Chat with Ted Miller
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller will stop by to talk some college football.
Miller has been covering college football since 1997, starting with Auburn and then heading West to Washington and the Pac-10. His columns for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer won first place in 2007 APSE Best Writing contest. The Atlanta native and University of Richmond graduate presently lives with his wife in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Send your questions now and join Miller Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Ted Miller (3:00 PM)
Good afternoon folks... thanks for stopping by. What's on your mind?
What team do you expect to give Oregon the biggest run for their money in the Pac-10 in their quest for a perfect record? Arizona? Oregon State? USC?
Ted Miller (3:01 PM)
My guess is if Oregon is going to lose, it's going to be a road game, so USC, Cal or Oregon State.
Ted, love your work. What reason do you believe Chip Kelly has to suddenly close practice? I like that he opens it up, but I also wonder if opposing teams are better able to prepare for games against them as a result. Thoughts?
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
Closed practices are of no benefit. No opposing coach has ever gotten valuable information from media reports on open practices, though they love to pretend they do. But I think Kelly realizes the big stakes ahead for his team and he wants to control the environment as much as possible. That's his right.
Max (Eugene, OR)
Ted, do you have any guesses about how long Kenjon Barner will be out?
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
No... I just don't have any idea, other than it figures to be more than one game (UCLA on the 21st).
Chad (C Town via Bend)
Is this the rise of the much hyped, non-redshirt Markus Wheaton?
Ted Miller (3:05 PM)
Needs to be. Without James Rodgers, the Beavers need Wheaton to be the A-list target.
Ted, How do the Beaver's drop TCU and Boise, then beat Arizona? What's you take on on OSU v. Washington, can the Beavers pull of the win?
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
TCU and Boise State are really good and QB Ryan Katz is better by game 5 than games 1 and 2. As for this weekend: I had a hard time picking that game. Huskies have been so inconsistent, but they've answered losses with impressive wins, and the Beavers don't have James Rodgers. I picked the Beavers, but I think it will be a very good game with lots of scoring.
Duane (South Carolina)
Ted, who do you think will take over the back up running back gig if Barner is out for an extended period of time?
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
Probably more carries for LaMichael.... I don't think they want to take the redshirts off the two freshmen.... So Alston would be my first guess.
Viva la Pendergast (Jeff Tedford's basement)
Ted, I am pretty impressed with General Pendergast's scheme on stopping the run and getting sacks. In your opinion how do Cal's dbs match up with USC's wide receivers, and do you think the defense can get to Barkley whether it be disrupting his timing or sacking him?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
USC runs a pro-style offense, so Pendergast should be pretty comfortable with his game plan. Further, the Bears did a good job vs. Nick Foles and Arizona on the road (at least until that last TD drive). But Barkley and his receivers seem to be in sync. It will be a big test.
On a scale 1 to 10 how would you rate Lane Kiffins season so far at USC?
Ted Miller (3:11 PM)
6.... two last-second losses, defensive issues. But Kiffin's offense has been mostly good and he's conducted himself well -- no controversy or outbursts.
Ted, who is the MVP of the PAC-10 halfway through the season?
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
Eamon (Evanston, IL)
It's one thing to gameplan for a scheme; it seemed pretty effective against the Ducks last year. What happens with the establishment of Oregon's ludicrous-speed offense? Teams can't just come up with a new scheme, they have to play as fast as the Ducks for the whole game. If the Ducks are on, what does a team have to do to stop them? (And this isnt to say they aren't capable of a letdown. Everyone is. See Bama, Ala.)
Ted Miller (3:15 PM)
It's notable that the two best defensive performances vs. Oregon (Boise State and Ohio State) last year came with extra time to game plan. Both defenses were able to keep the Ducks off balance and play with discipline (which I'd attribute to extra looks in practice). Chip Kelly also gave a lot of credit to OSU's D-line. That was one of the things I thought about in an Alabama-Oregon game: Saban with extra time to scheme might be a dangerous thing. Not sure if we'll get to find out now.
Jeremy Webfoot (Olympia)
Teddy - Dolorean, the band, check them out... OK, so once Ohio St. gets beat this week, how does that shake down the #1 vote distribution among voters? Does Oregon simply inherit most of them or do voters 'even out the playing field'?
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
Oregon would move up, but you'd see some votes for Boise State and Oklahoma and maybe some others (Nebraska?).
