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Thursday, September 20, 2012
Pac-12 chat wrap

By Ted Miller

If you missed my chat today, that might have been because I forgot to promo it on the blog. Or maybe you needed to wash your hair.

If you wish to relive it in its entirety, go here.

But if you just want some handpicked highlights, merely continue to work your eyes down this page.

Tony (Richmond, CA) Does the win Saturday versus USC remove David Shaw completely from underneath the Harbaugh-Luck shadow and let those who may have still doubted it know that Shaw is damn good coach in his own right?

Ted Miller (3:00 PM) Yes and no... yes, in that it was a nice demonstration of where the program is under Shaw. But, no, in the sense that college football is a marathon, not a one-week sprint. What happens if the Cardinal stumbles at Washington on Thursday? Or if the Cardinal again gets dominated by Oregon? We have to take a long picture, and a coach shouldn't be judged entirely by a small sample size -- good or bad. But if you're asking my take, sure, I think it's become pretty clear that Shaw knows what he's doing.

Don (Berkeley, CA) Do you think Washington will catch Stanford slippin, after a big emotional win over USC, and upset the Cardinal at home?

Ted Miller (3:01 PM) No... i think the bye helps. I will be interested to see what the Huskies defense can do against Nunes, who will be playing his first game on the road.

Kyle (Tampa) Surprised the UCLA/OSU line is as close as it is. What needs to happen for OSU to stay in the game at Pasadena?

Ted Miller (3:14 PM) The Beavers lost to the Bruins 27-19 a year ago, but I think both teams are much better. The key for the Beavers is stopping -- slowing? -- Johnathan Franklin and the Bruins resurgent ground game. The run defense looked very good against Wisconsin, but it's now difficult to know how much that means based on Wisky's struggles. You'd rather take your chances with a RS FR QB throwing the ball. The next key is for Beavers QB Sean Mannion to let the game come to him. He can't force things. He must protect the football. It will be interesting to see if the Beavers can run at all, but the bigger issue is ball security from Mannion.

Chris (Utah) How much of an impact will Blechen coming back for the Utes have on this weekend's game?

Ted Miller (3:17 PM) It means a defense that has looked good will be one good player better. Blechen may have a little rust, but I'm sure he'll be breathing fire, eager to get back out on the field and make plays. And with Rowe questionable, he gives the secondary a needed bounce.

Marc (San Francisco) Why doesn't Stepfan Taylor get more attention nationally?

Ted Miller (3:21 PM) I think most folks know who he is. It's almost that those of us who have called him "underrated" for three years have been loud enough that Taylor is famous for being overlooked. Part of the deal is he's neither a burner nor a pure power back. Of course, that describes a guy like Emmitt Smith.

Will (Tucson, AZ) How much of an advatage does the U of A wide recieving core have against the duck secondary? (especially with no boyett)

Ted Miller (3:23 PM) Not sure the Wildcats have an advantage. It seems strength on strength to me. The loss of Boyett can't help but hurt Oregon, but they're strong in the secondary.

Lance Romance (Winnipeg, Canada) How do you expect the Sun Devil offense to respond after a sloppy performance last week?

Ted Miller (3:25 PM) My hunch is we're going to see a strong bounce back effort at home, though the Utes defense will test QB Taylor Kelly.

awww yeahhh (Tucson) Is it just me or have i seen Oregon put the ball on the ground a lot? (Fresno state game for example)

Ted Miller (3:27 PM) Ducks have 7 lost fumbles, which is a lot, and I can remember a few other loose balls. That is an area where Arizona could wedge itself into the "maybe" area.

Minty Fresh (SF) Do the Cougs finally have a break out game and run a consistent offense?

Ted Miller (3:29 PM) Minty Fresh! IS that you Christopher Moore? I always knew you were a reader! Hey, it's a dirty job. I don't know if we'll be able to tell much with the Cougs at home against Colorado. I mean, is it a failure if they don't drub the Buffs by as much as Fresno State did? I expect WSU to steadily improve as it gets more comfortable with Leach and his schemes.

Lance Romance (Winnipeg, Canada) What's your impression on ASU's 2 QB system? Obviously it worked well in the first couple games against inferior competition but faltered against a respectable team. Do you think we should be seeing less of it?

Ted Miller (3:31 PM) I think you don't sit a guy who is playing well. So if Kelly is rolling, he keeps going. But I know the idea behind playing Eubank: They really love the guy and believe he's going to be good. It's a little early to write playing two off, but I also wonder if they knew how well Kelly would play when they started doing it.

jeff (florida) where you surprised by Stanford's defensive secondary play against USC? Do you believe it was an abberation or has the likes of Wayne Lyons and company improved that much over the last three weeks?

Ted Miller (3:34 PM) Yes... I was very surprised. That, in fact, was why I felt a high degree of certainty that Stanford would lose. Blitzing Barkley has been a bad thing for going on four years. He does his best work under pressure. And, if you blitz and leave Woods/Lee in one-on-one match ups, that's a huge win for USC. Or so I thought. The Stanford secondary was outstanding. And it's fair to wonder if USC regrets a game plan that simply failed.

Lance Romance (Winnipeg, Canada) At the start of the year, the South was viewed as USC and the rest. Now that other teams have emerged and USC lost, do you see a potential log-jam at the top of the division?

Ted Miller (3:44 PM) Not yet... I still think USC is the best team. I also don't see anyone else doing better than 7-2 in conference play. But the notion of USC slipping and someone else rising is no longer far-fetched. I'm still picking the Trojans. But I was 99 percent in the preseason. Now I'm more like 78 percent.

Jeff (Florida) Ted, what are the chances of Pep Hamilton getting a head coaching job next year. He has done an excellent job at Stanford

Ted Miller (3:48 PM) I think he's got to be near the top of coordinator candidates in the conference... along with Helfrich at Oregon and Mazzone at UCLA. And Mason is doing a heck of a job with the Cardinal D.

Lisa L. (Tempe, AZ) Where is Todd Graham's next gig?

Ted Miller (3:50 PM) King of Tempe when he leads Arizona State to the Rose Bowl? I think he'll be at ASU for the next decade

Jade (Palo Alto) Do you think David Shaw meant it that he wants to stay at Stanford forever or will the NFL come calling in the next couple years?

Ted Miller (3:53 PM) Only Shaw knows for sure but he strikes me as a really honest guy who loves his life. He's been in the NFL. He knows what that life is like. I think he recognizes that he's got a good thing going in perhaps the best place to live in the US.

Jimmy (Las Vegas) Hey Ted-Utah's early season loss to Utah State seems to have lessened the excitement from many pundits regarding the Utes. Do these people have any idea that the Utes were exploited by a former Utah coordinator and hurt by a QB who is no longer playing?

Ted Miller (3:57 PM) Shocked that "pundits" would lose excitement after a Pac-12 team lost to Utah State. Those of us who were high on the Utes in the preseason expected the offense to step up considerably, with a rejuvenated Jordan Wynn and a good crew of receivers. Now I see Utah as being much like last year: Playing conservatively on offense and relying on a good D. That's good for 8 or so wins, but I don't see it as good enough to push into the top third of the conference. Let's see what happens at ASU. Recall the Sun Devils gave the Utes a whipping at home last year.