Chat with Ted Miller
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Pac-12 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 (then) 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. Welcome to our chat. Shoot.
Have you heard any update on James Rodgers?
Ted Miller (3:01 PM)
Nothing on the record, but Rodgers has been notably -- and entertainingly -- coy on his Twitter account. Is that reason to be hopeful? Maybe.
Andrew Luck (The Farm)
Ted,The beard is transitioning from "homeless" to "luxuriant" ... do I need to shave it for media day?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
Got $1 that mom and dad might suggest you do. But there is nothing more college than aimless, ungroomed facial hair.
Hi Ted, I'm not a Duck Kool-aid drinker, but I am a huge long time fan, given the controversy I need to mentally plan ahead, so...could you go out on a limb and tell me what you think will be the end outcome for sanctions for the Ducks?
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
I really don't have too good a feel right now, other than I think they get something. I've talked to smart people who say it's going to be big and Chip Kelly is in trouble. And smart people who think it will be moderate but Kelly survives. I haven't heard many folks in the know believe the Ducks get off scott free... but you never know with the NCAA. I never thought they be uniquely unfair to USC.
What is your take on ASU are they going to have a break out or another average to below average year under Erickson?
Ted Miller (3:05 PM)
I was more optimistic at the beginning of spring practices when Omar Bolden, James Brooks and T.J. Simpson were still suiting up. But I still see them as the South favorite. I'd be a bit surprised if they win fewer than 8 games.
Should Cal fans be concerned with their association to Lyles?
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
Cal folks don't seem to think so, and Tedford and Barbour have been pretty open -- and on the record -- about the situation. But, again, you never know. It's the NCAA.
What is a realistic expectation for Utah this year. I am think we should be happy with 8-4 this year (and of course, win over the team down south)...
Ted Miller (3:09 PM)
I certainly see the Utes as a bowl team, and I see 8-4 as a season that fans should be happy with. It's good to be strong on both lines, have an experienced QB and a good head coach. I do think the grind of the Pac-12 will be a bit of a shock to the system. Guess is the Utes will lose at least one game they planned on winning, and that could land them at 7-5 instead of 8-4.
Which incoming Pac-13 true freshman DT do you predict to have the most impact this upcoming season? Moala at Cal? Shelton at UW?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
Moala at Cal. Holt sounded excited about Shelton on the radio the other day but also implied there's some work to be done.
Mike (Baton Rouge)
Which team are you picking to win the Cowboys Classic opening weekend between Oregon and LSU?
Ted Miller (3:11 PM)
I was once a strong Ducks lean. Now, not so much. Why do I have this feeling Jefferson will FINALLY become the QB many thought he would be? So call me an LSU lean. Today at least.
lunchpailhokie (blacksburg, ca)
do you like the ACCCG being played in Charlotte? or should we try the home field option? What are the risks/rewards associated with such a system?
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
The reward for a neutral site is easy planning and promotion. The risk is empty seats when the matchup isn't very sexy. The Pac-12 probably looked at the ACC's struggles and decided to go with a "home team" for the No. 1 seed.
Wins for CU this season over or under 5.5?
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
that, to me, is a good over-under... I'd say over but remember that playing 13 games means six wins isn't enough to go bowling.
At the PAC-12 Media Days you are planning to ask Chip Kelly if Cliff Harris and Kiko Alonso are going to play this season and at what time we should expect their return? (ie. is there a chance Kiko might play vs LSU?)
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
Yes... not sure if I'll get a clear answer, but I do plan to needle Chip as much as possible until he gives me that "look".
David McMonigle (LA)
Do you think Barclay can have a breakout season this year, or are we waiting till the end like a Carson Palmer?
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
I expect Barkley to play well enough this year to ensure he's a first-round NFL pick this fall. He really is a fantastic talent: You see that at practice. I like his receivers, though they are young. The O-line, however, might cause a few extra picks due to throwing under pressure or on the run.
sweatervested1 (gulf shores,al)
Is it time to put to rest this: "The SEC is Evil, and all other conferences are ethically superior."
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
Hell no! Have you ever seen Satan and Nick Saban in the same room? Coincidence? I think not!
Ted Miller (3:17 PM)
The SEC isn't evil. Being really, really good, and really, really cocky just bothers folks. And fans from other conferences hating the SEC makes for great fun.
Who has the biggest impact at Cal Bigelow or Maynard
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
Maynard, without question... he's the triggerman. And Bigelow will, at best, share carries. Remember: We've got to see if he's healthy.
