its stadium.
Where would be a good location for a Pac-10 championship game? Not really any tailor-made sites like the Big Ten would have. Pasadena? Glendale?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
See last question... to me, abandoning a host site in favor of using a home stadium makes sense.
How likely is the follow scenario: The Big10 adds Mizzou and Nebraska, the Pac-10 adds Colorado to weaken the Big12 even further. This frees up Texas and aTm, which the Pac-10 eventually add. Utah is brought in to round the Pac-10 off at 14 teams
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
You'll leave the Big Ten with 13 teams, an unlucky number. I don't think that scenario is likely. But stranger things have happened.
how do you compare the high profile signings of Keenan Allen and Chris Martin to the time when Cal got Dasean Jackson? Do you think they will have more or less of an impact than jackson did in his freshman season.
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
i don't make judgments on players until I see them play. i leave that mostly up to our recruiting guys...That said, it's easier to have an impact as a freshman WR than at linebacker or safety...
I was asking from the Pac-10 side of things. For the Big10, say they pick up ND, Pitt, and Rutgers. The point was, do you think there's a scenario where the Texas teams go to the Pac-10?
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
Is there a scenario? Yes. The Pac-10 somehow sells Texas and Texas A&M. Huge longshot. But it would be a major score for Scott.
Even though its still early, based on the performance of the spring camp, do you think Cal's offense/defense has improved? Or have they worsened?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
I'm almost certain that Cal is better on both sides of the ball because that's what happens after 15 practices. It stands to reason that the Bears can take a step forward on offense next year because QB Kevin Riley is a year older. The defense, particularly the secondary, is an issue.
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
Folks.... got to take a quick break to talk to Mike Slive...
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
There's a lot of rushing around today because the NCAA announced the hoops tourney is only expanding to 68 teams, which sounds much better than the 98 being talked about for weeks.
Josh (Los Angeles)
Who do you think will be the first Pac-10 player to go in the draft, and how do you think the Pac-10 will stack up against other conferences?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
Brian Price goes first... My guess is that the pac-10 won't make much of any impact in the first round but will see lots of guys go in rounds 2 and 3... lots of good but not great players this year... sort of like the conference.
CaliSunDevil (Nor Cal)
I think ASU will surprise some people this year... they lost a handful of games by close margins last year, they have a new offense (thank goodness) and a solid defense... am I delusional or do we have a chance at a bowl game?
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
You are not delusional. Qb play will be better. The defense will be good. To me, the big issue -- again -- is the O-line. But if it stays healthy, which it has failed to do -- see Jon Hargis going down -- the Sun Devils will be in contention for a bowl game.
Terry (Denver CO)
Can you confirm (or dispel) a rumor: is Phil Knight REALLY Oregon's acting AD?
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
Phil Knight is Oregon's biggest booster. THerefore, he has a significant say in every athletic department decision he wants to have a say in.
Mike (Camarillo, CA)
Lots of different opinions on the Bush settlement. I think it is good for USC, as the NCAA has everything they are going to get which is probably no different than it would have been 4 years ago - and doesn't appear to implicate coaches. For those who say a settlement shows Bush's guilt, I don't think that carries any weight because Bush settled with Michaels years ago and yet no penalty then. What do you think?
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
I don't get the feeling it matters terribly much. If Bush talked, and at some point said that a USC coach knew about his special benefits, then his testimony would have been a problem. The general feeling is the the NCAA ruling will come out shortly and it wasn't waiting on Bush... though obviously it planned to take a look if he did testify.
Terry (Denver CO)
How's your crystal ball? Three years from now, the CU Buffs are playing CFB & BB in the [insert name] conference.
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
Big 12... that's my 60-40 feeling. Maybe 55-45.
Paul (Sacramento, CA)
Ted, best CB in the PAC-10, next year, will be who?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
Shareece Wright, USC... Nick Holt told me two years ago he was the Trojans best cover corner.
myron davis (deland florida)
Tim Tebow has the same throwing motion as Byron Leftwich. Do anyone know this, Leftwich wasn,t that bad of an NFL player. Tebow will be a good NFL player. That i truly believe.
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
I'll say this: If my NFL team drafted Tebow in the second or third round, I'd be happy.
Ted you say cal is going to have trouble in the secondary, but sean cattouse is a big hitter and steve williams seems to be the real deal, seems like at the very least cal has a lot of talent back there.
Ted Miller (3:50 PM)
We thought Cal's secondary would be as good as any in the country because it returned all four starters from a unit that was outstanding in 2009... so it's hard to project when you have talent and experience, much less when you have only talent. Cal just seems challenged at corner. Not saying they will be bad. Just saying it's an unknown.
Damon (Phoenix, AZ)
Ted, two things: (1) Is Matt Barkley going to really be as good as advertised based on his spring ball performances thus far and (2) do you love Long Wong's in Phoenix as much as I do?
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
1. I think Barkley is going to have a big season -- good luck figuring out first-team ALl-Pac-10 QB.2. Where is Long Wong's? I live in north Scottsdale nearly to Cave Creek.
Donald (Eugene, Or)
Heisman finalist are usually players (mainly QB's) from top teams who put up big numbers. So how likely (and ironic) would it be for Costa or Thomas to be among those invited to NY next December?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Huge longshot... but if it happened, writers would eat up the backstory of how it came to pass...
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Does UCLA dip into Texas for recruiting? How much will the home and home series with Texas help in the recruiting of Texas talent?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
best I can tell, UCLA has one player from Texas, center Ryan Taylor. My guess is the only way UCLA hits Texas is if a player seeks out the Bruins. Or is clearly trying to leave the state. That said: Playing in Texas might crack open a door. Playing well in Texas, particularly. But the Longhorns probably aren't too worried. UCLA gets about 95 percent of its guys from California.
Logan (Camas, WA)
Ted, from the Oregon practices you have gone to, do you really think Dion Jordan is the next big thing at Oregon? He has been getting a lot of kudos from coaches and staff lately.
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
Understand: I got to watch only one practice. Therefore, I try not to make sweeping generalizations in my analysis. That said: Chip Kelly is extremely high on Jordan, who switched from TE to DE. So you should be too.
WHY IS TEXAS SO GOOD
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
because everything taste good with barbecue sauce? Of course, you Texas folk think beef is barbecue, which is sinful.
Eric ((Pullman, WA))
You came to Pullman to watch some of our spring camp (although very early on in the process), what do you think of the little you've seen of the Cougs so far. It's clear that we're not going to be able to win 6 or 7 games and make a bowl, even 3 or 4 wins is a longshot judging by the past two years. With that said, do you think WSU will at least be watchable in most games this season?
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
I was in Pullman just after the first round of the NCAA tourney, therefore just before spring drills started. My impression therefore is based on what I hear and conjecture, and that is that if the Cougars avoid injuries, they have the talent on their first 22 to be consistently competitive with just about anybody on their schedule. SO, yes, they will be watchable. This is a team that was WAY down. And now is crawling back up.
Ralph (Virginia Beach, Va)
Who's your pick for Ore QB and why?
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
I'm a Costa lean, mostly because of his experience. Maybe that's just because I'm getting old.
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
Folks... thanks for stopping by. Sorry for the interruptions but I was a servant of two masters this afternoon.