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 (1:58 PM)
Hello, and welcome to the chat. I'm your host Graham Watson. I cover the Independent and Others, but I have a plethora of college football knowledge in my head. Let's begin.
Justin (R.S.M.) CA
If BYU runs the table...how high can they finish in the rankings? 5th, 6th or better?
Graham Watson (1:59 PM)
I don't think they'll finish that high because when it's all said and done, I think they will have beaten two of the worst teams in the Pac-10. However, wins over a ranked Utah team and possibly a ranked TCU team would keep the Cougars at like 10 or 9.
Is BYU that good, or is UCLA simply that bad?
Graham Watson (2:01 PM)
Both. I think UCLA fooled a lot of us and was living on emotion against Tennessee. BYU has a great offense. No question. The defense was a little suspect early, but looked fantastic against UCLA. BYU is definitely the team many hyped it up to be in the summer.
John (Memphis, TN)
Graham, My wife, son, and I are going to go to the Memphis vs. Nicholls State game Saturday, should I even bother going? Or will my Alma Mater pick up its first win of the season and justify the free tickets we received. We can't be that bad, can we? When does basketball season start???
Graham Watson (2:02 PM)
Memphis has been one of the most unlucky (or unfortunate) teams in the country during the last two weeks. The Tigers could easily be 2-1. They should win easily against Nicholls State and once they get that first win I think they'll have more success as the season progresses.
Brett (Boise, ID)
If Boise State can pull an upset and beat Oregon this Saturday, will it still be significant to the eyes of the media and coaches even though Oregon's starting QB is out for the game?
Graham Watson (2:04 PM)
I think the answer to this question could go either way. A win by BSU at Oregon would be huge. The program has never beaten a BCS team in a true road game. And with such a young team it would be a great accomplishment. But there is the caveat about the Oregon QB. People will always try to justify non-BCS wins over BCS schools, but I think if BSU rolls into Oregon and wins it will be legit.
Chris (bountiful, UT)
Hey, Graham, give it to me straight. How good is the MWC this year? Better than the Big East? ACC? Pac 1+9? We had a great weekend, especially BYU's decimation of UCLA!
Graham Watson (2:06 PM)
You know, it's hard to argue that the MWC isn't better than the Big East and the ACC, at least early in the season. I think everyone knew coming into the season that the MWC was the best - top to bottom - non-BCS conference, but I think it's pushing for maybe the fourth-best conference overall. That strength will be huge when it comes to selecting BCS bowls if the MWC still has an undefeated team or even a one-loss team.
Chris (bountiful, UT)
Graham, what was the most impressive victory over the weekend in your mind? I of course think it was BYU destroying UCLA. But I may be biased...
Graham Watson (2:07 PM)
Yes, probably the most impressive because no one thought it would be that lopsided of a game. But you have to give some love to UNLV for going to Tempe and beating No. 15 ASU.
ASU overrated, or another fluke win for UNLV(see Utah last year)?
Graham Watson (2:11 PM)
Again, a little of both. From what I was told, all the ASU papers were touting the game as a gimme and questioning whether ASU even needed to show up. The ASU students had signs that said, "Bring on Georgia." So there was some looking ahead going on by ASU. But for UNLV to capitalize on it has to be encouraging for a UNLV fan. The Rebels played well in the first half against Utah, so there was some precursor to the upset the week before. Has UNLV turned the corner? No, but I don't hate its chances against Iowa State this week.
Graham, UNC is looking good and has a tough game in VT at home. Winner of this game wins the division?
Graham Watson (2:13 PM)
You know, UNC was a darkhorse to win the division prior to the season and then it flubbed around against McNeese and people starting having their doubts. But after watching them last week, and having watch VT, I think UNC can take down the Hokies. And yeah, if UNC does that, I think it's their division to lose especially with how weak the conference seems right now.
If you had to choose 1 Qb to lead your team would it be max hall or chase daniel?
Graham Watson (2:16 PM)
Wow, that's a tough one. Both are great QB's. Both are setting records. I think CD is a little more seasoned, though he hasn't played well against faster defenses like Oklahoma. Hall hasn't gotten the chance to play a bigtime defense. I'd pick CD because he's veteran, but you can't go wrong with either. It's like Brady or Manning or LaDanian or Peterson... All four are great fantasy draft picks
Greyson Hennessey, Ok
Graham, Does Troy ,who now has Josh Jarboe, Stand a chance against the red hot Oklahoma State cowboys?
Graham Watson (2:18 PM)
Jarboe's not eligible to play this year, so no, I don't give Troy much of a chance.
