Greetings. Fire away.
Does the win Saturday versus USC remove David Shaw completely from underneath the Harbaugh-Luck shadow and let those who may have still doubted it know that Shaw is damn good coach in his own right?
Yes and no... yes, in that it was a nice demonstration of where the program is under Shaw. But, no, in the sense that college football is a marathon, not a one-week sprint. What happens if the Cardinal stumbles at Washington on Thursday? Or if the Cardinal again gets dominated by Oregon? We have to take a long picture, and a coach shouldn't be judged entirely by a small sample size -- good or bad. But if you're asking my take, sure, I think it's become pretty clear that Shaw knows what he's doing.
Do you think Washington will catch Stanford slippin, after a big emotional win over USC, and upset the Cardinal at home?
No... i think the bye helps. I will be interested to see what the Huskies defense can do against Nunes, who will be playing his first game on the road.
I saw "Round Here" that you give us Cats a 9.45% chance to win at Autzen this week. I love my Cats, but I am thinking that is way too much. How many Duck turnovers do you think the Cats need to pull off the upset? 4 like Oklahoma State? Bear Down!
I think plus-3 would be where you'd start to see the scales tip to even.
Well, the Oregon USC equation has been upended, but it should surprise no one that it was Stanford that did it - Stanford should've been Top 10 preseason (top 5 now) even with who they lost (ceratinly more justified than Ark who lost a HC, FSU, or Georgia) with what they've done the last two plus years - 26-3 with as many B(c)S bowl wins and appearances as any team in the country, don't you think?...
Well keep in in mind Stanford lost more than Luck -- DeCastro, Martin, Fleener, 3 of 4 starters in the secondary. I thought they deserved a ranking around 12-15, preseason, and I've jumped them way up... think I had then at No. 5. And I agree, Arkansas has been ridiculously overrated through the years, a false creation of SEC depth theories. Finally, not sure the USC-Oregon equation is done... Stanford still needs to solve the Ducks, and I don't think anyone in the South will knock the Trojans out of first, even if USC loses again.
Who do you think is the more exciting player, Denard Robinson of Michigan or Darren Thomas of Oregon?
I'm assuming you mean De'Anthony Thomas, whom I believe is the most exciting player in the nation. Love Robinson, but Thomas leaves folks breathless.
Excluding Stanford (they barely count as a marching band), which Pac-12 marching bands do you enjoy listening to during games?
I love the Stanford band. I don't get to do much listening during games because I do a lot of typing... I believe USC has a nice array of classic fight songs that are immediately recognizable...
ted, what are your thoughts on oregons 1rst string defense holding the cats to the 20's this satruday night?
I think that's possible. It will be by far the best D the Wildcats have faced, and it will be playing at home. And if Oregon starts fast and forces Arizona out of its comfort zone, that could be another problem.
What PAC 12 player do you find yourself always rooting for to succeed?
I root for everyone to succeed and none to fail. Actually, that's not even right. I try my best to stay detached. I like a vast majority of the players and coaches I deal with, but it goes against what I'm supposed to do to root for one over another.
Surprised the UCLA/OSU line is as close as it is. What needs to happen for OSU to stay in the game at Pasadena?
The Beavers lost to the Bruins 27-19 a year ago, but I think both teams are much better. The key for the Beavers is stopping -- slowing? -- Johnathan Franklin and the Bruins resurgent ground game. The run defense looked very good against Wisconsin, but it's now difficult to know how much that means based on Wisky's struggles. You'd rather take your chances with a RS FR QB throwing the ball. The next key is for Beavers QB Sean Mannion to let the game come to him. He can't force things. He must protect the football. It will be interesting to see if the Beavers can run at all, but the bigger issue is ball security from Mannion.
Who would be Oregon's starting QB if Daron Thomas had stuck around?
How much of an impact will Blechen coming back for the Utes have on this weekend's game?
It means a defense that has looked good will be one good player better. Blechen may have a little rust, but I'm sure he'll be breathing fire, eager to get back out on the field and make plays. And with Rowe questionable, he gives the secondary a needed bounce.
Would you rate Mariota ahead of Dixon and Thomas at this point in his career?
A little early to make comparisons. Recall, however, that Dixon's career started terribly.. until Chip came to town in 2007.
