Chat with Graham Watson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com's non-BCS reporter and contributor to the College Football Nation blog Graham Watson will stop by to talk about the 2009 season.
Watson joined ESPN.com in 2008 after four seasons covering the Missouri Tigers and the Big 12 Conference for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She also covered college football recruiting for the Dallas Morning News.
Send your questions now and join Watson Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Graham Watson (12:59 PM)
Hey guys. We'll start the chat in a couple minutes.
BYU still have a chance at BCS?????????
Graham Watson (1:02 PM)
It would be a really longshot at this point especially with how poorly FSU is playing. If Boise State and TCU don't go undefeated none of the non-AQs will get it.
lesage,west virgina [via mobile]
What do you think of marshall
Graham Watson (1:04 PM)
I think Marshall is a lot better than many thought heading into the season. There are still some kinks, but it's still in the hunt for the East even with the loss to ECU. The only concern is its reliance on Darius Marshal. The Herd still needs to develop a better passing game.
Dan (Atlanta, Georgia)
Now that the non-conference schedule is out of the way, do you think the MWC's big three have any shot at all making the top 25 at the end of the season? Or will they inevitably knock each other out? (That's an important factor in getting a future automatic BCS bid.)
Graham Watson (1:05 PM)
This is a good question. I think they could knock each other around, however, I think at least one finishes the season ranked. My money is on TCU because of its defense especially against BYU, which has been turnover prone.
If TCU, Cincinatti, Iowa and Texas all lose, do you see BSU getting in the National championship with the SEC champion?
Graham Watson (1:07 PM)
If you had asked me this last week I would have said there was a possibility, but after seeing the voters knock them down a spot to clear the way for Virginia Tech makes me think that the odds aren't in their favor. And that's a shame. And really, I don't know where Boise State will end up when the computers get involved and the BCS standings are released in a couple weeks. That will interesting.
Are the Vandal's for real this year? Two wins vs the MWC, one vs the MAC on the road-The O looked awful good vs CSU.
Graham Watson (1:09 PM)
Ya know, I have to say I'm a believer. I talked to coach Akey prior to the season and he told me this was his best team and that he really thought it had the mindset to go to a bowl. Obviously, it's going to get tough in conference play, but I love their chances to notch maybe seven wins or more this year.
If the heisman is based on this seasons performance, how is tim tebow still #1 with his stats compred to tony pike with his stats, and the fact that pike, missed 3 quarters in the first 2 games , due to blowing out the competion
Graham Watson (1:10 PM)
The Heisman goes to the best player and that can encompass a lot of things. It's up to voter interpretation. It's not all about stats. If it were then guys from Tulsa and Houston would win it every year.
Josh (Laramie, WY)
After watching some of the NM/Texas Tech game, I came away feeling that NM isn't nearly as bad as their record indicates. They had some big plays, and their defense was certainly smacking around the QB. They are coming into Wyoming this weekend... do you feel like New Mexico might be able to hammer their way to their first win against a pretty scrappy Wyoming team?
Graham Watson (1:12 PM)
I agree. I was more impressed with New Mexico this past weekend than any time prior and I think they could catch Wyoming napping especially with the Cowboys high off the last two wins. However, I think Wyoming is getting better every week and this game being in Wyoming is going to help. I really like the young QB for the Cowboys.
So who is going to win the San Jose State/ Idaho game this saturday?
Graham Watson (1:13 PM)
I like Idaho purely on the strength of their offense. San Jose State can't keep pace with them. And Idaho already has proven it can win on the road.
Joshua (Miami, FL.)
Hey Graham,Can we please officialy put G. O'Leary on the hot seat? He has had 1 good season and he rode K. Smith to death to get it. His game managment and play calling is like he is still stuck in the '80's. I think he just found out what a play action pass was this week.
Graham Watson (1:15 PM)
The biggest problem with that team the past coupe years has been offense and I don't know if that's coaching, recruiting or execution. I'm not sure he gets fired this season. Perhaps if he has another 4-8 campaign, but right now he has a winning record and his team isn't that bad. However, it won't win C-USA East.
do you think air force could spoil tcu's dream of a bcs bowl?
Graham Watson (1:16 PM)
No. TCU's defense excels at the run and it's held Air Force in check before. I also think there's going to be a hangover from last week's loss to Navy.
Should Chris Petersen or Tommy Tuberville be on the short list at FSU?
