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)
Hola... hope everyone is well. What's on your mind?
Can UW stuff the Trojans running game and can Trufant shut down one side of the field?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
The Trufant matchup with the USC WR should be interesting, one that will be happening on Sundays down the road. I don't think the Huskies defense is the sort that can "shut down." I think it can slow. And I think it can be opportunistic. But my feeling is its the offense that needs to keep up. Can the Huskies score against the Trojans defense? Keith Price and the passing game will need to be on another level.
Who should be Utah's starting QB against UCLA? Wilson or Hays
Ted Miller (3:05 PM)
Hays... I think Hays still give the Utes their best chance to win right now, but I like the idea of getting Wilson some action. If he keeps getting better, he might legitimately win the job. And he is the future. So Hay starts and needs to produce while Wilson gets some plays. If Hays can't get it done, it might be time to move on.
Is ASU a great team or have they just played a weak schedule?
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
The Sun Devils have played a middling schedule and lost at Missouri, a team that just lot to Vanderbilt. I think Arizona State seems to be on the right track, but we also thought that early last year. The schedule ahead will test them. But what I have seen against a middling schedule has been impressive -- impressive enough to make their upset shot legit against Oregon next week.
Which team needs a win the most this weekend?
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
Well, the Beavers are perfect and ranked in the top-10, so winning at BYU would sustain that. That said... not a conference game. You could say USC needs to win to stay in the national picture. And you could say a Cal loss at Washington State would be really, really bad for Jeff Tedford. It seems to me a lot of teams need to win.
Trojan1981 (The Office)
If and that is a big if, the Trojans beat Oregon twice , who plays in the BSNCG?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
I don't think USC, at 12-1, would eclipse an unbeaten team from the SEC or Big 12. BUT... I think USC could end up as the highest ranked 1-loss team. They need Notre Dame to keep winning and Oregon to keep winning and Stanford to keep winning... they need a perk to the strength of schedule to become that.
UOstudent (Eugene, OR)
With Oregon idle this week, do I study for my Psychology Exam or watch the Cardinal take on ND?
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
do both... multitask... in fact, you should bring your books to the sports bar... it would make you look scholarly and cool at the same time.
Realistically what can Oregon St achieve without Mannion? Can they do enough on offense to win ball games?
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
Absolutely... There seems to be a fair amount of confidence in Vaz... he has the ability, the question is he ready to show the game day poise. The defense is good enough to get them through some games. And Mannion could be back by the end of the month.
Puddles (A Pond)
Im getting tired of push-ups, should i join LSU to give me a desperately needed rest?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
I got riddled on Twitter for calling you Puddles, by the way.... no one seems to agree on your name.... as for LSU, it could use some good comic relief these days.
Trojan1981 (The Office)
What do you think of Nick Saban comment about the no huddle offense being unfair and unhealthy for the defense?
Ted Miller (3:17 PM)
To be honest... he's right. No huddle means more plays. More plays means more chances to get hurt. But I think it was pretty self-serving. We could keep players healthy if we made a weight limit (under 300!) and said no player over 250 pounds can run a 4.5 40. In the end, though, I'm not going to hit him too hard because I like it when coaches take stands on issues. It's his opinion. It's not invalid. And it was interesting. We certainly have a right to disagree with him.
J. Nunes (Palo Alto)
I think we match up well with Notre Dame and my confidence is running high (UA D is great for that). What will it take from me and my team to shock Lou Holtz?
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
Josh Nunes... you need to play at Notre Dame like you did at home vs. USC and Washington. I do think it's an interesting matchup. If the Cardinal were at home, I'd have picked Stanford. But I like the Irish at home, in large part because Nunes has yet to prove himself on the road.
Tony Z. (Eugene, Or.)
Willie Lyles? Anything? Bueller....Bueller....Bueller....
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
nope... it's still being hashed out...
wallowa county duck (zumwalt)
Who is the leading rusher at the end of the year?
