Chat with Ted Miller
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 4 p.m. ET!
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Hola? Como esta?Fire away.
Why is UCLA waiting so long to settle its coaching staff? Isn't tht killing recruiting?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
To be honest, I am not entirely clear on this either. I've been told that there is a process at work here and that as a UC school, that process can be laborious, particularly when there are complications. Is it killing recruiting? We'll see on signing day. I'd say it's not helping.
Sweat (Marin County, CA)
Are you surprised at the recruiting class that USC has put together this year? Also, what is your sense of what will happen with the appeal tomorrow?
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
A little... and there are still some big names on the board. But Kiffin and Orgeron are great recruiters and USC is still a marquee school with a lot to offer. As for the appeal, I think USC has a decent chance to get something back. There isn't a clear-thinking, informed, unbiased person alive that thinks USC didn't get excessively sanctioned.
Where will the Pac-12 championship game be played at next year?
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
Mike (Seattle, WA)
Your thoughts on the Gray de-commitment: IMO this is a good thing. He was undersized as a QB. More of an Oregon-sized QB. By making his de-commitment it sends the message to the Fla QB that there's a QB spot available for his taking. Now Sark and Co. need to seal the deal.Your thoughts?
Ted Miller (4:03 PM)
Ditto... If Sark thinks he's got his man, then things are playing out the way the Huskies want them to. If he's got his man...
Peter (Palo Alto)
What is happening with Shaw's search to fill the rest of the staff?
Ted Miller (4:05 PM)
Things are very quiet... even the rumors are sort of quiet. Appears the immediate focus was the recruiting class, which is almost full. So I don't have anything I can tell you for sure.
Were you surprised to see Don Pellum as the #1 recruiter?
Ted Miller (4:06 PM)
A little... but I liked the point of the article: Oregon recruiting has grown in an organic way as the program has advanced. And Oregon is one of those programs that recruits well and wins without much of an in-state talent base.
Your thoughts on the practice of over-signing, and are the SEC teams the most egregious offenders?
Ted Miller (4:07 PM)
NCAA needs to end it, no matter who does it the worst.
Charlie (South Bend, IN)
It seems that recently teams are able to get to championship games in spurts. Do you think Oregon can get back to a title game in the next 3 years?
Ted Miller (4:08 PM)
Yes..... if the Ducks beat LSU to open the season, which would push them to No. 1 or No. 2 in the polls, they will be on track to do it again next year.
Josh (Spokane, WA)
Hey Ted! As a Ute fan, thanks for the warm welcome. What do you think the chances are of Norm Chow actually ending up at Utah? Thoughts on the possible move?
Ted Miller (4:09 PM)
My feeling is that is the most likely endgame, if that's what Chow wants.
Isaac (El Paso)
Any thoughts on USC's next wide receivers coach
Ted Miller (4:10 PM)
He's going to have a lot of young talent and a very good QB throwing it to them. Keary Colbert promotion seems like a popular notion.
Tosh Lupoi, Ed Orgeron, Don Pellum.... can they go recruit a cure for world hunger?
Ted Miller (4:11 PM)
No...but it would be cool if they could.
MR (Los Angeles)
What do you think of the new hires at Cal? Eric Keisau back as WR coach, Ashley Ambrose coaching the secondary, and Jim Michalczik back from the Raiders as OL coach?
Ted Miller (4:13 PM)
Is Michalczik a done-deal? It's been out there for a bit without confirmation... It would seem that Tedford is upgrading his staff by turning to coaches who worked with him during the good old days... now who's the QB?
How many bowl eligible teams for the Pac 12 next year?
Ted Miller (4:14 PM)
7 if USC wins its appeal...
Matt (Medford, OR)
Ted - Why do you hate the Ducks? Is it from your years writing for the Huskies?
Ted Miller (4:15 PM)
you can't be serious.
Are any plans afoot to continue the Holy War series between Brigham Young and Utah?
Ted Miller (4:15 PM)
My understanding is that the series will continue. How could it not? It would be bad for both schools and college football if it didn't.
What are the odds of Oregon St. uncovering another feature back in Riley's system? Do you think it will be by committee? Simonton, Jackson, Bernard, and Rodgers all happened in a row except for 2004. Is this 2004 all over again?
Ted Miller (4:18 PM)
Oregon State always seems to find a running game. The bigger key might be getting better O-line play in 2011. Recall that McCants was the guy in 2008 before Jacquizz, as a true freshman, exploded vs. USC. Maybe there's a guy waiting in the wings -- Jovan Stevenson? -- to step up. Or maybe it will be a couple of guys next year.
What will change next year that makes the Sun Devils contenders?
Ted Miller (4:20 PM)
They get everybody back from a very competitive team that lost a lot of close games. They have 2 experienced QBs who are capable of winning. They have plenty of team speed and offensive skill. In fact, there is nothing not to like about ASU heading into next year, other than maybe some questions at DT.
