Friday non-AQ mailblog

Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
Warren from Boise writes: Did ESPN drop the games Oregon vs. BSU and Oregon vs. Utah AND BYU vs. Oklahoma? All in September. People in your post are confused because you left out all these games and I was curious if they've been dropped.

Graham Watson: No, these games are still on. The games I posted were in addition to the games that already had been announced. Sorry for the confusion, but I clarified it in the lede to the post.

Mike from Shelley, Idaho writes: Maybe I missed it, but I can't believe this link was not be featured in the blog. It's been over a week now: I'd love to hear your comments on it as well when you're back from vacation.

GW: For those who haven't read or clicked on the link, it's commentary from Boise State president Robert Kustra blasting the unfair practices of the BCS. While I thought it was fine commentary, I was wondering who saw the letter other than those who regularly follow Boise State? If it was a letter sent to the BCS oversight committee then bravo. If it was an open letter to the school then I have to wonder what the point of it was. Drop me a line if you know the answer to that.

Joe Vandal from Boise writes: I'm sensing a change in Moscow. What are your views on the upcoming season for the Vandals? Seems like Rob Akey has the team pointing in the right direction. With a great returning core of Nathan Enderle and Deonte Jackson it's looking like a promising year. Plus the Kibbie Dome is getting a makeover, maybe the natural light coming through the new windows will boost morale.

GW: I don't know about the light boosting the morale, but I do think Idaho is going to be much better than it has been in some time. I agree that Akey has the team moving in the right direction and with several returners and a full complement of scholarships, the Vandals could get out of the WAC cellar. In fact, I fully expect that.

Tyler from American Fork, Utah writes: Graham, I just wanted to comment on the completely bias directly aimed transfer rule, which was amended. I am talking about the "official church mission" transfer eligibility rule, which now prevents kids who serve a mission from transferring right away. Instead if the kid is in jail for two years he can transfer right away. This is the WAC just crying for no reason and it makes it unfair to a young man who decides that maybe his life should go in a different direction after retuning home from his mission.

GW: I can see both sides of this, but I think the rule was being abused and that's why the NCAA had to step in. It's really not fair to allow a kid to transfer and play right away on the basis of a religious practice. It's just not. I think the transfer rule should apply to everyone, unless granted a waiver. No one should get special treatment there. Probably not the answer you wanted, but that's just my thoughts.

Corey from Baton Rouge, LA writes: With the recession cutting into athletic costs across the country, do you foresee a widening gap between the BCS automatic qualifiers and the rest of the FBS?

GW: Yes, but because the economy is hitting everyone so hard, I'm not sure it would be any worse than it is now. It's all going to be relative. If Troy and Michigan are both losing money, chances are they're probably still going to be as far about a year from now as they are right now. Not sure if I explained that well, but I think the proportion will remain the same.

pettyofficerkeller from Newport News, VA writes: What are the Mountain West's expansion options? Which do you think is most likely? And what do you think the timeframe is?

GW: I don't see the Mountain West expanding anytime soon, and quite honestly, I don't think we'll see any expansion before the current BCS contract ends in 2011. Even then, I think there won't be any movement until like 2014 when the next contract ends. The only reason conferences would start to expand earlier is because of the economy. And in the MWC's case, the move to expand might be to all but guarantee that non-AQ BCS spot (and money) every year.

Mike P from Arkadelphia, Ark., writes: Will we ever see a day where Arkansas State will finally get over the "mediocrity" hump and become a regular bowl contender like Troy? Go Red Wolves!

GW: I think the best way for that to happen is for the Sun Belt Conference to have more bowl opportunities. Now, those are currently in the works, but until that happens, it's going to be tough for any Sun Belt team to consistently be a bowl contender.

Zach from Akron, Ohio writes: I've been reading a lot of chatter recently about the MAC wholly or partially moving down to the FCS level. Do you think it would be a good move for the MAC to drop a few teams?

GW: OK. First, I don't see this happening. If you're thinking teams in the conference might move down because of finances, that would be ridiculous. The MAC schools make most of their money from the nonconference guarantee games they get from AQ schools. Those schools won't play those MAC teams (or whatever conference they would be) if they were FCS. Also, I e-mailed the league office and there's been no chatter about this there.

Joe from Dothan writes: Graham, While everyone seems to agree that Troy is the favorite to repeat in the Sun Belt, I think that a lot of us would like to see maybe an upset of one of those SEC teams we have lined up. Your thoughts on our chances?

GW: Well, I think Florida is probably going to be out since Tim Tebow will be on a mission to finish off his collegiate career right. I don't think the Gators drop a game against Troy. But Arkansas, right in the middle of the season, sandwiched between South Carolina and Mississippi State, could be very interesting. I like that it's late in the year and though the Trojans will be focused on conference play and making a bowl, I do think they'll be in a good place chemistry-wise to really make the Razorbacks sweat in that game.