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)
Hey guys. Gonna start chat a bit early. So let's get started.
Will ( Springdale, Ar )
What will happen if Tech wins out but loses to Mizz?
Graham Watson (2:01 PM)
Well, it won't get in the national championship and it won't get the Big 12's automatic bid. I would bet, though, that it might get a look as an at-large, especially since it would own head-to-head with UT and OU. However, the BCS at-large's go to teams that can promise fans and money and UT and OU can guarantee that stuff should one of them not make the national championship.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham, you admitted last week that you thought Boise State is better and could beat Utah, BYU, and possibly TCU. Because BYU and TCU are out of the running for a BCS Bowl it is down to Utah and Boise State (the other BSU still has some ground to make up), is everyone giving Utah the nod because their schedule is tougher or many of them think that Utah is actually better?
Graham Watson (2:03 PM)
I truly believe it's because their schedule it tougher. It seems like Utah has been tested on a weekly basis whereas Boise State is an unknown because the schedule is soft. I think a lot of voters just wish Boise State played tougher opponents on a regular basis. This is through no fault of their own, mind you, just a really down year for the WAC. You know, if TCU and Utah played five times, I think TCU would win four of them. But the Horned Frogs missed their opportunity and Utah was the better closer that day.
What do you think Navy's chances are against Notre Dame this weekend?
Graham Watson (2:07 PM)
I think they are pretty high. This thing with Notre Dame isn't about play calling. It's about leadership and mentality. You've got a lot of young guys who don't know what it's like to win on a consistent basis, so they don't know how to fight adversity. Just look at the body language from the BC game. Someone needs to wrap their arms around this team and point it back in the right direction, and I'm not sure there's someone on ND that can do that. Weis hasn't shown that he can, and I'm not sure a senior like Maurice Crum and Grimes really believes enough to convert a whole team. Navy is a good team and a better team with Ricky Dobbs at QB. He'll be able to run against the ND defense.
Cliff (Detroit, MI)
What are the chances that Western Michigan gets left out of a bowl game?
Graham Watson (2:09 PM)
Unfortunately, I think its 50/50 right now. They could finish with nine wins and be left out. What WMU needs is for the winner of the East to come in with a 6-6 record and get beat in the championship game so they don't qualify or for either Central or Ball State to lose out. I think if Central has three loses, WMU would be a more attractive option should the Broncos win out.
Utah just keep winning their games and gets the job done, yet they receive no love. Great teams find ways to win and that's what they have done. Why is it that people think TCU and BSU are better ( Including you Graham) than Utah when the Utes have proven the doubters wrong every time! What does a team have to do to earn a little respect?
Graham Watson (2:13 PM)
I've seen all three teams play live. The thing with Boise State, which would give Utah an advantage over them, is mistakes, penalties and turnovers. It's still a very young team. But can anyone deny that TCU had chip shot field goals that should have been made? I made a comment last week that Utah has something going for it that is out of the realm of football. Yes, good teams find ways to win, but I truly believe Utah is charmed. The Utah defense was great, but anyone who has seen TCU play before knows that wasn't their best game. Now, that takes nothing away from the Utah defense. The Utah offense, with the exception of about 2 minutes, left something to be desired.
Kyle (Muncie, In.)
With the presence of an Orange Bowl rep. at the Ball St. v. NIU game, lots of fellow students think we're BCS bound if we remain undefeated. I'm saying that's a pipe dream. Does the Orange Bowl have incentive to take us over the likes of bigger teams with bigger fan bases?
Graham Watson (2:15 PM)
Reps were at all the non-BCS games this week. I wouldn't read much into it except that Ball State is on the radar as it should be. I'd bet all of the BCS bowl reps with the exception of the Rose will be at the game tonight. And no, the Orange Bowl doesn't have a lot of incentive to take Ball State over some of the teams ahead of it. However, Nate Davis is making Ball State a very attractive option.
If Weis can't provide the leadership, what's the point of keeping him around after this season(other than money)?
Graham Watson (2:17 PM)
That's a question a lot of folks are asking right now. I can't answer that because I don't know what it takes to raise $30 million (or whatever) in a short amount of time.
Mitch (Portland, Or.)
How would you answer the question you posed to us earlier? Of the unbeaten non bcs teams who deserves the bcs bowl? using the same parameters you gave us?
Graham Watson (2:20 PM)
If I answer this now then why post my thoughts on Friday? :) I actually agree with a couple posters that said that non-BCS fans should route for the best team to play to repair the slight damage done with the Hawaii debacle last year. Which team would represent the non-BCS the best? I think you can make arguments for all three and it's unfortunate that the two BSU's don't play in tougher conferences. It's difficult to gauge how good they really are whereas Utah has played tough teams, ranked teams, and gone to tough places to play. That, to me, gives them an edge.
Jason Fort Dodge, Iowa
Do you think the huskers are underrated with the toughness of their schedule and the 9-0 teams don't play any team to the calibur but still get ranked?
