Good morning gang. Sorry I'm a minute late ... had to update iTunes ... I'm a creature of habit and need my music while I chat. Let's get started.
With 38 conference championships under their belt, nobody can reasonably dispute that USC is a "traditional powerhouse"; but do any of the other teams in the PAC 12 meet the definition?
Hey, Trojan 1981 to start us off. How about that. USC certainly has a nice advantage in overall titles. But UCLA has 17, Washington 15, Stanford and Cal at 13 apiece. I guess it depends on your definition of "traditional" power, but I think you could make an argument for UCLA and certainly Stanford and Oregon are on the rise.
What do you think of our recruiting class so far? Be blunt.
A lot of unknowns. But those two big DTs you've picked up in the last week Vaenuku and Lotuleli look like studs.
Do you see Mac Browne winning the QB competition at USC and if so, do u see USC running the table?
Whowever wins, I don't see USC running the table. Beat Stanford and then we'll talk.
Did Jason Hatcher recommit to SC or not? Read a lot of back and forth this morning. Thanks in advance.
I've got a recruiting roundup post coming out this afternoon and according to our folks, he did re-commit. There is so much drama that goes into signing day now that it's gotten pretty ridiculous. I'm sure we'll all be happy after signing day is come and gone.
Is it unthinkable (in your opinion) that Utah competes for the Pac 12 South in 2013?
Absolutely not. I think Wilson takes a step forward, the defense is reloading and you've got a good head coach. Not saying they'll win the South, but I wouldn't be shocked if they are in the hunt either. Remember, we all thought OSU was going to be dead last in the north and USC was going to go undefeated. A lot changes.
Kevin, after covering the program for a year, you probably know this - what was the demand for Mike Bloomgren among college and pro teams? There was a report that USC was attempting to hire him as well as contact from other schools and the NFL. How hot a commodity is he now? What are the chances he follows in the footsteps of other Stanford OCs and get an NFL OC gig or college head coaching job after next year?
I don't know how much of a demand there was from the NFL. I can tell you he's extremely well-respected among his peers in the league and he was the natural choice for the job. Shaw clearly recognized that. I know he spent four seasons with the Jets and he and Noel Mazzone became good friends during that time and Noel can't stop raving about him. Give him a couple of seasons before we start talking about him moving up. But he certainly is one of the brighter pro-style minds in the country.
WILL QB dobbs decommit from ASU
Haven't heard anything -- which isn't to say there isn't a report or a tweet or a rumor out there. If there is, I haven't seen it.
What do you think of the comparisons between David Shaw and Mark Helfrich? Chances Helfrich will keep the good times rolling?
Wasn't aware there are comparisons out there. I've only had a few chats with Helfrich and I've known Shaw for about six years, so I can't really speak to any comparisons. As for whether he'll keep it rolling, I would think so. The pieces are in place, the bulk of the coaching staff is there and Oregon is a national brand that attracts top recruits. Don't see anything less than 11 wins next year.
What are your thoughts on Cal's recruiting class? Dykes has 28 verbal commits, held onto most of the recruits who committed to the previous staff, and got a late start. Seems pretty impressive.
Only if they pan out. Looking forward to seeing what Goff is all about.
What should Utah do about OC Brian Johnson? Cut their losses and fire him? Or wait and see and hope he emerges as a up-and-comer?
Absolutely not. Johnson is a very good offensive mind. And he had a world of issues that he had to deal with this year -- three quarterbacks (including one veteran going down for the year) issues replacing the tackles Cullen and Bergstrom etc. Give him a little time to grow into the position.
Can we expect Kelly to start for ASU next year? any chance for the other guys? Or maybe back to 2 QB system?
Graham strikes me as a smart coach. And a smart coach doesn't sit guys as efficient as Kelly was this year. I see no reason why he wouldn't be the starter. That's not to say they won't keep working in Eubank or if Kelly falters, we could see a switch. But based on his performance last year, he's earned the right to be the starter through good times and bad.
Can you see Taylor Kelly competing for the Heisman?
At one time, he was was the second-most-efficient quarterback in the country. And I think that was through Week 7 or 8, something like that. If he can put up those kinds of numbers -- plus score signature wins over Notre Dame and Wisconsin with the world watching, it's possible his name will climb the list.
Is Oregon going to be more friendly to the press with Chip gone.