Towards the end of the season teams started to "figure out" Oregon's run blocking and it's clear from LaMichael's stats. He didn't average 5 yards per carry in any game after Halloween. In particular, it seems like the inside lanes we exploited so well all year started filling up.Looking back on this season, it appears that there wasn't quite the talent on the offensive line there initially appeared to be. Would you agree? This does give me a ton of confidence in Chip Kelly, that he could manufacture the country's #1 offense with talent that's probably not even in the top 25.
Ted Miller (4:23 PM)
Maybe... I think James was a little beat up down the stretch, too. I'm sure Kelly is reviewing some things in that area. Still, keep in mind the Ducks scored 48 or more points in three of their final five regular-season games, and scoring 37 at Oregon State in a rivalry game isn't a disaster. It is fair to say the O-line was not as good as the 2008 line that was more physical, less finesse.
Now that Oregon adds redshirt players Lache Seastrunk and Dontae Williams to its depth chart to go along with James, Barner and Remene Alston, is it fair to say that Oregon has a better stable of backs than USC did in its Bush/White days?
Ted Miller (4:24 PM)
Well, let's see how they do on the field. You're including two guys who have yet to prove themselves. The challenge though is getting that many guys touches. Of course, it's a good challenge to have.
Whit, The reason is because Darron Thomas was running less with the ball! That allowed defenses to target LeMichael more during the last few games. The Ducks need a capable backup qb so that there are more players running with the ball for the Ducks.
Ted Miller (4:26 PM)
I agree. I'm curious if Thomas becomes more or less of a runner next year. He clearly has plenty of potential throwing out of the pocket, but that's different than what we've seen out of Oregon under Kelly. But Kelly always says he makes the offense fit his personnel, not the other way around.
After seeing what Auburn did to the Ducks offense do you think LSU has a blueprint to bottling up that high octane offense?
Ted Miller (4:28 PM)
Maybe... Does LSU have Nick Fairley? To be honest, I might be more curious about that game than I've been about any opener in years. Oregon and the Pac-12 could really use the win, but that's going to be a tough one in what might end up feeling like an LSU home game.
Biggest Pac 12 game next season. USC vs Oregon?
Ted Miller (4:28 PM)
Stanford-Oregon... Pac-12 North on line. Maybe.
Peter Pan (Neverland)
Will Oregon look to change schemes on offense after the last two BCS losses? The last few times they have played top tear defenses they have struggled to score especially in the redzone. Lining up in the shotgun on your own 1 and then again on the opponents 1 isn't very efficient.
Ted Miller (4:31 PM)
I hear you... but keep in mind if Thomas had made the right read, Oregon would have scored that first time on the Auburn goal line. And the Ducks biggest redzone flop vs. Ohio State was a fumble near the goal line. I actually think Oregon has a nice redzone package. But it's clear that teams with good D-lines, with extra time to prepare, give the Ducks trouble with their staple read-option plays.
Philip Knight (Beaverton, OR)
Do you think Jim Harbaugh would have done a better job at Oregon than Chip Kelly? I think Harbaugh would have won at least one national title.
Ted Miller (4:32 PM)
that's a really odd question... I don't know. It seems like Chip Kelly and Jim Harbaugh did fairly well at Oregon and Stanford the past few years.
Tyler (Salt Lake City, UT)
Who wins the PAC-12 South in 2011?
Ted Miller (4:33 PM)
Larry Page (Mountain View, Ca.)
Should I buy the 49ers and make Jim Harbaugh coach Stanfurd again?
Ted Miller (4:33 PM)
yes....i already miss jim.
Does OSU have the talent to go 8-4 in 2011?
Ted Miller (4:36 PM)
I see the Beavers falling in more at 7-5. The schedule is a bit easier -- at Wisconsin, BYU -- but not by much. Katz needs to make the next step, they need to find a RB and there are questions on the D-line and at LB. And will the O-line play better. I see a bowl team but not a team competing at the top of the Pac-12 North.
Is WSU a legit bowl contender, and can Paul Wulff save his job without a spot in the postseason?
Ted Miller (4:38 PM)
WSU is trending up, but just about everyone is going to pick them in the Pac-12 basement until we see them actually win a few games. But there is legit hope -- based on what we saw at times in 2010 -- that if things fall into place, the Cougars can win six games and get to a bowl. I wouldn't say for sure that Wulff is gone at 5-7, but he'd be much safer with bowl eligibility.
Jake (Honolulu, HI)
Most intriguing North Vs. South game slated for next year?
Ted Miller (4:39 PM)
Arizona State at Oregon... Sun Devils gave Ducks all they could handle last year. And it could be a preview of the championship game
Scott (A block away from the former PI building...sorry Ted)
Ted, Do the Ducks have any incoming O-Line guys that you think could clear some holes that this years crew was unable to? and honestly, what shot do the Ducks have to get back to the title game if they take down LSU?
Ted Miller (4:42 PM)
You'd hope that Oregon has the quality depth that incoming guys won't be asked to immediately help... and the Ducks seem to have a handful of experienced players ready to step into the three voids on the O-line. And if Oregon beats LSU, it immediately becomes a national title contender...of course, lots of work ahead in conference play.