Graham Watson (2:24 PM)
Well, this goes along with the argument that a couple other people are making about the strength of the Big 12. I think Nebraska has gotten a lot better since playing Mizzou, but I also think KU was a sham. And a lot of people thought that the Jayhawks were a product of their easy schedule. But, I do think Nebraska is way better. If they had to play Mizzou again I still think they'd lose because the styles don't mesh well. Missouri scores too quickly for most teams to keep up and Nebraska doesn't has as stout a defense as, say, OU, Texas or Tech (and that's saying something). I do think Nebraska could win the conference next year if it has a quarterback in waiting.
Do you think the Big Ten will ever add a championship game?
Graham Watson (2:25 PM)
No and either will the Pac-10. It has everything to do with the traditions of those two conferences. Unless it really started to adversely affect them in the BCS, there's no reason to add one. And as it stands, the Big Ten could still get two teams in the BCS.
Stephen G - Michigan
Will Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller ever get any national attention. He is putting up Heisman numbers, yet no one around the country knows who he is!!!
Graham Watson (2:27 PM)
Scouts know who he is and that's probably better than being on some award ballot. I think Hiller was hurt by the team being inconsistent last year. He's one of several good quarterbacks in the MAC this year, but he's not as high-profile as Nate Davis or Dan LeFevour. I think Hiller and Drew Willy are two of the most underrated QBs in that league.
Some debate in your blog comment section today about whether Boise State would be a bigger TV draw in the BCS than Utah, riding on the buzz from 2006. Since you occasionally talk to people who *aren't* WAC/MWC fans, what's your sense of the relative interest?
Graham Watson (2:29 PM)
I think Utah would draw more fans since more people are talking about the Utes nationally. I did more TV and radio leading up to the Utah/TCU game than any other game I've covered this year. Also, Utah continues to be hidden on the MWC's various networks, so a lot of people haven't seen the Utes this year. I think Boise State has been on ESPN four or five times already. I think people always crave something shiny and new.
Stephen - Michigan
Does the 6-2 230 pound beast receiver Jamarko Simmons have a shot as an early round draft pick??
Graham Watson (2:31 PM)
I don't know about early, but he'll get a ton of looks. He'll probably be invited to the combine and then it's all going to be about times, route running, etc. His size is a plus, but he needs to show through the NFL tests that he maneuver his frame consistently.
Can Clemson win their last 3 games and go to a bowl?
Graham Watson (2:32 PM)
With Virginia and SC still remaining i don't think so. I think the ninth bowl spot is going to Virginia. They'll play Navy in the EagleBank Bowl. Clemson can get by Duke, but I think it loses its last two.
jason (los angeles california)
any chance of a playoff system in the next several years?
Graham Watson (2:34 PM)
You know, I was just talking to Boise State's Chris Petersen about that this morning. He's not in favor of a playoff, but he said he thinks it's coming. There are too many outspoken coaches saying they want one for the BCS not to look at it in a couple years when the Rose Bowl contract is up. It ca still be a moneymaker and once someone comes up with a concrete plan, think it will be considered.
Dwight, Conyers, GA
Graham! What do you think about the Miami Hurricanes in 2 years? They are playing so many freshman this year and doing not bad for there first year together...
Graham Watson (2:36 PM)
Miami's playing really well now. What have they won? Four games in a row? And they still have three winnable games on the schedule? I like this Miami team far better than any the past few years. It's a more complete team and it seems to want to play together for one goal, like it did in the old days. In a couple years, I could see this team taking the ACC. It's just gotten better each week.
Ryan (Muncie, IN)
Graham, do you think Miami (OH) has any chance to upset Ball State on national TV tonight?
Graham Watson (2:37 PM)
No. Not unless Ball State beats itself or looks ahead, but this is a nice little rivalry game and Ball State hasn't been guilty of looking ahead to this point.
When will Wisconsin get better?
Graham Watson (2:39 PM)
I don't know how Wisconsin got so bad? After watching Allan Evridge at K-State, i wasn;t sold on him as a quarterback, but when they did OK with him early, I thought maybe he'd gotten better. Not so much. Until Wisconsin finds consistent quarterback play, the whole offense and ultimately the team is going to suffer. It all starts there.
Roger( Sacramento CA)
Is it time for Pat Hill to move on, can he adapt to the way College Football is now. Can he turn it around. these last 3 years are aweful!!!
Graham Watson (2:41 PM)
I'm not sure how much of Fresno State's struggles are Hill. That whole team is hurt and it has just 12 seniors on the entire roster. Don;t get me wrong, the Bulldogs have been plenty bad this year especially given expectations, but I don't think it's time to give Hill his walking papers yet. Talk to me in two years.
Im driving 4 hours to go see Clemson play Duke on Saturday, please dont tell me you think Clemsonm will lose. I have already went to see them lose to Maryland one time this year.
Graham Watson (2:42 PM)
I think the magical run of Duke is over. You're safe.