Why doesn't Stepfan Taylor get more attention nationally?
I think most folks know who he is. It's almost that those of us who have called him "underrated" for three years have been loud enough that Taylor is famous for being overlooked. Part of the deal is he's neither a burner nor a pure power back. Of course, that describes a guy like Emmitt Smith.
Why won't Coach Shaw hold a kicker competition? Last year a guy by the name of Eric Whitaker played quite admirably vs USC, see 2/2 FG and 6/6 XP when Jordan Williamson was hurt. What's HIS deal?
Well... do you think Shaw wants to see missed field goals? Do you think Williamson is blackmailing him? My guess is that Shaw feels like Williamson is his best kicker, even with the misses.
How much of an advatage does the U of A wide recieving core have against the duck secondary? (especially with no boyett)
Not sure the Wildcats have an advantage. It seems strength on strength to me. The loss of Boyett can't help but hurt Oregon, but they're strong in the secondary.
When does Oregon's terrible FG kicking come back to haunt them?
It seems like everyone is stinking it up on field goals, so maybe not until the bowl game...
why are so many field goal kickers having such a difficult time of it this year not only in the Pac-12 but the whole Nation! Any theories?
No idea... I do know that Kevin crunched some numbers that revealed the Pac-12 is the worst major conference at present in FG percentage.
How do you expect the Sun Devil offense to respond after a sloppy performance last week?
My hunch is we're going to see a strong bounce back effort at home, though the Utes defense will test QB Taylor Kelly.
Is it just me or have i seen Oregon put the ball on the ground a lot? (Fresno state game for example)
Ducks have 7 lost fumbles, which is a lot, and I can remember a few other loose balls. That is an area where Arizona could wedge itself into the "maybe" area.
Do the Cougs finally have a break out game and run a consistent offense?
Minty Fresh! IS that you Christopher Moore? I always knew you were a reader! Hey, it's a dirty job. I don't know if we'll be able to tell much with the Cougs at home against Colorado. I mean, is it a failure if they don't drub the Buffs by as much as Fresno State did? I expect WSU to steadily improve as it gets more comfortable with Leach and his schemes.
At this point, who do you give an edge to on defense: ASU or Utah?
What's your impression on ASU's 2 QB system? Obviously it worked well in the first couple games against inferior competition but faltered against a respectable team. Do you think we should be seeing less of it?
I think you don't sit a guy who is playing well. So if Kelly is rolling, he keeps going. But I know the idea behind playing Eubank: They really love the guy and believe he's going to be good. It's a little early to write playing two off, but I also wonder if they knew how well Kelly would play when they started doing it.
Who is the PAC-12 Heisman front runner as of today?
DAT.... I like Franklin, too, but he's got to keep on winning. And Barkley has plenty of time to reassert himself.
where you surprised by Stanford's defensive secondary play against USC? Do you believe it was an abberation or has the likes of Wayne Lyons and company improved that much over the last three weeks?
Yes... I was very surprised. That, in fact, was why I felt a high degree of certainty that Stanford would lose. Blitzing Barkley has been a bad thing for going on four years. He does his best work under pressure. And, if you blitz and leave Woods/Lee in one-on-one match ups, that's a huge win for USC. Or so I thought. The Stanford secondary was outstanding. And it's fair to wonder if USC regrets a game plan that simply failed.
What do you think suits Coach Leach and WSU better, Tuels apparent measured approach to the passing game or Hallidays more fling it down field and take a chance style
Leach is WAY more into measured. He wants a high completion rate, good decision making and accurate passing. That's his offense. Flinging it, is not his thing. But if Halliday keeps flinging it, scores TDs, avoids INTs and connects at least 65 percent of the time, then his flings will work for Leach.
What are your thoughts on the possible league-wide injury reporting policy? Yay or nay?
I think college football should adopt a system for all major conferences, complete with fines for coaches who don't comply or try to fudge. The biggest thing for me, as a reporter, is know who is definitely out each week. Why? Because you want to write accurately about a game before it is played. If I keep writing about John White being a critical piece for Utah against BYU, and he doesn't play, then I've misinformed the public.
Hi Ted. Do you believe in the Sports Illustrated curse?
We might find out Saturday.... but can it catch up to De'Anthony?
