Chat with Ted Miller
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Pac-12 reporter 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)
Greetings... fire away.
Hey Ted, Glad we are still having PAC-12 chats. So my question is: what is Whittingham thinking? He has had a new offensive coordinator each of the last 6 years, and he is constantly demoting those he hired. And his newest hire is the "fired" head coach of Wyoming? He couldn't do better than that?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
Before he was fired at Wyoming, Dave Christensen did outstanding work at Missouri. You can explain each Whittingham decision, but of course it looks bad and isn't good for players to change so often. It seems like an uncomfortable situation with so many demoted guys on Utah's offensive staff now working for Christensen, who seemed to take a "my way or the highway" approach in early interviews.
Does Arizona have top 15 potential next year?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
We need to see what happens at QB before we start talking national rankings... but the Wildcats certainly have some sneaky good talent coming back.
Alaina (San Francisco, CA)
Which Pac-12 team is the front-runner this recruiting season?
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
I suspect UCLA will make a strong long surge, but the Arizona schools have done surprisingly well. Wonder if Sark or Shaw can make a late move, too.
Kadeem (the dream) Carey (Tucson )
If I run a sub 4.5 sec 40 at the combine I'm a sure fire first round pick right?
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
Running backs are tough calls in the first round these days, unless you're an Adrian Peterson type talent. But if he goes below 4.5, which I don't think he will, he will get serious early consideration. No secret the Pac-12 blog loves the way the guy runs. Gets tough yards on defenses that know he's coming.
Matt (San Diego)
So UCLA has to be considered the class of the P12 South entering next season, atleast most think that (even if you don't). Where would you pit them against Oregon and Stanford looking forward to 2014?
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
Right there with the Ducks and maybe ahead of Stanford... I looked at what UCLA has coming back today for a returning starters story (some bruins fans took issue because of guys who started but I didn't count as "starters") and it's strong on both sides of the ball. What the Bruins need is: 1. A guy to take charge at RB; 2. A true No. 1 WR to replace Shaq; 3. An A-list pass rusher. They may have all three on the roster now, but we'll have to see. UCLA is a top-10 team
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Who will regret leaving USC early the most, Uko or Grimble?
Ted Miller (3:09 PM)
Uko... defensive linemen are at a premium and the Trojans can pop Telfer into the lineup and not miss much.
Patches (Wenatchee, WA)
Do you see a 7-5 regular season for the Cougs in 2014? Also, Seahawks or 49ers?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
Got to go with the 12th man... i haven't closely reviewed the Cougs schedule. My big questions are O-line and secondary. I think 7-5 seems like a reasonable expectation...
Tod (San Francisco)
What are your thoughts on the loss of four starters on the Stanford O-line to graduation and early entries to the draft? It's a big plus to have Peat for another year though!
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
You knew Yankey was going to bolt.... I thought Flemming might be 50-50. That was a blow. But the one thing Stanford clearly has is promising young O-linemen. Murphy, Garnett, Caspers, Austin -- these guys were probably better this year than a lot of Pac-12 starters.
I will assume that Bo Davis had not, in fact, signed a contract by the time he was announced by USC. Is that par for the course when coaches are "hired"? What are your thoughts on what feels like a protracted and disorganized assembling of Coach Sarkisian's staff?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
Just the way things go... everyone wants the best situation for themselves. I think Sark's got an outstanding staff, including keeping Helton and Martin on offense.
Ted Miller (3:17 PM)
You guys just sent me into a panic because I realized I liked to Bo Davis story instead of a Chris Wilson story for USC d-line... d'oh.
I think BJ Denker was very unappreciated by Arizona fans this year. Do you think they will miss him next year?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
I think Arizona got as much as it could out of Denker, perhaps the biggest surprise in the conference. It will be interesting to see who wins the job in 2014 and if he can play better than Denker. Almost certain to be more talented, but that doesn't always win games.
Joe (Everett, WA)
Do you think UW can contend for the North in 2014? Why/why not?
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
I'd bet against it... new QB, new coach and Oregon still very good... but I wouldn't be shocked if the Huskies win eight or nine games next fall. The North will again be tough next year. Pac-12 as a whole. No easy outs.
Brian (Denver, CO)
With the defensive losses, unproven (yet talented) O-line and much tougher road schedule (at Oregon, UCLA, ASU, UW, ND), I'm gonna assume nobody predicts Stanford will make it to a fifth straight "BCS-ish" bowl game. Is a 9 victory regular season achievable, now that we get to be underdogs again?
