Good afternoon. Last chat before the end of the world. Let's make it a good one.
Mr. Gemmell,What effects, if any do you think the botched USC investigation will have on Oregon's sanctions? If it comes out that agents behaved unethically and unprofessionally, with this maybe prevent the NCAA from dropping the hammer on the Ducks? We're worried!
That's a lot of "ifs." As Ted wrote this morning, you should be a little worried. I still don't think the sanctions are going to be that severe. This certainly escalates the situation into a different category. But But we don't know the specifics yet of why the NCAA wanted a hearing. Could be a conflict in Oregon's ideas of self-imposed sanctions. Could be the NCAA just wants to hear folks talk about it. Be worried, but not too worried... at least not yet.
Is it fair to say the SI cover curse worked it's magic on DeAnthony Thomas? Heisman candidate to missed block .... ouch.
That might be going a little too far. Thomas was used very conservatively this year. That had nothing to do with a magazine cover.
The Vegas Bowl seems like a big game for the Huskies in regards to the perception of the program in the offseason. Thoughts?
Of course. You are no better than the last game you played. Look at Washington last year -- the offense was unstoppable and the defense was awful. A lot of that flip-flopped this year. Washington certainly could use a win to erase the bad taste from the Apple Cup.
Any word on NCAA sanctions for Oregon?
Not going to hear anything until after the hearings. Going to be a while.
If you were coaching the Beavs, who would you start at QB for the Beavs in the Alamo?
I'm not in practice so I don't see how Mannion and Vaz are performing. I like that Mike Riley is stretching it out though. Gives him plenty of time to evaluate and it keeps Texas guessing. I've always thought Mannion was the better specimen for Riley's offense given his size and frame. Vaz seems to have the quicker delivery. They are both good quarterbacks so it's a good problem to have.
What do you think of Fuller wanting to go back to QB after the season? Any chance he takes a redshirt and saves some eligibility for when Hundley leaves?
I like the moxie. But at some point he's going to have to realize that Hundley isn't going anywhere (assuming he stays healthy). Maybe Noel Mazzone can work out a wildcat package with Fuller tossing it a couple of times -- but he's a receiver. Time to start committing fully to the position and your role on the team.
What do you think of the job Rocky Long has done at SDSU?
Love it. I've known Rocky for a few years and enjoyed catching up with him yesterday. The smartest move Brady Hoke made was hiring Rocky. Anytime I have a question about defense, Rocky is my first call. Guy is crazy smart.
What do you think about Coach Whit hiring a veteran offensive minded coach to mentor Brian Johnson?
Meh. Johnson knows what he's doing. He had a lot of things stacked against him this year with the offensive line issues, the quarterback injuries and it was his first year as a coordinator. I'd give him a C for his first year. If folks can stay healthy next year, you'll see an increase in the offensive production.
Do I stay at UCLA for another year or go grab the first round cash now?
The first-round cash will be there next year, also. And your price tag will be even higher with another great year. Having only played LB for one season, I think another year working with Jim Mora and Lou Spanos (a 3-4 guru) will be a real benefit.
What should I be doing right now?
Going Clockwork Orange on game film.
Pac-12 Networks "national" footprint is under-whelming. Major failure on the part of the conference? Hope that cable providers will carry the Network?
Not ready to call it a failure after four months. Give it time. They have four of the five top carriers in the country. The DirectTV thing blows, but the Pac-12 has done all it can on that end. It's up to subscribers to put the pressure on. I really like the programming and have said I think Rick Neuheisel is a natural on camera and does a great job.
Any significant officiating changes made during the off-season? The Pac-12 seemed to love laying down the laundry on the field. I thought officiating would take a step forward but we seem to be treading water at best.
I hope so. Hoping there will be some evaluation from the Pac-12 office on that front. It's certainly something that has to be addressed. After the season I plan on doing a stat breakdown of each conference and penalties. Should be a fun story (when I get to it).
So by the time the Oregon mess gets worked out by the NCAA, the players, the AD and probably the coach involved with Lyles will be gone. So who would the NCAA be punishing? I know Oregon is not the first school with that same question.
