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 (1:59 PM)
Happy Tuesday and welcome to the chat. Let's begin.
Mark (salt lake city, UT)
It seems not a lot of people are giving Utah a chance on Thursday. TCU is favored even though they are coming to OUR house and we are the higher ranked team. That is nothing short of an insult. Yes, TCU has a good defense but guess what? So does Utah. Utah wins this by 10.
Graham Watson (2:01 PM)
I don't know what my pick will be for this game. Obviously, the TCU defense has shown tremedous spped and skill, and now that the offense is coming along, I think TCU might be the most dangerous team in the MWC. But this is a home game for the Utes, so who knows? As far as the line goes, those are set by Vegas, not the voters.
Jared (Fort Worth, TX)
Graham, nice work on the "others" blog. Do you think the ACC and Big East, and other conferences should forfit their BCS auto-bid in years when they don't have a team in the top 16? It seems to me that in years like this, the TCU's, Boise State's, and Utah's of the world are so much more deserving.
Graham Watson (2:03 PM)
I don't think those conferences should forfeit it, but it does open the door for two non-BCS teams to play in a BCS bowl. I would rather see TCU play than WVU. I just think the Horned Frogs are more dynamic. But that's just me.
do u think any teams will go undefeated,and who?
Graham Watson (2:04 PM)
I think Penn State will go undefeated...
Chad (New York city)
It's clear Notre Dame has wonderful young talent. Are they legit title contenders next year?
Graham Watson (2:06 PM)
Title as in national championship? No. I don't think this team could beat a high-level team. It can't even beat teams like UNC and Pitt, which are good mid-level teams. This team will be better next year, but there"s a mental issue that should have been corrected this year and still isn't. That's what will stand in the way of this team being a national championship contender.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham, what are the chances that two non-BCS teams make it to a BCS bowl?
Graham Watson (2:08 PM)
It depends which two teams we're talking about and I really think it comes down to Thursday's game. If Utah wins out, then yes, Utah and Boise State should go. If TCU win out, then yes, TCU and Boise State should go. Boise State will go regardless. There's no way the Broncos lose the rest of this year. But, if BYU, Utah and TCU all have a loss to each other at the end of the season, I think they all knock themselves out, opening the door for an possible undefeated Ball State team.
Do you think that TCU will show up to play Utah like they did BYU?
Graham Watson (2:09 PM)
Yes, I do. But the difference in this game is that Utah is a lot faster and more athletic than BYU. This won't be a blowout either way.
Major (Philly, PA)
"the Horned Frogs are more dynamic" than WVU? Have you seen the WVU dismantle both Georgia and Oklahoma in their BCS games?...wow
Graham Watson (2:10 PM)
This year...? Wait, when did that happen? Oh... Plus on defense, there's no argument that TCU is comparable to an SEC school. I've even had a couple coaches tell me that.
Graham Watson (2:10 PM)
And there's no braggin' about Georgia these days...
Rick (Boise, Idaho)
I don't want to add fuel to the WAC vs MWC fire but I do want to point out that Boise State has not lost to a MWC team since joining the FBS...and it hasn't been the bottom of the MWC. Boise State has beaten each TCU, Utah, and BYU. It seems fair that until someone from the MWC beats Boise State on the field, there shouldn't be a debate over who should be ranked higher.
Graham Watson (2:13 PM)
How many MWC teams has it played this year? I think any arguments about last year or any past year are bogus. These are different teams with different players and some teams have totally different philosophies and schemes. Kellen Moore didn't play for Boise State last year. Jerry Hughes wasn't unstoppable last year. Every year presents a new set of dynamics. The only thing that you can compare this year's MWC and WAC on is common opponents.
Brett (Boise, ID)
What are the chances Chris Peterson from Boise State takes a head coaching job at a place like Tennessee or Washington? He has been mentioned as a potential candidate for both of those positions.
Graham Watson (2:17 PM)
I read his comments from yesterday's press conference and he didn't seem real committed one way or the other, which was a little strange. He said all the right things, but never said he wasn't leaving Boise State. If I were him, I'd shop because he currently doesn't play in a very good conference. Boise State runs through it every year and sometimes the Broncos are rewarded with a BCS bowl. Why not do the same thing at a BCS school - he has the coaching ability to do so - and play for the national championship? Under the BCS, the chances of Boise State playing for the nc are slim to none.
Bradford (Bronco Country)
Graham, come on. We CRUSHED Utah 2 years ago - in SLC no less. I guarantee we would beat them again this year.
Graham Watson (2:19 PM)
I actually don't doubt that. I think Boise State would beat both Utah and BYU. BSU has a better quarterback, more poise, and has a nice defense. There's something about the way that Kellen Moore runs a game that is way calmer than Brian Johnson, though one's a freshman and one's senior. Plus BSU is far more athletic than BYU. I would like to see BSU against the TCU team that's played the last few weeks. That would be a great game.
