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)
Howdy Folks. What's on your mind?
Matt (Gilbert, Ariz.)
Is it possible ASU could be 5-1 going into the Oregon game and still not be ranked or considered relevant?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
I doubt it. I suspect they'll get ranked if the win at Cal on Saturday, but at 5-1 it would be difficult to keep them out. They were getting votes in both polls. The Missouri loss doesn't look that good based on what happened to the Tigers at South Carolina.
kevin (twentynine palms, ca)
besides a bcs bowl, which pac-12 bowl destination offers the fan the best experience?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
I've never covered an Alamo Bowl, but I love San Antonio. Do you mean the game itself or the vacation around it? Pac-12 bowls are good destinations for the most part... Vegas, San Diego, LA, San Francisco...
Trey (Long Beach)
Ted, not much is said about USC's D Line. It was supposed to be a weakness. Can we now consider it a strength with as well as they have played thus far?
Ted Miller (3:05 PM)
It wasn't a strength in the fourth quarter against Stanford, but it has in general exceeded expectations, especially when you factor in some tough injuries. It's interesting that the O-line, thought to be deeper than the d-line, is now the chief concern. One of the things I'm taking away from USC this year is the Trojans have a lot of good young players. They're going to be fine post-Barkley.
Ted: A)If OSU can beat Stanford and because they do not face USC, could OSU and UO both go undefeated into the civil war this year? B)Because the game is at OSU, can the Beavs finally beat the Ducks this year?
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
Rob... I hear you, but here's what I suggest: Focus your fan emotions on Saturday at Arizona. Tough game on the immediate horizon. You don't play Stanford until Nov. 10. I think we still need to see the Beavers a few weeks before we start imagining undefeated scenarios.
Do you see Chip Kelly mixing it up a bit with a 2 back set or even (gasp) a power-I with Lyerla and Barner?
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
Chip always mixes it up.. there was some two-back last weekend, wasn't there?
Lance Romance (Winnipeg, Canada)
Todd Graham said Chris Young was just "scratching the surface" of his position. How many TFL's is this guy going to have if he keeps improving?
Ted Miller (3:10 PM)
Well, there will be an recognition and reaction. Young was unknown entering the season. Now coordinators are going to finger him and say, "We have to specifically account for this guy." That might hurt his numbers, while making him even more valuable to the defense. I will say the nature of his position should help him put up big numbers, even with added attention.
I'm getting ready to leave work and head down to the UW Stanford game...will it sill be a game in the second half? I'm and ASU fan so dont really care either way since we don't play either this season, but seeing a good game would be nice
Ted Miller (3:11 PM)
In the preseason, I liked the Huskies chances more. The reason I see Stanford winning going away is Washington's injuries on the O-line. You want to be healthy going against that front 7... ask USC.
ryan (el segundo)
will UCLA win the PAC 12 south this year?
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
I still like USC, but the Bruins have gained ground... as have Arizona and Arizona State.... the field is stronger than it looked in the preseason.
Trojan1981 (Stuck in the office)
Undefeated SEC team, Undefeated FSU, Undefeated Oregon, Undefeated ND, who plays in the BcSNC Title game?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
SEC vs. Notre Dame... Irish would have gone undefeated against a brutal schedule with USC and Stanford. Pac-12 would be next in line because FSU would be hurt by its conference standing.
Chip Kelly (Eugene, OR)
Let's say for the sake of this question my Ducks run through the PAC12, beating USC twice and Stanford, convincingly, for the 3rd year in a row. After DAT wins the Heisman in a close race with 2nd-place Mariota, we make it to the National Championship game where the Black Mamba gashes Alabama's D for 306 all-purpose yards and we thump them 45-10 after our tenacious D kicks in with our offense....should Duck fans be worried about me looking at the seemingly inevitable NFL job offers?
Ted Miller (3:15 PM)
Yes... it almost happened last year. Chip talked about unfinished business (not unlike Barkley) when he opted to return. If the Ducks win a national title, he'll never been a hotter coach. But I do think he really likes it in Eugene. It will have to be a situation that really appeals to him.
UA Fan (Arizona)
Making the trip out to Palo Alto next week, any suggestions on where to go?
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
Go here -- ? http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/12343/top-restaurants-and-bars-in-pac-10-stanford
Bucky (Dufur, OR)
How much of Oregon States success has come from having 2 weeks to prep for its first two games?
Ted Miller (3:17 PM)
Good question. Extra prep time surely helps. But I think the Beavers are healthy, more experienced and confident. That matters more. The difference in D-line play compared to last year is HUGE.
Is Utah that bad? Or is ASU that good?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
That's a "we shall see." I don't think the Utes are that bad, and I want to see ASU play like that on the road. Good test for Sun Devils this weekend.
