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 (3:18 PM)
Folks... sorry for the late start. Travel issues today for flight to Eugene. Blame US Air. Fire away.
Jake (Tucson, AZ)
Ted, what do you make of BJ Denker and the low output in the passing attack in the first two (cupcake) games? Diversionary tactic by RR made possible by amazing running perforrmances, or are the Cats in trouble?
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
Maybe, but the Wildcats are dealing with two things: 1. Attrition at WR; 2. A new QB who doesn't have ideal arm strength. I don't expect the Wildcats to be a big passing team this year. And I think there's some question if they can be adequate throwing the ball when the competition gets tougher. We'll shortly find out at Washington, though, which is a big matchup for both teams.
Island Duck (SEC ocean)
If my ducks lose to the Vols should i just cry or move?
Ted Miller (3:20 PM)
If the Ducks lose, it will be a long year for you. Moving is your call, but crying would seem appropriate.
What PAC-12 teams will end the season playing in a bowl?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Arizona State, UCLA... those I feel certain of. USC and Oregon State were certain in the preseason but now are not. Arizona seems a good bet. Utah and Washington State have moved up. It could be one of the biggest years for eligibility yet. And who knows... Maybe Colorado can find six wins? I'd say no one is ruled out based on early results.
Ted, my 'friend' Sara is not feeling well. Can you send her a shout out?
Ted Miller (3:22 PM)
Sara, I hope you feel better.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
We're you surprised at how competitive Hawaii was defensively against both USC and Oregon St?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
No... Hawaii typically is pretty strong up front. Of course, the USC offense also has been struggling. Only scored 7 vs. Washington State.
Justin (Tempe, AZ)
BC/USC prediction: Trojans come back fighting or continue in their downward spiral?
Ted Miller (3:24 PM)
I'm rolling the dice that the Trojans step up. I'm about 63 percent on that.
I had lived in Colorado my whole life and the past 6 years or better the Buffs have lookd like a High School JV team do you see that getting any better under the new coaching staff?
Ted Miller (3:25 PM)
Well, what do you think of the first two games? They looked completely different to me, particularly how they won the fourth against Colorado State. My early take is Mike MacIntyre is perfect for the job. Fresno State will be a big test. Carr is an outstanding QB and Bulldogs have lots of guys back from a team that rolled the Buffs last year.
UCLA v NEB, who do you think will pull out the w?
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
I think UCLA has a better offense and, most important, a better defense. Homefield will help the 'Huskers, but I think the Bruins will prevail.
I'm not buying the SEC rope-a-dope... UT is a much improved team and shouldn't get rolled as bad as in 2010... hopefully i'm wrong, but are you surprised the spread is 28 points?
Ted Miller (3:28 PM)
28 points is a substantial spread for a team with a 110,000 seat stadium. The big measure is if Tennessee can use a power running game behind an excellent O-line, which could eat up clock. The Vols want to play keep-away. Still, Oregon is superior at just about every other position. It might not be 28 points, but I wouldn't be shocked if it were still a game entering the fourth quarter.
Todd (Austin, TX)
Is UCLA getting all of the hype it deserves or should it be more on the national radar?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
The hype will go up with good wins, so the opportunity is there on Saturday.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
With former PAC-12 coaches like Harbaugh, Carroll, and Kelly having success in the NFL which current coach would be the best fit to move on to the NFL if the situation was right???
Ted Miller (3:30 PM)
The obvious answer is David Shaw, but I think he likes where he is at Stanford. i wouldn't be surprised if Sarkisian doesn't take a shot at the NFL if he wins big at Washington. And maybe Mora wants another NFL shot after a few years in Westwood.
Joe Bruin (Westwood)
Ted, do you think the loss of UCLA walk-on WR Nick Pasquale will affect the team in a good or bad way? How many points does the defense need to hold Nebraska to in order to win?
Ted Miller (3:32 PM)
That's impossible for me to measure from Scottsdale. You have to be around the team to see how their emotions are. A teammate getting killed by a car is pretty traumatic. I don't see how it can be measured as a team issue beyond it being a terrible tragedy.
Paul (Irvine, CA)
Marquise Lee's anticipated onslaught of post-season awards seem somewhat farfetched with the current lack of offense at USC. Can Lee still contend?
