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.
xultaif (la, ca)
When talking with tedford did you get the impression he is now content with lower tier bowls? He said cal was a couple of years away. what happened to contending every year? Is this the same man from 10 years ago?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
First, no. Second, the Bears did play in the Holiday Bowl last year, which doesn't qualify as lower-tier. Tedford made a good point that the Holiday Bowl loss to Texas, actually, is a big reason Bears fans are so frustrated. If Cal had finished 8-5 with a bowl win over a Texas program Bears fans have a grudge against, things would be a bit cooler in Berkeley. But, yes, he knows fans are frustrated and his seat is hot.
Washington 's line went from being a strength to, with injuries, somewhat of a question mark. How much of a ripple effect do you see in the running and passing game for the Huskies?
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
If Tanigawa and Kohler come back healthy, things will be OK, even though the loss of Porter hurts. But there's a domino effect when an O-line is struggling... you can't run the ball well, so you have to pass, which makes you predictable, which makes things easy for a defense, which gets your QB more hits, which could mean your backup QB plays more than you want...
Noah (San Fran)
Do you think USC could have 2 heisman finalists?
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
big long shot... tend to split votes... You could have the All-American QB and both All-American receivers be Trojans.
Rich (Charleston, SC)
Does the SEC streak eventually die? Also, how come the SEC can get away with only playing 4-5 road games and that's considered a brutal schedule? Outside of LSU and Alabama, most of the other programs are cyclical.
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
Yes, at some point the SEC won't win the national title. As for 4-5 road games, that's the way things work in SEC.... the Pac-12 should reduce its schedule to 8 conference games so it could do the same. Finally, cyclical or not, when you've got five different teams with national championships in the BCS era, it's difficult to claim the SEC doesn't have solid depth.
Matt (Ithaca, NY)
Is Maurris Harris (cal WR) actually doing well, or was that all just pre-spring hype b/c of his relationship to Keenan / Maynard? Will the freshman (or walk-ons) overtake him come fall?
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
My impression is coaches are frustrated with his inconsistency, despite good hands. The lights need to be on bright all the time. Cal needs him to provide WR depth, but he's in danger of being eclipsed by the freshmen.
Hellhound (Omaha, NE)
From what the papers are saying Jordan Wynn is looking strong in spingball, better than 09' pre injury 10'. Local radio seems to be making a push for Wilson. Is this just media hype to push a story or is Wynn in jeopordy of being pushed. I am actually thinking outside chance at 2nd team all conference. Am I mistaken?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
Hard to say... no one inside the program has even hinted that Wynn's job is in danger. But it does seem Wilson has impressed, and separated himself from fellow frosh Chase Hansen. You will probably get a better idea post-spring game. The best way to see this is as good news: It appears that Wilson will at least be a credible backup in 2012.
Casey (Ft Stewart, GA)
Hello Pac-12, SEC fan here and wanted to ask a couple of questions if that's okay? First off, How do you think Barkley would do against the Defenses in the SEC week in and week out? And also, do you see Leach being able to bring excitment back to WSU?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
The first one is trick question. Does Barkley get to bring his USC offense to the SEC? Because I'd bet big money that it would lead the SEC in scoring and yards, though the numbers almost certainly would be lower than against Pac-12 defenses. Barkley is a very good QB, an elite NFL prospect. He'd do well against any defense, though he'd likely do less well against very good defenses. His numbers should be better against, say, Oregon State or Kentucky, worse against LSU or California. As for Leach, he's already pumped juice in the program...now he needs to get the Cougs to a bowl game.
MikeySlade (Seattle, WA)
Bryan Bennett looked great when he got playing time last year. What's your Duck forecast?
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
I'm a Bennett lean, but I've never seen Marcus Mariota play. I was a Nate Costa lean before he was beaten out by Darron Thomas. So who knows? What I do think, and it should be comforting to ducks fans, is that if Mariota wins the job, he's probably a pretty darn good QB.
