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 (1:00 PM)
Welcome to today's chat. Hope everyone's doing well. Let's get started.
Burn the Horse (Alabama)
Is Troy's Levi Brown the best Mid-Major Quarterback in the country?
Graham Watson (1:01 PM)
I think he's one of the best. He's certainly putting up some great numbers during the past couple weeks and I think, if Troy can get past ULM this week, he can lead the Trojans to another Sun Belt title.
LARRY (CHARLESTON, WV)
WHICH C-USA GAME WILL TELL US MORE: ECU VS MEMPHIS (TUES) OR MARSHALL VS UCF (SUN)?
Graham Watson (1:01 PM)
What's with the caps? I think Marshall-UCF will be a more competitive game than the one tonight.
Graham-What happened to BYU on Saturday? Obviously TCU is the better team but as a BYU fan, I was dumbfounded watching the guys play. Thoughts?
Graham Watson (1:03 PM)
Yeah, I thought the game would be closer, too. TCU just came in with a better gameplan and BYU was outcoached. I definitely think TCU's defense was the best defense the Cougars had faced this season. TCU's defense played better than Oklahoma's defense did in the opener. I just don;t think BYU has the athletes to keep up with TCU right now.
Graham, time to continue the tradition....with the Bobcats' loss on Saturday, can they still win the MAC East?
Graham Watson (1:05 PM)
I don't know... I thought Temple would lose to Toledo and the Owls blew the Rockets out of the water (pun intended). It will be interesting to see how Temple handles some of the increased media pressure and if it can continue to stay focused. Right now, I think the East is the Owls' to lose.
One Word to describe Ryan Mathews of Fresno State?
Graham Watson (1:05 PM)
Hey so who is going to win saturday's game between Idaho and La Tech? As well as do you still think Idaho can win the WAC title at this point or is it to much to ask for for this well motivated team?
Graham Watson (1:07 PM)
Louisiana Tech is in a bit of a tailspin right now and I don't think the Bulldogs offense is good enough to get into a shootout with Idaho. I think Idaho wins the game pretty handily. As for the WAC title, I think that might be asking a bit much. Even if they had they beaten Nevada, I still don't think they're ready to beat Boise State.
Hey Graham! If Troy was to win out, do you think the Trojans will end up being a top 25 team?
Graham Watson (1:09 PM)
I don't think so because I don't think the Sun Belt is considered a tough league. Had Troy beaten Bowling Green and been a little competitive against Florida, maybe they'd crack the Top 25.
Is the BSU AD and staff trying to scheduled harder OOC games for us, or are they content with playing sub par teams and trying to go undefeated every year and try for a BCS bowl?
Graham Watson (1:11 PM)
Well, I think the Virginia Tech game next year is a start. That's a great matchup and the fact that Boise State is traveling across the country for the game will give them some clout next year. As we saw last year, and might see this year, going undefeated against a subpar schedule doesn't necessarily mean a BCS bowl berth.
Stephen (Montgomery, Alabama)
Who do you like in this weekend's TROY/ULM matchup? The winner will likely head to the New Orleans Bowl.
Graham Watson (1:12 PM)
I agree with that although I'd be a little weary of FAU, which is coming on strong in conference play.
Bob (Cary, NC)
If Harvey Unga continues to do well do you think he could get into heisman consideration? cuz he did well against a stiff tcu run defense.
Graham Watson (1:13 PM)
I agree that Harvey has been fantastic this season, but I don't see him getting into the Heisman race. Had he played and put up strong numbers against Oklahoma, this might be a different conversation. I also think Unga is hurt by BYU's losses.
How does USC make the BCS title game?
Graham Watson (1:14 PM)
USC would need to win out and have some other teams near the top topple. I'm not sure that's going to happen.
Is there any value to the blue turf argument. It never seemed to be a problem in the late 80's early 90's. When Boise wasn't beating good teams.
Graham Watson (1:14 PM)
What's the argument?
I'm a boise homer, but that Ryan Mathews from Fresno State should be in Heisman contention, what is it going to take for the media to recognize him?
Graham Watson (1:16 PM)
He's been on my ESPN Heisman ballot all season. I'm not sure why he's not getting more hype. A lot of that has to do with visibility and promotion from the school. There's no doubt in my mind that he's one of the best running backs in the country.
Graham Watson (1:18 PM)
I think Navy didn't throw a pass last week because of the weather. So, I don't think that will be in the gameplan this week. Temple's defense has been tough this year and it's already played a triple option team this season. Navy's going to have to mix it up a little bit if wants to win the game.
