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Pac-12 Preview with Ted Miller (8/24)

Ty and Dan talk with Ted Miller from ESPN.com about expectations for Oregon and UCLA, the differences between Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin, Chris Petersen’s impact on Washington, Arizona’s offense, Arizona State’s defense, Stanford’s consistency, Utah football as a chimichanga, and more.

Show Summary

The show starts with some general Pac-12 talk, including some of the key storylines that Dan thinks fans should be looking out for, including USC’s depth, Oregon’s coaching and whether Washington and UCLA can take the next step. Ty wonders about how UCLA will handle the hype and attention, if Chris Petersen can successfully move to a big conference, and if Arizona improves with its new speed and quarterback.

7:52 -Ty welcomes in Ted Miller, Pac-12 reporter for ESPN.com, to talk about west coast football. Miller mentions that he’s looking forward to all the controversy the playoff system will bring. Dan asks him about the best thing he’s eaten this Summer.

10:40 – Dan and Ty use a chinese restaurant to segue to USC football and Ty asks about the immediate impact that Steve Sarkisian will have there. Miller says that they have among the best talent in the conference and then details how well their offense should work this season. Ty brings up Lane Kiffin, now that he’s the new offensive coordinator at Alabama, and asks how different he is than Sarkisian. Miller brings up their history at USC and how Pete Carroll handled play-calling between them. Miller thinks there is a clear difference

14:09 – Ty says that UCLA might be the front-runner of the South division and a contender for the playoff, so he asks if Miller is in on that positivity and if all the hype is deserved. Miller seems enthusiastic about the Bruins, specifically their underrated talent that doesn’t get mentioned much. Ty asks about their weakest link.

16:56 – The presumptive favorites up north are the Oregon Ducks, says Dan, and he asks which new thing about this team interests Miller most. He says that Nick Aliotti should be more comfortable in his second year and have a better rhythm as a coach, and then he moves on to talk about Marcus Mariota, their receivers, and where there defense should be. Dan then asks about the team the Ducks should be most afraid of this year.

20:48 – Dan brings up the team that’s beaten Oregon the last two years, Stanford, and he asks where fans should feel confident about this team given that they are losing talent on defense, including their coordinator. Miller understands why some people think Stanford is underrated, as they could very will go to the conference title, but there are still questions about their lines, running back and other areas.

23:02Arizona is a team that’s facing turnover issues, including losing their quarterback, but Rich Rod should be able to score points, according to Ty. The question is whether the defense will finally improve. Ty asks Ted how close we are to the Wildcats being a legitimate contender and not just a scary team late in the season. Miller says it’ll come down to a couple poisitional groups, including linebacker, which is a position that’s made Stanford and UCLA different. There are reasons to feel confident, though.

25:05 – Moving on to their rival, Ty says that Todd Graham’s job at Arizona State has been a big story in the Pac-12 but he asks Miller how much of a liability their defense will be this season. Miller says that there are legitimate reasons to be concerned, as he downplays how much attention coaches tend to give to young, inexperience players, some of which ASU will be starting next year. Ty then asks who Miller likes in the Arizona/Arizona State game in November.

27:36 – Dan gives Ted a matchup to analyze: Washington‘s Cyler Miles against the average of all the quarterbacks that will play Washington’s secondary. Miller mentions some of those talented players in the young secondary and their strategy this upcoming season, and then gives Miles some props too. He also mentions a key game in 2015 for the Huskies that could end a long losing streak. Dan then asks which specific part of Chris Petersen’s staff that will be a key for the Huskies in 2014.

32:10 – Staying in the same state, Dan asks about Washington State, with their own good coach Mike Leach, and specifically how good their defense will be to keep that team competitive this season. Miller breaks down the specific players to look out for and he wonders if maybe their secondary will be better than people think. Perhaps they upset one of the big teams this year.

34:25 – Dan moves on to Oregon State, a team that is decidedly above average to him, and he asks which part of their team will keep them in the middle of the conference and bowl eligible, if they are even that. Sean Mannion gets some love from Miller, as he thinks he could even be the most NFL ready of the conference’s quarterbacks. He also points to the defensive line, which could be the most important question of all.

37:05 – To round out the Pac-12 South, Ty asks about Utah by bringing up Bill Connelly’s (@SBN_BillC) preview and their brutal schedule in 2014. He asks Ted about his expectations for the team for the coming year. He responds by asking Utah fans to imagine this year’s team playing the 2011 schedule. He thinks that they could have won 10 games or so, but given the realities of the Pac-12, they might not improve much in the win/loss column this year. He mentions one big question for this Utah team that fans might disagree with.

40:08Colorado might be a consensus pick to finish last in the division, so Ty asks where the team is in the rebuilding plan for head coach Mike MacIntyre. Miller mentions a couple key losses for the Buffaloes but does mention where fans should be optimistic for the coming year, including their out-of-conference schedule.

42:07 – Dan finishes out the conference with Cal, and he asks what progress looks like considering how snake-bitten they were last year and how much attrition they’ve endured on defense. Miller responds by saying they had a load of good players that didn’t make it on to the field, and then mentions where exactly the Bears need to improve to win some games in 2014.

44:59 – Dan closes out the conversation by bringing in a Facebook comment that was directed at him, but that he wants to turn to Ted. Compare each Pac-12 team to a Mexican food dish, and state why. The conversation ends up summarizing the episode, but in the weirdest way possible. Ty says, “This is something people can use, Ted.”

52:30 – The show ends with a discussion over Taco Bell’s legitimacy as Mexican food, foods that end the day, and some Facebook questions: Who wins the divison first, Mike Leach or Rich Rod? How long will Oregon continue to thump Washington? Will Call still not be good? Dan then asks Ty which Pac-12 college town he most wants to visit.

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