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)
Howdy folks... Hope all is well. Fire away.
How does a Duck team with Marcus Mariota match up differently with a top SEC team than did the Duck BCS team that played Auburn or last year's team versus LSU?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
It's interesting how we now see teams not as their individual selves but as representations of conferences. This Oregon team is different than the 2010 & 11 squads, just as any "SEC team" that the Ducks might play for the title is different than LSU or Auburn. I think Mariota is a more accurate passer than Darron Thomas. I also think he's unlikely to have the bad starts Thomas did against both Auburn
Nick (Berkeley, CA)
Any hope for Cal next year?
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
Always hope, but the Bears are definitely in a bad place. The perception of coaching instability will hurt recruiting, and next year looks like a transition year in any event. Still, there's some young talent on both sides of the ball. It's sort of the same old song: If Cal can find the right QB -- Zach kline? -- then things might perk up... but we've typed that before.
Gecko (Lunch Links)
Would you rather fight a horse sized duck, or 100 duck sized horses?
Ted Miller (3:05 PM)
a horse sized duck... I'd be better one-on-one. 100 Duck sized horses might freak me out... just think of that image.
Stephen (Lincoln City, OR)
Does KSU have to lose for Oregon to jump them in the BCS standings by season's end or will Oregon's schedule vault them past KSU on it's own?
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
I think if Oregon, Notre Dame and Kansas State all finish unbeaten, Oregon will finish No. 2. 2/3rds of the BCS standings is the human polls, and I don't think Oregon drops from No. 2 there. Further, the Ducks schedule ahead is tougher than K-State or Notre Dame, so the Ducks computer rankings will only go up. I could be wrong, but Brad Edwards tells me I'm not and he's got the super-awesome big brain.
Why is this deflated ball story getting so much press? I think if it would have happened in Alabama all Bama fans would be saying is, "roll tide"
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
The story would have received press for any top-10 team, but there is an element of USC & Lane Kiffin that always drives the attention meter. Many folks have strong feelings about program and coach, and this story also falls into a negative pattern for the program
Was UOs Defense exposed to the point that any te can take advantage of them? Or were injuries the major catalyst?
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
I think Oregon has a good defense, period. I do think three injuries to the defensive front is a major issue. But I also think USC's offense played a very good game. While there were some turnovers, Barkley threw some great balls and Marqise Lee was his own bad self. The Trojans also didn't play sloppy in terms of penalties, as they did at Arizona. Oregon's tackling wasn't as good as it has been, and there were some breakdowns in the secondary. But I suspect no other team this season will even approach the offensive success USC had.
Does Kiffin hire an OC at the end of the year and will there be changes in the defensive coaching at the end of the year? I've read some stories from other writers, and they've gotten on the coaches for USC's letdown season.
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
There was a gathering of writers in the Coliseum press box, and many of us have reached the conclusion: Kiffin would be better off not calling his own plays. But Kiffin doesn't care what we think. He likes calling plays. I don't believe he makes a change this offseason. As for defense, I'm sure that Lane Kiffin and Monte Kiffin are aware of the Trojans struggles against spread teams. I'm guessing there will be plenty of reflection this offseason on defense, and that might include changes. It's also possible that Monte Kiffin, 72, could retire, though I've been given no indication that he's even considering that.
Julian (Sunnyvale Trailer Park)
If Sutton's 100% like he says he is, how much of an impact can he have on the game against USC?
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
A lot... before he got hurt he was the best defensive player in the conference. No one had blocked him. He's disruptive and could make life tough for Barkley. But USC did a fairly good job -- after the first possession or so -- of neutralizing Utah's Star Lotulelei, so they are capable of slowing Sutton.
If Barner was playing full minutes, by the end of the season would he be considered to have had the best single season by any running back? That includes Sanders.
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
It's hard to believe that Barner getting 25-30 carries per game instead of the 20 he's averaging wouldn't be close to 200 yards per game... So, yes, if he had played all four quarters consistently, his numbers likely would be outrageous. But there is the question of whether he'd be as good in game 12-14 if he'd averaged that many carries. I think Oregon fans should be happy he's taken fewer hits. I suspect Chip Kelly is.
