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)
Greetings... hope everyone is well. Fire away.
KL (Washington, DC)
How does moving the WSU opener against BYU to Thursday night impact the game? Does it put increased pressure on a coach like Mike Leach - or has he been around long enough that this sort of move has little/no impact on his Cougar debut? I would guess Leach looks at such games as opportunities ot market his offense and WSU...to potential recruits.
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
Well, it puts the Cougs and Leach on national TV against a quality opponent. A bigger stage means more pressure. A win would certainly get things off to a nice start, a quality reintroduction for Leach. But a loss wouldn't end the world. It's the first game for a new coach with new systems. Probably would have been nice to have a warm-up vs. a directional school. There is both opportunity and risk here but nothing that establishes a permanent trajectory -- either way.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will the well traveled Brandon Willis make an impact this year in Westwood under new defensive minded head coach Jim Mora?
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
Yes.. no doubt. He's listed No. 1 at NT on the post-spring depth chart. While Mora downplayed the value of that depth chart -- comically so -- it certainly shows that Willis is going to see lots of action next fall. From what I heard, the guy can help the Bruins up front.
Allan Neil (Portland)
I read that in the Chip Kelly era there have been no special team TD's scored against Oregon. I thought that this was an amazing stat so I did a little research and also discovered that Oregon makes their opponents work TDs.2009? 10 of 15 rushing TD's were 5 yds. or less and no rushing TD was over 20 yds.? 11 of 16 passing TD's were from inside the red-zone and only one was over 31 yds. (Arizona 71 yds.)2010? 8 of 12 rushing TD's were 10 yds. or less and only 2 were over 30 yds. (ASU 44 yds. and Stanford 53 yds.).? Of the 15 passing TD's 14 were 36 yds. or less and 9 were from inside the red-zone. (Arizona 80 yds.)2011? 13 of 14 rushing TD's were less than 10 yds. with the longest rushing TD being only 16 yds. by LSU.? Of 25 passing TD's 20 were 25 yds. or less and 17 were from inside the red zone with only 2 reception for TD over 40 yds. (OSU 58 yds. and USC 59yds.).This could also be called the John Boyett era as he has been the free safety responsible for keeping plays in front of him for the last three years. During the Boyett era there have only been 3 rushing TDs outside the red zone and four passing TDs over 40 yards.
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
OK... I feel you deserve to be rewarded for all that work. Of course, 34-6 speaks for itself. Ducks have been doing a lot of things well in all three areas.
Ted, who has the best logo in the Pac-12?
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
Washington State... seems like most folks agree, if begrudgingly.
Hey Ted, who do you believe will be the future quarterback after Matt Barkley is gone? Who do you see the most prepared skill wise to take over the offense?
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
USC has been consistently good at QB for a decade. That track record speaks for itself. Of course, when you have your pick of QBs from across the nation, but particularly in southern California, well, let's say that helps. As for who wins the job, I really have no idea. Neither Wittek nor Kessler separated himself this spring. Wittek is the guy with big upside, while Kessler is the swashbuckler. And then of course you have hotshot incoming freshman Max Browne, and even Jesse Scroggins if he gets his academics together. My feeling is you can't really handicap the QB competition until the stakes are real, and that won't happen until Barkley leaves.
Mike Leach (Hunting bears in Canada)
Hey Ted, checking in from Canada while I'm hunting bears. Let Lintz know I'm taking video footage for him so he can improve his hand technique.
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
Don't get eaten.
Rebel (A few miles from you..)
Ted...starting to warm up huh ? That being said you hear anything more on the Oregon case ? Also what's your take on Oregon this year, all the hype is USC.
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
It's certainly not chilly here in N. Scottsdale. As for Oregon's NCAA case, nothing new to report. If there is, I promise I -- and the beat writers in Oregon -- will be on it. If you read something on a messageboard, just know it's almost certainly someone just making something up. As for Oregon: There is good reason that USC is seen as the Pac-12 frontrunner. But keep in mind that just about everyone is ranking the Ducks in the preseason top-10, most in the top-five. That's really not a place where you can complain about hype. And all the Ducks need to do to shut folks up about USC is beat the Trojans on Nov. 3.