Obviously, neither Ted nor I live there so we don't know the day-to-day issues beat guys face. I will say this, whenever I needed to talk to Chip or get a quote or talk to a player, Oregon was extremely accommodating. Besides, you shouldn't be getting your news from any place other than the Pac-12 blog.
I know you're too much of a showman to give out your secret ingredient to your homemade guacamole right out of gate. What about your chili recipe? Do you think we could co-host a cooking show on the Pac-12 Network?
15 minutes in and you guys have behaved yourself ... so sure. There are two secrets. 1) Use sea salt, not regular salt. It adds a texture. Also, a hint of cumin adds a surprising smokiness you wouldn't expect. Try it.
After looking at the talent level currently at WSU and what is being recruited, who do you see making an imediate impact if any from this recruiting class?
They've got four, four-star guys currently committed. And Leach has shown he's not afraid to play freshmen. It really depends on how quickly they adapt to the system. I'd expect the JC guys to be injected right away.
Over/Under on number of games Kadeem Carey is suspended? As an alum it kind of makes me ill.
No clue. But it's a bad situation that is getting worse with this latest issue. Not a good idea to get into a pee-pee contest with campus police. He's high-profile and needs to know better.
Santa Clara is 3-0 in bowl games with 2 wins over LSU in the Sugar Bowl and an Orange Bowl win over a Paul Bear Bryant Kentucky team. Why don't you brag about us more? Certainly better history than most Pac-12 teams.
Ha. I was a bartender at the Hut my junior and senior years and my dollar bill is on the ceiling. Great memories. Hard to brag about the 50s though.
Lame excuses aside, how many wins does Kiffin have to get to keep his job in 2014. Does one embarrassing loss seal the deal?
I think if he can get to 8-9 wins without any of the off-field issues, that would probably be enough considering the sanctions he has to deal with. But seven wins coupled with another off-field incident probably would be the end.
How do you think Stanford's offense will do next year?
They need to find playmakers to help out Kevin Hogan. The offensive line is in decent shape (though replacing Sam Schwartzstein at center is easier said than done). But who is going to run the ball? Who is going to catch it? Does Hewitt move to the tight end? Lots of question marks and lots of potential, but not a lot of answers right now.
Is this the year the Huskies topple the "Fighting Ducks"? Or another 20 point loss?
I think the Huskies are geared to make a better game of it. But I'm not so sure this is the year they break the streak.
"Hard to brag about the 50s though."? I do it about USC football all the time!! Is there a problem with that?
Thoughts on UCLA's recruiting class? Not one Bruin mention so far in this chat. Show us some love!
Showing love. Very, very impressive class so far. Wasn't the big knock on Mora that he couldn't recruit? Those two safeties look awful impressive. Guessing we're going to see a lot of cover-2 in the coming years.
So far your post season top 25 player list. 5 of the 6 on there were unranked in your preseason list......Ouch.
Yep, this list looks wildly different than the preseason list. A lot of guys failed to meet expectations and a lot of guys blew up and had great years. Making that top 25 is really, really hard. Ted and I are still in negotiations on a few things. He's stubborn. So am I. It's fun, though.
Not much love for the big uglies from the Pac-12 blog. One OL, and a consensus All-American can't even get into the top 15. Rodney Dangerfields of the sport.
Yeah... but at the same time, it was a bit of a down year for offensive linemen this year. Last year there was Kalil, DeCastro, Martin all in the first two rounds of the draft. Not as deep of a group this year. But, as Ted has suggested, try making out your own top 25 and see how many skill players you leave off. It's insane.
All Pac-12 teams have two bye weeks, exept USC. With USC's lack of depth being revealed this past season, do you see any QB starting and finishing the season without missing a game?
Don't think it's specific to just USC. Keeping a quarterback healthy for a 12, 13, 14-week schedule is tough. Only four teams in the conference last year started the same quarterback the entire season, be it injuries or simply changing out QBs. So the odds say no.
You get one Super Bowl Snack, Chips and dip? Chicken Wings? Pizza Rolls? Other?
Chips and dip. Too many pizza rolls or chicken wings start to get old. After about five or six you need to take a break. Chips and dip can last as long as its there.
What it really kill the Pac-12 in any way if they couldn't expand to 16 teams in the future if the felt that should keep up? Why exactly do conferences want that many teams anyway?
