Chat with Ted Miller
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com's Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller will stop by to wrap up the Pac-10 spring season.
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 Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Ted Miller (3:00 PM)
Hola amigos. Happy friday. Fire away.
who has the tuffest road ahead in the pac-10?
Ted Miller (3:01 PM)
Tough one. Oregon State has a brutal nonconference schedule but a favorable conference one. Oregon has a good nonconference sched. but plays at USC and Oregon State.
Everyone has been talking about Andrew Luck being a top 2011 draft pick. Of course, this assumes that he's going to leave early. What do you think the odds are that he'll stay and graduate, especially if Stanford has another solid season?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
If he has a huge season and is projected as the top overall pick, it's hard to imagine he'd pass that up. Still, he does strike me as the sort who might just do that. Remember: He's just a redshirt sophomore. He really hasn't experienced that much college. Further, a Stanford degree is valuable in itself.
Ted: Isn't it fair, accurate, and honest to say that by far the highest potential for expansion of conferences is on the east coast or mid-east? The TV markets have the most potential, academics are better, population far higher, some areas of high potential but low development, and so on. That being said, doesn't it make cooperation between the Big 12 and Pac 10 almost essential to exploit the vast but under-populated mid-west and west?
Ted Miller (3:05 PM)
Academics better? No. But most of what you wrote is true, including the Pac-10-Big 12 stuff. The option for Pac-10 expansion are limited. The only realistic options seem to be Utah and Colorado.
It seems like the Pac 10 expansion talk continues to waffle back and forth between likely and not likely. Larry Scott has been sending mixed messages. What's your take on the situation as of today? What teams do you see/would you like to see invited were it to happen?
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
Scott's message has been consistent: Expansion will only happen if it improves revenue per team. As I just wrote, I think the only scenario that is realistic is Utah and Colorado.
Rickey Henderson (Hall of Fame)
Ted Miller you are great, but Rickey say that Barney is the greatest Miller of all-time
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
Steve (Oregon )
Do you see Oregon winning the Pac 10 again and if not who takes the Pac 10 crown?
Ted Miller (3:09 PM)
Before Masoli got suspended, I thought the Ducks were clear favorites. Without him, I have them a close second -- as of now -- behind USC. But, as you will repeatedly here in the coming months, the Pac-10 is WIDE OPEN. Stanford has grown on me the past few weeks. Perhaps someone else will in August.
sweatervested1 (somewhere around Cassiopeia)
Ted, Can you believe I ate lunch over an hour ago, and I'm still full. wow! Anyway, what do you make of all these rumors that have Texas going to the SEC? (burp) Why would Texas join us knowing full well they could not compete? I got to go find me some Tums. I'm out!
Ted Miller (3:11 PM)
Did you tell me to get the [heck] out of the SEC blog when I did links for Chris on Wednesday! Hurt my feelings. Other than Notre Dame, Texas is the biggest prize for any conference looking to expand. And you and I both know that the Horns would do just fine in the SEC. Do I think it's going to happen? No. But if the Big Ten goes to 16 teams, the SEC isn't going to sit around and twiddle its thumbs.
Do you think that Lane Kiffin will get USC focused? They completely fell apart last year.
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
Yes. My impression is that Kiffin is going to settle down and become a good coach and all the baggage he carried early in his career will gradually fall into the past. And that means the Trojans re-enter the Pac-10 and national picture.
Garrett (Frisco, Texas)
Who in your opinion is the best team in the big 12?
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
Eric Ray (Eight oh Six)
What did the Big 12 and Pac 10 AD's meet about the other day? Are they thinking about combining the two conferences?
Ted Miller (3:15 PM)
Not combining. It's more about working together to improve media deals, which both are in the process of renegotiating. Further, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that they are cooperating on a potential restructure. UNDERSTAND: This is pure speculation. But if the Pac-10 wants Utah and Colorado, the Big 12 might grab BYU and, say, TCU and both conferences walk away happy and not feeling like they approached things as adversaries.
Troy (Montrose, CA)
Is it safe to say that Whitney Lewis is the BIGGEST BUST out of all the USC recruits during the Pete Carroll era?
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
maybe. he was supposed to be good. wasn't.
Jimmy, Fort Myers Beach, Fl [via mobile]
So who do you think will play in the title this year? I'm an SEC guy, but it's just too hard to repeat these days
Ted Miller (3:17 PM)
Bama and Florida... sorry. Know that's boring. But those two programs are just so loaded with talent.