They will punish "the program." That's the way it goes. Current players pay for the sins of the past.
What do you see for us next year knowing that our schedule gets much more difficult than it was this year?
I'd expect a bowl game and anywhere between 8-10 wins. The South is rising and it's only going to get tougher. But I think UCLA will continue to trend up. Four of the five offensive linemen are back, so is the quarterback. The RB situation will have to get figured out ... likely by-committee, at least to start. But UCLA should be a power in the South for a while.
Thoughs on ASU's recruiting so far? Lost out on a big WR this week as well as a TE but picked up a few JUCO guys. How come all these Texas guys keep decommitting?
Sorry about that... batteries on my keyboard died and had to do a quick switch. I like Dobbs, obviously. And Cox has good size. Seems like Graham is hitting California and Arizona -- which should be the top priority of the Pac-12. It would be nice to tap into Texas if possible. But California is the lifeblood of conference recruiting.
What do you think of Brett Hundleys Heisman chances next year?
Will be tough to crack -- lots of guys on the radar. Lee, Manziell, Mariota, Carey. But he'll get some preseason buzz.
MWC + WAC = Big East?
Looking more and more like that. Have to wonder about the stability of the Big East though. Wondering if schools like SDSU and Boise are going to do a one-year BCS money cash grab and then split. I think the college football landscape will look a lot different five years from now.
How do you think UCLA's D matches up with Baylor's offense? I keep hearing how unstoppable they are.
Pretty favorable. The DBs are going to be tested, obviously. But UCLA is very good at getting penetration and getting to the quarterback. Once Nick Florence gets a taste of Anthony Barr and Datone Jones, those hits will start to pile up.
If Chip ends up leaving Oregon for the NFL is Mark Helfrich really the best option for Oregon? why does Nick Aliotti's name not come up as a potential replacement?
When you think Oregon, you think offense. That's probably the biggest reason. Which isn't to say Aliotti wouldn't be a great fit. He's done a fantastic job with the defense.
Do you believe Leach is bringing in a higher quality of recruit to WSU? And will the controversies impact recruiting negatively?
I don't think so. The investigation produced complete vindication for Leach and Co. Leach just needs to get "his type" of guys into the system. He inherited some players who couldn't conform to what he's all about. I expect that will change.
Kevin, you covered the Andrew Luck Stanford team last year. Even without him, they have had a great year. Do you think that the overall talent level of the team is better this year, as a result of the recruiting success? Playing that forward, do you think it will be better next year?
The thing about Stanford recruiting is they don't have the luxury of saying "we need a wide receiver" or "we need a cornerback" and then go out and get him. They have to conform to certain academic standards. What they do is target position groups. Last year it was offensive linemen who meet the standards and they went out and got them. I think locking up Shaw was a good move though, because they guy can sell Stanford.
Kevin do you know how hard it is to be a Oregon Fan living in Manhattan, KS right now?
Ha. The sacrifices we make for our team.
There's a lot of people down on USC right now. Give me something to be positive about, Kevin!
Projected MVPs of the Rose and Fiesta?
Hmmm... Offensive Stepfan Taylor and Marcus Mariota. Defensive: Ed Reynolds and Michael Clay.
Age old question...Can UofA football ever get the attention or the level of success UofA basketball gets/has?
Start getting ranked in the Top 10 and the respect will come.
KG, How pathetic is it the NCAA wanted Tuel to throw Wulff under the bus to get his medical RS
If that's true ... and I have no reason to believe Tuel would lie about it. He's a stand-up guy and one of my favorite players in the conference. So if it's true, pretty weak.
Kevin, Per Shad's earlier question. I think it's hard for anyone to live in Manhattan, Kansas.
Well played, sir.
Kevin- Your a 5 star recruit that can choose any Pac-12 program, where you going?
Depends... what are my grades like? Am I a quarterback, receiver, defensive player. Right now I'm six foot, 215 pounds and my 40 time has slipped...
