Chat with Ted Miller
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Pac-12 reporter 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)
Merry Day After Christmas. Hope you didn't eat too much. And got everything you wanted from Santa. Fire away.
Andrew T Still (Inland Empire)
How will USC's recruiting class stack up this year?
Ted Miller (3:00 PM)
No idea... but it's a key first measure for Sarkisian. He's always been viewed as a good recruiter, so he should do well with the USC name behind him.
Paul (Chapel Hill, NC)
Hi Ted...Happy Holidays...what is take on how Colorado finished up with the first year coach and what do you see happening for next year in Boulder?
Ted Miller (3:03 PM)
Colorado was more competitive and sound this year. I'm not sure, in fact, the season could have gone much better because the Buffs are way behind the curve in terms of top-to-bottom talent. Not sure if the Buffs are a bowl team in 2014, but I suspect they will take a step closer to being physically competitive in the Pac-12.
UtahAlumnus (St. George, UT)
Opinion of Dave Christensen as OC at Utah? I personally love it, but many of us fans were surprised by the hire because we didn't think Dennis Erickson was the problem.
Ted Miller (3:05 PM)
It was a good hire, without question, but the timing was odd, as was how things stacked up on staff. It also appears Christensen has come in with a "my way or the highway" attitude, at least based on quotes I read in the local papers. It will be interesting to see how things play out. And the truth is no offensive coordinator can do well in the Pac-12 without skill and consistency at QB.
Nick (Boulder, CO)
Hi Ted, what are your thoughts on USC next year. Do you think Kessler holds off Max Browne for the starting job?
Ted Miller (3:06 PM)
You can't teach experience, so my guess is Kessler is well ahead. It also is notable that Kessler seemed to improve over the course of the year. But if Brown is lights out this spring, we might have to re-evaluate. It's up to Brown to make a decisive move, though.
Chip Kelly (Philadephia)
Ted, Why is the media speculating that I would jump ship for the Texas job? Cheesesteak sandwiches are a large part of my diet, and I am not a huge fan of Texas BBQ. I'm stumped.
Ted Miller (3:07 PM)
not happening... might have happened if Brown had stepped down after next season. Kelly still has a show-cause ruling against him from the NCAA.
Nick, London based Stanford fan (London)
Hi Ted, How close is the Pac12 to the SEC in terms of top teams and overall depth?
Ted Miller (3:09 PM)
pretty close... you could make the argument the Pac-12 was deeper this year. But the Pac-12 needs to win a national title AND be a consistent player in the new four-team playoff to win over folks to the notion of the conferences being comparable.
Happy Holidays Ted! Which QB do you think will emerge from the Competetion at Arizona?
Ted Miller (3:12 PM)
no idea... and for that reason it will be a very interesting competition. More than 1 or 2 legit possibilities, too. If the Wildcats can get squared away at QB -- as in at least equal what Denker gave them this year -- they could end up a factor in the Pac-12 South.
I thought Sark had an interesting comment regarding the recent Tosh paying for a tutor story. Something about it effecting his future employment at USC or any other school. There had been talk Tosh was already recruiting for the Trojans, which he of course denied. If it came out Tosh had a handshake agreement to go to USC and he was recruiting for them while being employed at UW, could USC be in trouble for collusion? What are your thoughts?
Ted Miller (3:14 PM)
If that did come to light, it would look bad for everyone. No question Lupoi's career hangs in the balance here, and what the NCAA rules will, at the very least, leave dirt on Sark. If Lupoi has been recruiting for USC, that would be contemptible.
Tony (Mesa, AZ)
Is next year going to be more of a rebuilding year for ASU or do you think they start next season right where they left off? We are losing a lot of talent going into next year.
Ted Miller (3:16 PM)
Sun Devils are a veteran team this year, so they will lose a number of key players/leaders. It is good that Taylor Kelly is back, but I do think the Sun Devils will take a step back. But, of course, Graham has been recruiting well. There may well be young guys ready to seamlessly step in.
Peter (Palo Alto)
Do you see any movement in the Pac-12 to increase membership this off-season? If so, who do you see as potential additions?
Ted Miller (3:17 PM)
no... i've heard nothing among Pac-12 folks that suggests there are any thoughts about expansion. Big 12 seems fairly stable now, and that conference offers the only real options.
Chip Kelly (McDonald's)
Oregon goes 12-0 and is playing FSU in the NCG if I was still there. You heard it hear first.
Ted Miller (3:18 PM)
maybe... but that's not the first I've heard that.
ted, when Lupoi was at Cal the night before he flipped to the Huskies he informed a local recruit of that fact; what AD would touch him now and bring the eyes of the NSAA with him?
Ted Miller (3:19 PM)
If the NCAA clears Lupoi, he'll remain a hot assistant because he's a good recruiter. If he gets a show cause ruling, he'll likely be done with college coaching, at least for the short term.
