Chat with Graham Watson
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 in The Show at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday!
Graham Watson (2:22 PM)
And here... sorry about that. Got caught up on some interviews
Jack Springfield, IL
Hi Graham, Is there a chance that ND was just working out the kinks against SDSU, or are they really that bad?
Graham Watson (2:23 PM)
I don't think you can definitively say that Notre Dame is bad after one game. There are some major kinks to be worked out, but I think it's all doable stuff. I do think the offensive line is still going to be weak and it will be exposed this week against a tough Michigan front.
I'm curious how you put Pickney over Hall in your QB rankings. Hall has double the yards and TDs as Pickney does with a similar completion percentage. I'm not saying Pickney and ECU aren't great, but these rankings are about individual performance, not team wins, and from what I saw of the ECU games and what I've heard from their fans, their defense is more a credit to their winning than Pickney is (with no offense to him meant).
Graham Watson (2:24 PM)
Well, they're power rankings, guys who do things to make their teams better. I went back and forth about keeping Hall at the No. 1 spot, but look at Pinkney's completion percentage and TD to INT ratio. I don;t think it's a bad pick either way. If Hall has a monster game against UCLA, he'll be right back up there.
Jonathan B (Burlington, NC)
Graham, How do you see ECU playing at Tulane this weekend coming off the VT and WVU wins?
Graham Watson (2:26 PM)
I think this is going to be a tough game not only because I think Tulane is much improved and the defense is pretty awesome, but also because there's no spotlight. ECU should be able to use the fact that this is the first conference game to get up for this bout. ECU should win, but it's not going to be a roll like last year.
Luke (St. Louis)
How do you think Mizzou's secondary will do against Nevada's offense?
Graham Watson (2:27 PM)
Well, looking at what Colin Kaepernick has done in the air this season, I don't think there's a lot to worry about. The concern will be the running game and Kaepernick breaking loose out of the pocket. Missouri has been spotty against the run the last couple years.
Graham....is it just a matter of time before Notre Dame fires Charlie Wies and hires Skip Holtz?
Graham Watson (2:30 PM)
When ND comes up with $30 million or whatever it will takes to buy out CW's undisclosed contract, you let me know. I just can;t see then getting rid of him - if they're awful again - until after the 2009 season. As for Skip Holtz, I'm not sure they'd bring him in to replace CW. I'd think they'd go after someone big. Nothing against Holtz, I think he's great, just speaking to the other ND alumni who have come back and struggled...
Johnny (Phoenix, AZ)
I thought that Utah looked really good against Michigan (especially in the 1st half), then not so good on Saturday. What can really be expected of them?
Graham Watson (2:31 PM)
I think that was a Michigan hangover. Nothing to worry about. Utah came out in the second half and looked pretty darn good. Utah has as good a chance as any of the teams currently being mention as BCS busters right now. I still hold firm that BYU will lose before it gets to that Utah game.
Corey - Columbus Ohio
After watching the first 2 games, do you think Michigan will have a losing season and end their bowl game streak?
Graham Watson (2:33 PM)
You know, I said after the first game that Michigan would be better toward the middle and end of the year than it is now. I still believe that. I think the Wolverines beat ND this weekend just because of their defense.
Graham.. How do you see the Buckeye's fair in LA vs. USC after their sloppy win last saturday vs. Ohio University?
Graham Watson (2:35 PM)
Despite last week's game, I think the Ohio State and USC game will still be good. USC will win, but Ohio State will have a much better showing. I just think with a week off to prepare, USC is going to have a lot of trick up their sleeve and Sanchez has had an extra week to heal his kn ee.
Jon (Jacksonville, FL)
Will a win over UCLA move BYU back up in the polls?
Graham Watson (2:36 PM)
I should give BYU a little boost, but I think the jury is still out on UCLA and how good they're really going to be. It's easier to win an emotional game against a ranked SEC team at home.
Chris (Greenville, NC)
Was UCF really that good the other night or did USF just stumble late? Not to mention it was a rivalry game so it should be closer....Do my Pirate's need to worry?
Graham Watson (2:38 PM)
I think UCF is a good team and I'll admit I didn't think that at the start of the season. I do think the rivalry played into it, especially since it was the last game of the series. It will be interesting to see how the Knights rebound from such an emotional heartbreaker against Boston College this weekend. That certainly is a game they could lose.
