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 (2:59 PM)
Greetings... hope everyone is staying warm. Fire away.
Michael (Berkeley, CA)
How does the Whiteside issue hurt the Bears Defense? Do you think it still has the chance to be number 1 in the conference?
Ted Miller (3:01 PM)
Whiteside was listed as Chris McCain's backup at one outside LB spot after spring practices and he was certain to see a lot of action -- things don't seem settled, by the way, at the other OLB spot. It's a blow... as for No. 1, that's Oregon until someone steps up. That would have been true with or without whiteside.
trojansteeler4life (Omaha) [via mobile]
Besides Barkley, what unit do you think is vital for an undefeated season for USC?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
USC needs to stay healthy on both lines, but particularly the D-line. Not a lot of depth there.
After the Huskies brutal starting schedule, with LSU, USC, UO, Stan (and Portland St & SDSU) - what is the upper limit of a realistic record? 3-3, 4-2?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
I think most Husky fans would be satisfied with 3-3, which means beating either USC, Oregon or Stanford. I'd be surprised at 4-2. That would mean beating at least one top-five team.
Kirk Carpenter (Issaquah, WA)
Does either Oregon or USC have what it takes to beat the other twice this year, (Nov. 3 meeting and PAC12 title game) or will they each finish the regular season with one loss?
Anthony (Moreno Valley,Ca)
Many people around the country think that USC will lose at least 1 game this year. But with the high powered offense and a pretty good defense I just dont see it happening I feel like are D-Line will be good this year with alot of young talent. I believe people are hvaing too much faith in Oregon then anything do to they QB postion and there O-Line Oregon will lose 3 games this yr.
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
Similar questions... it's difficult to go undefeated, not just in terms of being better than every foe but showing up focused every week. Go back and look at Pete Carroll's run at USC. How many undefeated seasons did he have? As for Oregon/USC beating the other X2, that also is difficult. However, the winner on Nov. 3 will be in position to have an big advantage in the Pac-12 title game: Home Field. That's particularly big for Oregon, even though the Trojans won in Autzen last year. And, Anthony, if Oregon loses more than a two games this year, I'd be floored.
I'm an ASU fan living out of state in Seattle (who ASU doesn't play again this season), but still make it to at least 1 game a year. Which game should I go home for this year? Why?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
It depends on what you want. Are you looking to see a good opponent, or better odds for a win? My advice would be to make sure it's a game after mid-October. That way the heat won't beat you down. If you went to Oregon on 10/18, you could see a Thursday night ESPN game then make it a long weekend.. golf? steaks? Mexican food?
People question weather Oregon's receivers will pan out. Not counting Huff and De' Anthony we have Sumler's world class speed, Blackmon, Bj Kelly and all three very capable of a breakout season. Do you see Chip using the new kids coming in this summer Addison and Stanford as freshman. And what do you think about the receiving corp of the Ducks ?
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
Kelly was solid in the spring game but have you seen Blackmon or Sumler do much of anything? Sure, they were touted recruits but they haven't shown much yet. Of course, a big part of that is not getting to see practices. We really don't know how things stand at receiver. Yes, Thomas and Huff are a good start, but after that things are unclear... recruiting star ratings no longer matter.
Give me an unknown WR that will break out this year.
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
Dres Anderson, Utah.
Bigger strength for SC: Secondary or Receivers?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
receivers... WR is a certainty. The DBs are a "very likely."
Oregon and USC each play Alabama, then LSU. Does either team win both games? Does either team lose both?
Ted Miller (3:17 PM)
Alabama is a bit of a mystery. We suspect they will be very good -- improved on offense, still good on defense -- but the Tide lose a lot of guys (just check out the NFL draft). LSU is my No. 1 team and I'd pick the Tigers over anyone at this point. In that foursome, the Tigers are the only one I'd say would have a good shot at 2-0. I'd like Oregon and USC's chances against Bama. At least, as we sit here now.
I was a little surprised that the ESPN crew in the preview video were so skeptical of the Ducks' secondary. we all know replacing pleasant will be tough, but all the young guys at corner played very well (mostly as freshman) last year, and i'd expect them to make some more progress. i guess it's the only defensive ?, but do you think it is as big as they implied?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
I think Oregon's secondary is a strength. Boyett plus the young, impressive CBs... replacing Pleasant won't be easy, but there are capable guys there to step in.
Air Raid Nation (On a Cloud)
How do you think the Air Raid will do in the Pac-12? It seems that Mike Leach will go against more inferior defenses that he dealt with while at Texas Tech. Do you see him and his Qb's breaking NCAA passing records again?