What are the odds Andrus Peat starts at left tackle from the get-go? Any other Stanford O-line spots you think could go to one of the heralded freshmen?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
David Shaw essentially said he expects the incoming freshmen to be in the mix on the O-line, and Peat is the most likely to get into that primetime slot. It wouldn't surprise me if he started at OT. Or if one or two others get into the rotation. But the returning guys are fairly solid. It won't be a cakewalk to win a job, particularly for a freshman.
Did you ever think you'd see the day when Tedford was ranked the 9th coach in the conference! Is he out if he doesn't reach a bowl game this year?
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
That certainly is the negative way to look at it. Yes, if the Bears finish with a losing record, I think his seat will be very hot. That said, I don't think Cal will finish with a losing record. There are plenty of positives with the Bears at present: Stadium remodel, good recruiting being the chief upticks. I'm not counting Tedford out just yet.
Darron Thomas (What was I thinking Land?)
Where am I and what are the odds of me getting picked up by an NFL team? Or should I be looking at the Canadian Football League?
Ted Miller (3:24 PM)
Thomas had a tryout with the Browns but wasn't signed. I feel bad for him, but can't say I didn't see this coming. The CFL or Arena League is his best bet.
In 1973 when Stanford was looking to replace the un-PC nickname "Indians", the administration unwisely over-ruled the winner of the student vote - "Robber Barons", an homage to the university's railroad magnate founder in favor of the incredibly lame "Cardinal." With Stanford thus out of the running, which PAC12 school has the best nickname?
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
That's a hard one. I really like the Buffalo. And Tommy Trojans' pregame routine is pretty cool. I like the Stanford Tree, but he sort of operates in his own world. Robber Barons would have been cool, for sure.
Duck Fan (Cabo)
Just noticed the Thomas comment. Hate to say this but I think the Ducks are better with whoever win's the QB job and the running game should be just as lethal once they get a look at the freshmen that are incoming, because of what the two guys competing for the position will bring to the field
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
Maybe. But it was a pretty good run with Thomas, who's shaping up to be one of those "Good college QB but game doesn't translate to NFL" guys. Let's keep in mind we won't really know what Oregon has at QB until he faces a tough Pac-12 game. There's reason to be encouraged, but our sample size is too small to pass judgment.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
Will Zach Kline be the starting quarterback my midseason?
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
I don't think so.
Kyle (Bellevue, WA)
If you were a Vegas oddsmaker, how many wins would you set the over/under at for the Huskies this year?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
Rebel (A few miles from you)
ok...go out on a limb and predict that game, right now? 11/3/12 who wins? I think the Ducks will be ready to take it to the Trojan's...
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
At this moment, I like the Trojans... home stadium being a key reason.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
USC got another big commitment tis week with the much needed Ty Isaac given Kiffin the nod. Is there any stopping the Trojans express even with the number of limited scholarships they're able to give out? Orgeron and Kiffin were just as responsible for USC's recruiting success as Carroll and appear to have things in full gear.
Ted Miller (3:33 PM)
USC is rolling in recruiting, no doubt. Kiffin and Orgeron are living up to their reps as great recruiters. Still, losing 10 scholarships each of the next two years is an issue that's hard to ignore. It means injuries, academic issues, guys not panning out -- the normal bumps along the road -- will have a greater affect for USC. We won't know how well their high-star rating recruiting will compensate for that until 2 or so years down the road.
Rebel (a few miles from you...)
Didn't help them much the last time we played there...53 - 32 ring a bell...?
Ted Miller (3:35 PM)
and if the 2010 teams played again, the Ducks likely would win. It's 2012, and the Trojans have just about everyone back from a team that won in Autzen Stadium, the toughest venue in the conference.
Shop Smart (Shop S-MART)
Now that RichRod and the Pirate are bringing their high-octane offensive schemes to the PAC12, do you think Oregon's warp-speed offense becomes less unique? Will defenses line up (and recruit) to specifically stop these high-speed attacks? Could that end up favoring face-bashing attacks like Stanford's?
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
The biggest thing is up-tempo won't shock as many systems, defensively, because Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA want to play fast, just like Oregon. But Chip Kelly isn't sitting back and not using his very big brain. He'll continue to tweak his offense. And, by the way, he's been upgrading recruiting. Players win games, and the Ducks are getting better players to go with a coach who is among the best in terms of scheme and strategy.