Mike Leach (Pullman, WA)
Let's say my Air Raid offense "clicks" and Oregon's ego gets in the way and the Cougs shock 'em - will Seattle still be standing after the Cougs are done partying?
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
And you'd be able to party with all the Duck-hating Huskies -- if you wanted to, of course. But don't hold your breath on that one. The Ducks secondary is a bit better than Colorado's.
Zeke Edwards (Harrodsburg, KY)
Hey Ted,Rumors swirling around Kentucky are that they will be going after either Bobby Petrino, Neal Brown, or Mike Leach. Could you see Leach going back to Kentucky and leeaving his post at Washington State?
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
I wouldn't bet on it. Not sure he'd want to be the coach at Kentucky, a basketball school playing in a football conference in which it's experienced little success for decades.
Michael Pogson (washington)
what do the huskies have to do to get a win tonight
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
Force turnovers. Get some sort of run game. Take some chances in the downfield passing game. Hope Nunes is not up to task.
In your opinion, who is the second best team right now behind Alabama? Do you think USC can hang with the big boys from Tuscaloosa?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
You could throw Oregon, LSU and Florida State into a hat... USC will get its say on Nov. 3 vs. Oregon. And you guys have a game that weekend too, if I am not mistaken.
Lance Romance (Winnipeg, Canada)
Cal's O-line has had some serious problems lately. Do you see another big day for ASU's defense?
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
Cal's line will be much better if Summers-Gavin is back, but it has been out of sync much of the year. Still, it blocked a very good Ohio State defense very well. That matchup up front will be interesting. Cal's O-line is better than Utah's, Missouri's and Illinois'
Eric (Albany, OR)
What does Oregon State need to accomplish to convince people that they are a solid football team, instead of just a two-game fluke? Will winning on Saturday be enough, or are we just going to hear how every team we beat was either overrated or had a bad week?
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
You do realize the Beavers are ranked No. 18, right? Who are you listening to? Ducks fans?
I know you still love USC to win the south... handicap it for usUSC ___%UCLA ___%UA ____ %ASU ____%Utah ___%Col 0%
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
USC 71 %, UCLA 13 %, AS 10 %, Arizona 5 %, Utah 1 %. Arizona has to play both Oregon & Stanford. UCLA doesn't play Oregon, but already has a conference loss. Arizona State doesn't play Stanford.
Eric (Albany, OR)
You do realize that the Beavers are a 2.5 point under-dog to Arizona, right?
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
That's Vegas....not the college football nation. But I do find the line odd. Matt Scott is banged up and the Wildcats recent history is TERRIBLE vs. the Beavers.
Jonathan (Palo Alto, CA)
Ted, I can't see a clear path to bowl eligibility for my Utes. Can you? Tell me we can make it!
Ted Miller (3:32 PM)
Well, play like you are supposed to. If if you can count Colorado and WS as wins, that's four... so you need two more. That seems doable to me.
How likely is it CAL can get to .500 and a bowl berth. Im not sure I see 5 wins left on the schedule with the way we are executing right now.
Ted Miller (3:35 PM)
The math is tough there, particularly if the Bears lose Saturday. Going to have to win on the road. But there aren't any games that scream: "No way." Even Oregon's visit the week after the Ducks play at USC.
The Pac looks good this year. Do you see a scenario where the ranked teams beat each other up and that could cost and undefeated Oregon or Stanford a chance at the NC game? Where when the SEC does it, it boosts their rankings and SOS?
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
I think if a Pac-12 team goes undefeated, it's a very, very good bet for the national title game. But, yes, I do think that there will be some carnage in the middle that knocks teams out of the rankings. What the Pac-12 needs to consistently do is produce a second-tier of 9-win teams that populate the bottom half of the polls. And teams that win bowl games. That will get the conference the benefit of the doubt. The nonconference success this year should help that effort -- UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona State or Arizona could end up with 9 or so wins.
Kenny Wheaton (Likely Banned)
Is Mariota the real deal? Or do you think he'll likely struggle come game time in a real, hostile environment?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
It's too early to say he's "the real deal," but everything so far is encouraging. He's certainly got talent and he seems to have poise. But we've yet to see him on the road or fighting for points in a close game in the fourth quarter. But if you're asking me what I think, I'd say, he's going to be a good one. Perhaps the best QB of Kelly era, including Dennis Dixon in 2007.
It looks like Graham and Mora have adequately addressed last year's locker room problems that affect the on-field performance on their respective teams (especially Graham). Do you think these are permanent fixes, or will either team decompose if they don't win games?
