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. What's up?
Any inside knowledge of who the Utes will start at QB on Saturday?
Ted Miller (3:01 PM)
My guess is Hays but we'll continue to see Travis Wilson. Too much to put on a freshman vs. BYU. The good news is it appears worries about John White's health were just worries and not real... We'll see though.
Brett (Salt Lake City)
Give it to me straight, Doc. Is Utah's season shot?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
Well you guys did fairly well last year without Jordan Wynn. And Hays now has experience. So, no, not shot. Still, the O-line needs to get better.
Jason (Vancouver, WA)
Over/under 3 touchdowns for DAT this week?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
i'd take the over...
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Are you surprised at how poorly Cal's defense has played this year given they were reportedly the strength of the team entering the season? Has Tosh Lupoi's presence been missed on the field as well as the recruiting trail?
Ted Miller (3:05 PM)
Injuries have been an issue. There were extremely high hopes for DE Mustafa Jalil and it's unclear where he stands health wise. But, yes, I thought this was potentially dominating group. Is it the loss of Tosh? I think that hit is more about recruiting than on-field coaching. It's not like the Huskies D-line looked inspired at LSU. Big measuring stick for the Bears going forward at Ohio State on Saturday.
Thoughts on Oregon State? I realize defense played well, but I dont think the win was as impressive as some are making it out to be. Am I wrong?
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
I was very impressed and I wrote about it for this afternoon... Even if Wisconsin is not as good as last year, the Badgers are a consistent Big Ten power that plays physical football. Hard for me to believe the Beavers aren't at least a bowl team. Maybe an 8-win team, in fact. But we'll see. Games at UCLA and Arizona will take a measure of all 3 programs with impressive wins last weekend.
Tylurker (Land of Oaks, CA)
With Holmes out, might the Robber Barons salty front 7 make life miserable for Barkley & co? I like their chances.
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
Maybe... but the Cardinal didn't get great pressure in its first 2 games vs. San Jose State and Duke, and blitzing Barkley hasn't proven to be effective. USC's matchup with the Stanford secondary seems like a big advantage for the Trojans.
If you had your druthers, would you rather be a defensive coordinator in the PAC12 or an offensive coordinator in the SEC?
Ted Miller (3:09 PM)
defensive coordinator in Pac-12... I'd rather live on the West Coast.
Cougar Brian (Germany)
Does Las Vegas stand a chance against the hords of Cougs that are taking to its streets tomorrow?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
If I were a fan, I'd want a game at UNLV every other year or so... I think the Cougars take care of business -- even if Tuel is out -- and their fans have a good time on the strip.
Rob (Portland, OR)
The Ducks' chances of winning the Pac-12 WITH York/Boyett? And their chances now WITHOUT them?
Ted Miller (3:11 PM)
Losing two four-year starters is a big hit. The Ducks have good depth but those are big blows in terms of Xs and Os and leadership. I had USC ahead of Oregon to start the season. I think Oregon closed the gap with the early returns on Marcus Mariota. Now the Ducks take a step back.
Jason (Medford, Or)
last year, the PAC12 was blasted for its early season losses in non-conference play, although most were on the road. This season, it is getting a lot of love for last week's victories, but they were all at home. I think this point was not mentioned enough either last year or this week. Thoughts?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
It's mentioned but we tend to be bottom line: Did you win or lose? Homefield advantage is big in college football, without a doubt. But it's also not just about road/home, winning/losing. It's about performance... Recall that Arizona, Oregon State, UCLA (at home) and Washington State all got blown out in nonconference games and Oregon fell short in an elite matchup with LSU.
Winston Free (United States)
Is it worth it for teams like UW to schedule teams like LSU? UW could have played SDSU, New Mexico, and then PSU this week and have a 3-0 record going into conference play with a looming showdown between two ranked teams against Stanford. Instead of being injured and down on themselves needing a boost, they would be more healthy and feel better about themselves like other teams who have played patsies.
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
I think every team should follow an A, B, C style of scheduling with an A-list foe, a middling one and an easy win. That said, it would be better to pick an A-list foe other than LSU or Alabama, two teams at present at the top of their game. The Huskies didn't gain anything by getting quashed.
Give me the silver lining for the Buffs this year.
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
It can't get much worse... Young team that should be better in 2013. Last year, the Buffs were a bad team playing a bunch of seniors. Now they are a bad team playing a bunch of underclassmen. This looked like a potentially rough year heading into the season. It also might be for the best that Embree is getting his coaching legs under him before there are justified expectations. Next year, there will be a justified hope for substantial improvement.
Ed (San Diego)
Hi TedI like old man ball. Who wins the battle in trenches between USC and Stanford this Saturday.