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
The defenses will be far better in the Pac-12, top to bottom. But I think Leach will have success with his offense because he's always had success with his offense. I don't think the numbers will be as epic against Pac-12 defenses, which are more talented and sophisticated than Big 12 defenses (at least after Texas and Oklahoma).
Dude Guy (SLC)
What needs to happen for Utah to beat USC?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
Win the line of scrimmage. Get John White 100 yards. Protect Wynn. Get Star on Barkley. But can the MUSS step up?
USC and OJ are Innocent (California)
Ted, before we crown Alabama's defense this past season as the best in the BCS era (better than USC's 2008) can we take a look at the offenses their defense faced? According to ESPN total offense:119.) Kent St. 114.) Ole Miss 107.) Tennessee 105.) North Texas 98.) Florida 91.) Auburn 88.) Vanderbilt 86.) Penn St. 72.) Miss St. 57.) LSU and 28.) Arkansas. And let's not forget Georgia Southern an FCS team that rushed for over 250 yards on Alabama at home. Thoughts?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
Fair point... but the lack of quality opponents doesn't take away from the talent level, which was equal to USC in 2008.
I've seen what can happen to a team by losing their starting quarterback. Which Pac 12 team has the best backups?
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
In some cases, it's a case of there not seeming to be much drop-off after the starter: Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and Oregon all have legit QB competitions going where there's not much distance between the QBs. You could probably throw Colorado in there too. And Washington State and Utah have backups with experience. There's probably not to much drop from starter to backup with Cal and Oregon State. I'd say the teams with the most worries there would be Arizona, USC and Washington.
What's your take on the "New and Improved" Cotton Bowl between the SEC and Big 12? I don't see how it has a significant impact on the B1G or the Pac-12. Am I missing something?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
The impact was on the ACC mostly, which is now outside looking in without a dance partner. All it did with the Pac-12 was allow Larry Scott to throw out this Plus-1 idea, which strikes me as more likely just trash talk. That said: The impact of this game is HUGE. In one swoop, the bowl system changes forever.
Texas Hater (Boulder)
I read an article the other day that had the scenario of Syracuse, Pitt, BC & ND to the Pac 12 to form Pac 16. Any thoughts on this? Seems like FSU move to Big 12 could start the dominos all over again.
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
People are throwing a lot of scenarios into the air. I think there's probably some regret now from the Pac-12 for its not opening the door to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State when they came knocking. It would have made more geographic sense, and it would have forced a humbled Texas to come along. Having a group of East Coast teams doesn't feel right to me.
hey Ted what you think about UofA's copper helmets?
Ted Miller (3:32 PM)
Oscar Batista (Irwindale CA)
Hey Ted!!! Does the SEC respect or fear USC!!
Ted Miller (3:32 PM)
Condoleezza (Hoover Institute)
Any thoughts on the Stanford AD position?
Ted Miller (3:34 PM)
I thought it might be Oliver Luck... I wonder if they won't stay inside the department. Some good candidates there.
Best 2012 Pac-12 Ultimate Fighter?
Ted Miller (3:36 PM)
player or coach... player, I'd say Stanford DE Ben Gardner. Coach would be Kyle Whittingham.
After you eventually leave this position would you like it to be called "The Ted Miller Director of Pac-12 Blogging?"
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
I'm mostly known as Chandra's Husband.
Which Pac-12 non-conference game(s) do you think will be the most entertaining in the upcoming season?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
I'm curious how Washington holds up at LSU. Not a fun place to play and a great team. I think Cal's got a good shot at the upset at Ohio State. BYU plays Utah, Oregon State and Washington State. Will it win the series? Nebraska at UCLA could be interesting.
Clearly Missing Something (Toledo)
Please explain how the bowl system has now changed forever with the new SEC vs. Big-12 bowl.
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
Well, what are the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl going to do if the Champions Bowl is played in Jerry Jones' place?
Jared (Fort Benning, GA)
Ted,Which team has a better chance of beating USC -- Notre Dame or Utah?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
Utah... the Utes are better than ND and they are playing at home.
Westcoastrealitycheck (west coast)
calling it now - the winner of the second Oregon USC game ends the SEC's B(c)S NC streak...will you repost this when it happens? (or trash it if is doesn't?)....
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
certainly got a shot...
When will we see an arm wrestling match between Kyle Whittingham and Lane Kiffin?
