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 (2:59 PM)
The Pac-12 chat is back. Sort of like Jim Morrison or Bruce Lee walking out of the woods and proclaiming he is ready to work again. Except different. What's on your mind?
Whats the number, points per game, the Coug defense needs to shoot for?
Ted Miller (3:01 PM)
100... Kidding! The Cougs averaged 29.8 ppg last year and gave up 32.8 ppg on defense. So I'd say 35 ppg, which would have ranked fourth in the conference last year.
sctrojan2006 (Los Angeles, CA)
ed, we always hear from SEC fans about how defense wins championships. They are using that as their argument about why USC would be dominated by either LSU or Alabama. Do you feel that it is applicable to college football? We know it doesn't apply to the NFL. Neither team in last year's SuperBowl were in the top 25 for Total Defense. It seems that an average defense with a high octane offense would have the advantage over a high powered defense, with an average offense. What are your thoughts, and do you think a SEC team would be able to shut USC's offense down?
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
Good teams win championships, typically with good players on both sides of the ball. The reason Alabama beat LSU in the title game was because of superior offensive play. I don't think it's a myth that the SEC plays better defense and has better D-linemen. It's also not a myth the Pac-12 plays better offense and had better QBs. The big thing in these title games is giving a defense extra time seems to help its preparations, while hurting an offenses. As for an SEC team shutting USC down... There is exactly Zero chance of that. Alabama or LSU might hold USC to fewer points than their season average, but I'm certain that USC would at least get to the high-20s vs. any SEC defense.
Nate Thomas (Salt Lake)
Will having a 25 year old Offensive Coordinator be a serious liability for Utah?
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
I don't think so... Brian Johnson is a sharp guy who big ideas. There are plenty of veteran guys on the staff to help him in areas where experience matters. Whittingham nailed it on defense with Kalani Sitake. My guess is he made another good hire with Johnson.
ducktails777 (atlanta GA)
Dear Ted,Are Oregon fans really as obnoxious as we've been made out to be on the boards lately?And where's End Zone rate on your list of favorite books?
Ted Miller (3:09 PM)
Oregon fans are enjoying this great run, so that means lots of them on the boards. Some are going to be obnoxious. Some are going to bury the trolls from other conferences, such as yourself. I enjoy the back-and-forth... at least if it has some wit to it. My guess is you guys show up because it's fun to trash talk. As for End Zone, I like it because it was an early book from one of my favorite writers -- Don DeLillo -- writing about a topic that is near and dear to me, college football. I'd rate it behind "Underworld," though, which I believe is one of the 10 best American novels since World War II.
How many freshmen will start on Stanford's O-Line this year (barring injury)?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
No more than 1, I think, though it seems possible a couple could play... 3 good starters back and some guys who are pretty salty and experienced ready to step in.
Now that we are a few days into camp, and less than a month from kickoff (!!) who do you think the starting ASU QB is going to be? Graham has said Taylor Kelly has looked good the past few days but I still don't see him winning the job...do you?
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
I don't know! I thought it was going to be a tie with Bercovici the best passer and Eubank a guy with huge upside and running ability, and they would each play during the early going to see who prevailed. But Kelly seems to have hung around and gotten better. He's the best guy in terms of combo skills.. he can pass and run. He didn't look great during the spring when I saw him, but he's clearly improved over the summer. Seems like it's wide open.
Tim (San Diego)
If your immense blogging skills were magically transformed into football skills and the NCAA granted you the special Pac-12 blogger eligibility waiver, what school would you sign with and why?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
Harvard... because I can't imagine myself being good enough to compete with these beastly looking guys I cover...
Levite (Macville, internet)
will anyone play defense in the pac 12 this year
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
I think Cal, Oregon, Stanford, USC and Utah are candidates to have top-25 defenses. So yes. The problem is Pac-12 defenses play against NFL QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs, unlike some conferences. Makes it hard to look good on D.
Mario (Phoenix, AZ)
How long do you think it will take Silas Redd to learn the offense and make an impact?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
He will be an impact player from week 1. I think the situation is perfect for both him and McNeal. The NFL will look at their individual runs, not whether they carried it 25 times. They'll take less hits and look better doing so.
USC's recruiting seems to be going great guns (4-Five* already) for 2013. If the trend continues, are we looking at a Pac-1 in a few years?
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
Well, let's see USC unthrone Oregon before we crown them. But USC is recruiting very well. Too bad for them their class is limited by NCAA sanctions. I don't think we're headed to a Pac-1. I don't even think that was the case during the Carroll years.