Do you see Utah becoming a dominant program in the Pac 12, being cyclically good and bad, or just never being able to put a complete season together due to opponent quality?
Define dominant... as in dynasty? Winning consecutive titles? Going to BCS bowl games for three or four years in a row? Going to take some time. Never say never. Look at where Stanford was just five or six years ago and look where they are now. I would define them as a dominant program. I think it will take a while for Utah to fully get integrated. But I expect they'll be back in bowl contention next year.
Way too early to tell projections for next year.Which of the 8 bowl teams will not make a bowl?Which of the 4 non-bowl teams makes a bowl?
Hmmm... way too early indeed. But, I'll say Cal probably has the best chance. Though Utah isn't far behind. As for not making it... The North continues to gouge itself and I don't see Washington or Oregon State slowing down. ASU, UCLA and Arizona are trending up. That's a really, really tough call. I think all eight could be back.
What's reasoning for Stanford not releasing the length of Shaw's contract extension? I understand not revealing dollar amount, but staying quiet about the years on the contract seems shady.
Not shady, just what they do as a private school. Stanford has never released details of contracts. In this case, I think it's very intriguing because we don't really know how they value Shaw. It's great that they gave him an extension (he certainly deserves it), but how much do they value him? If they came out and said he was now "one of the top three highest paid coaches" in the league, we'd know just how much. As it stands, he could be fifth, sixth or 10th. We just don't know.
Which of this year's new coaches do you see being most successful as their recruits become fully integrated into the programs over the next 3-5 years?
I still submit that Washington State is going to turn it around under Leach. The track record is there. But based on what I saw this year, I think Mora has a dynasty in the making if he can keep that coaching staff together.
Big 12 interloper here: why can't conference bloggers be a little more impartial? If you go to the SEC blog, then every SEC team has the advantage over it's bowl partner....same for every conference it seems. Does Blog Nation just want the cheerleading? (Not a knock on you specifically, fine sir.)
RJ -- probably the best answer is we know our teams a lot more intimately than we know other teams. All we do is spend time studying our teams. I'm picking UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon to win their games over Big 12 teams because I've studied those three teams extensively and know what they are capable of when they are at their best. And yes, when you work closely with so many players and coaches, you develop relationships and want to see them do well. Those three teams could all very much end up losing, but I believe they'll win because of what I know about them. Hope that makes sense. Thanks for dropping in. Swing by the blog anytime and strike up a conversation with the folks. You'll find them fun and very informed.
Do you think Sark's seat is beginning to warm a bit with the lack of progress?
It's warmer than it was this time last year. He did all of the right things after the bowl loss. He cleaned house on defense, brought in a great coordinator and progress was made. But the offensive regression has to be a concern -- especially with a 1,000-yard rusher in his back pocket. If there isn't significant progress next year, then I think he'll officially be on the hot seat in 2014.
Did you see the Hobbit yet? What did you think of it?
I haven't. Probably have to wait for Netflix. As you can imagine, this is a busy time of year for me.
Kevin, January Jones or Cote De Pablo?
But regarding Shaw again, when he took over after Harbaugh, they were open about him getting a 4 year contract. So what changed now?
I think the Harbaugh situation was a little different. Everyone knew he was the hottest commodity in coaching and they were trying to appear "publicly" that they were making a big push to keep him. And to their credit, they were.
I don't think RR and Arizona are being given enough credit. Our D this year was terrible, just terrible, BUT we did deal with a lot of injuries on D. I think next year, with a lot of returners and a couple decent Freshman to step into the rotation they will be better. Also on offense, we have A LOT of talent coming back, and if you ask me, with the QB competition between Soloman, Scroggins, Denker, et al., we will end up with a QB who could look as good (or better than) Scott. I think we progress in wins.
Matt. Very, very fair point. I think RR did a fantastic job this year given the aforementioned injuries. The QB situation is the big question mark. But I could very easily see 7-8 wins for them -- especially as they grow into the 3-3-5. That's a tough defense to learn because there are a lot of intricacies to it. Coming full circle on the Rocky Long question from earlier in the chat, Rocky was one of the founding fathers of the 3-3-5 and when I was a beat writer, he would draw up plays for me on the board and explain everything. My head would spin. It's a great defense when it's run properly. And to do that, you need really, really good man-to-man corners.