Scott (Austin, TX)
Where do you see Air Force at the end of the season?
Graham Watson (2:43 PM)
I just want to point out that I predicted that AFA would win eight games this season. Yeah, that's me patting myself on the back. I think they finish with nine wins and they don't beat TCU...
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Graham, I have herd all year long that the Big 12 might of cought up to the SEC as the best confrence. Yet the voter have not backed that because they put Florida ahead of Texas and Texas's resume is far better this year?
Graham Watson (2:45 PM)
I think they're talking about the conference as a whole. While I don't agree with Florida jumping Texas, I do think if you look at say, the top 15, there are more Big 12 schools ranked than SEC. Overall, the Big 12 is getting more voter respect than the SEC as a whole.
Matt (Madison, WI)
Do you ever see Butch Jones recruiting some defensive talent? Central Michigan would be scary-good if they can keep getting the offensive power they've shown AND start playing some defense.
Graham Watson (2:47 PM)
I'm with you on this, but I think you could say the same thing about a lot of teams in the MAC. This is why I'm excited to see the CMU-Ball State game next week. I think Ball State's defense can play with CMU. And I think the Ball State offense can keep pace in a shootout. This Ball State is far better than the one CMU trounced in Muncie last year. I think it will be a great game.
How about the Gators? Championship level team or just another wannabe?
Graham Watson (2:48 PM)
Eh, I'm not sure they're better than Tech or OU just because I don't think they could match either team on offense. We'll know more about Florida after the SEC championship game. I think they're good, but not as good as the teams ahead of them.
Joe Paterno (State College, PA)
Do you think it's time I step down? Especially considering how conservative my coaching has been? And should I take the offensive coaches with me?
Graham Watson (2:50 PM)
No way. To do what Joe pa did this year with an relatively unknown Penn State team is pretty amazing. Now, if they lose every game from here on out then yes, yes you should step down.
Jason (Cincinnati, OH)
Let's talk Big East. With a BCS bid on the line, do the Bearcats have a chance to beat Louisville this week and Pitt at home next week to be the Big East representative?
Graham Watson (2:51 PM)
Have you seen Louisville this year? Heck yeah the Bearcats have a chance, as for Pitt, the problem is going to be LeSean McCoy. Few teams have been able to keep him in check and the Pitt defense has been playing pretty well. I think Cincy is a better team, but it's all about stopping the run.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham... You really think Utah would draw more fans than Boise State?? If we go to another BCS Bowl they'll have to shut our whole city down for a week because so many people will be gone. Also, Boise State is constantly being talked about on ESPN by the likes of Jim Rome, PTI, Around the Horn, and personalities such as Reece Davis!! I can assure you we would draw more!!
Graham Watson (2:53 PM)
I think all three of the unbeaten fanbases would come out in droves. I think it's about the best matchup. No one wants to see a repeat of last year, especially not the BCS because all that will do is zap credibility and it will be harder and harder for the teams of the non-BCS to get the respect that some deserve.
Ted, The SLC
Graham, Mark Schlabach wrote about non-BCS busters yesterday and ended by saying the current ACC and Big East leaders (Pitt and No. Carolina) would beat Ball St. Boise St. and Utah. You've seen them play, what do you think?
Graham Watson (2:56 PM)
Yeah, I've seen both of them play. The UNC defense, especially the secondary, would have some fun since Utah and Boise haven't exactly been careful with the ball. But, I think both Utah and Boise's offenses are better than UNC. I hate to say this, and most know I'm not a huge fan of Pitt, but I don't think either team's defense could keep LeSean McCoy under 200 yards. He's just a way better back than either team has seen all year. He might be the best back I've seen in person all year in terms of reading defenses, waiting for holes and following blockers. And even pass blocking. He's a complete package.
Paul (Greenville, NC)
Now that ECU beat Marshall do you think they are a lock for the CUSA championship game against Tulsa
Graham Watson (2:57 PM)
I wouldn't say it;s a lock, but the Pirates have a much more favorable schedule than Marshall. I think they lose to UTEP, but that's it.
No offense Graham....but I want the stuff you are on concerning the Gators!! I hope come January that we get a shot at the Big 12 so we can shut everyone up about that!!
Graham Watson (2:59 PM)
Ha! Fair enough. The SEC and Big 12 play two totally different styles of football so it's hard to compare. The SEC doesn't see a lot of spread so they tend to overcompensate in the secondary and get blasted with the run. We saw tat in the Cotton Bowl last year. I just think it's hard for either side to gauge what the other could do against it.
You said you don't think Fresno's issues are because of Hill. Who/what do you think it is from then? Certainly can't attribute it to injury, because that's usually when other players step up.
Graham Watson (3:01 PM)
Not if all your other players are young, immature and inexperienced. I mean, FSU has no running game and both lines are pretty beaten up. Most teams only have so many guys in the stable that are ready to play out of the chute.
Graham Watson (3:02 PM)
OK. That's it. I'll see you guys next week.