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 (2:59 PM)
Howdy gang.... hit the wrong button there... what's on your mind?
Ted, love your blog... Chances of TV network for the Pac-10, either on their own or with the Big 12? Could there be a network without pac-10 expansion?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
Decent chances, particularly if there's a partnership with the Big 12. Not sure if there will be a "Pac-10 network" without some other tie-ins. You would think expansion would bolster the argument for a network -- more inventory -- but there's no reason a network couldn't work with 10 teams. If, of course, the revenue model is enticing.
Which Pac-10 team has the best wide receiver tandem or group of receivers coming back for 2010?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
Washington... they've got everybody back and they're all good, topped by Jermaine Kearse.
Kyle McClain (Monmouth, Oregon)
I'm a true beaver believer and I'm all for the rodgers but to think that Jacquizz is better than Lamichael is flat out dumb. Lamichael is faster and becoming more powerful. Yes, Jacquizz had more TDs but he also had a lot more carries than Lamichael. Imagine if Lamichael had that many carries and if he didn't have Barner as a backup. SCARY. I was just wondering if the ducks' offense can be stopped this year, particulary during the civil war because, honestly, I am scared to death to play the ducks.
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
You guys just won't let this one go. LaMichael is faster. No doubt. But Rodgers is a more powerful runner and better receiver. What's more, as an Oregon fan, you also know that the spread-option misdirection with Jeremiah Masoli stresses a defense. There were plenty of times when James ran untouched. Recall that said spread offense made Jeremiah Johnson look like an elite back, which he wasn't. It's possible that James will eclipse Rodgers this year. But as of now Rodgers should be ranked No. 1 and James No. 2 in the conference.
Do you think Shane Vereen can be better than Jahvid Best?
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
As a home run threat, no. As a guy who obsesses opposing defenses, no. But Vereen is a guy who will get you 1,400 yards, and that's not too shabby. Also, life will be easier for Vereen if the Bears passing game softens the box up front and doesn't allow a D-coordinator to crowd the LOS.
Jard (Fort Polk, Louisiana)
Mr Miller,I have a question. Seeing as you covered the SEC and PAC-10 I was wondering how you feel the in game environment and stadium experiance compare between the two conferances. I am from Eugene and love Autzen but after spending time in the south I realize that football has a different type of meaning and value here. The atmosphere at games feels different to myself. I was wondering if you had an opinion on this.
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
The SEC is just different. To me, Oregon is the Pac-10's most intense atmosphere. Well, imagine that with 30,000 more fans. Does that mean SEC football is better? Not necessarily. Or that SEC fans are more dedicated that Pac-10 fans? Not necessarily. There's more of them in the South. And it's really, really important. It's part of the culture. But the atmosphere when Oregon and Oregon stayed played last year was the match of anywhere I've been.
The Fonz (Compton, CA)
Any word when the NCAA will finally issue its findings against USC? Thought it was supposed to be early this week.
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
No one knows... all those "reports" were just guesses. As I wrote today on the Blog, I suspect it will be next week. Why? Well, it's been 13 weeks since the infractions hearing, so it has to be coming. But, more important: I'm supposed to be on vacation. My feeling is there isn't anyone out there that isn't ready to put this story to bed.
Has USC lost there minds to be paying Kiffin anywhere near the salaries of Brown, Saban, or Meyer? This guys has way sub .500 career head coaching record and hasn't coached anywhere for more than a year! What a joke! He may end up working out but for now this is complete ignorance!
Ted Miller (3:15 PM)
I hear you. But three different organizations have hired him, so he must have "something" that impresses people. And as you know, if he starts winning Pac-10 and national titles, then the money will look like a savvy investment.
Dash (Los Angeles, CA)
Ted,Regarding Cal, this is not a Tedford bashing, but, it appears that while he is known for his developing QB's and his offensive acumen, that Cal is a conservative team that has had less than stellar QB play of late, and, is in a bit of a rut.The Tedford era has been the longest sustained era of success in the history of Cal football, but, with a new stadium on the way, does a couple more 8-4 seasons suddenly put him on the hot seat?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
I don't think 8-4 should be Tedford on the hot seat. Winning eight games in the Pac-10 is hard, particularly at Cal. The issue is that Tedford's early success suggested he was a "genius" coach and the benchmark would be 10 wins. Perhaps that was a bit optimistic. But did you notice that Tedford signed an elite class this past February? Let's see what happens when that stadium gets renovated and the Bears facilities catch up with other elite programs.