Ted Miller (3:34 PM)
You'd pretty much have to say any Heisman hype is dead. He could still earn an All-American nod again, in large part because most folks know how good he is. But he obviously can't do it on his own. He needs more touches. And, by the way, he also needs to stop dropping passes.
John (Dinosaur, CO)
Is it just a matter of time before some of the allegations of NCAA violations flying all over the Big 12 and SEC come into the PAC-12?
Ted Miller (3:36 PM)
Maybe. Of course, the Pac-12 sort of had its go-around with USC and then Oregon. Obviously, there's a lot of messy stuff going around right now.
Brittany (Glendale, CA)
I'm headed up this weekend for Cal-Ohio State. I know what your predictions read, but is it crazy for me to have hope that Cal wins?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
Well, not completely wacko. The Bears should have won at Ohio State last year and the Buckeyes had to rebuild their defense. Still, the problem is the Bears O-line and injury-ravaged defense. The team that nearly lost to Portland State is a big long shot to even challenge the Buckeyes.
Jim (Palo Alto, CA)
Prediction for Stanford V Oregon on November 7? Stanford 28 Oregon 21 here...
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
That's your score? I'm going to wait and see what both teams do leading up to that game. Kevin and I both still have the Cardinal slightly ahead. But that could change based on evidence we witness on the field of play.
If Utah beats Oregon State, are they ranked next week?
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
Probably not because the Beavers lost to Eastern Washington. But if you get to 4-0 with a win at BYU, the Utes will enter the poll.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
Should USC use the wildcat offense more?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
Maybe. Anything to spark the offense. I still think Kiffin needs to have enough confidence in his QBs to throw downfield to his high-quality pass catchers.
Tim (San Jose)
Ted, tell us more about yourself. We want to get to know the man himself
Ted Miller (3:41 PM)
Well think of George Clooney. There you have it.
Trojan1981 (FT BRAGG)
What are the chances of USC finishing 12-1 and playing on the PAC-12 Championship
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
well stranger things have happened. But not many. I'd at least have to see USC look good on both sides of the ball before expecting more than 6-8 wins.
George (Juarez MX)
Rich Rod would be a good NFL coach? he is one of the Four father's to develope the Read Option Offence.
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
Maybe. Never gotten the vibe that he wants to coach in the NFL.
Is Monte Kiffin's kid getting the ax after another poor season? I can't imagine another sub-par season entitling him to more time.
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
If USC continues at its present miserable pace, I can't see how Kiffin coaches the team in 2014. Another 7-6 season won't cut it.
The utes beavs game could turn in to a shoot out. Whats your over/under and how many do the utes win by? Wink wink.
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
I picked Utah 38, Oregon State 35 this AM. So that's my play.
Austin (St. Louis, MO)
I know this is so, so not the time and really if realignment happened again it would be awful, BUT, if the Pac-12 were to expand, would it only look in the the Power 5 or would it be open to conferences like the MWC?
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
If the Pac-12 were to add teams, it would be looking for value -- read: TV markets. I don't think MWC teams would add that. The only real options would be in the Big 12.
Ted Miller (3:46 PM)
With Texas being the big fish.
Pam (The Office)
If Oregon wins saturday, but in a close game, do they drop in the polls?
Ted Miller (3:47 PM)
Probably, particularly if teams behind them, such as Clemson and Ohio State do well.
At halftime of the Oregon/UVA game there was a lot of chatter among the oregon fans that the first half play was only "eh" - maybe largely due to the inability to cash in at the end of the half. I thought the second half was excellent, yet still many have given only passing grades to the performance. Are media folks starting to develop unrealistic expectations from the oregon offense so that ever being stopped or punting is a sign there's something wrong?
Ted Miller (3:49 PM)
The only real problem in the first half was the fourth-and-1 stop on the goal line. if the Ducks score there, things would have been pretty solid at the break. But yes Oregon is dealing with high expectations. All elite teams do. I seem it more with fans than with media though. I remember going back and forth with Chip Kelly about media questions, trying to explain to him that we weren't really questioning a 40-10 win when we asked about the running game struggles in the first half. We're merely looking for something to write about... and the running game did struggle in the first half.