Diego (Las Cruces NM)
Graham, don't you think that Boise state has the BEST win of any no AQ school? Shouldn't quality count over quantity? I have a hard time understanding why everyone is so gaga over TCU's win over BYU. Like you said above, BYU doesn't have the athletes to compete with speedy teams. BYU just doesn't look very good.
Graham Watson (1:20 PM)
Yes, Boise State has the best win, but that's not always enough. TCU has more quality wins. I guess BYU is the signature win because it was ranked, but TCU has gone on the road and defeated Clemson, BYU and Air Force... All quality wins. I guess Virginia is an OK win, too. So, to some voters, the consistency against tough teams holds more weight than beating a tough team at home to start the season.
Andrew (Orlando, Fl)
Graham, how much longer does UCF have to suffer with George O'leary as our head coach. This every other year of mediocrity is terrible. We are the largest school in Florida now, and still have a new on campus stadium and indoor practice facilities. And we play in the weak CUSA, with all that we have going for us, should we be doing better than this??
Graham Watson (1:23 PM)
You know, UCF could still win C-USA East, so I think the jury's out on O'Leary. I agree that UCF should be better than what it's been the past couple years, but I'm not ready to kick O'Leary out yet. I guess it depends on the Marshall game.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
Why doesn't the Air Force piece of the Commander-in-Chief trophy command the kind of attention that Army/Navy does? In my opinion, Air Force/Navy and Air Force/Army should receive national media attention as well.
Graham Watson (1:27 PM)
I think it's because AFA is in a conference and has admitted that its focus is on winning the Mountain West more than the CIC. I will say this though, I believe Gameday will be at AFA on Nov. 7 for the Army game.
I know that coach Patterson has a sign contract with TCU until 2014, do you think with all the success he is having in TCU for the last 9 years a bigger school with more publicity, can steal him away from TCU?
Graham Watson (1:29 PM)
I would take some school offering quite a bit to pull Patterson away from TCU. He makes somewhere between $1.8 and $1.9 million at TCU. He has the run of the place. He has a new, energetic AD, and the school's renovating his facilities. Not to mention his backyard in one of the best recruiting areas in the country. He had offers from the SEC last year and didn't leave. It would take a lot.
Jimmy Clausen for Heisman
Graham Watson (1:30 PM)
Interestingly enough, he's No. 1 on my ballot. Although Notre Dame isn't undefeated, I think he's been the most consistent quarterback in the country. He's given his team a chance to win every game and I truly believe that if that continues, he should win the trophy.
Jason (Portland, OR)
How surprising was Ohio U's loss to Kent State? I did not expect that.
Graham Watson (1:31 PM)
I agree. I thought Ohio had the easiest road to the East title, but maybe they did too and took the Golden Flashes lightly. They're going to have a tough time chasing down Temple now.
What needs to happen for TCU to play for the national title? Thay got a lot of exposure last week in college gameday and that reflected on the human pollsters.
Graham Watson (1:33 PM)
A lot has to happen for USC to play for the national title. Even if the SEC teams started to fall, I think Iowa and USC might get the nod before TCU because of history, voter trends and strength of schedule.
Grade for red head Andy Dalton?
Graham Watson (1:35 PM)
He's been much improved this season, which is a big reason why TCU is winning. I liked the fact that they trusted him enough to come out throwing against BYU. That really took BYU by surprise and the Cougars never really made the proper adjustments to the passing game.
Isn't Bosie win against Oregon Better then Washington win against USC?
Graham Watson (1:35 PM)
Any games Boise State should be upset alert for at this point?
Graham Watson (1:36 PM)
Eh... Maybe Nevada only because the Wolf Pack always play Boise State tough. I've said all along that after Boise got past Oregon, there wasn't a team on the schedule that could beat the Broncos.
Chris (San Diego)
How do you think Brady Hoke is doing at SDSU? Do you think they still have a chance at a bowl game this year?
Graham Watson (1:38 PM)
I think SDSU is doing much better than anyone expected. They were great last week even without their top receiver. I think there are three wins remaining on the schedule to get bowl eligibility if SDSU can continue to play like it did against Colorado State.
Hey there Graham. I heard you mention it last week. I have also heard Ivan Maisel, Pat Forde, Mark Schlabach, Feldman and Herbstreit mention it as well. All of these people seem to be pushing the idea of both BSU and TCU in a BCS game. Do you think it is a possiblity at all? It just seems this year there isn't a lot of dominant teams. I know its about money and hotel rooms, but if it was ever gonna happen, could this be the year?