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
Kenjon Barner, but UCLA's Johnathan Franklin will keep it tight. And watch out for Ka'Deem Carey at Arizona.
cameron marshall (tempe)
why am i not as effective this year?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
It seems you are not as good a fit for the Sun Devils new offense, and you are not as effective when you have to share the ball. you like to pound a defense, not split 35 carries with two other guys. Also, you've been banged up. I'm still confident you're going to have a nice NFL career.
Ted...what do you think of Beaver Juice? Crichton drinks it before every game....
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
sounds... yummy? It seems to be working for him.
K Whittingham (SLC, UT)
Odss that we go bowling again this year?
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
50-50... you are going to need a tough road win: at UCLA, at Oregon State, at Washington.You probably get the Beavers without Mannion, so that helps.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
Was the Homecoming win versus UCLA a potential job saving win for Jeff Tedford?
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
Well, not if the Bears flop at Washington State. But if it's the first of many consistent performances, I'd say yes... But it's tough to get to a winning record when you start 1-2 in nonconference play. I think the Bears certainly go bowling if Maynard plays like he did against UCLA the rest of the season.
Scott (Seattle, WA)
Spirit of politics, which head coach would you want to represent Pac-12 in an inter-conference debate?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
Sarkisian... articulate and insightful... not afraid to talk to the media. He's in some ways become what Bellotti used to be -- a go-to coach when you need a smart quote for a story.
Joe (Trojan Land)
Ted, who do I root for this weekend, Stanford or ND. I know conference usually is the trump card, but with ND and both Oregon coming up, wouldn't 2 wins over top5 teams be better?
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
It's a toss-up... a highly ranked Stanford helps you too... but if you handed Notre Dame and Oregon their only losses, that would raise some national eyebrows.
Mike Leach (Pullman)
I take offense to your choice of "go-to coach" for story quotes. You know I'm your guy, Miller.
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
If I ask you about something random... not so much about your team.
Seems like this is a good bye week for Arizona with all of the injuries lately. How worried should us 'Cats fans be? What are the chances the team bounces back and beats Washington on the 20th?
Ted Miller (3:33 PM)
That seems like a nice matchup for the Wildcats... The Huskies will be emerging from a brutal stretch of schedule and going on the road... Washington's offense might not be able to keep up with the Wildcats, who've scored on everybody. It feels like that will be a key game for both teams. Winner seems certain to go to a bowl. Loser might be questionable.
Alex C (Cincinnati, OH)
How much of a harder test will the Devils face next week when they play an Oregon team that has had not one, but two weeks to prepare for them?
Ted Miller (3:36 PM)
It certainly helps to have extra rest and prep time... The Ducks, in particular, need LB Michael Clay back. The good news for both teams is they know up-tempo because they face it in practice every day. And ASU does get some extra time to prepare because it plays tonight. I don't see it as a huge factor, though, other than the extra rest.
Its a warm day in Colorado - good weather for the Sun Devils. Why is it that CU can't get better recruits?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
Players want to win... Jon Embree needs to convince them they will if they come to Colorado.
Trojan1981 (The Office)
Instead of a poll or playoff system they should do what futbol (soccer) does, put every team in random groups let them play eacohther the have quarter finals, semifinals, then the championship game. What do you think?
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
interesting..... but I don't see that happening.
Jim (Bremerton, WA)
What'll be the key to WSU's success if they're able to pull off the upset vs Cal this week?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
Getting the passing game clicking... That starts with protecting the QB, and the QB protecting the football. Then Halliday needs to be accurate and make the right reads. That Air Raid needs a 70 percent completion rate.
Do you ever see Lane Kiffin completely winning over USC fans. Don't give us an easy answer and say win.
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
Well, other than winning what was he hired to do? Sing and dance? Kiffin wins over USC fans as soon as he wins a national title. That's how USC coaches are measured. He could buy time with a couple of Rose Bowls, too.
David (Peoria, AZ)
Should Devil fans be worried that tonight's game is a trap game against the Buffs or will we roll them easily?