Will J (Portland, OR)
So you think Peterson would make the transition better to a BCS school than TCU's Patterson?
Graham Watson (2:21 PM)
No, I think both will have an opportunity. But I think Patterson is in a better situation than Petersen in terms of a competitive conference, a great recruiting area in his backyard and the school's rebuilding that athletic complex for him. He's got a good gig.
Anthony (Muncie, IN)
Does Northern Illinois have a chance against Ball State with the return of Dante Love to the sidelines? The Cards will be fired up for this game.
Graham Watson (2:23 PM)
Dante Love was on the sidelines for their last game, so I think the emotion of that won't be as great as it was two weeks ago. But, I don't think Northern Illinois is ready to win this game yet. I think NIU has done a great job this year, but Ball State has just been so dominant in all facets. It's balanced and has the best defender in the league in Larry English. It will be tough for NIU to win this game.
Mike (Canton, Ohio)
Why do people constatnly bash the Big Ten for not having a conference championship game. Penn State played the 2nd best team (Ohio State) in the regular season and beat them. Florida and Alabama, the top 2 teams in the SEC, don't play in the regular season. So what's the difference???
Graham Watson (2:26 PM)
I think it's because the extra game is definitively for the conference title. The game between Penn State and Ohio State still had several games after it. Who knows how that game would have played had it been definitively for the Big Ten title. Underdogs rise up in conference championships. Plus, it's more time that teams has to rest and get ready for the BCS game, which isn't always fair.
Chris (Abilene, TX)
Forde gives A&M an 8% chance of upsetting Oklahoma this weekend. What do you think?
Graham Watson (2:28 PM)
I think that's high :) A&M will be good in a couple years. Oklahoma is really good right now. Plus, the Sooners are still playing for a national championship berth. Heck, they were a stone's throw away from it last year.
Todd (Cincinnati, OH)
You spoke of the "mental issue" with Notre Dame. What do you think that is (players or coaches?) and how do you think they get over it?
Graham Watson (2:30 PM)
I think it's coaching because both lapses have come in the second half. This team gets up big and then thinks it's great and doesn't have to play anymore. A coach needs to recognize that and nip it in the bud. This team is not ND circa the 1990s, but it thinks because it's won five games that it is. That's youth and the rebound from last season. And to me, that's a coaching issue.
Greg (G-ville, Florida)
do you think at the end of this year Tebow will leave for the NFL?
Graham Watson (2:32 PM)
You know, I don;t think he will because of his commitment to school and church and such. he has a ton of talent coming back, too. I don't think he's a guy that should be in a rush.
Jake, (Salt Lake City, UT)
Graham, it is supposed to be in the 30's for the Utah/TCU game? WIll that or the elevation effect TCU? How much will playing on the road effect TCU?
Graham Watson (2:34 PM)
I live in Colorado and I've never bought into the whole elevation thing. I'm sure it has some effect, but it's not like TCU hasn't played in Utah before and it played at Colorado State already this year. As for the cold, I don't buy into that either. If anything, they'll be so hyped up for the game that they won't even notice. TCU has been waiting almost a month for this game. No way weather or elevation gets in their way.
So far has Fairchild been the right choice for CSU?
Graham Watson (2:35 PM)
I think so. CSU has had a lot of close games this year and by next year they'll start closing some of those out. I think CSU has exceeded expectations on the field regardless of what their record says.
Will J (Portland, OR)
One of the biggest non-BCS game of the year, and it's not on ESPN. What a travisty.
Graham Watson (2:37 PM)
The MWC has a television contract with three other station, including their own. That's why it's not on ESPN. It has nothing to do with us.
Jim (Oklahoma City, OK)
Could we ever see a non BCS school making a run at a NC under the current BCS system?
Graham Watson (2:38 PM)
I don't think so. Voters would never allow it. It's sad, but true.
Greg (Boise, ID)
Graham, What is the possibility and obsticles of combining the best of the WAC/MWC teams into a new MWC after their t.v. deal expires?
Graham Watson (2:41 PM)
You know, teams can leave their respective conferences if they meet the requirement put forth in their contracts. For some conferences, that simply means asking out a year in advance and paying the fee for it. I know a lot of coaches wouldn't mind moving some of the better teams from both conference into a better conference.
Brent (Lincoln, NE)
Do you think Buffalo head coach, Turner Gill be a head coach at a BCS school in 2009 or 2010? If so, what schools do you think he could end up at? Thanks!