Blair - Chicago
Hi Graham... ND's offensive line is going to get Clausen killed. IF SDSU was able to get consistent pressure, what is Michigan's D-line (one of few Wolverine bright spots) going to do on Saturday afternoon?
Graham Watson (2:40 PM)
This is why I fear for Jimmy Clausen... The SDSU D-line was beaten up. It's DE was a linebacker. All the backups were freshmen. And they were ridiculously undersized. I know CW is touting the fact that ND didn't give up a sack, but there were a lot of close calls and Jimmy did take a couple shots. Michigan's D-line is the strength of that team and ND might have a Georgia Tech scenario on its hands this week.
Should La Tech be worried about their chances in conference after the way the KU game went?
Graham Watson (2:42 PM)
No. KU is a very good team. I think there is some concern about the defense after Briscoe made them all look like a junior high squad, but overall La. Tech should be fine. I'm not saying it;s going to challenge for the WAC, but after these last two games I'm thinking it won't be at the bottom.
David (Columbus, OH)
Should ND start looking for a new O-line coach?
Graham Watson (2:43 PM)
That's not a bad idea especially if this season looks a lot like last year. Last year, you chalk up to age and experience. This year, well, it's time for someone to pay if things go poorly.
Hey, what do you think of Miami's coach complaining about the Gators scoring a late fied goal. Florida does play Tenn in two weeks and could use the FG experience, right?
Graham Watson (2:45 PM)
FG experience? Really? No. Especially not in a game that had seconds left and was already a little out of hand. That was, and this is my opinion, an attempt to cover the spread. There's no other reason to kick a field goal there. Just run the ball, let the time run out and be a good sport. And anyone who says that Florida needed to run up the score for the BCS couldn't possibly think that three points makes that much of a difference.
Graham, ND did have a few positives to work off of. o-line didnt give up any sacks, Jimmy looked strong and accurate, Golden Tate, and defense looked good. We all know they need to improve overall. Do you think they can keep it close this weekend, especially with Lou Holtz at the pep rally??
Graham Watson (2:47 PM)
Lou Holtz's statue will also be unveiled.. I agree that there were some positives. The fourth quarter was a huge positive. But you have to remember that they were playing against an SDSU team that had trouble catching a could last week. There were like 15 drops in the game and most of those passes would have gone for big yards. I'm giving ND the benefit of the doubt and the first-game jitters and all that. But the first three quarters were brutal.
Snake (St. Louis, MO)
Graham, thanks again for taking my question. Cloudson is wondering about Derrick Washington of Mizzou. Will he go down as a great back in Mizzou's history, or the greatest back in Mizzou's history?
Graham Watson (2:48 PM)
He's been pretty good so far. I'll reserve judgment until the Big 12 season begins, but so far he's a much more consistent threat than Tony Temple was.
Jonathan B (Burlington, NC)
Graham, Whats the best story through week 2 in NCAA football?
Graham Watson (2:50 PM)
Since you're from North Carolina you probably want me to say ECU. Well, it is ECU. I honestly thought the Pirates would go 3-1 during the non-con with a loss to WVU. Now I'm thinking 4-0. But the second-best story is Rice. 2-0 in conference play already after just three wins all of last year? that's impressive. I think the dream dies this weekend against Vandy, though.
Thanks for answering Graham. At least they pulled off the W. Last year's team probably wouldn't have. Have fun this weekend in South Bend! It's going to be a great atmosphere especially with Uncle Lou being there
Graham Watson (2:51 PM)
And really, that's all that matters, the win. But they should have killed SDSU. That's the problem. They should have won convincingly ad shown that they were better than a year ago. So far, I don;t think anyone thinks that way. Won;t be at ND this weekend. A last minute change is sending me to Fresno State/Wisky.
Nate (San Antonio)
As an LSU fan who lives in Texas now I almost wish the game this Saturday would get moved to Texas Stadium so I can see the Tigers play. Any word on if they will move and if so how tickets will work?
Graham Watson (2:53 PM)
The jury is still out on that. There's really no threat of Hurricane Ike at this point, it's just the damage Tigers Stadium and Baton Rouge has sustained. I talked to Chris Low, our SEC blogger, this morning and he said there should be an update this afternoon.