It's a matter of competing for eyeballs in television markets and keeping up with the Joneses. No, it wouldn't kill the Pac-12, but keep in mind the more teams there are, that's less money being distributed to each school. I know the conference likes where it's at. That's not to say it won't jump on some teams if the rest of the country goes on another grab for teams.
Can you see the real screen names of those who post questions?
Yes, real name. Age, DOB, marital status and 2011 tax returns. You're really going to write off the trip to Las Vegas? Good luck with that.
Could you see the PAC championship played in UNLV's new stadium, with the Willy Wanka sized big screen?
I think they like it going to a home team that has earned it. At least that's the vibe I've gotten. And I like it that way too.
whos your pick to win the south
Arizona, Arizona State, USC or UCLA. Ask me again after Thanksgiving.
the 2013 Pac-12 Championship game will be played at: _____________
what's your take on Oregon's recruiting this year and the late offers and what it may bring to Oregon's current class?
I like the class -- especially if they can hold it all together and it looks like they will. And the fact that they've added three in the last week shows Helfrich and Co. are still being proactive. That's a reassuring sign to fans and guys who have already committed.
How do you get your job?
15 years in newspapers, good people skills, outstanding knowledge of football, sharp, witty writing and whole lot of begging and pleading.
Cans, bottles, or keg?
Neat. Always neat.
I think the Pac 12 made a huge mistake not accepting Texas, Oklahoma and the two other schools a couple of years ago. Agree or disagree?
At the time, maybe? But it's not what the presidents wanted at the time. Doesn't make sense to look back now, though. I think the conference is in a very strong position.
OSU: Blip in 2012 or sign of things to come?
I think a sign of things to come. That offensive line should get better, good skill players in the pipeline and the coaching staff has been one of the best in the country in terms of continuity.
Now that the season is over, what is Matt Barkley's final legacy at USC?
Hopefully he's recognized as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the league (and his numbers back that up) and he'll be remembered for his dedication to his school and his outstanding charitable work. Hopefully.
Paying college players is back in the news. I hate the idea as they already get a free education. What do you think?
Touchy subject ... and I don't want to take a whole lot of time on this because we could do a whole chat on this. I will say this ... a couple of years ago, I was at the signing day for a San Diego High School player. I looked at his LOI, how much it covers, and the per-year was more than I make in a year. So yes, they are getting a lot with that free education. At the same time, schools are making millions off of them. I don't know where I come down on it... I just know it's a slippery slope. If it's a flat rate, how do you pay the punter the same as the quarterback? Is that fair? Needs a lot of scrutiny if it's going to happen and a lot of oversight.
Who will win the Apple Cup next year?
I would say Washington based on the talent coming back. But I would have said Washington this year based on the talent they had (wait, I did say say Washington in my predictions. Thanks a lot Dawgs).
What are the chances the Pac-12 catches up to us for best conference in the country and steals the NC from us?
I think Oregon is the only team that could legitimately make a run at the national championship next year. I think Stanford is going to be outstanding, but I just don't know where the points are going to come from. I see them being in a lot of close games again next year. As far as "best conference," teams like Oregon State and UCLA need to step up when the spotlight is on them for the conference to be respected in terms of its depth.
which coach would 18 year-old Kevin Gemmell commit to if your younger, cooler self had the option?
I'd defer to go play rugby at Santa Clara.
Dexter or Homeland?
Dexter, no question. Homeland took a huge step back in my power rankings. Interested in the new series starting tonight on FX, The Americans. I like the whole Cold War cloak-and-dagger genre so I'll give it a try. And Dexter is fracking awesome.
Do you think UCLA will be ranked in the preseason poll?
I'm going to put them in mine... probably around 20. Not sure how the rest of the country will vote.
What's the over/under on Fulmer Cup points earned collectively by the PAC 12 this offseason?
Who does the majority of the tweeting? You or Ted?
Ted is the big tweeter. I'm not anti-twitter, but I'm bit of a wordy writer so it it's not always conducive to me.
How do you see ASU doing this year? Our defense should be nasty with Will Sutton coming back and picking up Hardison. And their offense could be their best offense in a few years. I see them taking the south. Any thoughts?
Defense is going to be nasty indeed. Love that front line and I think it rivals Stanford for the best defensive front in the conference -- at least on paper. I think the JC wide receivers are going to be a nice addition and as I said before, I think Kelly is a stud. IF there is a favorite in the South, it might be the Sun Devils.
