Chat with Ted Miller
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Pac-12 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 (then) 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)
Greetings. Hope everyone is well. Fire away.
Jonny (Kent, WA)
Merry Christmas Teddy,Would you consider Marquess Wilson an AP All American-type reciever?? Which team...1, 2, 3??
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
Lots of good receivers. I consider him first-team All-Pac-12... but Robert Woods, to me, was the best receiver in the conference this year...
Andrew (Pullman, WA)
Will Mike Leach recruit top players based off of his reputation? Do you see him competing with Sarkisian for top talents in WA?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
Leach was never a top-25 recruiter. He recruits to a system and is a good talent evaluator. But, yes, I do expect him to be able to better complete with Sarkisian for top prospects. And, yes, the buzz around him should help this year.
Happy Holidays Ted!I think I speak for all Duck fans when I say it's bittersweet seeing LaMichael go. The guy's been a lot of fun to watch. But how much will his departure really impact the team? Barner is good but those are some big shoes to fill.
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
You want as many good players are you can have, but RB is a strong spot for Oregon... Barner and De'Anthony Thomas give the Ducks a great combo, and the big kid Tra Carson will get more touches next fall.
Oregon, USC, or Washington in the Pac-12 next year? I say this conference is about to go doggystyle.
Ted Miller (3:05 PM)
Oregon will again be a national title contender. Let's see who comes back for USC before we judge. The Huskies should take a step forward, but the defense needs to take the lead there.
Can Deanthony thomas make the NFL? I say too small!
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
He's a beast. Yes. He's got world class speed.
Landon (Atlanta, GA)
Todd Graham: Worst coaching transition EVER?
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
Let me ask: Who's the best coach in the nation?You answered, Nick Saban.No one ever lied as as much as Saban when he left Miami for Alabama. There's tape. There's video. It's stunning. But who remembers it? How come no one did this week while blasting Graham? Hmm.
Thomas (Berkeley, CA)
How would you grade Tedford this year? How would that grade change after he wins/losses against Texas in the Holiday Bowl?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
If Cal beats Texas, I'm putting a BIG buy rating on Cal. I see a team that got better late in year that has young talent and is recruiting well to play in a remodeled stadium that is going to be super-cool. With a win over Texas, he gets an B+. Lose, a B-. There's still heat on him. He needs to take a step forward and win 9 or 10 games in 2012. But I see reasons for optimism that he's got his feet back under him. Cross your fingers on Zach Maynard though.
Ted, what are your thoughts on the recent UCLA hires? Do you feel like they are heading in the right direction?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
I think Mora has potential to be a good college coach. Thought that way when he was a hot prospect in 2008 when the Huskies wanted him. But he has his critics. I like the makeup of his staff so far. Good hires. But we really don't know the direction of the defense yet, nor do we know if he's going to get some good flips in recruiting. I would suggest cautious optimism. Signing day will be revealing in some ways. But there's a lot of gray area with him. We can't judge him as a college coach because he hasn't been one. And his NFL background, not terribly impressive, paints only a partial picture.
John (Barstow, CA)
So is USC only allowed to sign 15 players this year? How does the loss of schollies work and how soon will we see the drop off?
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
They are going to get some early guys, I think, which can count backwards and will help them keep their numbers up to what the NCAA allows. But yes, the can only bring in 15 total for the 2012 class. The dropoff should start 2014 and could last until 2016, though USC should still sign plenty of A-list guys. Remember: There's no longer a bowl ban. So there's nothing actually stopping them from enjoy the fruits of success. Other than numbers.
Margie (Chandler, AZ)
Do you think Rich Rod has a chance on getting Jeff Castel?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
Things are moving slowly there.... my guess is there are some moving pieces in terms of money and years and Casteel isn't certain he wants to bolt.
Once all the dust settles on the HOW it happened, what will we think when we look back at the Todd Graham ASU hire? Personally I think he was just what we needed, the anti-Dennis Erickson. The only coach I heard discussed by ASU that I would have preffered was Whittinham, so I think it was an out of nowhere triple hit by ASU. What do you think and how do you think it stacks up with Rich Rod and Mora. Finally, now that the coaching situations are pretty settled, what do you think the pecking order in the Pac-12 South will look like? THANKS!
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
If I were stacking those up, I rate Rich Rod No. 1, Graham No. 2 and Mora No. 3, at least in the short term. Rodriguez has done something neither of the others have: Compete at a high level in an AQ conference. Graham has a solid resume, but he's nicked by the ugly cloud hanging over his hire. With Mora, you just don't know. He's got some upside and some questions. But Mora is gaining on Graham because of his staff hires thus far. As for the South, it seems wide open after USC, and even then we need to take the measure of NFL defections. Like does Utah get DT Star Lotulelei back?