Bryan (Oakland, CA)
What out of conference game are you most looking forward to?
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
Oregon State's games with TCU and Boise State... Oregon's visit to Tennessee... Iowa at Arizona. I think Arizona State has a chance to pull an upset at Wisconsin... Washington (offense) vs. Nebraska (defense)... there are lots of them...
Is USC's coaching staff better at the coordinator and ass't positions this year as opposed to Carroll's last staff?
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
yes... without question. Decisively.
pat pvhs (bama) [via mobile]
wut r tha chances of bama repeatin and do u think dat saban is tha best coach in ncaa?
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
Decent, though there are some holes on defense. And, yes, Saban is the best coach in the NCAA.
Bryan (Oakland, CA)
Hey Ted, what are your thoughts on Cal playing next years home games at AT&T vs. Oakland Coliseum?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
that's 2011... I don't know. Never covered a football game at either place. I'm sure Cal administrators reviewed the pluses and minuses of each and made a call that's best for the university. And, like you I'm sure, I'm eager to get back to Strawberry Canyon in 2012...
Ali (Islamabad, Pakistan)
What's your prediction for my UCLA Bruins? Hate to sound like a cynic, but I think we go 5-7 or 6-6.
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
The Bruins will be better in 2010 than 2009 but the schedule is a problem: Kansas State, Texas and Houston isn't a very favorable nonconference slate. If you look at the roster, you would think UCLA might be poised for a breakthrough in 2011, but only if some of the junior stars stick around for their senior seasons... I think 6-6 would be a solid finish this fall.
If there was a partnership with the Big 12, would that translate into more pac-10 big 12 regular season games?
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
Without question.... I'd guess you'd get a series of home-and-homes over a time frame, which would be arranged to bolster TV revenue.
Who has the best defense in the Pac 10? Best offense?
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
Hmm... Best defense: Oregon or Arizona State. Maybe USC.Best offense. That's harder. Oregon would have been the easy pick until, well, you know. Washington has everybody back. Oregon State has a lot of pieces and QB Ryan Katz seems capable. Arizona has a lot of weapons. Stanford has the best O-line.I may regret this... but let's go with... Oregon. Hey, I just have a lot of faith in Chip Kelly.
Does Mitch Mustain have any shot at starting next year or is Barkley the man all the way?
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
Barkley is the man until he isn't, which means I don't think Kiffin will be afraid to bench Barkley if he's ineffective. But I think Barkley will have a strong sophomore year. And Mustain will still get an NFL shot.
Michelle (Los Angeles, CA)
Most pundits have USC, Oregon, and Oregon State as their top contenders to win the Pac-10. Of the remaining teams with the strongest chance to contest this (Arizona, Cal, Stanford), which do you think has the best shot? And of the remaining teams in the conference (Washington, UCLA, ASU, & WSU), which team do you think has the best shot to sneak in and steal the title?
Ted Miller (3:33 PM)
We share a top-three... after that, my No. 4 right now is Stanford. I expect the Cardinal defense to improve and Andrew Luck to be strong on offense. Of the remaining four, I think Washington has the most upset, but it's thin on defense. And if UCLA gets solid O-line play -- a big IF -- then the Bruins could make some noise. I'm sorta liking ASU better these days, too.
Bryan (Oakland, CA)
How sick are you of answering expansion questions?
Ted Miller (3:34 PM)
A little... I've been surprised a bit by how interested fans are. But if you are interested, I am interested. That's my job.
Aziz (Detroit, MI)
Arizona's offense was doing really well under Sonny Dykes. Despite a bunch of returning starters how badly will they miss him this year?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
That remains to be seem. I'm a Dykes fan and the numbers speak to how much of a difference he made with the Wildcats. Early returns out of spring is a new QB coach and two coordinators worked well. Good communication, good teamwork. But things are different during games. That will be the ultimate measure. It helps, by the way, to have a lot of players who know what they're doing back. Ultimately, it's about the players.