Are USC fans doing themselves any favors with the "Fire Kiffin" chants?
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
Well, word was that the recruits on hand weren't impressed. No one likes negativity. But of course Trojans fans were pretty mad about things. Chant was pretty understandable.
Mariota (Sunny Eugene)
The Vols have intercepted 7 passes so far this season, and my completion rate thus far is a measly 53%. How worried should I be?
Ted Miller (3:52 PM)
ONe of your strengths last year was accuracy, so it's a bit of a question because you have missed some throws this year. & the Vols have been pretty opportunistic. If this game is going to turn toward Tennessee, turnovers obviously would be a big culprit. So accuracy is a concern.
How is UCLA's defense better than Nebraska's?
Ted Miller (3:54 PM)
It's players are better. You did see the Nebraska-Wyoming game... right? 602 yards of offense by the Cowboys.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Do you think Brett Hundley can surpass Teddy Bridgewater as the top QB prospect in the next year's draft?
Ted Miller (3:55 PM)
Projecting the NFL draft is not my real area of expertise. So I'd say ... maybe. If Hundley has a big year and then has a great combine and great workouts, someone could fall in love with him and take him early in the top-10. He's a big-time talent, imposing physically and bright. Great leader, too.
What are your thoughts on the new Tillman Tunnel at Sun Devil Stadium?
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
You mean other than it's awesome? That it's awesome. You get me with most things when someone speaks of Tillman. Just love the guy and what he represents.
Dave (Bend, OR)
Is part of Kiffin's reluctance to trust his QB's due to the poor OL pass protection that dates back to last year?
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
Probably. But with Kessler, he could roll him out of the pocket. There are plenty of teams with lesser O-lines that are passing the ball well.
Robert B. (New York)
Ted, if there was a Pac 12 version of the Paul Finebaum show... Who would be the host?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
I don't know if you could have a Finebaum on the West Coast because the focus is not so singularly on college football -- SEC football. Finebaum is pretty much a genius at creating radio that is perfect for his region, and it's so good that it extends beyond his region. I don't know of anybody out here that could tap the same vein, at least from a college football perspective.
Alex (Raleigh, NC)
Hi, Ted. ACC guy here. Geography kind of makes it difficult to set up games between the ACC/Pac-12. Heck I'm not even sure if the Sun Bowl yields a mildly decent turnout. With Stanford/Duke in recent years and last weekend's bout between UVA/Oregon, should I have any hope for future games between the conferences?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
I think we're going to see more good nonconference scheduling once the college football playoff begins in 2014. So that makes me hopeful we'll see more good games between the major conferences, such as ACC-Pac-12, SEC-Pac-12, etc. I think fans love traveling to different areas and different stadiums.
Andrew (Agoura Hills, CA)
Is it crazy for me to think that Kiffin had ulterior motives in keeping the QB competition going as long as he did (ie wanting Wittek to win the job all along)?
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
Whatever his intent was, it didn't work. That's the main issue. He opted to do things his way, and the results didn't produce effective offensive football. As I pointed out early in the week, he did the opposite of what Pete Carroll espoused as his philosophy with QB competitions.
Chip Kelly (High atop the NFL)
Hey Ted, I miss you and your thought provoking, insightful questions. That being said, who's the better interviewee? Me or Helf?
Ted Miller (4:03 PM)
I SO want to ask you a hypothetical. I never had any trouble getting the answers I needed from Kelly. And Helfrich has tweaked me good-naturedly like Kelly did. He's a little less snappy sometimes, yes. I think both are good interviews, though Helfrich is generally more accommodating.
I know Kevin is covering the game in Tempe - but what's your take on it? Hard to judge the badgers D yet since they've played 2 nobodies, but still 0 points is something... Does ASU have the talent beyond Sutton to contain the 3-headed rushing attack of the badgers?
Ted Miller (4:06 PM)
This was the most difficult pick this week. I went with ASU because of Taylor Kelly and the Sun Devils being at home. I suspect ASU's defense will take some chances with run blitzes to try to get the Badgers into second and long. At home, my guess is enough of those will work to give the Sun Devils a close win.
Ted Miller (4:06 PM)
OK gang... I've got to hit the road. Sorry for the late start. See you next week...