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
How bad do you think the class act Jeff Tedford wants to beat the low class Mack "the used car salesman" Brown?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
I actually think they get along pretty well. Brown is a pretty good guy. But I think Tedford would love to score big points with the Old Blues.
Mark H. (Tucson)
Which rivalry (Apple Cup or Territorial Cup) will be more enhanced and heated as result of the recent new coaching hires?
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
A traditional rivalry only gets more heated when there are big stakes. The mediocrity (or worse) of the four programs hurts the rivalry, at least in terms of raising eyebrows outside their respective states. If both ASU & UA or Washington
Ted, I met Fred Thompson after the OSU Cal game at AT&T and he was the one of the nicest, most cordial student athletes I've ever met. Did you ever have any contact with him, or do you have any stories to share with those of us who had limited contact with him?
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
No I don't, and from what I've heard that's a loss for me. Seems like he was a high-quality person and a great loss for the Beavers and all who knew him. Just really tough for everyone.
Lets ssume Barkley, McDonald, Kalil and Perry all leave for the nfl.... Where does USC stack up on a national scale? With a young o-line and defense overall and the depth at the skill spots I don't see a tremendous dropoff.. Am I just a homer or am I being realistic?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
Those are some big losses. I'd see a drop-off. Not to .500 but likely to 8 or so wins, which nonetheless figures to be in the mix in the muddled South.
Dan (Happy Valley)
Chip to the NFL....What do you think?
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
No.... he's got a ridiculous buyout that he wouldn't have agreed to unless he wanted to stay. I think he really likes coaching Oregon.
Would you take the over or under on Georgia Tech gaining 150 rushing yards against Utah?
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
Over...I'd guess around 200, which would be great against a team that averaged 317 per game. I like Utah's chances in that game.
Stalker Dan (Atlanta)
Where will you be this bowl season, Ted?
Ted Miller (3:32 PM)
Rose... But I will watch every minute of every game and provide my pearly bits of wisdom afterwards.
Does the combination of Ka'Deem Carey, Matt Scott, and a good corp of WRs give Arizona the tools to run Rich Rod's offense with success.
Ted Miller (3:34 PM)
When you look at Arizona, you see plenty of potential for a strong turnaround. So, yes, they fit in pretty well for his offense, though Scott is not a "pure" runner like Pat White or Denard Robinson. The question is defense, but even there with all those guys coming back from injury, there's hope for improvement. I think the Wildcats are a bowl teamin 2012.
Do you see Jeff Tuel or Connor Halliday getting the start on 9/1 when WSU goes to BYU?
Ted Miller (3:35 PM)
This will be very interesting to watch this spring because both have a clean slate with Leach's arrival. I'm a firm Tuel lean, though.
I would love to hear your pearly bits of wisdom on Illinois vs. UCLA. Are the players going to be drawing plays up with a stick in the huddle?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
My wisdom? Why? Why do we have this game? But that said, it seems that the players want to play, so, heck, let 'em play. What's going to happen? I expect a sloppy game with plenty of what-the-heck trick plays. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Bruins win.
Assuming Barkley comes back.....who you got next year in a ducks vs SC game?
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
Some other guys in the equation there... I'm a USC lean in the Coliseum.
Tara (SLC, UT)
Will Utah continue to have to squeeze every bit out of 2 and 3 star guys, or will being in the Pac-12 give them access to 4 and 5 star recruits?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
There a danger of trying to be something you're not, of reaching for the 4- 5-star guys instead of sticking to what made you a good program. But I do think the Utes can skillfully upgrade their evaluation to include guys of a higher quality. Whittingham told me as much this past spring. But if you look at the Utes raw talent on defense... who's better, other than maybe Cal and USC?
Jim (Bremerton, WA)
Heard anything about a potential Defensive Coordinator hire for Mike Leach and WSU? Pretty much every name I've heard so far has been offensive coaches...
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
Not enough to post... it will be an interesting and critical hire... and he has the $ to get a good one.
Do you see Matt Scott as the started for the assumed offense Rich Rod brings with him to AZ next year?
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
it's almost certain.. his competition transferred away. I don't think that JC guy will beat him out this spring, if they sign him and he comes early.
G OFF (San Francisco)
Can you please pick Texas to win in your bowl predictions? PLEASE?
