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 (2:00 PM)
Welcome to the chat. My name is Graham Watson and I cover the non-BCS and Independents, but they pay me to have knowledge of all college football. Call me a Renaissance woman. Let's begin.
You coming to Fort Worth on Thursday?
Graham Watson (2:00 PM)
Yep. I will be there. Surprisingly, that's my only game of the week.
Could BYU and Boise State both end up in BCS bowl games this year?
Graham Watson (2:02 PM)
Yeah, I think it's possible, but unlikely. This same scenario happened in 2004 with Utah and Boise State and BSU didn't get the at-large bid. I really think their conference schedule hurts them in that regard. If they go undefeated with either BYU or Utah, one of the MWC teams will get automatic nod and BSU could be on the outside looking in whether they deserve to be or not.
Jennifer (Newport Beach, CA)
Your thoughts on who the most overrated team is?
Graham Watson (2:05 PM)
That's tough. I think you can make a case for USC. I know, I know, USC has great individual talent, but individual talent does not necessarily make a great team. They just look uninspired lately and perhaps that's a product of playing is a weak Pac-10. But right now, I'm not sure they deserve to be ranked as highly as they are.
In your opinion, Who's the next head coach to be canned?
Graham Watson (2:06 PM)
Willingham or Tubberville. I think both are on the ledge. The thing with Tommy is that he can reel himself back in with a nice finish. Willingham's just done.
Hi Graham. In your blog, you said ND's defense never got off the bus. While they didn't play up to par, they did only give up 18 points. Who's more to blame for their loss to UNC, the O or D?
Graham Watson (2:09 PM)
Um, OK. This is a two-parter... They never got off the bus because the defense should have been able to stor a UNC offense that was playing a backup quarterback without his best receiver. The UNC running game was non-existent until Saturday. Check the stats. That's why I said they didn't get off the bus. As for who lost the game, well, I think it was a mixture of Notre Dame's defense not getting stops and Clausen making costly mistakes and not capitalizing in the first half. ND dominated the first half, yet was only up eight points. Should have had a bigger lead to work with.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Hey Graham, with all of Chris Petersen's success at Boise State I am getting a little nervous about all the potential job openings after the season. Do you think Coach Pete has any intentions of leaving or do you think we'll hang onto him?
Graham Watson (2:11 PM)
I think if he has another undefeated or one-loss season, there's no doubt that suitors will be lining up. There are going to be more than a few BCS jobs opening up in the next few months, he probably has a couple dream jobs he'd love to take. Maybe Washington, since it's in his recruiting area is one of them. But to answer your question, yes, I think BSU fans should be concerned about him getting offers after the season. Probably isn't the first time, either.
Ric (Salt Lake)
Who wins thursdays game?
Graham Watson (2:12 PM)
I'm not ready to go there yet. I picked TCU back in August. Everyone will know my final pick come Thursday.
How low do you think BYU will fall when they lose to TCU?
Graham Watson (2:14 PM)
That's hard to tell since we won't know about the rest of the rankings for a couple days after the game, but my gut feeling is they would crash pretty hard since many voters are waiting to see them play some major competition. If BYU wins, I don;t think they move far unless some craziness happens above them. I think BYU is locked in until all bananas breaks loose at the top of the rankings
MrDaniels522 (Tulsa, Ok)
Why isn't Kendall Hunter of OkState getting any publicity? His stats are incredible. He ran all over Missouri.
Graham Watson (2:16 PM)
I think OSU's running game is the most underrated part of their offense. Everyone talks about Robinson and the receivers, but the running game can bite an opponent as well. Now, Missouri's rush defense is one of the worst in the country, so that's probably not a good gauge, but if he has similar success against the Big 3 in the South, then his name will be prominent in Doak Walker talk and possibly Heisman.
Matt (St. Paul)
You covered the most overrated team...how about most overrated conference?
Graham Watson (2:20 PM)
I have to go to the ACC. I was going to say Pac-10, but I don't think many people have any illusions now about how weak that conference is. But the ACC is questionable. I mean, Clemson was supposed to be this juggernaut and they fired their coach midway through the season. UNC's best player is hurt, so who knows what they'll do, and Wake is a question mark after losing to Navy. FSU is not the FSU of old and what's up with spazzy Maryland? I just think there are more questions than answers in the ACC.
John (Fremont, CA)
'All bananas break loose'? Does that mean all teams above BYU have to incur two losses for BYU to move up through the proverbial glass ceiling? The system is a joke and broken.
Graham Watson (2:21 PM)
I don't disagree, but as long as BYU is a non-BCS team playing aerage competition, it's never going to get the respect it might deserve, especially over the Big 12 or the SEC.