Wouldn't a joint tv alliance between the Big12 and Pac-10 help out the Big12 a little more, though? The Pac-10 is stable, the Big12 needs to protect its membership. I'm not saying that the Pac-10 wouldn't benefit from the alliance, but the Big12 could put a stop-loss to schools leaving its conference
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
I'm not an expert on TV markets, but that seems like a fair point to an extent. Where it helps both is going to potential future TV partners and offering a USC-Texas and Oregon-Oklahoma game on a regular basis. Those are national broadcasts that would get huge ratings -- see USC-Ohio State -- and the potential advertising revenue would make both conference's product more valuable.
Do you think the ducks will have a better and more consistent passing attack than last year?
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
That's possible, though I've always thought folks underrated Masoli as a passer. Masoli had a couple of bad games last year: the slow start, particularly Boise State, and a lackluster Rose Bowl. Perhaps Costa or Thomas, more passers than runners, will do better. But a first-year starter vs. a third-year starter: That's a big drop-off. So, my ultimate answer is probably not.
David (Chicago, IL)
In response to sweatervested1 Texas would be in the top three of the SEC every year. I understand that the SEC has two great teams one good team and well that is it. What arrogance!
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
I think he was being funny. Sweatervested doesn't take himself too seriously. At least, I hope not.
As a Husker fan I would love to see this come through. Definitely see some great match ups. Any chance the Pac 10 goes Utah and BYU or UTAH and New Mexico? Or if Colorado goes PAC 10, the Big 12 goes New Mexico?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
I don't think New Mexico is really in this one. As for Nebraska, you guys might be looking at Ohio State and Michigan and Penn State. (Which sounds pretty cool to me, by the way).
Eric Ray (Eight oh Six)
The Big 12 footprint includes 16 percent of the nation's households, the Pac-10 is 15 percent.
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
For real? Assuming you are correct.Those numbers are about present configuration. Remember: The loss of Missouri to the Big Ten could be an issue.
Tick (Lincoln NE)
who will be the top 3 leading rushers in the Pac-10 this year? Also do you have any puppies in your house? thanks
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
1. Jacquizz Rodgers; 2. LaMichael James; 3. Chris Polk. Puppies? Is that a trick question?
Daniel (Pasadena, CA)
Is the pistol/revolver offense going to be the primary formation for UCLA this year? That's all they did in the spring game. I hope not.
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
As of now, my guess is the pistol is an additional element, not a full-time formation. Keep in mind that Prince and company can work on the timing on their own during the summer. Things might end up being much sharper come August.
Steve (Aurora, CO)
I understand Colorado possibly being a better cultural fit for the Pac 10 than the Big 12, but the comments about it being a better geographic fit are inaccurate. Six of the Pac 10 schools are farther from Boulder than the farthest Big 12 school. Not to mention Colorado brings little to the Pac 10 in terms of athletic success. That being said, why are many people pushing the idea of CU to the Pac 10?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
Denver TV market. Good fit academically.
Alex P (Salem, Oregon)
Who do you think will win the QB battle for the Oregon Ducks? Nate Costa or Darron Thomas?
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
When I watched practice -- No. 6 -- I felt fairly confident it would be Costa. Now it's too close to call. The worry is sending Thomas out on the road at Tennessee. Is he ready for that sort of atmosphere? It's possible both play early in the season. Thomas has upside, but Kelly has said he's not planning for the future: He wants to win now.
Russ (Costa Mesa, CA)
Who are your sleeper picks for stars in the Pac-10 next year?
Ted Miller (3:35 PM)
Good question... Kenjon Barner, Juron Criner, Aaron Pflugrad, Eddie Elder (ASU safety), Cal NG Kendrick Payne, Oregon DE Dion Jordan, OSU WR Jordan Bishop, OSU DE Gabe Miller, Stanford LB Shayne Skov, UCLA DE Datone Jones, UCLA WR Josh Smith, Dillon Baxter, Devon Kennard, WSU FS LeAndre Daniels, the two frosh Rbs at Washington... lots of others.
Bryan (Oakland, CA)
Hey Ted. Tedford has said that his defense will be more "attacking" (a silly cliche, like calling someone a guru). Do you think they really blitz all that much? Do you think it helps?
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
Hey, as the guru of attacking defenses, I resent that! I think what got Tedford last year was how often the Bears went with a three-man rush while dropping eight into coverage. Sure, it's a good change of pace, but my guess is that more than a few Cal fans were screaming at the TV while the opposing QB stood in the pocket for eight or nine seconds. My guess is Cal will rush at least four on most downs even though they will continue to use a 3-4 scheme. The idea is to get creative as to where the pressure is coming. And, yes, it will help.
ryan bright (pa)
who do you think will start for oregon: darron thomas or nate costa
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
Didn't I just give a long-winded answer to this? If I were betting who gets the call vs. New Mexico, I'd go with Costa. But I feel less strongly about that today than I did early in spring.