Dave Wannstadt (Pittsburgh, for now)
I'm really not that great of a coach, am I?
Graham Watson (2:54 PM)
I've said it all season, most overrated team and coach in all of college football.
Chad (Kirksville, MO):
Just how much better are Colt McCoy and Texas this year?
Graham Watson (2:56 PM)
I didn't buy in at first, but now I'm starting to think Texas might be pretty freakin' good. They've put the beatdown on their opponents this year and should continue to do so against Arkansas and Rice. That Colorado game to start the BIg 12 season will be interesting, though.
Benny, East Lansing
How will Michigan State finish the season? I believe they will start 6-1 and finish 9-3.
Graham Watson (2:58 PM)
I like Michigan State a lot and since no team - even Ohio State - has established itself as the clear favorite in the Big Ten, I think Michigan State has as good a chance as any team to take that conference. 6-1 seems fair. Should have been 7-0.
Bob, Twin Falls, ID
What are the big boys going to do when there are 2 or 3 BCS crasheres from the non BSC leagues this year? Teams like ECU, Fresno, Boise State, BYU, Utah? what will happen???
Graham Watson (3:01 PM)
Well two of these teams will be out considering that Fresno State and Boise State and Utah and BYU play at the end of the year. I have a gut feeling that there won;t be as many undefeated teams as people like to think. I'm not even sure there will be one. Both ECU and Utah have favorable schedules from here on out.
Sarah: (Tulsa, Ok):
I know this is going out on a limb, but could Tulsa realistically finish undefeated this year. They travel to Arkansas but I don't think they post that much of a threat this year. If they go undefeated with wins over Arkansas and ECU would that be enough to put Tulsa in a BCS game?
Graham Watson (3:02 PM)
Ah yes. This is another team that no one is talking about. Tulsa has the best schedule to finish undefeated through the regular season, but it might have to play ECU in the C-USA championship. I like ECU's defense in the game. But, if Tulsa beats ECU, it will be in a BCS game. Trust me, beating Arkansas isn't going to do anything to improve any team's BCS chances.
Dan (Nutley, NJ)
Great call on Fresno beating Rutgers. Is this a down year for Rutgers or an up year for Fresno?
Graham Watson (3:04 PM)
I wasn't so impressed with Rutgers. Too many red zone mistakes and the kicker was awful. The bye week might have helped work out the kinks, but right now I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope for a Big East title.
Pete (Apex, NC)
Graham, The decline of the ACC and Big East has been gradual but it is evident more than ever now. Do you see the BCS changing to reflect this? I'd love the BCS to get rid of all of the automatic bids and just take the top 10 in the final BCS poll no matter who they are. What's your take?
Graham Watson (3:06 PM)
I would, too. But what we'd see is some finagling by votes to put teams in certain spots to get those BCS bids. It invites corruption. Seriously, when you sign on to be a Harris Poll voter - the poll that decides the BCS - you have to sign a non-corruption clause stating that you won't take money or gifts in exchange for your vote. It happens and when you take away conference winners, I think you invite more of that into the game.
Dan - San Jose
Wisconsin visits Fresno this Saturday. If Wisconsin brings anything but their A-Game, they're gonna get beat (and may get beat no matter what). Thoughts?
Graham Watson (3:08 PM)
I have my reservations about Fresno State after watching them at Rutgers. Tom Brandstater did not look good. And again, first game jitters, but that was a brutal game to watch. Will Fresno State be better at home? Of course. And I don't like Wisconsin on the road, so, even though I haven;t really evaluated the game yet, I'm leaning toward Fresno State. But, I have to see something better than what I saw against Rutgers because the Bulldogs aren't always going to be that fortunate.
Graham, with so many big games coming up in the next couple of weeks how do you see the Pac-10 shaping out by week 5 or 6? Go Bears!!!
Graham Watson (3:11 PM)
Obviously, barring a natural disaster, USC should continue to reign supreme this weekend, but the rest of the conference is interesting. I like Cal and Oregon. I think both are players in this league. The jury is still out on UCLA. Like I said, emotion first game. Let's see how they do against BYU. And I'm also not sold on Arizona State. Talk to me after Georgia. From there, the rest of the conference is iffy. I like Jake Locker, but I think Washington as a team is pretty awful.