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
I see a push, which favors USC. The Trojans have better skill.
Regarding scheduling.. it can be hard to do that since those non-conference games can be a decade in the future. And sometimes a team backs out and you're left scrounging for a Savannah State to fill out the schedule
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
Absolutely... see Oregon this year after Kansas State flew away like a terrified little bird.
As of today, who do you think wins this year's Territorial Cup in Tucson: Arizona or Arizona State? (I'm a UA fan but think ASU is a little better at this point.)
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
It seems like a toss-up at present. Both teams look better than preseason expectations. We'll get a better measure of the Sun Devils at Missouri. If they win on the road, I'd give the edge to ASU. But we've got a lot of football to be played until we cross Thanksgiving.
Jeff Tedford (Berkeley, Ca)
New stadium, new facilities. How long do I realistically have to build a team that will challenge for a Pac-12 title?
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
Hard to say... if Cal implodes this year, things could be pretty sticky. If you go to a bowl game, you're probably safe into 2013.
How do you think ASU will fare on the road this weekend?
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
Kevin picked the Sun Devils to win. I picked them to lose. I think it would be great for the conference if they won... a victory over the SEC!
best defensive line in the pac this year?
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
to be honest... I don't now yet. I like Oregon, Stanford, Utah, USC and Cal, but each of them has had moments of vulnerability.. so jury is out.
Do the Vikings pull another Big Sky surprise?
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
no... I hope not for the Huskies sake.
STUCK!!! (In the office)
Halliday looks to be the probable starter for WSU's game against UNLV tomorrow. What are your personal thoughts on Doc Halliday and how do you think he will fair against UNLV? Its too bad Tuel is injured again, I have a feeling he might turn into the "great that never was" type player.
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
Cougs should be OK against a team that lose to Northern Arizona... it doesn't seem like a serious injury to Tuel, and it could pay of to get Halliday some time in Leach's offense. I think he'll do fine. He seems like a gamer who plays better when things are real than in practice. With Leach, accuracy is the issue. So it would be a good night if he's around 65 percent.
Will Wood getting snaps for the Buffs help their chances against Fresno?
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
I think so.. the Buffs need a spark. Maybe Wood supplies it.
Maurice (Los Angeles)
Is UCLA ready to upset and challenge USC and Oregon for the Pac 10 title.
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
Well, I think we're a bit far off on that... let's see what happens against Houston and Oregon State... and then the next few games before we make sweeping statements. Don't see the Bruins beating USC just yet, and they don't play Oregon.
Only two decent games in the PAC this week. Which is better... USC@Stanford to kick off the conference schedule or ASU@Mizzou.... PAC12 great chance to get that victory over the SEC!
Ted Miller (3:33 PM)
Both are good games, and I'd toss in BYU-Utah and Cal at Ohio State, too. But USC-Stanford is the game of the week, no question. Two ranked Pac-12 teams, first big test for Matt Barkley and USC.
Jason (Monmouth, OR)
Do people really not double check their questions for spelling and grammar errors? Not to mention the simple stuff like PAC 10 vs PAC 12? As a writer, I bet it drives you nuts. I am not a writer and it still annoys me.
Ted Miller (3:36 PM)
I try not to be hard on folks throwing up a question with a mistake on a chat because we're all typing fast and I know how it bothers me when I see a typo in one of my stories... the only one that always makes me grin is a disgruntle reader who notes: "Your an idiot."
everybody keeps saying that the backups for Boyett, and york are solid and good to go. yet when the backups were carying the load in the second half of the last two games things looked bad. Reasons for the apparant contradiction?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
Well, York didn't start the first two games for one. And there's a big difference between one 2nd team player and an entire 2nd team unit. The guys who are replacing York and Boyett are known quantities with plenty of experience.
jeff berez (florida)
Ted, I think you are under estimating Stanford. Oregon gave up 25 points to Fresno St. The Cardinal front seven will be extremely physical and I look for the secondary to really step up. USC was not impressive against Syracuse. I think depth could play a huge factor come the 4th quarter. i smell a Cardinal surprise. Stanford is much better than they are given credit for. San Jose St may not lose another game all year.
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
maybe... we shall see. It's possible that Stanford has shown very little of who it will be.
Utahute72 (Stansbury Park)
Ted, wouldn't that be a "disgruntled" reader?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
Of the teams looking good in the South besides USC (UA, UCLA, and, begrudgingly, ASU), whose schedule plays out to give them the best chance at a good record? Who has the worst chance?
