Opening the mailbag: Is Oregon taking the Civil War for granted?

November, 27, 2009
11/27/09
5:54
PM ET
Interest anyone in a turkey sandwich?

To the notes.

Shawn from Denver writes: If possible please let me know what you think of Oregon and Ohio St. in the Rose Bowl....there is no way the Beavs can take it in Autzen with such high stakes, although I will leave that for you to decide. Since you are correct 75% of the time I hope you feel the same way!!

Ted Miller: Oh, Shawn, I would not take a victory for granted. You may need to apologize to the college football gods for looking ahead. Chip Kelly, one-game-at-a-time taskmaster that he is, might recommend 50 lashes.

Because you seem like a nice person, I will send them an e-mail telling them you were consumed with holiday cheer.

And, by the way, Beavers fans might tell you that I tend to have mixed results picking their games (see last item in that mailbag).


Ryan from New York writes: To all those people proclaiming the end of 'SC, remember 1966? That year ND went to LA and buried the Trojans 51-0. The next year?John McKay won his second National Championship

Ted Miller: Ah, a reasonable observation. That 1966 USC team lost three in a row to end the season -- including 14-13 to Purdue in the Rose Bowl -- but certainly got their act together the following season, though Oregon State fans might remember that year fondly, too.


Brad from Portland writes: Arizona has done a remarkable job this year despite the RB injuries and the loss of Rob Gronkowski. How do you think the season would have differed if they had remained healthy? Rose Bowl?

Ted Miller: Just about every team has injury what-ifs, so asking how a team might do without them is like asking how a team might have done if it had converted a key third down in a loss. Still, Brad, I hear you. Gronkowski is one of the top 5 or 10 difference-makers in the Pac-10, and before Arizona had injury issues at tailback it was one of the country's best running teams.

So if you're asking me how Arizona might have done with a healthy backfield and a healthy Gronkowski, my guess is Rose Bowl.

Does that make you feel better? Or does it sting?


Gordie from Pasadena writes: In regards to ESPN.com's week 12 top 25 power rankings: I am just curious why you ranked Cal at #23 and Stanford at #18 right after the Bears out-muscled the Cardinal at Stanford, beating them in nearly every statistical category (a 1-1 tie in turnovers being the notable exception).

Ted Miller: I've always been a body-of-work guy. If you tried to rank teams based entirely on head-to-head results, you'd have a nutty poll.

Cal whipped Stanford, no doubt. But Stanford whipped Oregon and USC the two previous weekends, two teams that bludgeoned the Bears.

The previous week, I had Stanford ranked 12th. I thought losing by six in a rivalry game merited only a six-spot drop in the top 25. I also THINK Stanford is better than 18th -- I don't think there are 17 teams in the country that could beat Stanford.

I didn't rank Cal the week before. Twenty-third felt about right, based on their season's body of work.

Don't think I don't understand your issue, which is entirely reasonable. These are hard distinctions to make, but this is how college football operates. It's a beauty contest, and judging beauty is subjective.


Henry from Eugene writes: I work in Athletics at Oregon and am disappointed with your comments regarding [the Oregon marketing department]. I'm not sure if you make human resource recommendations about other schools' departments, but I feel that it is very inappropriate. You do not understand the full story, and certainly not the inside story of what is going on. [The individual in question] works her rear end off, sixty-hours per week, and receives no grain of thanks for her hard work. Don't smear her name regarding a situation in which her due diligence was required and appropriate action was taken.

Ted Miller: One, I didn't mention anyone's name. I wrote this:

Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti deserves some credit for the Ducks' success this year, but he may want to make some changes in the marketing department, which has failed to embrace the best marketing effort for the program in years.

I still believe that. "Full story?" Hmm. What I do know is that video was a lot of fun. The university should have done EVERYTHING it could to embrace the video. Period. Problems? A resourceful marketing department would have said, "Our endgame is this video circulating virally. How do we get to that endgame? Don't tell me we can't find a way because that's how uncreative people think. As Chip Kelly would say, 'Win the day!' Ideas?"

My understanding is the university also didn't embrace the second-best marketing campaign this season: the fan-generated "blackout" plan for the Oregon-USC game. Again, mistake.

My job covering college football -- and all that goes with it -- often includes comments, positive and negative, on university business. Typically, it's about coaches. Sometimes its athletic directors. In this case, it was a marketing department.

It's not personal. It's just my perspective.


Matt from San Francisco writes: I want to pass something along to you if you have not already been alerted by other readers. A group of Ducks fans heard the story about a little girl in Oklahoma with cerebral palsy who cheers up whenever she sees the Ducks on TV.

Ted Miller: Here's the link.

Good job, Ducks.


Amber from Texas writes: Hi,We posted an article that we thought you and your readers might be interested in having a look at, "100 Best Twitter Feeds for College Football Fanatics"

Ted Miller: Here's the link.

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