Amy: (Fayetteville, Ar):
How awful are we this year. We barely squeek out against Western Illinois and have another squeeker against UL-Monroe. We could easily be 0-2 and with the upcoming schedule for the next 3 games 0-5. Do we win at least 3 conference games this year?
Graham Watson (3:13 PM)
Oh, I think Arkansas is pretty awful and I'm not sure there are three conference games for you guys to grab. Maybe SC and Mississippi State, but that's pushing it since both games are on the road.
Christopher (Rock-vegas, FL)
Do you think UGA RB Knowshon Moreno will even be talked about for this year's Heisman trophy?
Graham Watson (3:14 PM)
I think he's stealing the spotlight from his quarterback. I just think he needs to have a Central Michigan performance against a high-level SEC team and that won;t come until Sept. 27.
Jeff: (Tulsa, Ok):
Do all the stars on the Sooners hurt any one single players chance of winning the heisman trophy?
Graham Watson (3:16 PM)
Honestly, yes. But on the flip side, I;m not sure which OU player has a shot at it this year at this time against the teams it has played. I know the Cincy win was big, but I think it will be late before anyone starts talking about an OU Heisman if they're talking about one at all.
Phil (Saddle Brook, NJ)
Evan Royster for heisman! Any thoughts?
Graham Watson (3:17 PM)
He's a really good back and I think a sleeper. No one really talked about him much until, uh, Saturday night, so I think he'll have to have a few more stellar performances before making a pitch for the Heisman.
Eric (Pullman, WA)
Worst team in a BCS League: Syracuse or Washington State?
Graham Watson (3:19 PM)
Wow, that's a toss up. I think Syracuse because it's consistently bad. Though Washington State is trying very hard to wrestle the title away.
Ball State: As good as Jason Whitlock claims?
Graham Watson (3:20 PM)
I like Ball State and I especially like Dante Love. He's a great athlete. I do think the MAC West needs to shift its attention from Central Michigan to Ball State. CMU is still the favorite, but Ball State might be the toughest team to beat.
Graham Watson (3:20 PM)
OK. A couple more, folks
Ryan (Chicago, IL)
Not sure Baylor should be excluded from the Syracuse vs. Washington St. debate, even if everyone always thinks they're about to right the ship.
Graham Watson (3:21 PM)
Yeah, but Baylor has pulled off some upsets and put some scares into people. Can;t say the same for the Cuse.
when the gators kick a fieldgoal to win the game against tennessee, the media will say Meyer was smart for giving his kicker the experience.
Graham Watson (3:21 PM)
Only if it's to win the game.
Can A Non-BCS team compete with any the SEC Top 8 teams?
Graham Watson (3:23 PM)
I think ECU can and right now that's the only one I see able to do it. A lot of that stems from the fact that ECU has a few transfers from the SEC and the ACC and are good enough to play with those teams. I don;t think BYU, Utah or even Fresno State have that same level of talent to be able to beat the SEC's top eight on a regular basis.
What would the Buckeyes have to do to regain the nation's respect? Beat USC? Make the game close? Blow out USC?
Graham Watson (3:24 PM)
Beat USC, not lose another game, and win decisively in the national championship game.
Mike (29 Palms)
How did the O-line look bad. He was pressured twice, on screen passes that got blown up, and basically wasn't touched all game. I would say more that they decided not to run the ball to the right side, was more intriguing.
Graham Watson (3:25 PM)
Clausen shouldn't be touched at all against a piecemeal line that's playing freshmen and severely undersized. And the running game was pretty weak through the first three quarters. It just not what a team from Notre Dame should look like against the bottom of the MWC.
John (Charlotte, NC)
I am really getting tired of the Sports Media beating up on BYU this week. BYU did not make the rules, did not throw the flag, but did block a kick. Why is this all comming down as somehow BYU's fault?
Graham Watson (3:27 PM)
No one is beating up on BYU. People are beating up on the officials. My take: It's a rule. It hs to be called. And that didn;t decide the game. A 35-yard kick isn't that difficult. Made all the time by college kickers around the country. BYU blocked it. Put that on Washington special teams. BYU won fair and square. End of story.
Graham Watson (3:28 PM)
OK. I'm out all. Thanks for the chat and read the Others Blog. It's really cool.