Do you believer in the Ted Miller Curse?
We'll find out -- again -- on Saturday. My record in 2008 and 2009 with Oregon State was pretty remarkable. As in, whatever I predicted, the opposite happened.
How do you think the environment of Autzen Stadium at night against a good team stacks up nationally?
Best in Pac-12... and it stacks up well nationally if you adjust for crowd size. Still, the environment at places like LSU -- and Husky fans can verify -- is pretty spectacular.
At the start of the year, the South was viewed as USC and the rest. Now that other teams have emerged and USC lost, do you see a potential log-jam at the top of the division?
Not yet... I still think USC is the best team. I also don't see anyone else doing better than 7-2 in conference play. But the notion of USC slipping and someone else rising is no longer far-fetched. I'm still picking the Trojans. But I was 99 percent in the preseason. Now I'm more like 78 percent.
Ted,Stanford has the best front seven on defense. The offensive line is very strong. Stefan taylor is a beast. The secondary is better than advertised. Nunes though not spectacular has shown a lot of poise. aren't these ingredients for a championship team?
Yes... but how will all that hold up in Autzen Stadium? Andrew Luck admitted to me that Stanford had an Oregon problem. It will remain that way until Stanford beats the Ducks. And, of course, Stanford still has plenty of work on its schedule, outside of Oregon.
Thanks for picking the Beavers, but you really don't think they can beat my mighty Bruins?
I'm trying to not ALWAYS pick the favorites.... I think it's a sneaky interesting game. I wouldn't bet my house on the Beavers, but my picks are for entertainment purposes only.
Ted, what are the chances of Pep Hamilton getting a head coaching job next year. He has done an excellent job at Stanford
I think he's got to be near the top of coordinator candidates in the conference... along with Helfrich at Oregon and Mazzone at UCLA. And Mason is doing a heck of a job with the Cardinal D.
Ted, I sense some resentment for my withholding the status of John White IV for the BYU game last week? Can I make it up to you with your choice of toppings at the Pie for lunch next time you are in town?
Heck yeah... that place has good pizza. But I'm fretting about my in-season weight gain. All this typing and eating.
Where is Todd Graham's next gig?
King of Tempe when he leads Arizona State to the Rose Bowl? I think he'll be at ASU for the next decade.
Should Cal have gone for it, fourth down with 3+ minutes left, game tied, and a shaky kicker?
I would have gone for it. In fact, I was screaming at my TV to go for it. Of course, if the Bears went for it and failed, Tedford would have been bombed for that, too.
Do you think David Shaw meant it that he wants to stay at Stanford forever or will the NFL come calling in the next couple years?
Only Shaw knows for sure but he strikes me as a really honest guy who loves his life. He's been in the NFL. He knows what that life is like. I think he recognizes that he's got a good thing going in perhaps the best place to live in the US.
Hey Ted-Utah's early season loss to Utah State seems to have lessened the excitement from many pundits regarding the Utes. Do these people have any idea that the Utes were exploited by a former Utah coordinator and hurt by a QB who is no longer playing?
Shocked that "pundits" would lose excitement after a Pac-12 team lost to Utah State. Those of us who were high on the Utes in the preseason expected the offense to step up considerably, with a rejuvenated Jordan Wynn and a good crew of receivers. Now I see Utah as being much like last year: Playing conservatively on offense and relying on a good D. That's good for 8 or so wins, but I don't see it as good enough to push into the top third of the conference. Let's see what happens at ASU. Recall the Sun Devils gave the Utes a whipping at home last year.
Now that Mariotta will be playing more, what is the biggest sign that he is legit (other than winning)? completion %, interceptions, distributing to playmakers?
Other than winning, passing efficiency. TD-INT ratio. We need to see what Mariota does against a big boy team. And a big boy team on the road before we really make blanket judgments about him. I suspect he'll be fine, but you've got to really do it first.
Would you be shocked if Stanford wins the North?
I will be firmly though not overwhelmingly surprised. If you asked me last week, I would have agreed with "shocked." It seems as though Stanford must win at Autzen Stadium to win the North. That won't be easy. But the win over USC not only was impressive, it gave the Cardinal some wiggle room if the Ducks get upset.
All righty gang... time for me to hit the road. Thanks for stopping by. Good luck this weekend.