Pete (Silver Spring, MD)
Besides Max Hall, what non-BCS player has the best chance of making it to New York as a Heisman finalist?
Graham Watson (2:23 PM)
I don't think there is one right now. Nate Davis doesn't play elite competition. There are a couple good running backs, but not Javon Ringer good. And honestly, with the emergence of Penn State, I'm not sure Max Hall wouldn't be bumped for Daryll Clark. That goes back to the whole respect thing. Hall needs to put up some crazy numbers this week and on Utah to make his case.
Jerry (Miami, FL)
Do you think FIU is now a solid competitor in the SBC or will it take a win agaisnt Troy for them to be taken seriously?
Graham Watson (2:26 PM)
I was actually talking with another coach about FIU this morning and he was talking about how great it is to see a team like FIU rise up. It gives a lot of other teams hope and confidence. I do think it will take a win over Troy for people to really look at FIU as a threat. FIU is fortunate that it catches Troy fresh off the loss of its starting QB. That could play huge in this game. But I'm a big fan of what FIU is doing right now.
Todd (Colorado Springs)
Will Marshall ever fire Mark Snyder?
Graham Watson (2:27 PM)
Isn't Marshall at the top of the C-USA East? I know they're not great, but they're way better than they were last year and I think the Thundering Herd has a legit shot at taking the East. Now if they crumble, yeah you can talk about firing him, but right now I don't think it's a valid argument.
Penn st has not beaten ANYONE!!..why so much love ??
Graham Watson (2:30 PM)
I think it's the way they haven't beaten anyone. The adage is that if you're playing bad competition, make them look like bad competition. A lot of people thought Whisky was the class of the Big 10 and Penn State made them look JV. We'll see what happens in the Shoe in a couple weeks. That ranking might go to Penn State's head.
Why is USC moving up in the polls after beating lowly PAC-10 teams? BYU beats lowly MWC teams, but doesn't go anywhere.
Graham Watson (2:31 PM)
Because it's USC. Stupid answer, I know, but that's what many pollsters are thinking. USC will always get the benefit of the doubt because it's USC. Not fair, but we've already established that.
Ryan (SLC, UT)
Has BYU really hit a glass ceiling in the rankings? How much will beating TCU this week send a message to the pollsters?
Graham Watson (2:33 PM)
Glass ceilings are made to be broken. I think there's room to move, but as you saw after this weekend, the pollsters aren't big fans. There's no way some of the teams that jumped around them should have moved without BYU moving too. But again, BYU is being judged by its schedule. A win over TCU will give some street cred, but I don't see it being worth more than a spot or two especially since TCU isn't ranked in the AP poll.
Steve (Syracuse, NY)
When will we finally lay the axe down on GRob!?
Graham Watson (2:35 PM)
I'm surprised it wasn't done yet. My guess is that the search has already started and Robinson is a lame duck. Syracuse is so far out of it, it doesn't really matter whether he finishes the season or not. And I haven't looked at the language in his contract . It might same the school some money if he finishes out the year.
Austin (Muncie, IN)
Graham, settle this debate my friends and I have been having: on a neutral field, Ball State or Notre Dame?
Graham Watson (2:39 PM)
After watching Notre Dame's run defense this weekend - and all year - I'd give the advantage to Ball State in triple overtime. MiQuale Lewis would shred their defense. I say this in all sincerity, when I saw him for the first time over the summer, I was awestruck. I immediately looked up his bio in the media guide. He is a fantastic scat back and Notre Dame would hate him. I think Ball State and UNC are about the same level, but I think Ball State's overall defense is a little better. This would be a really close game. Like many UND games, it would depend which Clausen shows up. He can put up 400 yards, but three key turnovers aren't going to cut it.
Who do you think will break the BCS? BYU,Utah, or Boise ST.?
Graham Watson (2:39 PM)
When it's all said and done? Boise State will be the last undefeated standing.
Nick (Boise, ID)
Graham, regarding the BSU v Hawaii game this weekend on the blue: what are the chances I can leave at halftime and just keep drinking? I say 80%. BSU will have crushed any hope of a Hawaii upset by halftime.
Graham Watson (2:40 PM)
Yeah, I'm not feeling any island magic in this game. I think it's going to be some bigtime revenge. I don't think Hawaii is quite where it needs to be to compete with Boise State yet.
The ACC is overrated? There out-of-conference record is 32-10!
Graham Watson (2:43 PM)
And what are the records of the teams they've beaten? Baylor? UCF? Jacksonville State? We're not talking the upper echelon of college football here. But point taken on the OOC record.
