Mailbag: New bias for the Sun Devils?

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
5:30
PM ET
Happy Friday.

If you follow me on Twitter, you will receive total consciousness. Or, you know, something approximating it.

To the notes.

Jesse from Phoenix writes: Thanks for finally giving my Sun Devils some unbiased coverage. I think all our complaining forced you to be fair to ASU and stop favoring the turds in Tucson.

Ted Miller: Turds in Tucson!

It seems like at least a couple times a year, the Pac-12 blog needs to address the issue of bias. Longtime readers, I apologize for the redundancy.

I confess that I do favor teams, at least in terms of coverage.

I favor the winning, highly ranked teams. I tend to go more often to their games. I tend to write more about them. Particularly winning teams with really good players who might end up in New York this December.

Why? Fan interest, intriguing storylines, etc. But mostly because my boss, Ruthless Reynolds, calls me and says, "You are worthless and weak. Now get thee to Oregon. But first come here so I can give you a good smacking."

And, like a good minion, I comply.

If it seems Arizona State is getting more favorable coverage, that is because the Sun Devils started winning games. If it seems Arizona is getting less, it's because the Wildcats are losing. And because Nick Foles didn't call me back this week, apparently because he's transformed from Sunshine to Cloudy Day.

I try to give you thorough coverage of all 12 teams. But if there's a matchup of ranked Pac-12 teams, that gets priority. I am headed to Salt Lake City -- typing, in fact, in the airport right now! -- because the Utah-Washington game was deemed the best, most competitive, most meaningful game this week. Not because my blood runs Utah red or Husky purple.

In terms of inherently liking one team more than another, I don't. And if I actually did, it would be my job to work extremely hard to hide it. I suspect I'd overcompensate, such as by observing the 2011 Atlanta Braves make me ill.


Shirley from Goodship, Colo., writes: This fake injury thing seems to raising it's head on every level of football now and there would seem to be a very easy fix. Why not simply have the "injured player" have to sit out the next 5 plays -- or the next turnover of downs, which ever is less. It is in the best interest of the "injured" player and isn't that what football is always claiming to attempt?

Ted Miller: This makes sense to me.

But rule changes require a sense of urgency from the powers-that-be, and I have not sensed one here outside of a couple of college football outposts, such as Eugene and Morgantown, West Virginia.


Grant from Corvallis, Ore., writes: Why is it that nobody is pointing out that Mark Ingram had multiple games under 100 yards in his Heisman season including being held to 1.9 yards per carry against Auburn. Also why are people giving LMJ credit for having over 100 yards of total offense and being Oregon's leading receiver against LSU? If LMJ can average over 150 yards a game and play well on the big stage against Stanford and USC and ends up with over 2000 yards of offense and over 2500 all purpose yards if he continues to return punts and kickoffs why can't LMJ still be in the conversation for the Heisman?

Ted Miller: Oregon fans need to relax. The Heisman Trophy race isn't won in September. If James continues at his present pace and Oregon keeps winning, he'll be back in the top-five in November when things matter.

What likely gets James invited back -- or not -- to New York is the Stanford game on Nov. 12. If the Ducks win and James turns in big numbers -- as he did last year against the Cardinal -- he'll get an invitation (assuming the Ducks are still winning).


Jon from Beavercreek, Ore., writes: I may just be 'out of the loop', but what happened with Oregon's Tacoi Sumler? Are they red shirting him or is there another reason he hasn't been playing? From my understanding Sumler is faster than De'Anthony Thomas. He could be a handful for PAC-12 defenses, and a real threat to stretch the field.

Ted Miller: While plans could always change, it appears Sumler and fellow true freshmen receivers Devon Blackmon and B.J. Kelley are headed for redshirt seasons.

Yes, that surprises me a bit, considering how receiver was a questionable position entering the season, the Ducks have had some injuries there -- namely Josh Huff -- and these guys were so highly touted.

But it's not like Chip Kelly is against playing freshmen. He's played plenty so far, including guys you thought would play (running back De'Anthony Thomas) and guys you thought wouldn't (offensive lineman Jake Fisher).

If Kelly thought Sumler could help him win right now, I suspect Sumler would be playing.


Gordon from Los Angeles writes: In a recent post you quoted a passage from Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles without attribution. Why did you not identify the source?

Ted Miller: I've been using quotes since we started the blog in 2008. I don't identify the source because it's more fun: Folks get to see if they can figure it out for themselves. And if they are curious, they can simply cut and paste into Google.


Neil from Springfield, Utah, writes: I was a little disappointed by your hot and not article. Where are the Utes? They have the defensive player of the week, they crushed BYU, and their running back has the most yards in the league and not a single letter about Utah? Wow. Clearly you aren't a fan of the Utes which is fine, but dude, you aren't even paying attention.

Ted Miller: Neil, I'm a little disappointed that you didn't realize that Utah didn't play last weekend, which makes it difficult to judge the Utes as hot and not for a given week.

Were you paying attention?

Further, I don't spend a lot of time trying to give teams equal time on hot and not. It's more about finding extremes of good and bad.

(Yes, I did use Stanford's No. 1 rushing defense (hot) and winning streak (hot) even though the Cardinal were off, too, but that was because I wanted to point out Arizona's bad run defense (not) and FBS losing streak (not).


Patrick from Seattle writes: Reading some of the comment threads, I noticed a pattern among fans. There are some definite stereotypes being portrayed -- Cal verbosity, UW righteous indignation, OR ... well, you know what they are like. I think it would be great to do a post with a representative comment from each fan base. I think everyone would find it pretty funny....

Ted Miller: I like it!

You guys' assignment for the week is to send in a comment that you think best represents the attitude of each Pac-12 fan base.

Utah and Colorado fans might need to represent themselves because we are still getting to know you.

I'll publish the ones that amuse me. And seem insightful.

Send your comments here.

Might want to start on Monday, though. The mailbox gets pretty full on the weekends.

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