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

Friday, January 4, 2013
Pac-12 chat wrap

By Ted Miller

Our pre-Fiesta Bowl chat was brief, but hopefully not woefully inadequate.

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

Otherwise, here are some highlights:

Markus (SF) If Stanford returns all the players who are on the fence about leaving for the NFL, which team is the front-runner as Pac-12 North Champions - Stanford or Oregon?

Ted Miller (3:00 PM) it's close... I'd be an Oregon lean but I might change my mind.

Tim (ATL) You've covered the ducks for a while, and in previous BCS bowls... Do they seem motivated for this game like they were for the Rose Bowl last year? Any non-BCS-championship-game hangover that you can tell?

Ted Miller (3:01 PM) Impossible to tell. The Ducks are used to this. They seemed very self-contained and relaxed, which is how they've seemed before the previous three bowl games.

Anthony (Las Vegas) Do you agree with the State of Pennsylvania suing the NCAA over the Penn St sanctions?

Ted Miller (3:05 PM) It's a curious situation. I don't typically have much sympathy for the NCAA, but the issues with Penn State were so horrible a seeking of relief shows a terrible lack of self-awareness. Penn State's institutional failure was massive.

Julian (Sunnyvale Trailer Park) Since UCLA and USC fell flat on their face in their bowl games, how wide open in the South division for 2013? Any Surprises?

Ted Miller (3:06 PM) I still see UCLA has a slight front-runner, but USC and Arizona State are right there. Want to see what happens with USC in terms of staffing and play-calling.

Joe Kruger - Ute DE (Salt Lake City ) Ted, Did i just make the biggest mistake of my life yesterday by entering the draft early ?

Ted Miller (3:08 PM) I was a bit surprised by the decision. You can't rate it as a huge mistake until we see if he makes an NFL roster. Big blow for the Utes defense, which is now replacing 3 D-line starters.

Matt (Tucson) Ted, I have a major bone to pick with you. Earlier, you wrote that Arizona returning just about every defensive player next year was a bad thing. Well, I disagree. I think that another year in the 3-3-5 will be good for them. I also think that with some of the defensive recruits we have coming in (I think 10-13 defensive players, some being JC) and the offensive talent we have coming back, that we will progress next year, not regress. We have 4 QBs to battle out for the starter spot, Ka'Deem Carey, a good oline, and a lot of returning and incoming talent. Not to mention an easier schedule (no Stan or Ore St, and a soft nonconference)! Tell me how you think we regress.

Ted Miller (3:11 PM) The schedule might help the Wildcats match their 2012 record, but I think the team takes a step back. Seems like you're underrating how important Matt Scott was to this year's team. And Arizona has big issues on its defensive line, which means it will be difficult to improve much on defense. I'm not a believer that you can say JC guys solve problems until we see them in games.

Bryce (SF) Do you have any second thoughts about the Pac-12 vs. Big-12 debate now that we've seen a few bowl games? (hint: the answer requires you to mock the SEC).

Ted Miller (3:15 PM) I think what we're seeing is that the SEC is mortal and that bowl games are funny things. The ACC and Big East are having good bowl seasons after being mocked much of the year. I still think the Pac-12, SEC and Big 12 are the three best conferences. And I'd still rate the SEC No. 1. I think the Big 12 can claim No. 2, but will have a weaker case if the Ducks roll tonight.

Geezer (Anchorage) Isn't it a little weird that Chip Kelly is already scheduling NFL interviews, and his team hasn't played its bowl game yet?

Ted Miller (3:20 PM) No ... I think Chip's handled this thing as well as it can be. It seems clear that he didn't allow anything to get too far in advance of the bowl season. And it's better for Oregon for Chip to make a decision quickly.

Brad (Salem) Why didn't [Mike] Riley make a QB change against Texas?

Ted Miller (3:22 PM) I'm with you. He clearly thought [Cody] Vaz gave the Beavers their best chance to win. I was ready to see some Sean Mannion. I think Riley is a very good coach but that was not a good coaching performance on many levels, including the botched clock management before halftime.

Julian (Sunnyvale Trailer Park) Regarding Will Sutton's decision, this draft class is loaded at DT. There seem to be a lot of signs pointing towards the notion that he will be back. Most players announce they are entering the draft almost immediately following their bowl game if they intend to leave. Do you still think he will leave? Also, what is the Pac-12 blog doing to convince him to stay another year?

Ted Miller (3:23 PM) I think he should go. Sorry. I don't know how he could possibly be any better next year. The reason he should stay is simple: He wants to stay in school because he's enjoying himself and feels professional life can wait.

Brian (Portland) Ted, your early thoughts on USC for next year - progress, regress, about the same as this year?

Ted Miller (3:25 PM) If [Lane] Kiffin steps up hires good coordinators and yields play-calling duties, I think USC can immediately get back into the Pac-12 South mix and the top 25. There's plenty of talent coming back, including Marqise Lee. But Kiffin needs to get over his ego-driven ideas and do what's best for the program. He needs to focus on reclaiming the locker room.