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
I think Arizona State is going to roll... but that might be your cue to worry.
Bruce (Bay Area, CA)
If you follow along the lines that college athletes are students first, athletes second....with all the controversy surrounding money, agents, playoffs, NCAA & college money.....what are you thoughts on Ralph Nader's suggestion to eliminate Athletic Scholarships? (I know it will never happen, but it's an interesting topic)
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
Athletic scholarships give a lot of folks a chance to go to college who wouldn't get that opportunity. I'd be more in favor of Ralph Nader, who typically doesn't know what he's talking talking about, doing something useful instead of just trying to get people to look at him.
What are your keys to the game for UCLA to beat Utah. UCLA is favored but as a Bruin fan myself i am nervous about this game
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
1. Get Franklin going to take pressure off Hundley; 2. Stop John White and force the Utes to pass. The Bruins O-line will be taxed in this one. That, to me, is the key. How well does it hold up to Star Lotulelei and company?
Will Ferrel (C'mon man)
Quit being so serious! I have thrown every funny name I could think of at you. It's time to take a break and acknowledge the comedians here.
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
you are hilarious..... shake & bake.
Looking to the Oregon-ASU game, do you think ASU will be able to hold the Ducks under anywhere near their average (52 pts)? On the flip side, do you think Oregon's Defense can keep ASU offense under control?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
I think the ASU defense vs. the Oregon offense will be VERY interesting. Keep in mind that Ducks QB Marcus Mariota had a bad game against Washington State, his only bad game this year AND his only road start. I think if ASU fans pack Sun Devil Stadium, that could turn up the heat on Mariota. Guessing today, I don't think Oregon hits 50. That said... I like the Ducks defense against the Sun Devils. Not sure if they can consistently block that tough and deep front 7.
Fred (Walla Walla)
Bummer about Beano. How big for Oregon is having Josh Huff back in the lineup?
Ted Miller (3:53 PM)
Yep... RIP Beano Cook. Prince of a guy. As for Huff, the Ducks weakest position is WR.... so Huff provides a nice boost. He's not a "pure" WR... he's always seemed a bit like a RB playing WR to me, but he's a veteran and is dangerous in space.
Any chance the deal with the Big 10 will ever get revived? It was such a great idea; the only things standing in the way of making it a huge success were the 9-game conference schedule and Stanford and USC's affinity for Notre Dame.
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
I'd love it... but a lot of Pac-12 folks didn't with the 9-game conference schedule. If all of college football goes to an 8 or 9 game schedule, then it might have a chance to revive... To me, the best thing in college football after rivalry games is big nonconference matchups...
CardinalAndGold (Ontario CA)
can you answer my earlier question about Agholor and WA vs USC game? thanks.
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
yes... the answer is 47.... you might need to provide the question again... you do realize you are not the only person here... I mean Engineer Mike is here all the way from Switzerland...
Engineer Mike (Switzerland)
Favorite game of this week?
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
I find a lot of matchups interesting, but if I could watch only one I'd watch USC-Washington... two conference teams. Oregon State at BYU and Stanford at Notre Dame are important, but they don't count in the standings.
Instead of asking if Oregon could hang in SEC why not ask it Bama or UF could hang in the PAC12? Hot in Tempe, Cold in Pullman and lots of travel.
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Here's the answer: Oregon could hang with the SEC. Alabama could hang with the Pac-12. Both are elite teams.
UCLA that bad, or Cal that good?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
Cal played its best game, UCLA cratered in the second half.... The question for both programs has long been consistency. Will Cal continue to play like that? And will UCLA bounce back? Those are the questions. Bruins are pretty darn young, so their being up and down shouldn't be a big surprise. Hundley was due to struggle after such a strong start.
Hitchhikers Guide...one of the greats.
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
Just recommended that to my brother, who said he didn't like British humor. Can you believe that? I wanted to cry.
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
Folks... time for me to get back to the ole blog... thanks for stopping by. See you next week....