It's because you say things like conducive
When Chip fails at the NFL level, where do you expect him to land back in the college ranks?
Wow, you're a bowl of peaches this morning, aren't you. Who says he's going to fail? The last two Pac-12 coaches to go to the NFL have done pretty darn good.
Time for a token CU question..... Can you say something nice about the Buffs?
Best mascot entrance in college football -- hands down. But in all seriousness, I like the young QBs, I like the move to the pistol and I like that the coaching staff -- though they are new -- has worked together for a few years. The Embree crew was still learning to work together. I think four wins next year is realistic and a bowl game in three years makes sense.
how would you grade asu's recruiting class?
Need to see when everything is said and done and everyone has been signed. As I said before, I like the JC wide receivers because they can be plugged in instantly and give Kelly a few more options other than just Grice on screens and Foster in the slot (though I love the way they use their RBs and think that will continue to be a staple). Ask me again after signing day.
Whats the magic number of wins i need to ensure the fans that we are taking the next step forward?
At least eight -- with a bowl win.
Stanford has to replace very little compared to what they did when Andrew and. Co. left. This is why I think you shouldn't be saying they can't run the table. BTW, their offense this year was mediocre and they still should have won all 12 games.Yes I'm still mad about notre dame.
I don't think any Pac-12 teams can run the table. Not just Stanford. Going undefeated in this day and age is so hard to do. Has nothing to do with Stanford being Stanford. It's just plain hard. With that said, Hogan (and Nunes) at least had Ertz, Toilolo and a 1,000-yard rusher in Taylor to work with. Now you're taking all of that out of the equation? That's a ton of offense to replace.
I don't like peaches.
Bummer. Go back through the chats from last summer, I gave my recipe for grilled peaches. They are outstanding.
Have you read the GoT books, or do you just watch the show? As for football, will USC bounce back to 10+ wins next season?
I have read all of the books and I watch the show. Like everyone else, exited for Season 3. I think 10 wins is possible, especially with 13 regular season games. But I'd put the O/U at nine and go from there.
Who will be the first PAC player drafted this year?
Is a sub-6 win season inexcusable for Mike Leach this upcoming season?
Not necessarily. If they are competitive in those games and there is marked improvement, then I think four or five wins wouldn't be terrible. But they have to show progress -- especially on offense which is Leach's trademark.
how the heck are the Buffs going to offer 21 kids scholarships with only 11 players leaving?! Im expecting transfers, but 10?
Not sure what the math is -- I know no players have transferred out (per someone I talked to last week, all returning players have signed on for the spring semester and spring ball). I need to look at the roster more closely. I know there is always creative math that can be done. And thanks for re-submitting the question in a more digestible form. I wasn't ignoring you, the original question was just so convoluted.
Why do you hate us?
Who says I hate you?
Had to replace Fleener,Martin,DeCastro,Owusu,Whalen,Gaffney,Stewart, and LUCK last year. This year they have 5 players to replace and only two who are even closely talented to those who left in 2011 and that's Ertz and Taylor.
Not giving Sammy Schwartzstein enough credit for what the guy did. Look, Stanford has been great at rebuilding and reloading every year -- from Gerhart to Harbaugh to Luck, etc. I didn't say they are going to tank. All I said was right now there is potential with a lot of questions.
Where do you see UW in your preseason polls next season?
Hovering around 25... not sure if I'm going to include them (though I did last year, again, thanks Dawgs). I know Ted is very high on them and will probably have them in his preseason top 25.
Season 3 of Game of Thrones is almost here, who is your favorite character in the series?
Who doesn't love Tyrion. Amazing character in the book and portrayed perfectly by Peter Dinklage.
The B1G is struggling with how many games should be within the conference. Please give me pluses and minuses of 9 games.
I hit this every week. I like the nine games because it's a true test of the conference. Granted, teams gouge each other and it hurts national perception (and yes, teams are still missed), but overall, it's as good a gauge as we have available for truly winning your conference. College football has the best regular season schedule of any sport and more conference games enhances that. Just my opinion.
We're getting a bit fed up carrying the conference the past few years (except Oregon). Why don't you give us some respect?
Not sure where this "Kevin hates Stanford" rumor started, but if you want to play the disrespect card, have at it.
Will you and Ted do a Take 2 on number of conference games?
Not a bad idea. I'll pitch it to him.
With that said, my hour is up. You've been great, as always. Don't forget to tip Trojan 1981.