Nate, San Bernardino [via mobile]
Do you see Cal using bridgeford as a starter at some point. Tedford has stated Maynard does not have a problem with academics, but he has missed quite a few practices. Can bridgeford produce results?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
Maynard is the starter, Tedford has made that clear. But if Maynard was out of the picture -- for whatever reason -- it seems that Bridgford has shown substantial improvement this spring. He's finally healthy and throwing and moving better than ever before. Tedford told me he's a solid No. 2. If he's needed to play, I don't think the offensive coaches or players will panic.
CBROWN (Spoklahoma City)
Why hasn't Leach made a decision on Kafusi? I know he was kicked off by Leach right after the incident but the charges have been dropped and Leach has hinted he might let him back. It's killing Cougar nation not to have any resolution on the matter.
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
Killing Cougar nation? That's a bit extreme. My guess is he won't make a call until after spring practices. While charges were dropped, it still isn't a case of being innocent as the driven snow... If you care about my opinion, I think Leach should take him back and give him one of his famous special conditioning sessions. From what I know, Kaufusi is hardly a bad citizen. If I were a Coug fan, I'd be more concerned about Leach and Washington State putting together a plan to make the Pullman police more accountable. That longtime strained relationship needs to be fixed, and the Cougs need to shine a light on how the police are treating players.
Morgan (Coeur d' Alene, ID)
For Oregon Which DB do you think will have a break out year? (besides Boyett) And which WR do you think will have one also?
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
Hard to answer questions like this when you don't get to watch practices. Or read practice reports. Michael Clay told me to watch out for CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. And I'm not sure Rahsaan Vaughn won't be much better after some seasoning. Don't really have an idea with the 3 touted redshirt freshmen.
Robin (New York, NY)
From what little we have learned about the Buffs (closed practices), do you think the second year of JE will be better than the first??? I am really worried...
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
It hurt big-time to lose WR Paul Richardson. He's a difference-maker on an offense that lacks them. The Buffs are in a full rebuild. Last year, it was the brutal schedule -- 13 games in 13 weeks with a rugged nonconference schedule. This year, they are replacing a number of key guys and will be breaking in a new QB. But the schedule is more forgiving. I doubt Colorado will become bowl-eligible, but I'd advise fans to be patient. Things should improve in 2013.
StanfordFANatic (Stanford, CA)
Hey Ted! After your recent visit to Stanford did you come away thinking they could make some noise in the North? Does Oregon have anything to worry about? How good do you think the Stanford defense will be?
Ted Miller (3:34 PM)
Stanford's defense should be pretty darn good. The front seven looks very good. Some questions in the secondary, but they have some young talent that might actually end up providing an upgrade. As for threatening Oregon, I've got to see how things end up at QB... The offense is replacing 4 guys who could be first-round NFL draft picks. That's not something you just flip a switch on. That said: I'd be surprised if the Cardinal doesn't win at least 8 games.
How concerned should USC fans be by the lack of depth at the TB position, and by the lack of practice time their frontline receivers are receiving this spring?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
If Curtis McNeal stays healthy, things will be fine... there are guys behind him who can be adequate backups, starting with a better-than-average D.J. Morgan. But if McNeal gets hurt -- and he's not proven to be terribly durable in the past -- things get thin. As for the WRs, it's might be good having Woods out... No doubt in my mind Barkley-Woods-Lee is going to be fine. The question is can they find a third and fourth threat to stress a defense? (Paging George Farmer?) Don't get too worked up about injuries until late August. If they're an issue then, then you should worry.
What team do you find yourself turning the channel to watch, even though it's not a team you write about?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
I was fascinated by LSU last year... Such great talent on defense. And the Tigers played a very tough schedule on the way to the title game.
Do you think Oregon's depth at RB will be a big issue next year?
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
It could be... I actually wrote a short entry on this for tomorrow. To me, Kenjon Barner is the Ducks most irreplaceable player. Sure, De'Anthony Thomas could jump over to RB, but that takes away that dangerous Barner-Thomas combo on the field at the same time.... It seems to me it's almost certain that the freshman Byron Marshall will see extensive action. They need him to be ready.
