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... Shall we begin?
What does ASU have to do to get ranked?A) Beat CU in a blow out (63-6)?B) Have a close competitive loss to Oregon (34-33.5)?C) Beat the Ducks at home (31-28)?D) Wait till the last game in Oct and beat UCLA (28-21)?E) Answers A B & D
Ted Miller (3:00 PM)
Keep winning... good shot the Sun Devils could move up this week with a win if a couple of lower ranked teams lose... such as Washington or UCLA, by the way.
David Smith (University of Washington (Seattle))
Are the huskies overrated? Do they really belong in the top 25 or is this just a one week stay like the other times in the past 4 years?
Ted Miller (3:02 PM)
Maybe... we still don't really know who Washington is because we don't really know who Stanford is or USC for that matter. The LSU game was really ugly, too. If Washington is within 10 of Oregon on the road, that suggest to me this is a top-25 sort of team.
Mike (Tailgating at Rice-Eccles Stadium)
What do the Utes need to do to win tonight?
Ted Miller (3:04 PM)
Copy the Stanford defensive game plan and make it work... tackle well in the secondary, get John White over 100 yards rushing, no turnovers... get some hits on Barkley. Take advantage of the absence of center Khaled Holmes with Star at the nose... keep the crowd in the game and hounding the Trojans... nothing revolutionary... just good football stuff.
Robert (Seattle, WA)
How much of the Beaver's success is due to the fact that Mike Riley took over the play calling from offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf this season?
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
Hard to estimate because my impression is he and coordinator Danny Langsdorf collaborate plenty... but when things go well, you tend to think that was a dramatic change. I'd suggest a lineup growing up, particularly the O-line, Mannion and WR Brandin Cooks counts for more...
Why do people care so much about rankings in the PAC12 (or other BCS conferences)? The reality is, if you are in the PAC12 and you win all that other stuff(rankings, awards, attention) will come. As an ASU fan... just keep winning Sun Devils.
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
everyone loves rankings... just the way it is... immediate gratification on where you rate right now...
Lance Romance (Winnipeg, Canada)
This season is shaping up to be very similar to last year (in terms of Wins and losses). Do you think the Sun Devils will fold again down the stretch or do you see Todd Graham preventing that from happening?
Ted Miller (3:08 PM)
It's not off the table but my impression is that won't happen... the bigger issue isn't folding, it's a tougher schedule: Oregon, UCLA, at Oregon State, at USC are ahead.
Jesse (The District of Columbia)
How much do you think the Huskies' extra two days to prepare for Oregon will factor in the game Saturday night @ 10:30pm EDT on ESPN? (see what I did there?)
Ted Miller (3:09 PM)
I think it has to help just based on getting ready for the change of tempo and the misdirection. It's more time for a defense to train its eyes. It also helps because Stanford was a much different team. Further, the extra rest after a physical game helps, as does the time to get over the euphoria.
Hi Ted. How terrible of a decision was it for the ACC to abandon its plans for a 9 game conference schedule next year?
Ted Miller (3:11 PM)
Well, probably not terrible for ACC teams... helps them. It also puts further pressure on the Pac-12 to consider going back to 8 games. If the SEC, Big Ten & ACC are playing 8 conference games and the Big 12 and Pac-12 are playing 9, then three conferences have an automatic advantage at the beginning of every season. Just pure math.
Does DAT have to a big game to keep himself from falling out of the heisman race
Ted Miller (3:13 PM)
He needs to make plays that get on SportsCenter and make folks go "Wow!" I'd think this game would be a good opportunity for him to make a statement. But the Heisman race, just like the season, is about 12 games. 1 game won't win it -- even 8 TD passes vs. Baylor won't win it.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Do you think Cal will bite the financial bullet and give Tedford one more year to turn things around?
Ted Miller (3:15 PM)
I think we need to see how the year continues to play out. I don't think he gets fired at 6-6. Below that, things get tricky. My thought is this: If you want to fire Tedford, you better know exactly what you want to do before you pull the trigger....
Josh (Provo, UT)
Ted, should I study for my physiology test tomorrow or watch USC-Utah?
Ted Miller (3:15 PM)
Will a pac-12 season be more or less exciting on an 8-game conference schedule? Could be more opportunities for big OOC games, like the b1g series idea that got scrapped.
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
Well, yes and no. Idea of an 8 game conference schedule is to make the schedule easier. Most Pac-12 teams already play a tough nonconference schedule... the idea would be to add another victory.
Winston Free (Big Apple)
UW's offense has not been in sync all season vs. FBS opponents. Was former Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier more valuable than previously thought?