Graham Watson (1:42 PM)
I think it could happen, but I think to make it happen TCU would need to get the automatic bid and Boise State would need to be the at-large. TCU doesn't have as strong of a fan base as Boise. It doesn't sell out its stadium and doesn't travel well. Boise State, on the other hand, does have all those intangibles, which would make it attractive as an at-large. BCS bowl games care about tickets. TCU won't sell its allotment of tickets. So, if TCU is waiting for an at-large, I don't think it's going to happen.
The Wolfpack ALWAYS play Boise State Tough? Really? I can only think of two close games since Boise joined the WAC.
Graham Watson (1:43 PM)
Sorry, should have said recently. Either way, I still think Boise State wins.
Daniel Kittrell (Winterville, NC)
ECU would have to have a total meltdown not to win the CUSA East.. They already own tie breaks against Marshall and UCF... Other than that, How do you think of the game is going to go tonight?
Graham Watson (1:45 PM)
Memphis is such a mystery to me because it has the players to be a really talented team, but that's not coming through on the field. I honestly don't think this is going to be a good game. ECU's defense should be able to keep the Memphis running game in check. Beyond that, Memphis doesn't have much consistent offense.
Don't you think it would have been great to see the Fresno State Boise game a little later in the season, the hype of mathews and both teams could be coming in ranked vs the murderous schedule Fresno went through due to the WAC and ESPN changing the date?
Graham Watson (1:47 PM)
Yeah, I think it might have been a better game later in the season (not that it wasn't a good game). It was a disadvantage for Fresno State to have that game on the heels of a long road trip when Boise State had back-to-back home games. But that's scheduling. Maybe it will change next year.
Who outside of the top 3 in the Mountain West will get to a bowl?
Graham Watson (1:49 PM)
Right now I like Air Force. I'm not sure any other MWC team is going to get to six wins. Wyoming has a really tough schedule ahead and I'm not sure what to expect from San Diego State.
Is the WAC a better conference this year compared to last year?
Graham Watson (1:52 PM)
Honestly, I think it's about the same. I don't think more than four teams get to six wins this year. And I think the teams in the top four will stay in the top four. I don't see Louisiana Tech or New Mexico State or Hawaii making a late surge.
Why isnt Case Keenum getting any love, he has around 2500 yds this season and OVER 10000 YDS in his career and he is only a junior, how is he not the heisman frontrunner with ridiculous numbers like that???
Graham Watson (1:54 PM)
The Heisman isn't always about numbers, it's about being the best player in the country and how that's quantified is subjective. I think if Keenum continues to put up great numbers and his team wins C-USA, he'll be invited to New York, but I don't think he'll win because of the other players in the field.
How do you see the Marshall-UCF game playing out on Sunday night?
Graham Watson (1:56 PM)
I like Marshall because of how good the Herd have been so far this season, but I think it's going to be a gritty game, which is a little out of Marshall's comfort zone.
Hank (South Dakota)
So is the MWC a poorer conference this year or better? 3 or 4 bowl teams. In truth, they are not much different from the WAC.
Graham Watson (1:58 PM)
Well, the national rankings are different and the record against AQ teams is different. But if you're going bowl games to bowl games, then yes.However, I think bottoms of those conferences are pretty similar. The tops are not.
So Graham, are you saying the Heisman is a popularity contest and not based on the best stats, the only true quantifiable measure?
Graham Watson (2:00 PM)
Eh, not always a popularity contest, but I think that leadership, team wins, stuff like that also gets factored in addition to stats. But I don't think stats could be the only measure because different teams have different systems. If stats were the measure than Texas Tech would have had the longest streak of having a player win the Heisman and Tulsa quarterbacks would have been in New York. Like I said, what makes the nation's best player is different for every voter.
Graham Watson (2:02 PM)
Another thing with the two non-AQ teams in the BCS... Notre Dame plays a big role in this as well. If Notre Dame gets nine wins, its eligible for a BCS bowl at-large as long as it's in the top 14 in the BCS standings. I can guarantee that a BCS bowl would pick Notre Dame if it had the opportunity.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham, is it going to be back to back undefeated regular seasons with no BCS bids for Boise State? Thanks.
Graham Watson (2:04 PM)
You'd like to think that wouldn't happen. Regardless of who they play, Boise State has been one of the most consistent teams in the country. Right now, it's not looking good, but there's a lot of football to be played.
Graham Watson (2:05 PM)
All right, I'm out. Have a good weekend everyone.