Will (Baton Rouge)
How is the PAC deeper that the SEC? Kentucky was bad, but even though Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida didn't go bowling, they played some really good games against some top flight teams.
Ted Miller (3:21 PM)
The bottom Pac-12 teams (California, Colorado, Utah, Washington State, Oregon State) were better than those teams you list.
Dan (Ventura, CA)
News came out today Mariota is practicing sans knee brace. That doesn't bode well for Texas. What do you foresee being the biggest matchup, now that that question is "answered"?
Ted Miller (3:23 PM)
well, it's not answered until he goes for 20 yards on a read-option keeper, but I understand your point. The biggest issue is the Ducks stopping the Texas running game. If the Longhorns can't run, they are toast.
Brent Hudley (LA)
Hi Ted. Still deciding if I should come back and vet my Bruins a championship or leave and take my lumps the first year or two in the NFL. What do you think I should do?
Ted Miller (3:24 PM)
You should come back, but only if you're 100 percent on the decision. If you're 50-50, you should enter the draft and get paid. At 50-50, you're more likely to see your stock slide.
Don (Bay Area)
Next year, Derrick Mason of Stanford will be coaching at ...?
Ted Miller (3:24 PM)
stanford... at least I hope so. Worried we might lose him to the NFL at some point.
Chris (Pasadena (at least in 6 days))
Thoughts on MSU losing their team captain MLB? I know Stanford would take a hit if Skov were out.
Ted Miller (3:26 PM)
A terrible blow for the Spartans. Shocking, in fact. You'd think it's a boosts to the Cardinal's chances to run the ball against one of the nation's best defenses. Max Bullough was a centerpiece of that unit.
What is your opinion on what the Pac 12 pecking order will look like next year? Stanford with their 2 Pac 12 wins at top followed by who?
Ted Miller (3:27 PM)
Stanford takes some hits on both sides of the ball, and there's also some JRs who might jump to the NFL. Still, I see it as an Oregon/Stanford, Stanford/Oregon deal in the North, with UCLA a favorite in the South.
Ted, hopefully if the rest of the PAC finishes with a W (stupid Cougs), how many do you see finishing / starting next year within the top 25?
Ted Miller (3:29 PM)
Four or five. Stanford, Oregon, UCLA, USC, for sure. And either Arizona State or Washington.
Joe (Everett, WA)
How do you think UW matches up vs BYU?
Ted Miller (3:31 PM)
If the Huskies had no coaching turmoil, I'd feel pretty confident for Washington. BYU is a solid team, but if the Huskies play a focused game, they win. The question is whether they will. Going to take good leadership from Keith Price and company.
De'Anthony Thomas (The Eug)
Should I stay or should I go? Either way I'm still boys w/ Snoop
Ted Miller (3:33 PM)
Probably go... not sure how you end up in the draft, but another middling year with injuries won't help.
John (Chandler, AZ)
Athlon puts the Cougs on the "Teams to Watch" List for next year. What holes do they need to fill? Looks like Secondary and Special Teams to me.
Ted Miller (3:35 PM)
finishing games? The secondary takes some hits, most notably Deone Bucannon. Couple of hits on O-line, with Bosch being such a great locker room guy. Furney was a very good kicker. There isn't an area where the Cougs don't need to improve, but I see some encouraging young talent on the roster that suggests they can.
Smaug (Palo Alto)
Who makes the biggest upward and downward move in Pac-12 standings next year?
Ted Miller (3:37 PM)
Cal will be better, in large part because winning three games would be a significant move. Arizona State, as noted, might step back a couple of clicks.
Oregon's Defense (?)
Where are we? Hope Nick Allioti can find us before Monday.
Ted Miller (3:38 PM)
Ducks defense did take a notable downturn. Texas offense has often sputtered, so it might be just what Dr. Aliotti ordered.
Mike (PAC-12 Land)
Ted, I think USC's demise has been greatly exaggerated. Two 10 wins seasons in 3-years while on probation is very good. Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, LSU, etc. have had down years (multiple in some cases) over the past few years yet the talk is not as bad. A lot of talk about UCLA owning LA, but they don't have two 10 win seasons in the last three years. They don't even have one! Fight on haters!
Ted Miller (3:39 PM)
A fair point... but refresh my memory -- feel free to chime in Bruins -- did USC and UCLA play the past two seasons? And, by the way, if UCLA wins its bowl game, it wins 10 games out of 13, instead of 10 out of 14, as the Trojans did.
Mike (So Cal)
When Texas whiffs on Gruden, Carroll, Kelly, etc., what are odds Mora jumps ship?
Ted Miller (3:40 PM)
I think Mora really likes UCLA, but Texas with $5 million would be tough to turn down. Bruins fans should hope it doesn't come to that.
I have a hard time understanding how Stanford was though of so highly with their 2 losses, but South Carolina an afterthought, even though they ended ranked right behind Stanford. And I don't want to hear how deep the PAC was because SC had a beast schedule with some really nice wins too.