Graham Watson (1:18 PM)
I think it's going to be difficult to get Petersen out of Boise especially if there's a chance Boise could join an potential automatic qualifying league. Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen and don't read anything into it. It's just that Petersen has had the opportunity to go other places and passed. I think he's learned from the other coaches who have left Boise for AQ schools.
So you don't talk about BSU anymore. NO articals no comments any particular reason>
Graham Watson (1:20 PM)
I cover 54 schools. No everyone's going to get a story every week. And Boise State has a bye this week. They'll get plenty of stories next week heading into Tulsa.
How good is Notre Dame? They are 4-1, but having said that, they could be 2-2 or 1-3. Please give me your perspective?
Graham Watson (1:22 PM)
Definitely had a lot of drama this season. I think you have to give props to Clausen for gutting out a foot injury and still leading his team to wins. That says a lot about his drive this year. Not sure we would have seen that a couple years ago. As for the team, they're good, but I don't think they're great and that's because of the defense. It has trouble with the run and that's going to be a big problem against USC.
Graham...thanks for your blog, really enjoy it. I don't understand why no non-AQ school will go to a BCS bowl if TCU and BSU lose one game. For example, if BYU beats TCU and BSU has one loss, I would expect BYU to be in the top 12 which would qualify them for a BCS bowl, right? Please explain.Thanks
Graham Watson (1:26 PM)
I really believe that both Florida State and Oklahoma are kinda hurting BYU right now and so I don't think they'll get into the top 12 even with the scenario you presented. I really think Oklahoma loses at least one more game, maybe two and Florida State, well, who knows what's going on there. A lot of teams would have to falter ahead of them and even then I don't know that the voters would boost them up.
John and I really appreciated your time on Monday as always (get the Graham Watson audio at http://www.1280thezone.com/audio). Anyway, I'm still bothered by your "state of Idaho football" comment (and I'm an Idaho boy). Wouldn't BYU and Utah beat Idaho soundly 9 out of 10 games. And if you match BYU or Utah against Boise State... it's probably 50-50 this year as to the winner.It's it a little silly to get ahead of ourselves on these WAC vs. MWC comments?
Graham Watson (1:30 PM)
Idaho is definitely in uncharted territory, so yeah, I don't think that it would beat BYU. It might run with this year's Utah team. I'd give that a 7-3 advantage to Utah just based on the Utes experience. As for Boise State, there's no doubt it's a quality team. I agree it would probably be 50-50 against the Utah teams. The big three in the MWC is still better than the top three in the WAC hands down, no question. Boise State is the only team in the conference - and maybe Fresno State - that would give those teams a consistent run. However, the rest of the MWC isn't nearly as good as it has been in the past.
Hayden (Logan, UT)
How is Utah still out of the top 25?
Graham Watson (1:33 PM)
Funny, I asked coach Whittingham that same thing yesterday. It should be getting credit for that close Oregon loss and it's not. What I think is happening is it's getting hurt a little by the loss and the close game with SJSU the week before. Utah just needs to keep doing what it's been doing. If it can pick off TCU or Utah, it will be back in the polls no problem.
The polls are killing me. Houston beats TWO Big-12 teams (one which is still ranked in the top 15). They lose one game and shoot out of the polls. Utah loses a really close game to a good Oregon team on the road (because of special teams and QB issues--which we knew Utah would be working out at the beginning of the year). And they are being ignored in the polls too. And you have a 2 loss UO team still in the top 25? What does a good non-AQ team need to do to get some love?
Graham Watson (1:36 PM)
Oregon's only loss is to Boise, so that's a quality loss. I agree that the polls are crazy. I think it's totally ridiculous that Houston got dropped when USC loses to a 1-1 Washington team and falls like six spots. It's all about name recognition a lot of times and that's not always fair. I mean, look at some of the undefeated AQ teams or even one loss teams in that poll and their schedules. Some are pretty brutal. However, I'm not sure how you fix it short of starting the polls in October.
So does an expanded MWC (Houston, Boise State, maybe Freson) get AQ status?Or will the "big boys" continue to keep them out?
Graham Watson (1:38 PM)
MWC commish Craig Thompson hasn't really been a proponent of expanding to 12 teams because then you have to have divisions and that wouldn't be good for the league. He's worried about adding one more team because of the nonconference scheduling issues. I think the MWC could gain AQ status with the teams it has. It doesn't need to add anything.
Am I going crazy? How can anyone really believe that Boise State deserves to be in the BCS after looking at their schedule. Graham do you think that teams like Boise State would be undefeated in any of the big conferences?