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
arizona state misses Stanford... UCLA misses Oregon... Arizona plays them both. Advantage UCLA and ASU. ASU has a road game at Missouri this weekend, while UCLA is at home vs. Houston... advantage UCLA... I think UCLA has the best remaining schedule, one that could yield 8-9 wins.
Nicki (Portland, Oregon)
Please tell me that you aren't going to let Rittenberg forget that he said that Oregon State wasn't a good team this year....before they had even played a game?
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
Did you think Oregon State was a good team this year before it played a game? I thought the Beavers were going to be better, but better to me meant 6 or maybe 7 wins. I thought being within 10 points vs. Wisky would be a good afternoon.
ASU's Kelly looked really good last weekend against Illinois. Is he that good or was Illinois just that bad?
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
Jury's out, though Illinois was very good on D last year and was supposed to be good this year. Playing on the road is a challenge for a young QB, so we'll get a better feel for Kelly at Missouri. But hard not to like what he's done in a 2-0 start.
alan (los angeles)
Nebraska may have been over rated. Rice is horrible. Houston is a weak team also. The jury remains out on UCLA in my opinion
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
the jury is out on just about everyone...
how many questions do you get from us every minute during one of these chats?
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
a lot... we're at 320...
mike (palo alto)
Ted, if Stanford beats USC what are the chances of the Cardinal running the table?
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
Better than before... The Cardinal still have their "Oregon problem."
Thoughts on who has the toughest schedule in the Pac12?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
Huskies... LSU, USC, Oregon... 3 top five teams... Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State, three other ranked teams...
Ted honesty the Utes loss to USU looked bad, but will a win over BYU as well as USU playing a close game against Wisconsin redeem them a little this Saturday?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
If Utah beats BYU, it will be back on track. BYU looks like a top-25 team to me, so that would be a quality win. I think the only thing that has happened is folks who though the Utes had a shot beating out USC in the South are coming back down to earth... Utes are still a bowl team.
Loud Mouth Duck (Houston)
Ted, how important is it for ASU, Cal, WSU and Utah to do well OOC this weekend in order to maintain the Pac's current national image?
Ted Miller (3:50 PM)
Well, last week made a BIG statement, so some fumbling this week won't be as bad... ASU, Cal and Utah are all underdogs. Hopefully, at least one wins. Cougs should win at UNLV.
Snoop Dogg (The Hizzell)
Who is going to tighten up the cornerback spot opposite Robey? Will this prevent the Trojans from making it to Miami if Kiffin can't find someone to adequately replace Wiley?
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
You'd think they'd eventually find an answer... I like the idea of giving S Josh Shaw a try if things continue to be an issue. But remember that Robey had a rocky start to his career and then quietly asserted himself.
Oregon and USC have both suffered serious losses due to injuries this year. Whose are worse?
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
Oregon. We don't know how long Holmes will be out. I suspect his ankle isn't season-ending. Trojans lost Kennard for the year and Heidari for a few weeks. Ducks seem deeper than the Trojans, so it could prove a push...
EF (Pac-12 Country)
When will the Pac-12 get a new bowl tie ins?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
I don't know if there are a lot of options... unless folks create new bowl games out west.
Doug Marrone (Syracuse)
If USC beats Stanford more convincingly than they beat us, will you guys give us some credit instead of saying the Trojans had a bad day?
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
I think the first half against Syracuse was more indicative of how those two teams stacked up. That said, I think Syracuse, after competitive losses to Northwestern and USC, is going to be fine in the Big East... a good QB gets you to a bowl game.
Eric (Albany, OR)
Does it hurt the Beavs that they didn't get to beat up on Nichols State?
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
Aren't they still trying to reschedule? An extra win is always good for perception, but it won't be a big blow unless it would be a 6th or 7th win for bowl eligibility.
bill (orange county)
dont be surprised if neither Oregon nor USC win the North and South of the Pac-12.
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
I'd be utterly shocked. And your family should keep you away from Vegas.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
Will DeAnthony Thomas get the Heisman LaMichael James didn't?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Maybe... I'd sure like to see him get 15-20 touches a game and see what happens.
What does Barner have to do this week to get in the heisman discussion?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
Keep gaining 200 yards rushing...
Ok Ted, put yourself on record... who would you predict is going to be in the championship game... and who do you pick to win.
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
USC-Oregon... And I still like the Trojans.
If Travis Wilson starts this weekend in Rice-Eccles, does that mean Utah has thrown in the towel for the season, or he's really that good?
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
No, it means that Whittingham/Johnson think he gives the Utes their best chance to win. There is no towel throwing. Utah has plenty left to play for. Grief... just one loss folks.
Tedney,Your an idiot.
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
OK gang... with that admission, I say goodbye. Hope all of your teams play well this weekend. See you next week.