Am I the only one with hope for the Beavers O-line this season? Phillip is back and it looks like Semoula is going to be the starting center do you see the Beavs being able to be in the top half of the pac-12 if the lines gels?
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
If you give Sean Mannion a running game and then time to throw, he and a good crew of receivers should score enough to get the Beavers back into a bowl game, and conceivably back into the top-half of the conference. I do think Philipp is the key guy. He looked like a budding star as a true freshman. If he gets his mojo back, it solves a lot of things, particularly if the frosh steps up at center.
Rich Rod (Tucson)
How bad is my defense going to be this year?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
It's obviously a concern, particularly the front 7... the big question is generating a pass rush. There was none last year and there doesn't seem to be anybody who can bring consistent pressure from the edge. That means the Wildcats will have to run a lot of stunts to pressure the QB. That's a risky way to live.
WSU @ BYU opening week who wins?
Ted Miller (3:24 PM)
tough one... BYU is double-digit favorite playing at home and it will be Leach's first game with the Cougs... my brain says BYU but I'm not big on betting against Leach.
Michael (Pasadena, CA)
With the news of the Penn State scandal dominating the news, what ever happened with Oregon's recruiting scandal, or even the Miami scandal, seems like those have been swept under the rug lately.
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
Nothing just disappears with the NCAA even if it feels that way... I heard recently from someone who should know that the NCAA is completing its summary judgment against Oregon at a ridiculously glacial pace, in large part because it's unexplored territory... Miami's deal is pretty darn complicated with lots of moving parts. And Penn State's situation qualified as an NCAA emergency... but be patient... Judgments will eventually come.
can washington realistically finish above stanford and maybe above oregon in the pac 12 north?
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
I wouldn't bet on it... both those teams have dominated the Huskies of late. What Washington needs to do is close the gap -- play competitive games with both. Huskies set up well for a run in 2013 when they could be a North threat.
greg (bay area)
do you think that Zack Manyard's play will be of the skill that it was in the last big game, were if I remember right Manyard put up similar numbers compared to the numbers that Luck put up?
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
If Maynard is the guy he was over the final third of the regular season -- let's ignore the bowl game -- then the Bears set up for a nice season. Tedford has consistently lauded his improvement, so that suggests reasons for Bears fans to hope for a guy who rates at least in the middle of the Pac-12 in pass efficiency. But because nearly all of the Bears practices are closed, it's difficult for us to say that Maynard looks much better than last year. A big measuring stick will be at Ohio State.
J. Embree (Boulder)
Not much hope for my team in the polls, but the pac-12 south is very muddled once you get by USC and Utah (who we beat last year on the road). I think my buffs finish out of the cellar this season and we won't even need a 5 down. What odds do you give the buffs to not finish last in the pac-12 south?
Ted Miller (3:34 PM)
Hope is the schedule... The Buffs first six opponents are beatable -- CSU, Sac State, Fresno, the Cougs, UCLA, ASU. It's completely reasonable to believe they could emerge from that at 4-2 before the schedule toughens up. The linchpin game may be at Arizona on Nov. 10. Most will project ASU and the Wildcats in the bottom half of the South with the Buffs. If the Buffs can beat those guys, then one or the other could fall into the cellar.
Keith (Seattle, WA)
How big a blow is the loss of Cooper to the Huskies? Is Shankey capable of carrying the load?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
I feel terrible for Deontae Cooper.... guy had real ability. But I don't think the Huskies were really counting on him. I think Callier and Sankey are a solid combination. RB isn't a huge worry for the Huskies.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
Does the Cal defense have the potential to be dominant in 2012 and carry the Bears to a surprising 8-10 win season?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
there is a lot of young talent on that defense... the bears defense is not a certainty because much of the optimism is about projecting on ability. We haven't seen a lot yet. But I think they will be good. If they are dominant, that would certainly help the record. But Maynard is the bigger key. If the Bears get reliable play at QB, they are a threat for second or third in the North.
Eric (San Diego)
Are you planning on attending a game at the new Memorial? If so, which one? How about the Washington game?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
I hope so... where Kevin or I go on Saturdays is based on where the big game is, not a shiny new stadium. So if the Bears win, I'll be coming to Berkeley.
Kevin (Sacramento, CA)
Will freshmen Zac Kline see the field if Maynard begins to falter?
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
Maybe... but Kline needs to beat out Bridgford first... it does sound like Kline has been hot early in preseason camp, though. My feeling is Tedford would really prefer to redshirt him, though.