Mason (Provo, UT)
BYU and Utah undefeated at the end of the season when they play each other. Will gameday be here?
Graham Watson (2:20 PM)
Obviously, i can't say for sure because there are a lot of other great games that weekend. But it would be in consideration.
Why isn't Max Hall being considered more favorably for the Heisman?
Graham Watson (2:21 PM)
He will as the season moves on, but it largely has to do with who he plays.
With Fresno State coming to the Glass Bowl Saturday, what kind of chance do you give the Rockets at upsetting yet another top 25 opponent at home?
Graham Watson (2:23 PM)
I think this could happen with a Fresno State team that's still licking their wounds from Saturday's loss to Wisconsin.
Do you still think TCU will beat BYU in October? What is your prediction on the BYU-Utah matchup that is looking like a real doosy?
Graham Watson (2:25 PM)
Actually, I do. I'm not backing off that prediction yet. Talk to me after the OU game. And no prediction for the BYU-Utah game yet. It's too early. I want to see how Utah plays against Air Force. Right now I like BYU.
Hey you're way off on your ranking of an undefeated BYU, remember undefeated Utah in 2004. BYU will easily be top 5
Graham Watson (2:27 PM)
Top 5? better than Florida, Missouri, OU, Georgia, USC, etc? I'm not sure. I think that voters are a little more discriminant with non-BCS teams, especially after Hawaii last year.
Chris (bountiful, UT)
Graham, why all the love for South Florida? Why the high ranking? All they've done is beat a very over rated Kansas team that will finish the year 7-5. Do the pollsters just think they need a Big East team ranked higher than the highest MWC team?
Graham Watson (2:29 PM)
Write this down because I may never say this again... Kansas is a lot better than people think. Todd Reesing is a better than people think. So yes, the come-from-behind win is a big deal for South Florida.
Mike (LA, CA)
It's been about a quarter-century since an SEC team beat a ranked, non-conference opponent on the road. Will Georgia keep the streak intact against ASU this weekend?
Graham Watson (2:31 PM)
ASU isn't ranked in the AP and I put more weight on that ranking because it's more independent than the coaches poll. But I think ASU will have a trouble recovering from Saturday's loss.
Brian (Tallahassee, Florida)
UCF or FAU...Which program is more likely to have a break through season in the coming years to be "the next power in Florida"
Graham Watson (2:34 PM)
UCF. It's an older program. More seasoned and plays in a better conference against better competition.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Which game will you be at this weekend?
Graham Watson (2:34 PM)
Boise State at Oregon
Snake (St. Louis, MO)
Graham- Cloudson wants to know how concerned he should really be about the Tigers' pass defense, especially since his favorite Tiger, William Moore, is having foot issues.
Graham Watson (2:37 PM)
Well, Missouri's pass defense was pretty awful during the non-conference and got better as the conference season went on. I don't think it's time to worry yet.
Chris (Virginia Beac, VA)
Ok Graham, all this talk about BYU and stuff, but no mention of the injuries to key players on ECU. And they play out of conference again this weekend against NC State. Your take on the injuries, and the game this week.
Graham Watson (2:41 PM)
The injuries to Byant and Cotton are pretty huge, especially the one to Cotton. And ECU has two or three other linebackers that are ailing. NC State isn't a great team, but it's good enough to knock ECU off the pedestal. The Pirates have dealt with major injuries before, but defense is the strength of this team and Cotton was a catalyst. I'd be worried.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Have you ever been to Autzen before? You'll have a great time.
Graham Watson (2:42 PM)
Never been. Looking forward to it. The cool thing about this season is that every week I've been to a new stadium. I've heard so much about the deafening loudness of that stadium that I'm looking forward to confirming all that I've heard.
Max (manhattan, Ks
How come Josh Freeman gets No Respect!No Respect!?
Graham Watson (2:45 PM)
Ha! If I'm not mistaken, he has better numbers than any Big 12 QB, or at least did going into this past weekend.He gets no respect because for the past two years he's been a average player on an average team. Also, he's in a conference loaded with great QBs. Oh and there's that small fact that I could put up 400 yards against the two defenses he's faced. I throw a wicked spiral. Josh Freeman needs to show he can beat a good team and Louisville ain't going to cut it either.
Avery (Houston, TX.)
Do you think the MWC deserves an automatic BCS bid considering the royal beat down they put on the Pac-10 this last weekend?