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
I do think Stanford takes a slight step back. Not a tumble, but I think a 9-win regular season is pretty realistic.... Cardinal loses a lot of talent headed to NFL rosters.
Hey Ted, early prediction for game of the year? Oct 11 Oregon @ UCLA?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
Yes... that would be my pick in terms of the top teams, but it's not a division game, so losing it wouldn't be as critical as say Oregon-Stanford or USC/ASU-UCLA.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How do you think Kiffin will do in Tuscaloosa? Did the SC bloodline and angst factor into Del Rio's kid transferring?
Ted Miller (3:24 PM)
It will be interesting to see. This is his chance to really prove himself as an Xs and Os guy... keep in mind that Sark called plays when they were running the USC offense, not Kiffin. I suspect he'll do well because he's working with a lot of talent, and he won't get distracted by management things he wasn't good at for USC.
Barry (Palo Alto)
What does it mean for a high school kid to have an "offer" from a university to play football. I read that Solomon Thomas just found out very recently that he got into Stanford, but he is listed as having an "offer" for months. I assume an offer is contingent on getting into the school, and for a school like Stanford, which gives out far less offers than most, even some of the offers might not get in. Do I have it right?
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
Yes.... part of the recruiting challenge for Stanford is getting guys into school. One of the interesting recruiting deals 2 years ago was when Jameis Winston got in to Stanford very late in the recruiting process though he was a long-time FSU commitment... I suspect that is why he delayed his signing. He wanted to think over what a Stanford degree might mean.
Quist (Des Moines, IA)
Ted - help a stranded life long husky fan in Des Moines. Can my beloved huskies unseat stanford for second place in the p12 north?
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
I think Oregon is a clear No. 1. I think No. 2 is up for grabs. Stanford will get the early nod because of what it has done. But the Huskies, Beavers and maybe even the Cougs are in the fray.
Andrew T Still (Brea)
Sleeper pick to win the Pac-12 next year
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
Not sure if it's a sleeper but I think UCLA looks primed for a run.
Which coaches are the too early hot seat entering next season?
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
I think Whittingham's seat is the warmest at Utah. Not scorching but fans want more. I'd guess some Oregon State fans feel the same about Riley, though I wouldn't describe his seat as hot.
Who's your favorite to win the NCAA basketball championship this year? Show Lunardi up!
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
Mike (Sacramento, CA)
Ted, how much will of a role will geography play a role in the Playoff Selection for next year? Are the committee members beholden to the bowls to make sure they're packed with good, traveling fan base?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
That will play into it I'm sure, but let's hope that the priority is the matchup.
Over/Under 60 wins for Chris Petersen at UW going forward?
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
over... I think UW-Petersen will be a successful, longterm marriage.
Which out of conference games are you most excited about next season?
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
Michigan State at Oregon.... two top-10 teams. A Rose Bowl in September! I was really impressed with the Spartans at the Rose Bowl. Dantonio has something going in East Lansing.
How long do you think my beloved Mike Riley will be heading up my Beavs? Could he be out after another disappointing year? Who could my beloved Beavs get that would be better?
Ted Miller (3:33 PM)
I'm sticking to my belief that Riley only leaves Oregon State on his own terms. When that might be, I'm not sure, but I have a hard time imagining he will be fired.
Better combined record and more rose bowls the next 5 years...Arizona or Arizona St.??
Ted Miller (3:35 PM)
So you think one school or the other will go to multiple Rose Bowls in the next five years? Not sure I'd bet on that. I'd think it reasonable to say one or the other will get to a Rose Bowl. Seems like ASU is a little ahead on that process, but I rate that as 55-45, not a decisive edge. Rich Rod could really use a Territorial Cup win this year.
Burke (The Dam Dam)
In your estimation, who is the Beavs #1 RB in 2014?
Ted Miller (3:36 PM)
I don't think either is decisively better... I know some prefer Ward and some prefer Woods, but I see them as 2 guys who can split carries. 2 good RBs is a good thing, not a bad thing. It would help, of course, if one could establish himself as a clear 1A.
Did Todd Graham really lobby for the Texas job? How much longer does he stay at ASU?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
1. No; 2. I suspect he'll be at ASU for at least 5 more years, perhaps longer...
Andrew (Agoura Hills, CA)
A lot of USC fans seem to be ready for the Max Browne era to begin this year, but I think they're way too quick to dismiss the job that Cody Kessler did this past season, especially given the circumstances (ridiculous QB competition to start the year, shaky pass protection, hurt WRs/TEs). Would Sark be better served sticking with the proven commodity or getting the "QB of the Future" in as quickly as possible?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
I have not seen a lot of Browne, so it's difficult for me to comment. I will say experience really matters at QB. My guess is Kessler is the starter this fall. His mobility is a real plus, and he steadily improved over the course of the year. Getting better is a good sign for his future.