Craig (South Carolina)
With Oregon, USC, and Stanford most likely the front runners in the Pac-12, do you see any sleeper teams like Arizona(with Foles back) or possibly Utah in their 1st year challenging them?
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
I still rate Arizona State as a slight favorite in the South. If I were tapping darkhorses, I'd say that between Utah, Arizona and UCLA, one will greatly exceed mostly modest expectations. In the North, I think the same can be said for the other four: Cal, UW, Washington State and Oregon State. Of that group, I think the Huskies could rise the most.
Marc (San Francisco)
With all that is going on at Oregon (NCAA investigation and injuries/suspensions) do you still predict them as the Pac-12 North winner?
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
Going to keep that a secret until I make a formal post on my predictions... but you may be getting warm. Or making a Lucky guess.
So with Criner on board, how many yards does Foles throw for this year? What do you expect from Buckner?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
I think Foles will eclipse 3,500 and might push for 4,000. I think Buckner becomes a the No. 2 guy, though there will be good competition for that spot behind Criner.
Fat Kid (The Hill)
You mentioned Wynn as the most indispensable player for Utah this year, which is a little obvious. Who would you put as second?
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
Good question... Could go a lot of ways: OT Tony Bergstrom.... WR DeVonte Christopher... but it might be less obvious than that, considering the secondary is completely rebuilding. What if the Utes lost senior cornerback Conroy Black, their most experienced guy? That would leave them really, really young in a secondary that will face a bunch of NFL QBs.
Jim Harbaugh (San Francisco)
Last summer, everyone wrote us off because of Toby's graduation and everyone said Luck would suffer sophomore jinx. This summer, everyone has Stanford in the top 10. What do you think?
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
People are buying in. And Luck is the best QB in the nation, which is more meaningful than a good RB.
Currently, each pac-12 teams is required to play 9 conference games per year...have any idea if/when the requirement could be reduced to 8?
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
Lots of coaches want that -- 9 games no longer makes competitive sense. But the ADs like how it makes putting a schedule together easier, as well as filling a stadium. Not sure if it's going to happen anytime soon, particularly if other conferences go to a 9-game slate, which the Big 12 has done and the Big Ten SAYS it will.
What kind of impact, if any, do you think the new scoreboard at Arizona Stadium will have on visiting teams (by way of the fans or otherwise) this season?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
If it falls on them, it will have a hell of an impact.
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
Not sure you're going to get a competitive advantage. But maybe LaMichael James looks up at himself running for a sure TD and then trips. Stranger things have happened.
Ted, love your work! Two quick true or false questions.True or False. Arizona will make a Rose Bowl someday.True of False. Dennis Erickson & Mike Stoops will be coaching ASU
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
Arizona will one day reach the Rose Bowl. If Washington State can do it twice since 1997, the Wildcats can find a way to make it happen. Don't understand the second query.
Do you think Price will be able to buy into my system and coaching? Do you see us going to a bowl game this year?
Ted Miller (3:32 PM)
yes.. yes... seems like he bought in pretty well when Sark named him the starter at the end of spring. And I certainly see at least six wins.
Bryan (Oakland, CA)
Hey Ted, why is height so coveted for WR, but not for CB? They play directly against each other.
Ted Miller (3:33 PM)
Because CBs are about reacting, and taller guys tend to be a little slower and a little stiffer when reacting. But if a guy has excellent speed, good hips and great quickness and lateral movement AND is tall, that's a bonus. A former Cal CB found that out when he signed a MONDO contract.
The incredible Polk (The Dub)
Hey Ted, my main man, do you see me with another 1,000+ yrd season? Also, do you really see me in the Heisman picture?
Ted Miller (3:36 PM)
1,000 yard? I'd be shocked if you get less than 1,500. Heisman? Your team needs to win. If the Huskies win 9 or more games, and you rush for over 1,500 yards, I'd guess you'd earn a spot on more than a few ballots.
Fred (Walla Walla)
Will James run for less yards than last year? Will Thomas throw for more?
Ted Miller (3:36 PM)
Thomas throws for more, James runs for less, due to more touches for Barner, Seastrunk.
Aaron (Everett, WA)
How many yards will Tuel throw this season?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
StanfordFANatic (Ann Arbor)
Will Jim Harbaugh be at any Stanford games this year?
