Pac-12: Ball State Cardinals

Opening the mailbag: Ball State, BYU and Bush

October, 7, 2008

Posted by's Ted Miller

Let's just dive in...

David from Seattle writes: Ted, I'm going to quibble just a bit in your assessment that Autzen is the toughest place to play in the Pac-10. Look, I get that Autzen is a tough place to play, but the Ducks just haven't been THAT tough to beat at home over the past several years. It's loud, but the Ducks have been beatable there. They've lost 12 times at Autzen since 2002, while the Beavers (for example), have lost just 10 times at Reser (note: I used 2002 because that's the last year shown on ESPN's schedule pages, and I'm too lazy to go elsewhere to look it up). USC obviously has also lost fewer games at home as well, but that has less to do with the Coliseum than with their team.

Ted Miller: Of course, the team playing inside a stadium matters. Remember how fearsome Husky Stadium used to be? Anybody afraid of a trip to Seattle these days?

But Autzen is the loudest stadium in the Pac-10, and the stadium configuration puts the fans right on top of the field and, therefore, the opposing players.

And Ducks fans seem to take a lot of pride in being nasty.

Mike from Portland writes: What's going on with the Reggie Bush investigation while he was at USC? Is the NCAA done with it's evaluation?

Ted Miller: Bush is still locked in a seemingly endless court case with former sports marketing investor Lloyd Lake. The NCAA is monitoring the case while it tries to determine if Bush or his family accepted improper benefits while Bush was at USC, but it won't likely make a ruling until the court case is over, which could take months.

Or maybe not. But that story anticipating potential closure is now over two months old.

Jake from Palo Alto writes: If Stanford beats Arizona do you think they can make it to a bowl game? Where would you rank Toby Gerhart among other Pac 10 running backs?

Ted Miller: 1. If Stanford beats Arizona, thereby improving to 4-3, I'd say its chances are pretty good of finding two more wins on its schedule to get to the six wins required for bowl eligibility (a visit to UCLA and a home game against Washington State offering the most likely wins over the next two game weekends). 2. Gerhart will get some All-Pac-10 consideration if he stays healthy. If I could have one back to start my team with, I'd go with USC's Stafon Johnson, but Gerhart is right there in a gaggle of good but not great (at least not yet) backs.

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