Charlie (Candy Mountain)
I'm surprised we didn't hear more about Justin Wilcox not coming back to Oregon as Def. Coordinator. Did Oregon ever make a play or was it just not the right fit?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
From what I've gathered, Wilcox was pretty zeroed in on going to USC with Sark.
Why the non-love for the Cardinal? I thought we were through with naysayers.
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
It's not non-love it's losing: 4 O-line starters, your 1,000-yard rusher, Gardner, Mauro, Skov, Murphy, Reynolds, etc... That's a big talent drain. Stanford may end up being just as good, but it's difficult to project that when there are so many questions. And, beyond talent, that was a lot of strong leadership.
CAPT. MORGAN (SHIPWRECK COVE)
HOW MANY FRESHMAN START FOR THE BRUINS NEXT YEAR? OVER/UNDER 2
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
under... the Bruins depth chart pretty much already pencils out... one of the reasons it's easy to project them in the top-10.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Where does Pendergast end up? He's too good a coach to be unemployed next season?
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
I agree... my guess is he'll end up on an NFL staff. I was a bit surprised things didn't get further with Oregon, but that probably came down to a "comfort" thing with Helfrich.
Does Sark deserve his hype as a QB guru? What does this do for USC moving forward in terms of recruiting?
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
Well, Locker got drafted early in the first round and Keith Price had a nice career. His track record at USC was outstanding. So, yeah, I think so. And I think that bodes well for both USC recruiting and developing QBs...
What is the meaning of life?
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
1. College Football; 2. Breaking Bad; Daniel Woodrell/Cormac McCarthy novels; 3. Raw oysters; 4. A bone-in rib eye; 5. Martinis.
Lets Drink (New Amsterdam)
Who has a better shot at the Heisman next year...Hundley or Mariotta?
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
Mariota probably starts with a lead -- his numbers are a lot better than Hundley's. But I think that will be an interesting race -- for first-team All-Pac-12, for Heisman and for NFL draft position.
The Kid (Somewhere in the SW)
The Road or Blood Meridian?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
I enjoyed The Road more but Blood Meridian blows your mind if you are patient with it.
what will constitute a successful recruiting class for Petersen at UW, all things considered?
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
Hard to say... not sure he's going to obsess about star rating, and moving up to Pac-12 recruiting will be an adjustment for him. I rate it doubtful this class will finish in the top-half of the Pac-12, but the measure will be if he gets guys who can help him win -- this year and over the next four years.
How would ASJ look paired with Zach Miller in Seattle next year?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
like Stanford, circa 2010-12.
Best steaks in Scottsdale?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Drake Horner (Arizona)
Arizona loses 8 starters overall asu loses 9 on the defense alone. With good QB play and a good rushing attack we should blow asu out of the water this year
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
well... I'd just say the Wildcats would like to beat the Sun Devils. It's a toss-up there for preseason pecking order. Arizona has more guys back, but ASU has Taylor Kelly and Jaelen Strong, which is a heck of a start on offense. But I might change my mind this spring if an Arizona QB shows up big.
Jake (State Farm)
I think Oregon - MSU is shaping up to be another example of a good defense with lots of time to prepare making the Ducks' offense look ordinary. At least it isn't the first game, but I've heard this song before and I'm not sure a cupcake in week 1 will do much to mitigate the effects of Sparty's extra prep time. How do you see it shaking out?
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
Michigan State loses some good folks on D, including CB Darqueze Dennard, but it will be a great test for that theory. Should help the Ducks playing at home. And Ohio State did some nice things against the Spartans that Oregon will raise an eyebrow at.
Does any team make it through the PAC12 unscathed?
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
My thought on that today is no...
Will (Baton Rouge)
Why does it seem that the great college QB's are usually at best okay in the NFL(with the obvious exclusion of Luck), but the players that had more questions usually end up being the stars? For instance, Nick Foles and Russell Wilson.
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
Well, Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers were pretty good in college. And go look at what Tom Brady did to Alabama in the Orange bowl, though he obviously was drafted late. But I know what you're saying -- Leinart, Young, etc -- Part of it is supporting cast. A great college QB is often surrounded by great talent. And NFL defenses are far more complex. It takes more brains to be great in the NFL.
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
OK gang... time for me to bolt. Thanks for coming by. See you next week.