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
Hmm... I'd say if the 49ers were off, he might show up. Hard to say.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
Ted, does Cal have the best defense in the Pac 12...by far...the 2011 season?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
Cal's defense should be good, but losing Cam Jordan, Mike Mohamed and Chris Conte is notable. I'd probably rate ASU slightly ahead of Cal. But every Pac-10 defense has some questions.
nissan altima (I-5)
Ted, who has the toughest non-conference schedule this season?
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
That's a tough one but I'd say Colorado because it plays 4 respectable foes: at Hawaii, Cal (doesn't count as Pac-12 game), Colorado State and at Ohio State.
Mac (Tualatin, OR)
Ted, don't you get the feeling that Chip will use all this turmoil to motivate the Ducks? The Ducks are always more dangerous when people doubt them. The rest of the Pac-12 should be concerned.
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
That is always a possibility. But if I said, "Chip, will you use this to motivate your team?" He would reply, "We don't let outside influences affect this team." In fact, Google "outside influences" and see how many times Kelly denies their affect.
Ian (park city)
Ted, Who do you think will ultimately be the starting running back for utah this year?
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
It sounds like all 3 will get touches. Palamo is the most intriguing but he doesn't really know the game (rugby guy). If I were to guess, Langi will get the first carry vs. Montana State.
Jeff (San Francisco)
Ted, are you as excited as I am to eat garlic fries at Pac Bell while watching college football this year?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
No... and neither are the folks sitting to your right or left. I'm trying to avoid things like garlic fries these days. My wife keeps talking about this barbecue join near us that she want so try, just to make me hungry.
Jake (Honolulu, HI)
Does the fact that LSU also got screwed over by Lyles affect the perception of Lyles' story in anyway?
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
If the Yahoo! story seemed to at least partially restore his credibility, the LSU video has again punctured it.
How do you think Oregon's offense matches up to LSU's defense. Some of the LSU fans are saying defending against the spread is their weakness, especially Oregon's fast pace spread.
Ted Miller (3:50 PM)
it's going to be an interesting matchup, particularly with a rebuilt Oregon O-line vs. an imposing LSU D-line. The Ducks tempo should be a factor. It wasn't in the BCS game because of all the commercials. That won't be the same issue this time. The one fair knock on Kelly is the Ducks have lost 3 games to marquee foes who had extra time to prepare for the spread (Boise State, Ohio State and Auburn). LSU's defense will get plenty of time to train their eyes to not fall for the spread-option misdirection.
Chip Kelly (Eugene)
Ted, I'll answer ALL your Pac-12 media day questions if you sit down and have a slice of pizza with me at Tracktown Pizza here in Eugene, what do ya say?
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
Dude, I'm in... Of course, I know this isn't Chip because he'd have the pizza brought to his office so he wouldn't give up any time watching LSU film. I bet if I called Chip right now, he's watching LSU film.
Charlie (The Bright Side of Berkeley)
Am I the only the only one optomistic about Cal this year?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
No... I got the feeling there's plenty of optimism where it matters most: The Cal locker room.
Tom (Scottsdale )
What was Criner's big medical secret that at first looked to knock him out all season?
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
If I knew, I wouldn't say because there are some issue that seem to be private and if Criner wants the specifics to stay private -- and it's not a basic injury or legal issue -- I think he has a right to make that call. Just like I don't report on marital issues for coaches.
Chip Kelly (Eugene)
Why are there so many posters in this chat pretending to be me?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Because you're a character, you coach the 2-time defending conference champs, and this guy name Willie Lyles is lingering around and everybody who's not a Ducks fan wants you guys to get hit by the NCAA, particularly those in purple and black-orange.
Mark (Tucson, AZ)
Ted, now that we know Juron Criner is indeed coming back to play, do you believe he will break into that All-American status this season?
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
He's already received some All-American notice... A couple of A-listers ahead of him (Broyles, Blackmon, Jeffery), but he's certainly in the top-six or seven).
Any hope the Buffs get their first true road win since 07' in their first game of the upcoming season against Hawaii?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Absolute... Hawaii lost a lot of guys. QB Bryant Moniz could be a problem. Best player in the country no one has heard of.
David (Arlington, Tx)
Do you think USC defense will improve since last year, (secondary)?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
Yes... the Trojans gave up a lot of big plays last year. My sense is they will have a much better understand of Monte Kiffin's cover-2 scheme. It would really help the secondary if the pass rush got better... and if Armond Armstead comes back healthy.
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
Folks... big showing today with the questions. I can tell the season is close. See you next week, after Pac-12 media days! Thanks for stopping by.