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
Maybe... but Sark calls the plays. What Sark would like to do is to order up a couple more healthy, veteran offensive linemen. The Huskies have struggled up front, and it's difficult to do much of anything on offense when you're not blocking well.
IF USC loses to UTAH how shocked will you be?
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
Pretty shocked, but the Stanford-USC game - and Washington-Stanford game and Washington State-Colorado game -- reminded us that getting shocked is fairly standard in college football.
oh boy, more games versus the NAU, Portland State and Sisters of the Poor. Can't wait to pay $100/ticket for that on my home schedule. I'd rather see the PAC go the other direction and do a full round-robin 11 game conference schedule with just one out of conference. We could dump the North/South stuff too!
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
and never play for the national title?
Kyle (Eugene, OR)
If Oregon runs the table this year with USC and Stanford already losing, will it be enough to get into the national title game? Do the USC and Stanford games still carry as much weight?
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
If Oregon is 13-0 after the Pac-12 championship game, the Ducks almost certainly would play for the national title...
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Does USC need to run the table for Barkley to bring another Heisman back to Heritage Hall?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
It's more about him putting up fancy numbers but winning certainly helps... if USC goes 12-1, wins the Pac-12 and Barkley's numbers end up looking a lot like last year's, my guess is he'd at least get invited to the ceremony.
Is it fare to say that Oregon has one of the best if not the best Coaches in the game today?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
yes.... Saban, Meyer, Kelly...
John White IV (SLC, UT)
Can my patchwork offensive line open up a hole for me this week?
Ted Miller (3:24 PM)
Not sure against the Trojans, who are tougher than expected up front and very athletic at LB... you guys are starting to realize that Bergstrom AND Cullen were pretty nice to have, eh... White, when healthy, though has the ability to make his own yards...
Jonathon Franklin (Los Angeles, CA)
Will I find the endzone this week?
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
yes... Cal's run defense has struggled. I think you're a key piece to the puzzle in Berkeley... I picked the Bears to get the upset, by the way...
If Cal ponies up serious money to dump Tedford, who do you think would be a good fit? Season Professional a la raid another coach Petersen or TCU's Coach, Hired Gun Petrino, or go young up and comer IE Wilcox?
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
I try to be objective in how I cover things, but I've known Tedford for so long, it's extremely difficult for me not to root for him to get things turned around. So I felt a twinge this week when I first thought to myself: I need to consider who might be next. Petrino isn't happening. I don't think Petersen will leave Boise, nor Patterson TCU.... Wilcox, it seems to me, would be on the list. But it's difficult to project forward because you really don't know the money Cal could pay. $2 million is a baseline rate. To get an A-list guy to come to the super-expensive Bay Area, I'd say you'd have to ante up $4 million. And then you have to pay his staff. So I don't expect Cal to be able to go for a big name. And that might not be a bad thing.
Kenjon Barner (study hall)
What's my longest run this weekend?
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
Lance Romance (Winnipeg, Canada)
If the devils can finish with 9 wins, meaning 2 conference losses, is that enough to get them into the Pac-12 title game?
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
If they beat USC... won't be easy in the Coliseum... they both would have 2 conference losses & the Sun Devils would own the tiebreaker.
John (College Station)
Do you think Colorado's victoria solamente versus Wazoo will keep Embree his job for entire season? Would a loss have opened the exit door sooner?
Ted Miller (3:33 PM)
I think folks recognize what Embree inherited. It would be a mistake to write him off after just 2 years. So I think he survives this season no matter what. He's a Buff after all, so he deserves a fair shot even more than an outside would. Got to show respect within the family.
Sean Mannion (Corvallis)
Chances i win PAC-12 Offensive Player of the Year
Ted Miller (3:35 PM)
Lots of guys with more name recognition to pass over... and you're only fourth in the conference in passing efficiency at present and 6 TD passes ranks 8th... but if you keep up your present rate and the Beavers keep winning, you could get into the picture.
Max (Oregon )
Who do you think will give Oregon State the most trouble this season? Besides Stanford and of course the Ducks.
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
No gimmes on the schedule... at Washington won't be easy. Arizona State is playing well and showed it could win on the road at Cal.
Do you think it is better to go into a rivalry game with the Chip Kelly every-game-is-the-same attitude, or do you like coaches playing to their players emotions for a rivalry?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
I don't think they are mutually exclusive. I also think that Chip could humor folks -- fans, media -- on the topic a bit more while maintaining the team culture of "Every game is a super bowl." Overall, I think his approach is more the future. It's sound. But when the Ducks walk onto the field, and the crowd is charged more than it has been -- or probably will be -- this season, then the rivalry emotion will come into play. For a good team with a good culture, you don't need that during the week of preparation.