Ted, In your mind who is the best QB in the Pac-10 Foles, Barkley, Luck, or Locker
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
I'd pick Locker first. I love Luck as a strong No. 2, but I still think we have to wait and see how he does without Toby Gerhart. Life is a lot easier for a QB when you have the best RB in the nation.
Trent (Lake Charles, Louisiana)
Hey Ted what do you think about Notre Dame high tempo hurry up offense. Common sense says this is not a good idea when your defense is that bad?
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
Brian Kelly is going to run his schemes. He's putting together a program in his image. He's not trying for a quick fix. Does ND struggle this first year? Probably. But I don't think Kelly was a good hire at ND. I think it was a GREAT hire. Don't want to curse him, but I think he's a sure-thing.
Vontaze Burfict (Phoenix)
Vontaze Burfict: Legit Ray Lewis in the making, or just another hothead?
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
He's a talent, though Ray Lewis is an all-time great. My guess is ASU fans would like to seem more maturity this year and fewer stupid penalties.
Steve (Bukkake, WA)
Who is the sleeper team in the Pac-10?
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
Stanford. I think the defense gets better. Love the O-line. And Luck is an outstanding talent.
Jeff (Portland, OR)
do you think Lamichael James will have an even better year this year or will teams be able to figure him out? By the way, my feeling is that Nate Costa will be the starting QB.
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
Figure him out! You mean like an LB looks at him and goes: "That James is really fast and really good, I better plan accordingly with my super-secret tackling strategy." No, no one will figure out James. He'll put up big numbers because he's really, really good. Only thing that might keep his numbers from being ludicrous is Kenjon Barner is a heck of a No. 2.
Joe (Jacksonville, FL)
How many wins does Paul Wulff need this season to cool down the hot seat? What is the key to that happening?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
Three or four. The Cougars biggest issue is youth and a lack of depth, though both are improving. The key is staying healthy. If they can send out their best 22 most weekends, they'll be far more competitive.
Russ (Costa Mesa, CA)
Ted, I know you get to see a lot of PAC 10 games, but if you had to choose only one, which game is your can't miss game of 2010.
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
Oregon at USC.
Do you get to write the description of your chat: "Ted Miller is our West Coast representative, covering the Pac-10. If it's football and it's Pac-10, he's your man.", or does someone at ESPN.com do it for you?
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
I've never read that... No didn't write it. Sounds fine to me.
Craig (Lincoln NE)
What kind of impact do you think Dillon Baxter will have for USC? Do you think he has a Bush type year?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Well, he was the offensive star of spring practices. And his YouTube clips were impressive. But Bush was the most amazing college runner I've seen, at least since Barry Sanders. Little early to say that about Baxter, though everyone will.
Hey ted do you see USC as a top 10 team this year?
Ted Miller (3:53 PM)
I won't rank them there in my preseason poll, but it's certainly a possibility if things come together. The schedule is pretty favorable, at least if the Trojans can figure out a way to win in Corvallis.
Jason Wang (Emeryville, CA)
Any chance pac10 looks into scheduling more OOC vs. SEC in the coming years?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
everybody wants those games. Who wouldn't watch a USC-Alabama game, considering the history? And there are some good matchups head -- Tennessee and Oregon, UGA and Oregon... haven't heard of any beyond what's already been reported, though.
Jason Wang (Emeryville, CA)
Your favorite pac10 mascot?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Who will be ASU's starting qb?
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
Felt certain it would be Threet before spring practices. Now, I'm switching my money to Osweiler.
What are you expecting from the Wildcats this year? Getting Suh'd in the bowl left a pretty bad impression, but can they get to 9 or 10 wins with a lot of their big games in Tucson?
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
I don't know what to expect because I'm uncertain of the defense. The offense should be able to score on just about anyone. But that theory will be tested when Iowa comes to town with an outstanding defense. That game will be a big test. As of now I could see Arizona winning between six and nine games.
"sweatervested doesn't take himself to seriously" Say what? I am serious when I say Texas would be the 5th best team in the SEC. Here's the order Ted (just so you know) 1)Alabama 2) Florida 3)LSU 4) Ole Miss 5) Georgia 6) make that sixth best team.
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
Come on! Ole Miss and Georgia? That's not even defensible. I'll grant Alabama. Florida, too. But Texas would be a strong No. 3.
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
Folks... enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend.