Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Pac-12 [Print without images]

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Pac-12 chat wrap

By Ted Miller

If you missed my stepping in for Kevin on the Wednesday chat -- he's on today at noon PT, 3 p.m. ET -- well, don't despair.

You can read the entire text here.

Billy (Denver) How does Stanford do next year?

Ted Miller (2:02 PM) May need to wait on some guys to make stay-or-go NFL decisions, but the Cardinal figure to be ranked top-10-15 in the preseason. There are some key losses: Stepfan Taylor, Chase Thomas, Shayne Skov, etc., but Stanford has recruited well, particularly on the O-line. The Cardinal should be a factor in the Pac-12 north.

Greg (LA) The Bruins look poised to bring in another highly rated class this year on top of their existing talent. Do you think UCLA is ready to compete in the PAC for the next few years?

Ted Miller (2:06 PM) Absolutely... i feel nothing but positive vibes around the Bruins, starting with the fact they did what they did with a redshirt freshman QB with huge upside. The tide might be turning in LA.

Ken (Los Angeles) So is [Lane] Kiffin's decision on continuing his play-calling duties final? Or do you think he's just waiting until after the bowl game to prevent further distractions?

Ted Miller (2:08 PM) It's probably final. He has a lot of pride, and he likely wants to prove wrong the nattering nabobs of negativism. But I do think his continuing to call plays is a mistake. We shall see.

Fork'd (Scottsdale) What's your outlook for ASU next year?

Ted Miller (2:11 PM) Another team on the clear uptick... First question is does Will Sutton return. The Sun Devils need upgrades at receiver and DB also. But QB Taylor Kelly, a good stock of RBs and some nice talent coming back on the defensive front 7 coming back makes the Sun Devils a team that should be in the mix in the Pac-12 South. Could be another step forward in 2013, potentially even cracking top-25.

Phi Slamma Jamma (Los Eugeneles) Hello Mr. Gemmiller. Is your beef with the recent NCAA eligibility decisions (Long, Tuel) that they are wrong per se, or are you more critical of the NCAA's refusal to give justifications for their decisions?

Ted Miller (2:13 PM) The NCAA should always err on the side of helping athletes. Is it such a bad thing a guy wants to STAY IN SCHOOL? Miss nine games due to injury? Yeah ... come on back. Return to school after some personal problems? Yeah, we want to help. I hear the arguments why the NCAA is like it is. But those arguments are weak.

Ty (California) Who are the top 5 coaches in the P12?

Ted Miller (2:15 PM) Other than me and Kevin? [Chip] Kelly, [Mike] Riley, [David] Shaw, [Kyle] Whittingham & Rich Rodriguez.

Noah (Hollywood) Don't you think Chip Kelly should come out and say in front of a camera that he is coming back next year? This issue is the main reason why not many high school players have committed yet. Is Chip doing a disservice to the Ducks by not saying that he is coming back next year?

Ted Miller (2:22 PM) Kelly can do whatever he wants. While some Oregon fans are bothered, the winning holds sway with the vast majority. It's clear that he's not ready to stand in front of a camera and say that. A lot of the way Chip sometimes conducts himself doesn't help his program, but the total package is previously unimaginable success.

BawlmerBeav (On the couch on holiday break) Riley and the Beavers have had a heck of a season. When do we know the past two years were the aberration, and how much does that really matter?

Ted Miller (2:32 PM) I don't know if Oregon State will ever be a program that won't experience an occasional downturn. Riley's long-term track record is pretty amazing. I think the last 2 years were due to what downturns are usually due to: 1. Recruiting misses; 2. Injuries; 3. Young players forced into action. Things stack up pretty well for next season, though there are questions in the secondary and at DT. Things need to work themselves out at QB.

Chris (LaLaLand) Kiffin recently said that he's going to be making small changes in the defense for the Tampa 2. What's your take on this? Wouldn't you think he would scrap the Tampa 2 and hire a DC that can stop the spread?

Ted Miller (2:41 PM) Well, if he brings in a good defensive coordinator, that coordinator is going to tell Kiffin, "It's my defense. Back off." The incoming coordinator should choose the scheme. If he doesn't, then Kiffin didn't hire a good one.

Ian (Los Angeles) Can USC win a national title with Lane Kiffin as the head coach? Nobody seems to get less out of their talent at this point.

Ted Miller (2:46 PM) Kiffin had a nice year coaching in 2011. He had a poor year in 2012. Typically you don't get the USC job when you're still figuring out how to be a head coach, but that is the case. I still think Kiffin has a chance to become a good head coach. He, however, needs to get better at self-analysis. He has the resources to hire a great staff and then get out of their way. He needs to do that.

Jack Gladney (The-College-on-the-Hill) Us Cal Bears were pretty bummed to see Ron Gould let go. How do you feel about [Sonny] Dykes not holding on to any of the former staff. Especially one with such longstanding success and ties to the University as Gould. Hard to argue with his string of RB's...

Ted Miller (2:49 PM) Transitions are difficult. Dykes has his own preferences and loyalties and his offense will be much different than what [Jeff] Tedford ran. Gould has a distinguished record, but maybe it was time for him to move on ... and he's a head coach now at UC Davis.

Hazen (Pasco, WA) With Jeff Tuel leaving for the NFL and a somewhat experienced QB stepping up next season with one RS Freshman and true freshman Tyler Bruggman coming in to compete, what do you see coming from Washington State Football and Mike Leach in the next couple seasons?

Ted Miller (2:52 PM) I continue to believe Leach will win in Pullman because he won in Lubbock. I hope he has the humility to realize he made some mistakes with his public comments about his team this year. i think Leach has a vision for his team, and it may take a couple of years to recruit to that vision. I do think the Cougs will win more than three games next year. Not sure if they are ready to get to a bowl game, though.

Pete (Work (Shhh)) Who are 5 guys that could be in the Heisman race next season from the pac-12?

Ted Miller (2:56 PM) Ka'Deem Carey, Taylor Kelly, Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, Marqise Lee. Got to win, though. Few Heisman finalists come from middling teams.

Keith (Seattle, WA) Will the Washington program take the next step in 2013 and make a serious run at the conference title?

Ted Miller (2:58 PM) I think Washington will take a next step. Could win 9 games. But I'm not sure they can get by Oregon and Stanford at the top of the conference. And Oregon State also looks like a top-25 team.