What bowl games do you get to attend?
I will be spending a week in LA for the Rose Bowl.
Did Wisconsin actually contact Riley or was that just rumor mill stuff?
They may have made a phone call. But it was pure rumor that someone ran with.
Crazy ending to Dexter. How do you think they cover that up?
Awesome ending! Without giving away spoilers, I really actually have no idea. It's a great direction for the series though. Much darker things are ahead, I think.
I'm starting to think the NCAA's unstated mission is to piss Ted off. Thoughts?
If it is, they are very successful at it. Talked with Ted this morning and he went off on one of his tirades.
Does Wisconsin's performance in the B1G championship game reflect UW's team strength better than their season record? Should Stanford be concerned?
Wisconsin lost a ton of close games this year. Much like Arizona, I think they are better than their record indicates. Stanford needs to play a fantastic game. And I see them winning.
Why are you picking Beavfann back to back? Playing favorites again?!? a _a
Did I? I seriously don't really look at the names. (In reality, he's totally my favorite and that's why I picked him. Keep em' coming Beav... you're so awesome).
When Chip bolts to the NFL at end of the season...is Chris Petersen the next coach at Oregon?
First, not sure Chip leaves. I know everyone says he's gone. I'd say it's 50/50 at this point. Petersen is a hot name, but I still think they look in-house first.
Kevin, you did Christmas gifts to each team, but what does the conference get/need overall?
DirectTV calls on Christmas Eve, says we were selfish, our bad. We'll pay double what we should be. Our bad.
Are you excited for the Great Gatsby? How do you feel about DiCaprio playing Jay Gatsby?
I am. Not sure if/when I'll get out to see it. But it's my favorite book of all time. And I like the choice of Leo. He's an amazing actor... much like Hanks. He owns every role he's in. "And so we beat on, boats against the current. Borne back ceaselessly into the past."
Who has the better team next year, UofA or ASU? Who does better at the end of the season?
Coin flip. I'd say ASU might be in slightly better shape simply because they have the quarterback in place. But it's almost a push. Can't wait for the Territorial Cup next year.
Will you or Ted or both be in Vegas for the UW/BSU game? If you are, put $25 on 11 on the third roulette table in the MGM...trust me. Other than Price who needs to have a big game for the Dawgs to get a W?
Neither of us will be there. But that sounds like a great poll question for this afternoon.
You know, you have a whole offseason to do almost nothing. Time to start following Pac 12 basketball?
Nothing, except recruiting, off-season features. Spring ball, spring meetings... plenty to do. And we will.
So are you going to stick with Homeland now that it's jumped the shark? Or can this ship be righted?
Ugh... not sure. Was SOOOO disappointed in this season. We'll see what the schedule looks like next year. I only have so much time to dedicate to personal enjoyment and I don't want to waste an hour if it's that bad again. I'll give it the first two episodes and go from there.
If my Bruins beat Baylor, where do you see us being ranked to start the next season?
I'd say Top 15 is probably fair.
Do teams do a lot of recruiting during their bowl games? Could the Beavers land a couple guys by playing a bowl game in San Antonio?
Hey look -- I picked Beavfann... And yes, bowl appearances are huge for recruiting. I know some coaches hold "coaching clinics" in the towns they are in for the bowl games -- which is essentially a way to plant new stakes.
I'm puzzled by the recent spate of articles about "alums" wanting Chip Kelly gone. I'm sure there are those that want a little more back slapping and pressing the flesh, but it strikes me these articles so more about 'miffed' sports' journalists than anything els.
Hmmm. Haven't seen those. And I scan pretty hard every day for links. But I guess folks are entitled to their opinion.
Preseason polls are worthless, right?
Yeah. But they make for fun fodder for you guys. That's why we do them.