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
never for Kiffin's sake... Whittingham is built like a truck.
Oscar Mayer (CA)
Does USC respect or fear the SEC!!
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
USC would love any opportunity to suit up with any SEC team. At least this year. And you can only respect the SEC. Not doing so would be ignorant.
Is it correct the assume that if Cal and Stanford decided that they didn't have to play USC/UCLA every year that the Pac-12 would go back to an 8 team schedule? If so, once stanford adds a big-10 team to its 9 conference games plus Notre Dame, do you think they'll cave?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
Cal and Stanford are stupid to designate a game every year with USC & UCLA, most particularly against the Trojans. It would be not unlike Washington going: Hey, let's play Texas every season! And, yes, if administrators at the California schools agreed to end their automatic games, it would be a big step toward an 8-game conference schedule. As it stands now, Stanford's schedule (and USC's) could end up being absurdly -- and self-destructively -- difficult when the Big Ten series begins.
Tylurker (Land of Oaks, Ca)
Unfortunately, Jeff Tedford is on the hot seat at Cal. So what does it take to get JT off the proverbial hot seat? Is 7-5 (with a bowl LOSS) good enough? Or would the Bears have to win the bowl game too? What about 6-7, off with his head? I think the expectations are too high for this season (brutal schedule) It wasn't that long ago folks were sporting Ted-head tie-dies and I think JT is a good coach and mentor to the team. It seems like the old blues have a short memory - see Bruce Snyder: went 10-2 but couldn't win the big game...so they giv'em the axe the axe the axe...he goes to ASU and the Sundevils go to the Rose Bowl. Ouch!
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
I'm not sure what will be enough for Cal and Tedford. I'd say a winning record and bowl berth would be a minimum. And not all 7-5s are equal. If the Bears are competitive in five losses, that's something different than getting blown out 2-3 times, as has been the case in recent years. I'd feel fairly certain he's safe at 8-5 with a bowl victory and no blowout defeats.
Jan Brewer (Phoenix, AZ)
Ted - which team in our state of Arizona will fare better this season?
Ted Miller (3:53 PM)
Tough one... they both seem like 5-7/6-6 teams. I've written before and I'll say it again, I wouldn't be shocked if the Territorial Cup doesn't determine who ends up with a better record. ASU doesn't play Stanford, but it has 2 quality nonconference foes vs. just one for Arizona. The Wildcats are better off at QB but worse off on defense. If I were forced into a corner, I'd go with Arizona, seeing that the Wildcats are at home against the Sun Devils in the season finale. But it's close.
Hey Ted,Any chance that D'Anthony Thomas gets more rushing touches than most expect and goes on to lead the Pac-12 in rushing?
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
Kenjon Barner is more likely to do that. I think Thomas gets more rushing touches but will still remain a slash guy... he's too valuable in the passing game, particularly with questions at WR.
Tim (San Diego)
There's always the coach speak about how the extended competition drives players, but how big of a disadvantage is it for a team to end spring practice without a starting qb?
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
I know Pete Carroll was big into "anointing" a guy at the end of spring, and I think it helped Washington last year with Keith Price. It allows a guy to take charge of the team. I don't completely buy the competition deal, but I also think coaches hold off on an announcement when they think there's still some legit on-going competition. Just imagine if Chip Kelly planned to announce Bryan Bennett as the starter after the spring game...
Do you think that having Matt Scott means that Arizona throws it more this year than we have normally seen Rodriguez teams air it out?
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
yes... I don't see Scott running the ball 15 times a game.
Butch T Cougar (Pullman)
would you say you get more celebrity write-ins than the other ESPN bloggers?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Will there be a noticable difference in Brian Johnson's O vs Norm Chow's?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
I think so... for one, there's an H-back. I think Johnson will be more notably creative.
Big SEC fan here... WIth Bama, Ark, S. Carolina, and LSU shooting to make it 7 in a row. You guys are the only league that scares me. Which Pac-12 team represents the biggest threat?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
the winner on Nov. 3 between Oregon-USC in the Coliseum.
Is the Colorado job really still up for grabs, or is Embree just trying to give Hirschman a fair shake (because of his injury) before he gives it to Connor Wood?
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
I don't know if it's just Hirschman... I think some other guys might be in the mix, including the frosh, Shane Dillon. But, yes, I see Wood as the frontrunner.
Ted Miller (4:03 PM)
OK gang... time for me to run on. But thanks for stopping by. As previously noted, the chats will be on vacation for most of the summer.