Graham Watson (2:42 PM)
Um, I think 2010 is more realistic, but even then, I think Buffalo needs to start winning on a more consistent basis. TG has a great reputation, but I think he wants to build something at Buffalo before he jumps ship, and we're starting to see signs of that this year.
You don't think if TCU beat Oklahoma they'd have been right near #1 this year?
Graham Watson (2:43 PM)
Near, but not No. 1. Maybe like Utah was in 2004. In the No. 5 range.
What do you think the chances of BYU's Bronco Mendenhall getting job offers this offseason? Also, what do you think has happened to BYU this last month? They seem like a totally different team ever since the TCU spanking they got.
Graham Watson (2:46 PM)
You know, prior to the TCU game I would have said no doubt and had BYU been able to rebound with gusto, I would have been leaning toward Bronco getting some looks, but now, I don;t know. His team has not responded well and after that TCU game, he didn't respond well. There was a very "woe is me" attitude. I think teams have figured out how to play BYU over the last few weeks, and it's showing some weaknesses.
Tom (Fort Myers, Fl
Any thruth to the rumors of Jon Gruden to the Volunteers?
Graham Watson (2:47 PM)
We were talking about this on Sunday. Yes, before Fulmer stepped down, and we're fairly certain it's a rumor. Cris Low, who broke the Fulmer story for us, pretty much said that he's not the No. 1 guy right now.
Brett- St Louis
Do you think MiQuale Lewis could end up and be a solid NFL RB? It is amazing how good he is considering the knee injuries he has sustained at Ball State
Graham Watson (2:49 PM)
I think MiQuale Lewis is great. It's too bad he doesn't get a lot of national attention, because he is a quick and strong little back. His size might keep him out of the NFL, but if he can get into a camp, I think some one will take a chance on him. But not until next year.
JL (Warrenton, VA)
Graham: Your bio says you used to cover Mizzou. Let me ask you this: with all the returning talent, really good players, etc., and Mizzou has lost 2 big time and barely beat A&M. What is the problem? Is it the coaches?
Graham Watson (2:51 PM)
They barely beat Baylor. A&M's not on the schedule. I actually think it was a sense of complacency that hurt them. They thought they could just walk in a beat teams because of the success they had last year. I don't think they have leadership on defense this year like they had last year and that's really messing things up.
Graham: Please expand on the West coast BCS issue. You are being vague. Both MWC and WAC teams may leave the conference with only 1 year's notice. But wouldn't a MWC plus Boise State, Fresno, and (Hawaii or Tulsa) create enough national respect for a BCS automatic invite? I hate the BCS.
Graham Watson (2:53 PM)
I'm vague because it's only in theory. While you can leave a conference it's not like you can just go jumping from conference to conference and even if you wanted to start a new conference you'd need to get a charter by the NCAA and then you'd have to play your way into an automatic BCS bid. It's not as easy as just saying, "well, I don't want to be in this conference anymore." and you can;t go kicking teams out without just cause. If only college football was like the EPL where the bottom of one league gets demoted and the top of the other get promoted.
Garrick (Boise, ID)
There is all the talk of non-BCS teams not standing up against the SEC, Big-12, etc. teams, yet those teams refuse to play the non-BCS teams unless it is in their house. Do you think this will ever change?? I know money talks, but if the "big time" teams aren't willing to stand up against the non-BCS little guys because they are afraid of getting beat, then how can they talk about how great they are and how weak the non-BCS teams are??
Graham Watson (2:56 PM)
I don't think this is always the case. Didn't OU play at TCU a few years ago? And Missouri is going to Nevada next year. I think it just depends on which team and what the contract entails. I probably think, and I don't have all the future schedules in front of me, that BCS teams go to non-BCS teams more than you think or they play at neutral sites like Western Michigan and Illinois are doing this weekend.
BYU or Utah who's better? and who will win in the Holy War?
Graham Watson (2:57 PM)
Right now, I think Utah is better just because it has confidence, momentum and it's far more athletic as a team than BYU. Plus the game is in Salt Lake, which probably helps.
How come no one said anything about Tyrell Fenroy getting a thousand rushing yards 4 straight seasons?
Graham Watson (2:58 PM)
Talking to him today. Or at least ULL. Plus I did a big preview about it before the game.
OU played at Tulsa, not TCU.
Graham Watson (3:01 PM)
Tulsa. I apologize. Don't have old schedule in front of me
Graham Watson (3:02 PM)
OK. A few more. I have interviews to do.
Geoff (Littleton, CO)
Does Wyoming have a prayer at UT this weekend?
Graham Watson (3:04 PM)
You know, I wouldn't count out the game being close, especilly with the Fulmer thing and how NIU played the Vols. I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility.
Graham Watson (3:05 PM)
OK. Gotta go do work. Thanks for the chat everyone.