Graham Watson (1:41 PM)
The schedule is a big point of contention and it's been brought up here almost every week. The only quality win on the sked is and will be Oregon provided that Oregon doesn't struggle. You can say Fresno is a good win, but it's 1-3. Tulsa hasn't beaten a team with a winning record. So, I agree that Boise State is hampered by its schedule especially as it gets into a conference that has just two teams with a winning record -- itself and Idaho.
Also, who do you think has the best shot to win the Heisman?
Graham Watson (1:43 PM)
It's so early in the Heisman race right now. If you look back through past seasons, it usually isn't won until October or November. I think McCoy, Tebow and even Clausen have a good shot at it. I'd say those are the frontrunners right now.
Cullen (Oakland, CA )
Do you honestly think TCU played a tougher 4-5 game stretch so far than Miami (Fl) for pollsters to put TCU ahead of the Canes right now?
Graham Watson (1:46 PM)
No necessarily, but TCU is undefeated and started higher in the polls. Miami had that really bad loss to VT. It wouldn't surprise me though to see Miami jump TCU, but not necessarily at TCU's expense. I think some teams in the top 10 will still fall. If you take out the national championship equation, it doesn't really matter where a non-AQ is ranked, just as long as it's inside the top 12 in the BCS standings. Where in the top 12 is really just a talking point.
You cannot say fresno was a good win for Boise when they had to go to OT. Boise gets pumped for one big game every year and their season is defined by that. Put them in the SEC and they would eventually become Vandy.
Graham Watson (1:48 PM)
Boise and Fresno didn't go to OT. Boise beat them by 17.
Mike (Portland, OR)
Are the CSU Rams, who might have their first sellout this decade, going to be able to hang with Utah this weekend? And who does snow help more, the Utes or the Rams?
Graham Watson (1:50 PM)
You really only have to send the question once...I'm giving Utah the advantage because it's had two weeks to prepare and CSU is coming off a really tough loss to Idaho. I don't think the snow matter. Both teams have pretty equal running and passing games. I think the issue will be turnovers. Always is.
About Utah's RB situation... you did a nice article on this, and I don't think the Utes are going to miss a beat... Wide looked great against Louisville, and SHAKY looks really agile... plus the Asiata package was not working at all this year (getting stuffed at the goal line), so are the Utes even taking a step back?
Graham Watson (1:51 PM)
I think it's going to be about the same. The Utes don't have a bruising back like they did in Asiata, but Wide isn;t afraid to run between the tackles. I'm eager to see what Shaky does. He'll be good in the wild Ute formation.
It looks as if Turner Gill and the Bulls are due for a down year. After all the hype and praise will the Bull fans be tolerant until he gets the team back to its previous good records?
Graham Watson (1:52 PM)
I think Buffalo fans need to remember where they came from. Gill has transformed this program. Heck, he led the team to a conference title and a bowl. I think not being patient would be pretty ridiculous.
Graham could you please tell me why OU is still ranked? It doesn't make any sense at all.
Graham Watson (1:54 PM)
Read my earlier comment about name recognition. And people are giving the team the benefit of the doubt because of Bradford being injured.
Jake (Honolulu, HI)
Do you know anything about Hawaii's Back up QB Moniz?
Graham Watson (1:55 PM)
I did some research on him yesterday. He's a transfer, good arm, good poise and he might be a little more mobile than Alexander. He put up good numbers in JUCO and McMackin seems to think there won't be much of a slip with him in the shottie. However, none of what he can do will matter if the Warriors can't pass protect and they're going to have a heck of a time against a tough Fresno State front.
Jared (San Diego, CA)
With how mistake prone Max Hall is playing, what do you think about his backup, Riley?
Graham Watson (1:57 PM)
I don't think that would happen. Yes, Hall is making some big mistakes, but the team is still winning. As for Riley, all I know are the stats he put up at Utah State. He hasn't gotten much of a chance at BYU and probably won't unless Hall gets hurt.
GRAHAM!Going back to a point you made earlier! Is their anyway to change the popularity contest in D-1? How much of BSU's rank is about what they've done this season and the past?
Graham Watson (2:00 PM)
I think winning season earn credibility. That's why there were four non-AQs ranked to start the season. So, I think over time it changes, but it takes a couple bad years in succession to make that happen.
Graham Watson (2:01 PM)
Wow, time flew by this week. Thanks for all the questions.