Zach Irwin (Acworth, GA)
What are Arizona State's chances of making it to a bowl game so far?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
Better than they were a week ago. They've got to find four more wins over the final six games, which means they'll need a couple of upsets and road wins. I'd say their changes are 37 percent of 7 wins. 56 percent at 6.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Ted, though I am glad Texas stayed in the Big 12. I will say Im dissapointed to miss out on having you as the confrence reporter. My question is about USC. Has the new coaching staff goten rid of the who's who of Hollywood celebs that attend each practice. With what has happened to USC they cant convence me that they were not smart enough to know that all the fame money and diamonds on the sideline would not lead to problems. (I know there is no direct relation to Mayo, Bush and the celebs, however if it looks like showbusiness than recruits will think it is business)
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
Practices are now closed to all but media and those on a specific guest list. The circus left town with Pete Carroll.
McCool (I love my Ducks! )
Do you see more willingness from Chip Kelly to step on the throat with opposing teams than you did with Mike Bellotti? I think Kelly's Ducks ate better finishers.
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
I would say that Chip tends to be more aggressive with a lead than Bellotti was.
If Stanford & Oregon both lose 1 game (say Oregon loses at USC for example) this year, do you think it's likely Pac-10 will get a 2nd BCS bowl berth?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
If Stanford and Oregon both have only one loss, I'd say the odds are decent. But keep in mind the second berth is often not just about merit -- it's about money. As in: How many tickets (and hotel rooms) will we sell? If the Fiesta Bowl is picking between, say, Stanford and Iowa or Auburn, it probably would go with Iowa or Auburn because of a bigger travel party. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
Ted, What do you think the real reason is for the Beaver struggles is September? Is it becoming a mental thing now?
Ted Miller (3:24 PM)
I think the Beavers would have posted a marquee September if they had played New Mexico, Northern Arizona and Colorado.
Jake (Honolulu, HI)
What do you think the odds are of WSU getting a Pac10 win this year?
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
Decent... the Cougs are improving. If an opponent doesn't "show up" there might be an upset. The problem is four of the final five games are on the road. Maybe Cal on Nov. 6?
Oregon Vs BSU. Thoughts? Chances?
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
If Ohio State plays for the national championship, and Oregon is the Pac-10 Rose Bowl rep, there's a good chance.
Josh (Los Angeles)
Do you think that the SI story on agents paying athletes will have any impact on the USC sanctions or appeal? Do you think it will affect other schools? Are there more sanctions in the pipeline now?
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
It should, but it probably won't. The NCAA investigated for four years and came up with this: Reggie Bush. So what if USC was arrogant in its own defense? In terms of being a compliance mess, I don't think the results of the investigation support that, particularly when you see how widespread the agent presence is nationally.
Is Arizona a "dirty" team?
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
You mean like covered in dirt like Pig Pen? As for style of play: No. And if you are referring to the play on James Rodgers, I don't think that was a dirty play. It might have deserved a flag, but if you've ever played DB, you know exactly why the Arizona safety did what he did.
I know you've mentioned before, but what are your thoughts on Glendale, San Diego, Las Vegas and Los Angelese for the PAC-12 Conference Championship Game? If you were consulted by Larry Scott, what would your recommendation be?
Ted Miller (3:32 PM)
A rotation of quality neutral sites might be fun -- so all you mention. Might mean more money if there's a bidding war.
Do you really think the SEC will allow Boise St or TCU in the NC game if they're not in it?
Ted Miller (3:33 PM)
The BCS standings, not the SEC, will make that call.
Ted,Do you think Oregon wins a match against Ohio if they played today?
Ted Miller (3:34 PM)
Oh the Ducks would crush the Bobcats.
Ted Miller (3:35 PM)
Oh, you men The Ohio State University. Beats me. I think the Buckeyes are pretty darn good. I think it would be a great game -- better than last year.
Aaron (Tempe, AZ)
How do you think the Pac-12 will be split? I wish Utah was in there this year-it looks like they'd have a chance to compete for the conference championship.
Ted Miller (3:36 PM)
I think Cal and Stanford will end up in the North with the NW schools. I think the biggest mistake would be a North-South with all the California schools together.
are you one of those people that think Oregon got crushed by OSU in the Rose bowl?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
Urban Meyer (Florida)
Why is my team still ranked?