Kevin, after the PAC wins all their bowl games, will you and Ted write a big piece saying that the SEC and the BIG 12 suck? Please?
Might be tough to call out the SEC since they are probably going to win another national championship. But if the Pac-12 runs the table (or at least goes 3-0 against the Big 12) I'll be sure to write David Ubben a nice email.
Boardwalk Empire or Game of Thrones?
Not even close. GOT.
What do you see as your greatest journalistic accomplishment as a Pac blogger?
Getting the chance to interact with you fine folks each week.
What position do the Ducks need to recruit the most heavily? Receivers really stepped up this year. Is it safety? OL?
You always, always, always need to recruit offensive and defensive linemen. You can never, ever have too many. Certain years you can target certain position groups. But the lines should always be a top priority every single year.
When are your predictions coming out for the bowls? What's your final score on UCLA Baylor?
We've been doing them on a game-by-game basis. Vegas comes out tomorrow.
Is Larry Scott and the pac-12 working on getting some new bowl tie-ins? I for one would love to see a game against the SEC.
I haven't talked to Larry specifically about him. But I will.
Open practices, new coach, new facilities, new QB. I say Cal turns the ship around and goes bowling next season. Do you agree?
I think they certainly have the best shot of the non-bowl teams. They have the most athleticism and talent. And I love the open practices.
Are you as nervous about the Texas game as I am?
Think it's going to be a great game. But I think OSU's defensive line and the receivers are the difference makers.
To add to Kevin's complaints about Arizona/RR not getting enough credit, Phil Steele put Arizona's SOS at 12th. The Pac-12 blog just LOVES ASU next year and their SOS was 50th! Flip that around and Arizona is a 10 win team this year.
The Pac-12 blog loves all of its teams equally.
So did Ted really mean to rank Arizona and Utah State as his lowest confidence picks in Bowl Mania, or is he just too much an old fogey to figure it out.
I think he just clicked through and didn't worry too much about the confidence stuff. Just a thought.
Wow maybe you should just follow beavsfan on twitter?
I just might. And I'll follow you next.
Despite how it looked entering the season, Oregon had essentially no depth at QB this year. Now that we have two fairly touted redshirts eligible, do you think we'll see Bennett get some play at other positions?
I think they'll keep using Bennett and Mariota creatively. Nice when you have that option. And Bennett got a ton of work this year -- I'd hazard a guess maybe as much or more than any other backup in the country. So they are in good shape there.
You going to the BYU vs SDSU game tonight? Should be a good one. Who do you think will win?
I'm not. Tried to rally my buddies, but they didn't want to cough up the money for tickets. Instead about five or six of us are meeting at a sports bar and we're going to suck down a couple of pies and watch the game. I think it will be a close game. SDSU has a seven-game win streak, but BYU is a little more battle-tested with their schedule. I like the Aztecs to pull out a close one.
Is Connor Haliday the right QB for the Cougs?
He's going to have to be. I think with another offseason -- and knowing he's going to be the guy -- should help his confidence.
Thanks for answering all my questions now I feel ready for Friday.
Of course. You're my favorite.
Who wins the battle up front in the Rose Bowl?
That's the real key to this game. I think Stanford probably has the superior offensive line and fullback. That makes a world of difference. On the defensive line, well, we know what Stanford is capable of. If/when the Cardinal win, it will be because of line play.
Where do you see ASU if Will Sutton stays as compared to if he leaves next year?
Obviously, they are a much better defense with him. He literally could add a win to ASU's total just by staying.
Keep asking for your Rose Bowl comments. Where do the Badgers match up well and where do the Cardinal have the edge? What should I look for?
Stanford has the edge in line play and the defensive front seven. Look for whether Stanford brings pressure or not. In the first meeting with UCLA, they didn't blitz as much as the Bruins had thought (confirmed to me by several members of the UCLA staff) and the second time around they had UCLA guessing. Keep an eye out for that.
OK. I went way over. Thanks again stopping by. Lots of fun. I'll post the highlights tomorrow... if there is a tomorrow.