Todd Graham (Tempe, AZ)
Ted, in your opinion, what is the best thing that I brought to the table at ASU this year?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
Discipline, consistency, aggressive schemes.
I just don't get the Tedford hot seat talk. They've gone to 8 bowls in his 10 years, when they went to 5 in the preceding 40. This year Maynard is awful, but give him a chance with Kline next year.
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
Big picture is solid for Tedford. But the picture the past two-plus years isn't. Folks don't look big picture. They are of the "What have you done for me lately" mind. And it's not just Maynard. It's Longshore, to Riley, to Maynard.
Lance Romance (Winnipeg, Canada)
Do you think there is added pressure for USC to not only win, but win big tonight on national TV? A close victory probably won't silence the critics.
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
To some, but I think USC would be happy to get out of Salt Lake City with a nice win. If the Trojans win-out, style points won't matter too much. But, yes, a 20-plus point victory would signal to folks that reports of USC's death might have been exaggerated...
The Wildcats started off the year looking pretty impressive, but have since lost their last two games. Would you mark that up to scheduling, lack of real ability, a little bit of both, or something else entirely?
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
Oregon is the No. 2 team in the nation, and the Beavers also have quality wins over Wisconsin and UCLA. So, yes, it seems to the Wildcats just lost to two good teams. But the schedule ahead is rugged, too, and the Arizona defense is thin up front. Doesn't help that they are going to face Stanford's tough front-7 without center Kyle Quinn. I think the Territorial Cup could be very interesting.... In the preseason, .500 looked like a good record with the available talent. That still might be the case.
Jim Mora (Westwood)
I have the same players pretty much as last year's squad, but everyone around me says things are different. Quantify my success: __% better coaching __% better players (ie Hundley) __% better schemes
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
I think it's too early to make definitive statements. But the Bruins do seem better coached, Hundley is clearly a better QB (thanks to Rick Neuheisel for redshirting him) and the schemes are better because they are working... I think Mora's coordinators are much better, particularly because they are getting to run the schemes of their choosing,... so 20 %, 20 % and 18 %.
God forbid this were to happen but if Marcus Mariota was to get injured mid way through the season do you think Bryan Bennett has what it takes to get us through and into the natty?
Ted Miller (3:50 PM)
I won't answer a question with the term "natty," (But I think Bennett would do fine).
Fred (Walla Walla)
What is going on with Oregon's o-line? They don't look like the well oiled machine we have seen the past few years.
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
Well, they did lose their most veteran presence in OG Carson York... for some reason, I'm not as concerned about the Ducks O-line as some Ducks fans... just keep in mind the LT is a redshirt freshman, the center a sophomore and the RT a sophomore... there are some youth issues...
Will UW be able to get a good rushing attack to keep the game interesting against Oregon?
Ted Miller (3:53 PM)
I don't think the Huskies will be able to run well -- unless they hit some early plays in the passing game that loosens things up. Oregon has a good front-7.
What is the best position group in pac-12?
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
Does Kelly come back for a fifth year if Oregon goes to the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
I think Kelly will be back in 2013... but if he wins a national championship and the right NFL job opens up, well, we'll see. It's not like he couldn't get back to college if he failed in the NFL...
Benny Beavus (Corvallis, OR)
Which secondary on the remaining schedule for OSU matches up best with M-Wheat and B-Cooks?
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
Trufant has been playing really well for Washington, but I'm not sure the Ducks don't have the best CB tandem the Beavers will face.
Do you and Kevin ever read the comments? I think you would fare well.
Ted Miller (3:58 PM)
Sometimes.... if I'm feeling good about myself I use the crushing array of insults to keep me grounded.
whats a bigger rivalry- the UW vs UO or OSU vs UO?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
I sense more genuine ill will with Washington-Oregon... A lot more, really.
Trevor (Hillsboro, OR)
Reynolds and Poyer. Wheaton and Cooks. Best CB and WR duos in the league? Coincidence?
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
That is a very strong foursome... you might be able to enter it in the "best in the nation" argument, in fact. But, of course, Mike Riley can't recruit. The game has passed him by... I think a lot of us in the media are enjoying the Beavers resurgence just because of how it silenced the absurd gripes about Riley.
Seriously, why no love for UCLA?
Ted Miller (4:01 PM)
LOVE LOVE LOVE... how's that?
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
OK gang... time for me to roll on... I appreciate you stopping by. Hope to see you all next week. Hopefully, you Ducks and Huskies will maintain that civility some of you are touting.
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