Graham Watson (2:47 PM)
No. No. Uh, no. How many times over the past three years or so have people criticized the Pac-10 for being top heavy. A lot. It is top heavy. Always has been. Show me MWC wins over Oregon and USC and I'll petition for your automatic bid. It was a great weekend, great for New Mexico, UNLV, BYU, etc., but do not mistake the bottom of the Pac-10 for the bottom of the SEC.
Chris (Washington D.C)
How long will it take Florida St. and Miami to return to the national conversation?
Graham Watson (2:49 PM)
I've had this question before, I think. Florida State is a little closer than Miami, but I think both are a couple years away at least. I do think both teams are starting to get the talent they used to get and the programs are heading in a positive direction, but I wouldn't expect a national championships anytime some.
Tim (North Carolina)
Graham, Does ND win this weekend in East Lansing?
Graham Watson (2:50 PM)
I marked this game as a loss at the beginning of the season, so I'm saying no. But I also said ND would lose to Michigan, so who knows. But, I do think Michigan State is a sleeper in the Big Ten. Ringer has proven to be quite the back and who knows what ND will do in its first road game?
To answer Tim's question: Yes, if Michigan State fumbles 14 times...
Graham Watson (2:51 PM)
Scott (Papillion, NE)
I don't understand how you can argue against an automatic bid for the MWC but support one for the Big East. It is an unfair and arbitrary line that simply ensures that the same conferences get the money year in and year out regardless of their actual performance.
Graham Watson (2:53 PM)
Because any other year than this one (a least a year in the last 10) the Big East has had a few good teams that would whoop the MWC. This year, USF, WVU, and UConn are no slouches. And honestly, is UNLV going to knock off ranked teams all season? No. It's won eight games in four years. Last weekend was great for the MWC, but look at the weekend before that and the one before that. BYU, TCU, Utah, Air Force... awesome. Everyone else, spotty.
Travis ( Indianapolis , IN)
Does Notre Dame have a chance to be undefeated when they play USC?
Graham Watson (2:54 PM)
No. I think they'll have a tough time this weekend. UNC and Pitt are both coming along, too. I have a hard time seeing the Irish undefeated but year's end.
Avery (Houston, TX.)
What are Air Forces key to victory going against Utah?
Graham Watson (2:57 PM)
Air Force has to take advantage of Utah's struggles on offense, Seems like every game this season, Utah has had some lapse where the offense doesn't work. That's when the AA offense needs to strike. That's not going to be easy against a Utah front seven that's proven to be pretty darn good. And now that everyone knows AFA can't throw the ball, Utah will stack the box. If AFA can get some sort of passing game going, it might have a shot this weekend, But I see Utah winning this game on defense.
Graham, as a disenfranchised college football fan, would you recommend spending my Saturday's collecting stamps or fixing up cars?
Graham Watson (2:59 PM)
Don't be so down on the Buckeye's. USC is pretty darn good. The Big Ten still is pretty weak and up for grabs. I saw Wisconsin play this weekend and I wasn't that impressed (though P.J. Hill is really freakin' good). Anyone can win the Big Ten.
So in a conference of BYU, TCU, Utah, Air Force,USF, WVU, and UConn; BYU Utah TCU and Air Force are bottom dwellers? HA
Graham Watson (3:02 PM)
That's not what I said. I said the MWC you listed above are the class of the MWC right now. But I'm not sure UNLV would beat Rutgers or Colorado State could beat Louisville. The top of the MWC is good. Very good. But the bottom still has a long way to go to warrant an automatic bid for the entire conference. At least Rutgers, Louisville and Cincy have been competitive the last few years. Can you say the same for UNLV, Wyoming or SDSU?
Bryan (Papillion, NE
I understand that Nebraska hasn't played anyone tough yet, but do you think the Huskers are better than what people think they are? What is your outlook on the Huskers?
Graham Watson (3:04 PM)
Yes, yes I do. I've been pleasantly surprised by Nebraska this year. Both sides of the ball have been pretty darn good. But you're right, they haven't played anyone. You'll know more this weekend and obviously against Missouri to start conference play.
Graham Watson (3:08 PM)
OK. Done. Have a good day everyone. And re-read what I said about the MWC vs. the Big East. Top to bottom. Not just the top. Remember, SDSU, UNLV and Wyoming still play in that conference. I'll give them all wins over Syracuse, but that's where I draw the line. The conference needs to be good top to bottom. Will the MWC ever be a BCS conference? Not with its current members. Could some of the upper echelon of teams move to other conferences and be good in those conferences? Yes, I think so. BYU, Utah, TCU are all really good teams.
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