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
Well, that's the question. Brock Osweiler sold me on the Sun Devils togetherness after they beat USC last year. When things turned sour at UCLA, everything imploded. A good team culture isn't something established over just a few weeks, particularly during a new coach's honeymoon period. There is every reason to be encouraged, but you probably will need a couple of years to pass judgment.
Jason (Monmouth, OR)
What is the most memorable game you ever saw in person? As a fan or as a reporter, it doesn't matter to me.
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
USC-Texas for the national title after 2005 season. Great game. Wrote two complete game stories because it seemed like USC was headed for the win in the fourth quarter. Wish I still had what I wrote. It would be like an alternative reality.
Ken (Los Angeles, holmes)
So what is your take on the conference injury report issues? Do you think teams should be able to keep their players' injuries secret?(they are after all, just kids) Or do you prefer the NFL style and make it mandatory?
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
First off, have you seen a college football player? They are not kids. They are men. I think, as we go forward with the big -- and getting bigger -- business of college football, we need to standardize things. That means the college football powers agreeing that every major conference publishes an injury report that is taken seriously by coaches. I know as a reporter, I hate injuries -- hate it when teams lose players to injuries, hate reporting on injuries, and hate going back and forth with coaches over them. An injury report would be good for everyone.
ripstardust (Las Vegas)
Has the ship sailed on DirecTV and the Pac-12 getting a deal done in the next year or so?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
I hope not. Folks just need to keep the pressure on DirectTV. Make your voice heard.
Eric (Albany, OR)
I understand your frustration as a journalist, and wanting to provide accurate information to the fans, but according to the fan poll, we aren't that interested in having it mandatory. Do you buy the results, or just think it was a lot of Duck fans agreeing with Chip Kelly?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
The other day there was a video posted of Chip taking a question about DAT on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Chip was unnecessarily gruff about it, and then incorrectly said it was of no benefit for the program. Sure, all those SI covers hanging in the freaking football office have no meaning. But in the comment section below, every fan celebrated how Chip treated the question and the reporter. That's how it is when you win. It's "My coach, wrong or right." I get that. But my position on injuries is just about making everything standard for everyone. That is the way to solve issues of competitive advantage.
Loud Mouth Duck (My pond)
Who would win a cage fight, Colt Lyerla or Ralphie?
Ted Miller (3:53 PM)
Ohh... good one. Ralphie is pretty tough. He'd have the size advantage, but Colt is pretty quick. Might be a split decision for Colt, at least until the Buffs start winning again and Ralphie gets his mojo back.
Is it at all possible for the Pac-12 to get 3 BCS berths?
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
no ... against the rules.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Has there ever been bad Officiating in College Football like there was in 3 weeks of the NFL?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Have you watched much Pac-12 football? The answer is yes. But I do think the pac-12 officiating is getting better, though some fans will disagree.
Jason (Monmouth, OR)
Ralphie is a she...
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
You were referring to USC when you said, "a so-called national title contender goes down hard in Week 3." Is it really going down hard when you lose on the road to a (now) top 10 team by 7 points and their strength (front 7) attacks your all of a sudden weakness (starting center lost)? USC did play poorly, but it could have been a worse beating.
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
Well, it seemed like it hit the Trojans pretty hard to me. And that fourth quarter was decisive. With the game on the line, Stanford asserted its will and USC had no answer on either side of the ball. But if you're saying it wasn't a blow out, I will agree with you.
Lance Romance (Winnipeg, Canada)
If ASU blows out Cal by a couple TD's or more, do you see any possibility of the axe falling on Tedford?
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
We'll have to wait and see what the final record is. There is zero chance Tedford is fired before the end of the season. He's earned that respect. My feeling is he probably will survive into 2013, though it's clear the pressure is on.
Matt (Los Angeles)
Is there any way USC can make it back to the BCS Title game?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
Sure... win out, have the Pac-12 rate highly with strength of schedule, and have every other top team get beat at least once. USC is not out of it.
Its a lot easier to get more teams to 9 wins when you have 4 non-conf games for everyone, right? I know you've written about this before, but do you think we'll get some consistency in the 9-game schedule in the near future? or do you think the SEC will never budge?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
I've heard the SEC is seriously considering 9 games because it's ludicrous to play 8 games in a 14-team conference. Then you really don't have a conference schedule. Goes back to what I was saying: As we move forward in the big business of college football, we need to standardize things... every conference should do it the same way.
You realize that college students' medical records are protected by federal law, right? Should a University be required to make every sprained ankle public information?
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
The legal side of that is weak. And, even if it isn't, a waiver takes care of it. Those laws were not intended to cover an athlete with a sprained ankle. They were intended to cover disease, congenital problems or psychological issues.
Ted Miller (4:03 PM)
And, so, after my legal note of the day, I will sign off without even charging a billable hour. Take care folks. See you next week.