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
Not being good is a problem for you. And did you really take Rainey back?
william (austin tx)
any darron thomas injury news?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
None from official sources... someone told me he said he was fine on his facebook page. But take that for what it's worth. My IMPRESSION is it wasn't a serious injury, but that's only an educated guess.
Theodore, I know you received my email regarding officiating in the Pac-10. I'll keep it a bit shorter here, as I expect once again to not be answered. How does the Pac-10 ever expect to be the commodity that LS wants to be without addressing the inexplicably poor level of officiating in the conference. Furthermore, how to they change the culture of the game for unacceptable hits? I am of course referring to the brothers rodgers. Flags wouldn't have stopped the hits, or injuries in their cases. However, it's time for the Pac-10 to punish crew who make such poor judgments. Only by throwing flags for these type of hits can we hope to limit injuries and protect the best players league wide. Your thoughts, and mind you LK, and many others agree with me.
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
They are trying to improve officiating. It's not like the Pac-10 wants to be known for bad officiating. They are trying to protect players, but judgment calls in a physical game are tough. Like the James Rodgers injury: Because I don't have an agenda on the play, I don't think it was dirty. I'm 50-50 on whether a flag should have been thrown. The AZ safety went a bit too far on trying to knock the ball out or force a juggle from James.
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
I actually think that the best gripe of the week was Lane Kiffin's. The timekeeping at Stanford was terrible at the end. While there's no formal comment, the LA Times story today made it clear that the Pac-10 talked very sternly to Stanford about how that went.
Edl (Los Angeles, CA)
Ted - Thomas Pynchon was just mentioned in an Oregon gubernatorial debate. Plus Inherent Vice is in the background of every Pac-10 blog video. Should we be worried that he's getting too mainstream?
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
I had lunch with Tommy P today. Huge fan of the blog. When I was in college, I was obsessed with Pynchon. Pynchon will never jump the shark(a phrase that has done just that). Even liked his Simpsons appearance.
Emilio Estevez (Hollywood, CA)
Can I play the role of Chip Kelly if they make a movie on Oregon going undefeated and winning the national title this season?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
that made me laugh. Kelly would opt for Clooney.
How do you see the final standings in the pac-10?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
Oregon first, WSU last. Eight teams between them.
Ted, It seems as though the national media has really jumped on the Pac10 bandwagon touting them as the best conference in the country this season. I am not sure why the league is getting a pass after such a dismal bowl performance last season and the fact they have really beaten no one non-conference this season to be thought of as the strongest conference in the country. I would easily put the Big10 and SEC ahead of the Pac10. I still have yet to see any signs of defense being played in the Pac10
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
Iowa? At Texas... 10-4 vs. BCS conference foes. You would not put the Big Ten "easily" ahead of the Pac-10 because I know you don't want to be considered a silly person. Vegas certainly wouldn't do that. The bowl performance was bad in 2009. But what about the perfect bowl record in 2008? Bowls are often separate seasons unto themselves. The Pac-10 is very good this year, particularly in terms of depth. It is clearly the deepest conference, top to bottom. Is it the best? Heck if I know. It seems most folks position on that depends on where they live. It's a purely academic argument.
So do my cougs get some love for Freshman of the year with Marques Wislon in your opinion?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
If he keeps up his performance... might get some competition from Cal's Keenan Allen.
Do you think Oregon State is underanked? Shouldn't they have cracked the top 25 in all the polls after taking down the #9 team in the country?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Did in AP poll... the SID, er, coaches poll, didn't. Give it time.
Chris Rainey (Gainesville, FL)
Are you implying from your previous response that I should have been dismissed from the Gators football program? Last time I checked, this was America. People are given second chances to redeem themselves. Just ask your "Pac-10 Posterboy," Pete Carroll.
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
Yes, I am strongly implying that. What law did Carroll break?
Steve Sarkisian (Montlake, Seattle, WA)
I'm a very overrated coach.
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
No you aren't. Your team was 0-12 in 2008.
Do you believe that Arizona can give the ducks a run for their money, and maybe even pull an upset in Eugene?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Sure... Arizona is good.
Tim Allen (Parkland, WA)
Why does everyone like tyrelle pryor?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Mostly that he's good.
Mike (Seattle, WA)
Ted, whats you take on everyone disliking the pac-10 games kicking off at 7PM. You love-em or hate-em?
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
i like day games... I get sleepy at night.
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
OK folks... I've got a screaming 22 month old running around the office here... got to bolt a few minutes early... see you next week!