Iron City Duck (Pittsburgh)
Ted - love the blog. LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner are on Oregon's 4X100 men's relay team. Oregon men are ranked #2 nationally in track and field and will be a favorite along with Florida and Texas A&M at the National Championship meet next month in Eugene. Is it okay for them to run for school pride or a huge risk of potential hamstring injury that could linger into the fall?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
I think it's 100 percent good. The risk of injury doesn't seem huge to me, particularly with a couple of months to get better.
Is Dennis Erickson at all on the hot seat? What do you think about the job he's done so far?
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
Sort of... call it the warm seat. Erickson's track record is there: He's always won in college. His problem was his fast start. That raised expectations, and then his team was hopelessly overrated entering the 2008 season. ASU looks like a team that could finish around 5-7, and that won't inspire hope with unhappy fans. But if you look at the roster, things seem to set up well for 2011... I'd advise patience, but that's often in short supply in big-time college coaching.
Robert (Los Angeles, CA)
Hey Ted, just wanted to say thanks for your work on the Pac-10 blog. I make sure to check it every day.For a question: How do you think the Sarkisian vs Kiffin storyline is going to play out? There are rumors about how friendly they are (or aren't) towards each other after the split.
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
As of now, they still seem to be friendly. But it's hard to be friends with an opposing coach who's trying to figure out ways to beat your brains out... we'll see.
Michelle (Los Angeles, CA)
The Pac-10 has some brutal OOC schedules this year. How much of an effect do you think playing against teams like Texas, TCU, Boise State, Tennessee, and Kansas State, especially on the road, has on winning games in conference? Does playing such strong schedules make the teams better able to battle against Pac-10 opponents, or does it wear down teams causing them to fare worse when Pac-10 play rolls around?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
I love good nonconference games, but over-scheduling doesn't benefit the conference because no other conference does it. My feeling has always been an A, B, C schedule... one ranked team, one respectable team you should beat and one patsy. As far as making a team battle-tested, that could go either way. Oregon and Oregon State, in recent years, bounced back from bad early-season losses. But sometimes a team loses its confidence when it loses early.
Parker (AZ )
What do you think is the reason ASU has so many offensive line injuries?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
I have no idea, but it's really hurt the program. When Jon Hargis went down this spring, I really felt for those guys... I don't root for any teams, but I hate injuries. You always want a team to get it's best shot at an upcoming season and injuries, though a part of the game, always leave you with a "what could have been."
Ted, in the question above you seem to say Oregon has arguably the best Offense and Defense in the Pac 10. You mention USC as an option for best defense, but it looks like you favor Oregon or even Arizona St., and you do not include USC in your discussion for best offense. How then do you justify ranking USC ahead of Oregon in your power rankings?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Zane! You're killing me. Just 'cause? Is that good enough? No? I like USC's schedule, defensive line, QB and scattering of intriguing players. And I think you have to see Oregon taking a step back on offense, despite my faith in Chip Kelly. Now, don't forget: My spring power rankings might change. USC as No. 1 is not written in stone.
Is Washington's Andru Pulu still a member of the team, or has he been dismissed? I saw he was convicted of a felony, and sentenced to 6 months in jail (or work release) for assault, but it seems he's just suspended indefinitely. Any further info would be appreciated. Thanks.
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
I don't have any new, official information. The scuttlebutt is that Pulu won't be a part of the team in 2010. I also think Washington has handled that one well thus far. If they bring Pulu back, my mind will change.
Jeff (Portland, OR)
Hi Ted. I have a prediction for you. The Oregon Ducks will at the very least have 10 wins this season and will win their second pac-10 championship in a row. Do you agree or disagree?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Maybe. Your prediction is not insane.
Is Paea the best defensive player in the conference?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Maybe... what about UCLA safety Rahim Moore or UCLA LB Akeem Ayers?
Taylor (Provo, UT)
Ted, your early prediction for the season opener between Washington and BYU?
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
James and Barner at Oregon, though Washington has some good depth at the position, too.
Nick (St. Paul)
Vontaze Burfict vs. a hurricane. Who do you have?
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
Is there Hurrican Ray Lewis?
Is there an end to the misery at WSU?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Yes. Yes. Yes. Washington State has been down before and come back. The Cougars eventually will again be competitive. They will be better this year but they won't start to see some positive results on the scoreboard until 2011.
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Folks... got to get back to the day job. Lots of good questions today! Have a great weekend.