Vegas Duck (Las Vegas, NV)
I know Vaz is no Barkley, but if the D isn't able to get through to pressure him in the Civil War, could we see Wheaton and Cooks tear up Oregon's secondary?
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
I think the Ducks actually are good in the secondary... they had been before Barkley and Co had their way. But I see what you are saying: Wheaton & Cooks are a comparable tandem, and they are probably faster overall than Lee
Can UW actually score more than 24 points vs an FBS opponent?
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
Yes... at Colorado on Nov. 17. Going might be tough against Utah on Saturday, though.
Nicole (Portland, Oregon)
You picked against the Beavs, Ted. I'm very disappointed in you. Bad Ted!
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
Sorry... tough game to call. I tend to go with home teams when a game seems pretty tight, as the Beavers & Cardinal feels.
Dr. Rockso (Zazzblammymatazz)
The Ducks recruiting season has been pretty slow so far - do you see Oregon grabbing some quality recruits before the signing period is over?
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
No.. I think Oregon is going to sign a bunch of stiffs who can't play a lick because Chip's decided that recruiting doesn't matter, only his very big brain....Kidding! I'm certain that when the final recruiting rankings come out, Oregon will again be in the top-25... perhaps top 15.
Who would Oregon prefer to see in the P-12 Championship...rematch with USC or UCLA?
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
UCLA... 1. It's a different ranked opponent for strength of schedule; 2. It prevents USC's record from taking another hit. 3. No one likes to play team twice in a season. 4. Barkley has won at Autzen. Brett Hundley has never played in the Pac-12's toughest venue.
Engineer Mike (Switzerland)
There seems to be several scenarios that could play out to produce different teams in the Rose Bowl, etc. As a fan of the CONFERENCE, what is now the best possible overall outcome for this regular season from here on out. (Obviously, we'll root for all to win their bowl games...)
Ted Miller (3:34 PM)
If you are rooting for conference super-awsomeness: 1. Oregon wins the national title; 2. Oregon State wins the Rose Bowl; 3. UCLA wins out and plays in the Pac-12 title game; 4. USC loses to UCLA but wins the rest of its games, including Notre Dame; 5. Washington wins out; 6. Arizona wins out (sorry Arizona State). By the way, the sacrificial puppy in all that is Stanford. The Cardinal's final three games: Oregon State, at Oregon at UCLA. Stanford could cause a lot of heartache over the home stretch while boosting its own Q-rating.
wallowa county duck (land of the lost)
Scotch! Scotch! Scotch! How about you?
Ted Miller (3:35 PM)
Kevin... I don't troll your chats. But that does sound tasty... what label?
Phi Slamma Jamma (Los Eugeneles)
From the Ducks' perspective and w/r/t making the NCG game, USC's record takes another hit regardless - they either lose to UCLA or lose to UO in the rematch.
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
True... but the Bruins can finish the regular season at 10-2, and USC can't. I think playing 10-2 UCLA for the Pac-12 title will be better than playing 9-3 USC, though the Trojans ranking could perk up with wins over the Bruins & Notre Dame... actually, the whole thing feels fairly complicated. Where's that darn Brad Edwards? And isn't it hilarious how many variables we have to consider in a non-playoff, BCS system?
Jeff park city [via mobile]
Why do you have Nebraska ahead of UCLA in rankings?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
I've got two screwups in my rankings... I've got UCLA behind Nebraska & USC... I looked at that and wanted to troll my own blog. But sometimes you get into rankings traps.. As i've typed repeatedly, fans should do their own poll every Sunday. You'll soon soon how maintaining pure logic is difficult.
Timbers-WSU (Baker City, Oregon)
Is Mike Leach in a no win situation in Pullman?
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
This first season has gone badly, and I'm not sure Leach has always helped himself with his too-honest assessments. But I do think Leach is going to win in Pullman. His track record strongly suggests that.
Jordan Poyer (Corvallis)
The Rose takes a 10-2 OSU team over an undefeated Notre Dame? C'mon Ted, they're traditionalists!