With regards to Darron Thomas, why are people so upset over a college graduate deciding to leave school to see what he can do in the professional world?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
it came out later that he wasn't finished with his degree. Hey, it's a free country. Thomas can do what he wants. Maybe, as some theorized, he was worried about losing his job. My position is that he would have been the 2012 starter, and that would have given him a chance to improve his stock among NFL evaluators. Of course, he might have ended up where he is now. Impossible to know. I hope we all wish him the best.
Blake (Salt Lake City)
Any chance the Pac12 reverts to an 8 game conference schedule to match the announcement by the B1G earlier this week?
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
maybe... but the ACC said it was going to 9 games, joining the Pac-12 and Big 12 with that. My guess is 9 vs. 8 conference games will be an issue as they hash things out over the new four-team playoff. Every conference should be doing the same thing, whether that is 8 or 9.
xultaif (LA, CA)
Why do you continue to have faith in Cal and Tedford when every year they disapoint you?
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
Go and look at the pre-Tedford years. He's the the program's first consistent winner who's stuck around in... well, in the modern era. I think the gripes about Tedford are legit. He's on the hotseat. But I tend to be more measured with these things. Same with Mike Riley at Oregon State. It's a sense that fans who are yelling for change don't see the big picture. But, then again, I'm not emotional about these things. Or maybe in another way: I will confess that I've worked with Jeff a long time and like the guy. Maybe that colors things for me a bit.
Noah (Southern California)
Ted, do not ignore me. I am going cry.
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
there's no crying in pac-12 chats.
Isn't the main problem with playing National Semi-Final games in home stadiums not hotel rooms and other ammenities but weather? Who wants to play outdoors Jan 1 in Eugene, Ann Arbor or Lincoln?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
I agree. And there's also the variance in stadium and press box size.
Duck Fan (Cabo)
In response to Joe. Most fan's are upset when a player that has contributed goes early because they want winning and Thomas did that well, that being said most people go to college to prepare for a job/career, athletes are no different, Thomas must have felt that he was ready to make that step wether we agree or not
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
Daniel (Pasadena, (Not Texas (thank god)))
I personally would not like to revert back to 8 conference games. Even if we start the year at a competitive disadvantage, I would rather see more competitive games than exhibitions/cupcakes. I think and hope that the SEC and Big Ten take the same approach and go to 9 games. Your thoughts, Ted?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Hey, I like good games too, but I'd rather see more quality nonconference games than 9 conference games. In this new format, you need to make things easy as possible in-conference. And then you strategically schedule out of conference. I want more SEC-Pac-12, Big 12-SEC, Pac-12-Big Ten games. I think those will help us make better decisions when ranking a top-four.
Hey Ted, In my opinion Matt Barkley has the potential to be even better than Andrew luck. What type of season are we in store for from Barkley this year? I think anything less than USC in a BCS game will be a disappointment and I'm not even an SC fan.
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Barkley has the potential to put up much better numbers than Luck because he's got 2 future NFL first rounders playing receiver. Barkley has a lot more offensive weapons than Luck did in 2011. But better than Luck? I think Luck has better measurables -- size, speed and arm strength. Both are very bright. Both have leadership skills. I think most NFL scouts will rate Luck a better NFL prospect. But Barkley still could go No. 1 overall in 2013. I think both have chances to become All-Pros.
Noah (Southern California)
Ted, SECers are stalking this chat. That is fact proven by science. A majority of them think it's USC who is dodging their high profile teams for a head to head match in the regular season. Please set them straight. Thank you. *tears*
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
We need an SEC-USC game. I've seen little evidence either party is seeking one out. Maybe some SEC teams -- Alabama? LSU? -- are waiting until scholarship reductions kick in? But the real issue is this: 9 game conference schedule, plus Notre Dame, plus future Big Ten-Pac-12 games. Not sure there's much room on USC's schedule.
do you see 2 pac12 teams in bcs games this year?
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
good chance... usc and oregon. If not national title + Rose Bowl, then probably an at-large pick.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
How much of an impact will Josh Shaw make in the Trojan secondary?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
As a Florida transfer, it may take him some time to get used to playing against real live competent offenses and QBs. Kidding! I think at worst he's in the safety rotation. It's crowded back there in the Trojans secondary.
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
OK gang... time for me to fly. Thanks for stopping by.