How come you consider Kiffin a better coach then Sark ? Sark started 0-12 with little talent and became "competitive". Kiffin took a good team with superior talent and kept it good.
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
A top-five finish is a top-five finish.... and Kiffin kept a team together when it was yoked with no postseason... The Huskies that went 0-12 were far more talented than 0-12. They just quit on Willingham. Kiffin took over a team that got blown out by Oregon and Stanford and went 9-4 in 2009.
Stanford on the road (riding a three-game win streak against USC) or the "trap game" Thursday night @ Utah: Which game is more likely to be the spot where USC stumbles? Of course Oregon at the Coliseum is an obvious one.
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
All three are perhaps the toughest spots on USC's schedule... I think the Utah game could be interesting as a "trap" game. I don't think you could call Oregon or Stanford trap games, based on how those programs have played of late.
Ben Ingersoll (Fresno, CA)
Is ASU's plan for a new stadium ridiculous, or is it just me. Just renovate the thing!
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
I thought it looked cool. Now do they have $300 million to pay for it? That's the question. But Sun Devil Stadium needs an upgrade. No question about that.
John B. (Salem, OR)
Ted, is it true that you're looking the most forward to the Ducks spring game over everyone else's?
Ted Miller (3:50 PM)
To be honest, yes. Mostly because it's must-see TV for sports writers who want to get a measure of the QB situation. It really bothers me that I can't give you guys an quasi-educated evaluation/impression of Mariota because I've never seen him play.
ripstardust (Las Vegas)
What would Keith Price have to to do earn All-Pac recognition ahead of Barkley in your mind? I'm guessing it comes down to more than stats, no?
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
Yes, it is more than stats. But if his stats are better, and the Huskies exceed expectations and the Trojans fall short, it could happen. I get a feeling Price will be throwing more this fall than last.
Who are the expansion possibilities west of Colorado when the PAC 12 becomes the PAC 16?
Ted Miller (3:53 PM)
Few... and I'd don't think it's a frontburner issue at present... The big fish is Texas. Get the Longhorns and then everything else doesn't matter. I'm not sure it wasn't a mistake not signing up Oklahoma and Oklahoma State when there was a chance because that might have pushed Texas to accept the Pac-12's terms. But, no, BYU, Boise State, San Diego State, etc. -- these are not teams Pac-12 presidents and/or Larry Scott are eyeballing.
Steve (Mission Viejo)
What did you think of the new and improved Memorial Stadium
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
it's going to be really cool... took a tour last weekend. Excited about a real press box!
Is Oregon State gets one upset win this year, who is it?
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
What about Wisconsin in Reser in week 2? Of course, Montee Ball is a beast... Utah or Stanford are possibilities.
Taryn (Portland, OR)
Ted, a quick question about investment being made in football programs, Especially in light of stadium renovations in Pullman, Arizona, CAL and elsewhere. Do 1) the investments these programs make directly correlate to wins and 2) taking all of this into account, where do you see the Pac-12 shaking out this year (standings)?
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
Well, I put forward the Oregon model. The Ducks built A-list facilities and, well, look at things now. USC thrived under Pete Carroll without great facilities, but it's one of the top-five prestige programs in the nation. Shiny facilities are good selling points in recruiting, which is the lifeblood of a program. So I'd say, yes, these investments help. As for the Pac-12, I'm guessing you're asking among other conferences. To be honest, I haven't done a thorough offseason review of other conferences, but I'd guess the Pac-12 will rank second or third... SEC is No. 1, then the Big Ten/Pac-12.... seems like the Big 12 will take a step back.
Hi Ted, Any hotel recommendations in Pasadena, CA for me after Utah wins the PAC12 title and is headed to the Rose Bowl? TIA
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
Marriott courtyard in downtown Pasadena... walking distance to fun area to walk...
Ted Miller (4:03 PM)
Folks... got to roll on... thanks for stopping by. See you next week.