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
Again... if the SEC has the No. 1 team, the Sugar Bowl, which will lose the SEC champ, gets first pick. I'm almost certain the Sugar Bowl would immediately grab undefeated Notre Dame and then hope to match it opposite an SEC team. If the Rose Bowl has a shot at an undefeated ND, they might take it.... but the Rose Bowl has a strong relationship with its Pac-12/Big Ten partners....It further plays into things that Oregon State hasn't played in a Rose Bowl since 1965... Larry Scott & Co would put up a BIG push to get the Beavers to Pasadena at 10-2.
Phi Slamma Jamma (Los Eugeneles)
I asked Kevin this, but also interested in your thoughts: What do you think of journalists who seem to base their poll votes mostly on SOS? Isn't this something the computers already do, and shouldn't that free up the humans to consider actual talent, execution and performance, even against lesser opponents?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
I think each pollster has his own mysterious brew... heck, Jon Wilner has something he calls "quality losses," which he weighs heavily. I think you need to consider many things: 1. Body of work; 2. How a team passes the "sight test;" 3. Strength of schedule & margin of victory, etc... I do penalize teams for weak nonconference scheduling, but that tends to fade after a few quality wins.
Hey Ted love the blog-work you and Kevin do, it's Super-Awesome-Tastic. Any advice for an aspiring future ESPN/PAC12 blogger currently working through university??
Ted Miller (3:50 PM)
Become independently wealthy and move to Barcelona, which is a righteous place. Or get a house on the beach in Charleston, SC. Alex, the advantage you guys have is you can already do what I do: Start your own blog and write. Look at what a great job those guys do at Fish Duck do, and the California Golden Blogs and the WSU Football Blog/Coug Center...
Not the Gecko (I can trick him by changing my name)
In light of election news, I propose a math question:If Cliff Harris leaves Eugene at 7:02AM and travels north at an average speed of 126mph, and only has a 7 minute run in with the law, what is his approximate time of arrival in Vancouver?BONUS: What point in time can he say "We smoked it all."
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
So... celebrating in the state of Colorado are we?
I read that one loss Florida was ranked ahead of Oregon in one of the computers. Can we take that computer out back and go "Office Space" on it?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
You get credit for citing a great movie scene... But do you know what movie that pays homage to?
Jeff [via mobile]
Any word on Oregonian defensiveness injuriesa?Ža?Ža?Žspecifically Jordon
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Let me call chip... "Chip, hey man... yeah, that was a good story... yeah, well, thanks... no, you know I don't do hypotheticals... no, I didn't deflate Kiffin's balls... oh, wait that was a joke... Look, I'm on a chat... need some injury information... What... Yes... yes... interesting ... oh, yeah... got it... no way! NO WAY! I hear you... By the way, my 3-year old thinks you need to give the ball to Kenjon Barner at least 25 times a game... Alright.. thanks... Yeah, see you soon. " He said he doesn't talk about injuries.
Distraught PAC-12 Blog Groupie (Interwebs)
Ted takes the Mary Jane question and ignores mine about Marqise Lee playing defense. That makes me a sad panda. In case you have changed your mood, please inform me if you think it is a guarantee 'qise gets a pick if at least 3 balls are thrown his way.
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
Do we know for sure that Lee will play defense or is it just an experiment? I'll believe it when I see it. You'd think Lee could be a good ball hawk, but WR & CB are two different positions, requiring different skills.
John (College Station)
What's the gameplan for CU Buffs. Not scare away any (more) recruits? Put a helmet and unform on Ralphie? Where do they go from here?
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
Stick together, get through the season, recruit like crazy, offering guys chances to immediately play... and re-evaluate the coaching staff...
Can anything change your mind before Saturday to pick OSU over Stanford? Oh wait... maybe I don't want that.
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Again... that's a really tough pick.. & Kevin is beating me anyway, so you should feel good he went with you...
Julian (Sunnyvale Trailer Park)
Do you think it was Kiffin who leaked the ballgate story to take the heat off of his old man's soft defense?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
Folks... time for me to roll on... Good luck to all of your teams this weekend... see you next week.