Jeff (Baja British Columbia)
Is Andrei Lintz going to shock people? I mean no one has even heard of the guy.
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
I've heard of him! Had a great spring. Big athletic tight ends doubling as receivers is kind of a new trend -- see the Gronk. He sounds like another guy who can force an opponent to defend the entire field -- and keep the attention around Marquess Wilson from being too overbearing.
Jeff Tedford (Berkeley)
Ted, I love your blog and read it every night before I go to sleep. Are there any positions on offense or defense where our depth may be thin?
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
I want you to read it every hour, throughout the day. Not as a bedtime story! Well, start with receiver. You only listed 2 on the post-spring depth chart. At least 2-3 true freshmen need to play immediately there... the O-line is a bit of a concern too with Galas hurt.
Brett (slc) [via mobile]
If you're going to the biggest games I can plan to see you in Salt Lake when SC comes into town?
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
that would seem like a good possibility, either kevin or me.
Ted if you were Chip and both Bennett and Mariota were even during fall camp, do you go with the more experienced guy or the younger guy with more years to play and might have a bigger upside?
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
Bennett isn't exactly old... he's a sophomore. So either guy is going to be a multiyear starter. If two players are even, I'd go with the more experienced guy. Or the guy who I think will make fewer mistakes. But if they are even, I'd play both. With the soft early schedule, Chip can treat some of those foes like preseason games.
Jerry (New York, NY)
Ted, what are the chances that the Pac-12 Network will enter into deals with cable networks outside of the West Coast? Have there even been any discussions or is it time for me to switch to Time Warner?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
It seems like the Pac-12 Network has added a cable carrier a day of late... keep checking out this page for availability.... http://www.pac-12.org/SPORTS/Pac12Networks/Pac12Networks.aspx
M. Riley (Corvallis)
Can I get a "hip, hip, horray" for the Beavers?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
no cheering in the press box.
How long will it take for Wash St. to be a contender? Will CU ever be a contend in the PAC-12?
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
A contender to get back to the Rose Bowl? I don't know. hard to say. Of course, the Cougs have been to two since 1997, and not many teams can say that. And, yes, Colorado will eventually contend in the Pac-12... I see the Buffs becoming competitive fairly quickly. Like the Cougs, the Buffs have been good before so there is no reason they can't be good again.
What should Arizona fans be most excited about this year?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Matt Scott running Rich Rod's spread-option, up-tempo offense... it seems like a good fit.
Trey (Long Beach)
Any chance Robert Woods or Marquise Lee gets any Heisman love, or will it just be Barkley?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Probably just Barkley... receivers tend to be Heisman afterthoughts...
Bill Gates (Redmond, WA)
When are you going to debut your annual Best/Worst Case scenarios for each PAC 12 school? My favorite part is when you imply that I could help one school or another.
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
Best-Worst case is coming soon... they are very time-consuming and after doing them a few years, sometimes I look into my creativity pool and see dry land... but I shall try again... soon.
Which game should the Ducks be more worried about - at Cal or home against Stanford?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
both... but road games are trickier, particularly with Stanford breaking in a QB who won't know what he's in for in Autzen.
How many Pac-12 teams make Bowl games this year? How many BCS bowls for the Pac-12?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
8 & 2.
Glenn Hanna (Oregon)
If the PAC 12 was a single team, the 2011 stats would place team Pac 12 in 105th place for penalty yards. What's the deal with all the penalties?
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
Some of us grumpy sorts would contend the Pac-12 is over-officiated... Others might say that lots of passing plays create more opportunities for penalties... Or maybe everyone is just sloppier?
Kevin (Sacramento, CA)
What is your prediction for Brett Nottingham in Year 1 of replacing Andrew Luck?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
You sure he beats out Nunes? Seems like every one is filling that one in prematurely. I think whoever plays QB at Stanford will be solid... Pep Hamilton and David Shaw won't ask him to do too much, and the supporting cast is solid. But Stanford will be a run-first team this year, more so than with Luck under center.
Oh, you will answer 2 of "beavfan's" questions, but none of mine. I see how you are.
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
Lots of folks want to talk to the Pac-12 blog... the line is long -- LONG -- my friend.
James (Chicago, IL)
Most powerful: Larry Scott, Jim Delaney, or Mike Slive?
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
Slive because his conference is presently dominant. But no commissioner has disproportionate power. The top conferences all need each other...
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
OK gang... time to get back to the salt mines... Thanks for stopping by. See you next week!