Shane from Orem, Utah
Graham, Realistically, what do you think the chances are of having two undefeated teams battling it out in the Holy War on November 22 for a bid to a BCS Bowl game? How big will that game be? And is there any hope the winner could make it to the top 2 of the BCS standings?
Graham Watson (2:45 PM)
I think TCU gets one of them. I really do. And after watching CSU the last couple weeks, I'm not so sure Utah won't have tough game this weekend especially if BYU loses. No one knows how Utah would handle being the lone MWC team in the BCS rest. A BYU loss could spell disaster for Utah.
What does BYU need to do to come away from TCU with a victory on Thurs?
Graham Watson (2:46 PM)
TCU does a great job of keeping you guessing on defense, so BYU has to do a ton of film study this week. I know they have a shorter week than TCU because they don't practice on Sundays, but Hall and the line will have to be really sharp and watch the blitzes ad the stunts. TCU is going to pull some crazy stuff, I just know it.
Carl 29 Palms Ca
Will Michigan beat PSU this weekend?
Graham Watson (2:48 PM)
I don't know that Michigan can recover from last week. Their saving grace is that Penn State might be thinking the same thing as well as looking ahead to Ohio State. Michigan could catch Penn State napping, but that's the only way they beat them.
Brad (Kalamazoo, MI)
Western Michigan or Central Michigan this weekend. Who ya got?
Graham Watson (2:50 PM)
This is a tough call. I'm leaning toward Western just because it's played like MAC competition and because LeFevour's a little banged up, though he should play. I haven;t gotten a chance to really study the game for my picks, but initial pick is Western.
Troy (La Plata, MD)
That's ok Graham. You can give us respect when we show up in a bowl game.
Graham Watson (2:51 PM)
Enjoy the EagleBank Bowl. At least it will be like a home game :)
Jimmy (Kansas City)
Do you think Turner Gill will be sought after for a BCS school gig after his performance at Buffalo?
Graham Watson (2:52 PM)
Not yet. I'd give it another year. Buffalo has improved, but it's still inconsistent. It will be interesting to see what he has without Drew Willy under center.
Every week you pick against WMU, and they prove you wrong. Why no love for the Broncos, and when will you admit they can take the MAC!
Graham Watson (2:54 PM)
Um, I haven't picked yet and I just said I'm probably not going to pick against WMU. Thanks for reading.
Blair - Chicago
Wolverine alum and season ticket holder...talk me off of the ledge please!
Graham Watson (2:56 PM)
Can't do it until Rick Rod finds himself an athletic, mobile quarterback. No one should have thought this was going to happen overnight. Rich Rod wasn't going to change his system to fit his players, he'll change his players to fit his system. Don't be surprised to see some transfers at the end of the year.
Darryl (Oakland, CA):
Is it true that you said that you think Ball St. is better than Cal? If so, do you still feel like that?
Graham Watson (2:58 PM)
I don't remember saying that. Maybe I don't. I honestly don't remember. But I'd love to see them play a neutral site game. I think it would be a good game.
Ben (Columbus, OH)
Do you think Austin Collie is any good (as he thinks/says he is???)
Graham Watson (3:00 PM)
He reminds me a lot of Jordy Nelson from Kansas State. He's a great receiver, but he can be contained with the right defense. He'll be a point of emphasis for TCU, I'll say that.
Graham Watson (3:00 PM)
OK. Last couple questions. I gotta go back to work.
John Los Angeles
Two Part Question Do you think Kansas is a solid, real team that can make a statement in the BIG 12? From watching them, my personal opinion is they play with the most heart and find a way to win. Also, if they ran the table the remainder of the season, even though it's highly unlikely, will they be a BCS team again this year?
Graham Watson (3:02 PM)
I think they are going to have a very tough time against a very POed OU team this weekend. It could get ugly. I don;t think they'll run the table considering the South team they play, but if they do, yeah, they'd have to be in the Top 5 in the country if Texas, Tech and Mizzou all stay relatively close to the top..
Graham Watson (3:03 PM)
Looking for a last question...
Cliff (Detroit, MI)
NIU is already improving under Jerry Kill. Will they be the spoiler for either CMU or BSU?
Graham Watson (3:05 PM)
I don't think they've improved enough to take down those teams or even WMU, but I think they'll put up a nice fight. QB play is the big question here. If they can keep either Harnish or Nicholson healthy, they have a better chance of sticking with the top of the MAC West.
Graham Watson (3:05 PM)
All right. I'll talk to everyone next week.