Hank Hill (Arlen, TX)
Damn it! It is bad enough I have a narrow urethra! Can you just answer my damn question...How is TCU good enough for the Big East, but not good enough for the Pac-12? I thought the Pac-12 wanted the Texas market especially Dallas and Houston. Why don't the Pac-12 acquire Houston, Rice, SMU, & TCU and have two divisions named Surf and Turf.
Ted Miller (4:43 PM)
TCU isn't a good fit for the Pac-10.... look at the whole athletic program. And TCU doesn't bring the Texas market. Good football is not the only thing the Pac-10 was looking for.
It seems like everyone in the conference is having a "great" recruiting year (so far anyway). USC, UO, Cal, Stanford, UW, etc.. Is this accurate or just normal overhyping and spin?
Ted Miller (4:44 PM)
I'm going to wait until signing day to pass judgment... but it seems like teams like Oregon and Cal are really stepping up.
Chances you give Stanford of winning the Pac-10 under Shaw? And most importantly, chances Shaw is still coaching the Cardinal 5 years from now?
Ted Miller (4:45 PM)
Hard to say... my impression of Shaw is positive. But I want to see his staff. And I want to see him coach. With Andrew Luck, he has a good chance to win it his first year.
Nick (Alameda, CA )
weird question Ted on a blog i was reading that Aaron Rogers still has one year eligibilty. So theorectiaclly could he come back and play one more year at Cal and if true has it ever happened?
Ted Miller (4:45 PM)
no... he's a pro... he gets paid. end of story.
TBone (Los Angeles)
Noting the great recruiting class, are you a little higher on SC's potential for next year?
Ted Miller (4:47 PM)
I don't look at recruiting classes as influencing next year. And if teams are counting on recruiting classes for next year, that's not a good sign. USC wins or loses based on its current roster, though a couple of new guys obviously can help, particularly on the O-line.
Chris (Concord, CA)
What is your gut feeling on Cal next year? Under .500 again or bowl-eligible? Also, do you think playing one season at AT&T Park will have a negative effect on the Bears?
Ted Miller (4:49 PM)
My hunch is that Cal gets back to a bowl game. But I'm really curious about QB. It seems like so much hinges on that position. And one season at AT&T won't have a negative effect, particularly when you move into your cool, renovated digs.
Spiderman Play (on Broadway)
Who's in worse shape- me, or the UCLA coaching staff?
Ted Miller (4:50 PM)
Wow... not a lot of Broadway references here... you know, in August, we might have completely forgotten about the present soap opera on the Bruins coaching staff. Or at least it won't have any affect on the product on the field. So I'd say the play is worse off.
Larry (Glendale, CA)
Which USC will have a better record in 2011...Southern California or South Carolina?
Ted Miller (4:51 PM)
South Carolina... 'Cocks win the East.
Ted Miller (4:51 PM)
Again, I guess I should say...
Alan (Rip City)
What do you think Mike Stoops has to do next year to cool his seat (assuming it's heating up)?
Ted Miller (4:53 PM)
Not sure his seat is hot... it's more like it could get hot if the Wildcats second-half swoon continues. The biggest thing with Arizona is rebuilding both lines. Foles has a nice group of WRs, but he's going to need protection. And losing those DEs won't be easy. I like Stoops' new staff hires, though.
Do you think UW will go to a bowl again next year? What's your take on the team as a whole and the quarterback competition?
Ted Miller (4:56 PM)
I think Price starts out with an edge and Montana will need to play well enough to take the job away. But there's some nice young talent coming back, which you saw maturing over the second half of the season as the running game and defense improved. I see the Huskies as a six or seven win team. But if they get good play at QB... things might get interesting. A 2-1 nonconference start would help a lot...
Lane Kiffin (Heart of LA)
Should I sign more than 15 players and cross my fingers and hope not to have to simply delay the scholarship cuts, or should I sign 15 and pray to get some mid-year recruits if the appeal ends up going my way?
Ted Miller (4:57 PM)
It looks like you plan to sign 20 and then see what happens.
Danny (Stanford, CA)
What are the chances Stanford goes to the Rose Bowl next year?
Ted Miller (4:57 PM)
oskie (a hole somwhere )
so does our history of getting blownout in games end this year?
Ted Miller (4:59 PM)
tough to say... it's understandable to have one horrible, we-didn't-show-up game a year.. but Cal has more than it's share of those. Sure Tedford is cogitating over the whys to that one.
Adrian (Burlingame, CA)
Ted, it seems that a lot of people (yourself included) think that the NCAA went too far in its punishments compared to UNC, Auburn, and Ohio State. I thought it was the "lack of institutional control" that got USC the hammer, not the individual antics of Bush et al?
Ted Miller (5:01 PM)
I'm not comparing those cases, because some of those are unresolved... and, yes, USC did get a lack of institutional control. My contention long has been that the Trojans penalties should have been significant but not as bad as what Alabama got in its booster pay-for-play scheme in 2002... you can read my thoughts here.http://espn.go.com/blog/pac10/post/_/id/10211/ncaa-wont-give-usc-the-alabama-slammer
Ted Miller (5:02 PM)
Folks... going to hit the road... got to finish the mailbag, which you will find on the pac-10 blog in a few minutes.Thanks for stopping by.