- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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Greetings. Welcome to the mailbag.
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Brian Mahuna from Portland writes: Do you think Oregon is on the cusp of having an elite group of receivers? Josh Huff will be a senior, the guys behind him are young but talented with the two true freshman Addison and Stanford. Plus the twins who will arrive in Eugene next year. Everyone is quick to talk about how good their running backs are (mainly because they are REALLY good) but I think in the next few years, we could be talking about a complete offense. Great QB in Mariota and a good group of young wide outs would certainly do that.
And, Brian, if it seems I'm being snarky -- seeing that none of the above are still with the team -- it's because you are asking me to entertain a hypothetical. Chip Kelly has soured me on those. Unless they serve my selfish purposes.
Oregon does have plenty of potential at receiver next year. Quarterback Marcus Mariota will get all of his top six receivers back, including De'Anthony Thomas and Huff, who posted a breakthrough year. And, if all goes according to plan, there are some incoming recruits who are promising.
Yet we now enter one of my pet peeve areas. It's called "Incoming Dude Is Obviously Transcendent."
"IDIOT," of course, is what fans often call me when I question a team's depth at one position or another entering a new season when it's OBVIOUS! I don't know what I'm talking about because I don't read recruiting messageboard X, and therefore don't know about incoming recruit 007 Batman Wolverine who is a mix of Dick Butkus, Jim Brown and Peyton Manning. Only better.
Oregon State fans right now are going, "Don't. Please. Don't mention him. This is a Duck question! Just leave us alone!"
Simi Kuli! (Sorry about that).
Kuli, for those who don't recall, was a five-star JC defensive end recruit for Oregon State in 2008, one of the highest rated guys the Beavers ever landed. He was reputed to be beastly, and proved to be just that. Beastly like a Sasquatch. I once told Mike Riley I doubted Kuli's existence. Oregonian writer Paul Buker's humorous tracking of Kuli's abortive progress to Corvallis was one of the more entertaining things I remember from that year.
Or recall when a receiver by the name of "Marqise Lee" was a recruiting afterthought because of USC signing George Farmer. I recall watching Robert Woods getting asked if he was prepared to be the Trojans No. 2 receiver in 2011 with Farmer shortly to arrive.
Farmer, in fact, was an example of the Pac-12 blog falling for the hype. Having watched tape of Farmer, we wrote him in as a sure-thing for the Trojans. A hard lesson about IDIOT was learned again.
While there's no reason not to be optimistic about a touted guy's prospects, it's also premature to write him into a key role before he's even practiced with his college team. It's always best to subscribe to GTSITBI when considering incoming players.
Got To See It To Believe It.
Jim from Los Angles writes: What is the New Years wishlist for the CAL BEARS football program in the new era of Sonny Dykes?
Ted Miller: That's easy.
1. A great recruiting class that is strong on linemen.
2. A strong spring performance from a quarterback that creates a clear pecking order heading into the summer.
3. A team that is competitive in every game in 2013 while posting a winning record.
4. A Rose Bowl berth before the Old Blues become Dead Blues.
Austin from Tempe, Ariz., writes: What do you think will happen to Arizona State running back Cameron Marshall? He seems to have the size and tools to at least be a backup but will this season hurt him bad enough since he wasn't ever given the ball?
Ted Miller: It's always difficult to project NFL careers, but I think Marshall, who shared the ball this year but was still the Sun Devils leading rusher, is going to have a nice NFL career.
He's a physical guy with good-enough speed who can catch the ball. He's also got a nose for the endzone.
Brian Vancouver, Wash., writes: The second best conference, whatever it shall be, is henceforth to be referred to as the Second Eminent Conference. See what I did there? Signed, A Realistic Duck Fan.
Ted Miller: I do see what you did there.
What I realized this week before and after UCLA's Holiday Bowl debacle with Baylor was Big 12 fans share two things with Pac-12 fans.
1. They resent being automatically called a candidate for second-best conference and are not willing to automatically yield No. 1 to the SEC.
2. Big 12 fans think as little of the Pac-12 as Pac-12 fans think of the Big 12.
Lenlen from Wilkesboro, N.C., writes: I recommend you read the letter Abe Markowitz's Dad sent to NCAA president Mark Emmert and the thread that follows. Now we can see first hand how NCAA shenanigans affect student athletes economically.
Ted Miller: It would be great if the NCAA would appoint someone to the position of Smart & Reasonable. This person would be put in charge of reviewing appeals, such as Markowitz's. Their charge would be simple: Err on the side of the student-athlete.
This is where a bureaucrat shows up and talks about the importance of rules and the slippery slope for allowing flexibility.
I don't buy it. That position is merely a prop for folks who aren't skilled at being fair & reasonable.
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