Ted Miller (3:42 PM)
This is a good place to find an explanation. http://espn.go.com/college-football/statistics/teamratings Stanford played the No. 4 schedule. South Carolina played No. 32.
Merry Late Christmas Ted, Hope that you and your blog counter pat had a great one!
Ted Miller (3:43 PM)
where the heck have you been... busy night at the North Pole?
Cooks/Crichton/Mannion: Who stays, who goes?
Ted Miller (3:44 PM)
I think Mannion is the only one of the three who stays, but he's not a sure thing. Cooks sometimes talks like a guy who wants to come back. But, really, what's he got to prove?
Still getting over the Play (Seattle)
Ted, which defense has the bigger hole? Michigan State without Bullough, or Stanford without Gardner?
Ted Miller (3:45 PM)
Michigan State because it hasn't played without Bullough. Gardner went down in late October.
What PAC12 team loses the most talent fro next year? My Ducks lose all their heavy boys on the DL in Hart, Keliilipi, and Heimuli...all 300 pounders with no other big boys being recruited or in the batting box. Thoughts?
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
Those are three big losses, no pun intended. And the Ducks will take some hits in the secondary, too. Arizona State loses a lot -- Sutton, Grice, Coyle, Finkenberg, Conway, Chris Young, Irabor, darby, Nelson. Stanford also takes some big hits. My early impression is the Pac-12 will, across the board, have more questions in August of 2014 than it did in August of 2013.
Guy (-> That Way)
Arizona seems set for a big year next season. Your thoughts?
Ted Miller (3:48 PM)
Maybe... QB and the D-line still questions.
CU seemed to make strides but let's not forget 2 of their wins came against FCS opponents, one of which replaced a game against Fresno State, which would have been a shellacking. What is the #1 piece they need to add to be competitive against the average opponents on their schedule next year?
Ted Miller (3:50 PM)
Well, they lose their top playmaker in Paul Richardson, which is huge. The Buffs need Liufau to make a big step forward as a sophomore behind center, and they need to get faster, across the board. And find another Paul Richardson.
Happy Holidays Ted. Can you explain how Will Sutton won P12 Defensive Player of the Year over Trent Murphy? Sutton is a great player, but in terms of stats, versatility and impact it is even close.
Ted Miller (3:51 PM)
It surprised me, too, but it was the coaches vote. Kevin and I made Murphy the defensive MVP, based on his numbers playing for the conference's best defense.
BenD (out there)
OSU's rushing offense was sputtering too until they faced the Duck D. Texas playing at home, etc., would seem to have a bigger chance than they're being given. Odds that ducks get their 3rd loss?
Ted Miller (3:53 PM)
Oregon is a lot better team. Even if Texas rushes for 200 yards -- as Oregon State did -- the Longhorns have to figure out how to stop Mariota and company. The reason most folks, including me, give Texas a shot is that the Longhorns might be far more motivated (Mack Brown's last game) than the Ducks (But We Don't Want To Play In The Rose Bowl).
If Sark is considered a mediocre hire, what names would have been legitimately BIG HIRES, that were not really mentioned in Haden's process?
Ted Miller (3:56 PM)
That's hard to answer because just about everyone was mentioned, other than Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. I think most would have viewed Chris Petersen as a big hire. And Kevin Sumlin. Or Jon Gruden, Jeff Fisher, etc.
Warren Wonka (Palo Alto)
Some people are comparing the Bullough loss to our losing Skov or Gardner, but those guys were able to be player coaches. Will the locker room/sideline loss be more important than the on-field loss?
Ted Miller (3:57 PM)
Good point... Bullough was sent home for a rules violation... You'd think losing his entire presence in a smog of controversy will be a big deal.
Jeff (Hershey, PA)
Do you think Coach O seriously considers joining Sark's staff after all that has hppened?
Ted Miller (3:59 PM)
I don't know. My thought is no, but I've talked to a couple of folks who said Orgeron resigning was a mistake on his part because he lost leverage for looking for a job.
Just Got Here (WA)
How do you think the Huskies will do with Coach Pete?
Ted Miller (4:00 PM)
I believe Petersen is an outstanding football mind, so I believe the Huskies will take the next step, which is challenging Oregon/Stanford in the North. But I also think there may be some adjustment to the new conference and recruiting to it.
John (Tuolumne )
UCLA OL against Virginia Tech's defense:Replay of ASU or USC?
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
That is the big matchup in that game. Va Tech is rugged on defense. They pushed Alabama around. But the Bruins 3 frosh have been playing better than expected. It falls on OC Noel Mazzone to call plays that make life easier for his youngsters.
UtahAlumnus (St. George, UT)
Any Christmas miracles with the whole Pac 12 Network - DirecTV thing?
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
Ted Miller (4:02 PM)
Folks.. time for me to roll on. Thanks for stopping by. See you next week.