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
What are you getting me for Christmas?
Do you think Chow or Sitake will leave for the Hawaii job?
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
No... but I've been wrong before.
Mike (Montana )
I keep hearing about how big wisconsins O-line is do you think with how little the ducks keep the ball on offense it will make those big 300lb linemen gassed in the second half?
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
I don't think Oregon's offense really tires an opposing offense. I don't think the Badgers size, in itself, is a HUGE problem. Their being good is more concerning. But the Ducks have done well against some good lines this year... Stanford has 2 first-round picks on its line, and the Ducks won that battle.
When do we get to see one of the top SEC teams come to Autzen? Seems a few have backed out of contracts in recent years. Fear of losing or money issues?
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
Isn't Tennessee still scheduled to come in 2013? I know there were rumblings of the Vols chickening out, but nothing official.
Pietro (San Francisco)
What's your best advice for staying awake during the BCS Bowl Championship game?
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
Mark my words: It will be an entertaining game.
Ted, now that Boise is in an AQ conference (and Kellen is gone), can you get Chip Kelly's ear and see if he wants to avenge those losses?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
The best time to play Boise would be in 2012. But too late. The post-Kellen Moore years will be interesting.
Chip Kelly (Eugene)
How can I start getting better recruits for me O-line? Why is USC able to get these guys and we're not?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
Well, USC has always gotten the best offensive linemen. Look at the NFL draft. Kelly's zone-read offense might also not be the cup of tea of a 5-star guy who believes he's certain to to go the NFL and is sold on a pro-style offense. But it seems to me Kelly picked up a couple of good O-linemen in last year's class. It seems in terms of star-value, things are trending up. But Oregon will never consistently beat USC in recruiting, for a variety of reasons, including geography.
Launchpad McQuack (Duckburg)
Overall, how would you grade the conference as a whole, pre-bowl games?
Ted Miller (3:50 PM)
B-... good at the top, 2 bcs bowl teams, but after the top three mostly mediocre. The Pac-12 should have at least four or five ranked teams annually.
Pietro (San Francisco)
Humor me. USC is not under sanctions. Which bowl does it go to? Who does USC play? The final score?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Alamo... I see USC losing to Oregon in a rematch in the Pac-12 title game in Autzen Stadium. Stanford still goes to Fiesta. And I think USC would roll Baylor.
Do you think Graham's hire is going to have a positive or negative effect on recruiting? With all the Pitt players blasting him, I can only imagine kids are thinking this guy will bolt on them too.
Ted Miller (3:53 PM)
This recruiting season may be a struggle. Recruits and their parents are reading the same things you are. Graham's song & dance will be greeted with skepticism. His job is to overcome that. If not this Feb., then by winning in 2012.
No one nationally ever seems to mention that part of the reason, a major part, of Colorado going 3-10 is that it lost something like 120 games in the two-deep to injuries (according to the school). Have you ever heard of anything like that? Cut those in half, maybe they're a 6-7 team.
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
Colorado had bad injuries this year. But so did Arizona State during a 6-2 start (the Sun Devils were actually healthier during their collapse). But 3-10 is pretty bleak, injuries or not. The Buffs had a brutal, 13-game, no-bye schedule. With an easier schedule, they could have won 5 or maybe even six games.
Mr. medicine (The Pharmacy)
Ted, do you need one more spoon of cough syrup or what?
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
You can tell I've got a cold?
I know that this is a Pac-12 blog and Oregon and Stanford had nothing to do with Boise getting the short straw for the 3rd time in 4 years, but don't you agree that, notwithstanding the various other screw-ups the BCS has made in the past, the recent overlooking of Boise (including pitting them against TCU in 2009) is THE #1 REASON the BCS should be blown up in favor of some sort of a playoff?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Well, Boise had a point. As did Kansas State, an AQ conference team. Most don't need specific injustices to want the BCS blown up in favor of a playoff. I used to say don't hold your breath on a playoff. But there seems to be a gathering of momentum, perhaps spurred on by conference expansionism. I wouldn't be surprised if we get some sort of one -- perhaps a plus-1 -- within the next five years or so.
Duck Fan (Cabo San Lucas)
So Ted your opinion of a non conference winner playing for a national title, and could that happen in the PAC-12
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
To me, that's incidental. LSU and Alabama look like the 2 best teams to me. And if the stars aligned like that in the Pac-12, it could happen. Not as likely as the SEC, which has won 5 consecutive national titles and has a lot of street cred. But possible.
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
Alrighty gang.. I'm off. Consider this my texted departure announcement.