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 Thanksgiving everyone. We're going to start a tad bit early. I have work to get back to as well as some holiday planning. So let's get started.
In your blog, you stated that NIU, if they win tonight, could possibly go to the Eaglebank Bowl. Do you really think the bowl would want a Navy/NIU rematch?
Graham Watson (2:00 PM)
I said (or meant) if they lose because there might not be that many options. If they go 7-5, NIU could end up in Hawaii or the Indy Bowl depending on about 100 different factors, including the other team in the Indy Bowl.
Who do you think is going when it is all said and done to the Bcs Championship game?
Graham Watson (2:04 PM)
That's a tough question, but I'd honestly not be surprised to see either Texas-Oklahoma or Texas-Florida. I think Florida beats Alabama. I think Texas goes to the Big 12 championship, but not sure they beat Mizzou twice. They probably will, which will put Texas in the title game and then it will just be about the opponent. I'm leaning toward OU because of its higher standing in the BCS right now and the computer discrepancy between it and Florida.
Thoughts on NIU v. Navy tonight?
Graham Watson (2:05 PM)
I like NIU in this game if Chandler Harnish can get out and run. I think they have one of the more diverse offenses the Midshipmen have seen and they've been susceptible to the run the last couple weeks.
Clarke (Lafayette, IN)
What are the chances of us seeing a TCU vs Boise St. in the Poinsettia Bowl? Do you have any indication from your sources?
Graham Watson (2:07 PM)
I would say not good. There's a struggle here between the Humanitarian Bowl and the WAC. Obviously, the HB wants BSU to stay home and its putting pressure on the school to do so. The WAC wants the best matchup.
Patrick Taylorsville, Utah
What bowl game will Utah play and against who?
Graham Watson (2:08 PM)
I like the Utes in the Sugar against Alabama. I think that's a better match than say the Fiesta against OU.
John (Boston, MA)
Are there more coaching vacancies this year than on average?
Graham Watson (2:09 PM)
Then on average? Yes, I think so. And I don't think we're done. I think there are quite a few more on the horizon, especially in the non-BCS. I can think of two that should be coming down right off the top of my head.
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Graham Watson (2:10 PM)
My vote is going to Sam Bradford as long as he doesn't tank over the next few weeks. He's been the most consistent and even though he lost to Texas, his numbers were great.
John (Boston, MA)
Rumors coming out of Florida that Urban Meyer would be interested in the Notre Dame job. I don't believe them because he already turned them down and the admission requirements at ND make it hard to recruit. What do you think?
Graham Watson (2:11 PM)
I think that might be something that happens down the road once he's done all he can at Florida. And by down the road I could mean next year.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham, any chance that Ball State can replace the ACC rep for the H-Bowl to come play Boise State? Thanks.
Graham Watson (2:12 PM)
Why would Ball State want to do that? Seems like it would be an unfair advantage to play Boise State on its home turf where it never loses. If these teams meet, it will be neutral.
John (Boston, MA)
Could we realistically see TCU v. Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl? BYU seems like a lock for the Vegas which would push TCU to the PB. What needs to happen for BSU to go join them in what would be one of the best non-BCS league games.
Graham Watson (2:15 PM)
Why do you think TCU is a lock for the LV Bowl? The MWC has no set order. The best team has traditionally gone to the LV Bowl, but the best team is going to the BCS. So, the LV Bowl is leaning toward taking the team that will fill the hotels (game is already sold out, I believe). Everyone knows TCU doesn't travel, and the Poinsettia Bowl doesn't care because it's money maker is the Holiday Bowl. And for Boise to play in the bowl, the WAC would have to force the Humanitarian Bowl to give up its home team, which I'm not sure is going to happen.
Pete (Greenville, NC)
What do you think about Ecu's chances in the cusa championship game?
Graham Watson (2:16 PM)
That depends on whom they play. I think they're going to have trouble keeping up with the scoring, but I'd give ECU a better chance against Tulsa than, say, Houston. I do think they lose either way just because they can't score as much as the West teams.
Pete (Apex, NC)
Do you foresee Butch Davis leaving for Tennessee? If so, who will UNC go after...Whittingham, Patterson, Holtz???
Graham Watson (2:17 PM)
That's where a lot of people are leaning. It would seem a shame to leave what he's built at UNC, but Tennessee doesn't come open very often. If he does leave, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Holtz get a strong look for that job.
Mike (South Bend, IN)
Since you say Ball State wouldnt play in the Humanitarian bowl because its on the blue field. Where would be a good place for them to play in a bowl?
Graham Watson (2:19 PM)
The Indy Bowl could be open on both ends depending on Auburn and Colorado. Also, the Motor City Bowl, a MAC bowl, could have an open end if Ohio State goes BCS.
Locotbish (South Bend, IN)
Hi Graham. if you were the AD at Notre Dame, do you keep charlie for another year? Also, would you accept a bid for a higher bowl if invited?
Graham Watson (2:22 PM)
I have mixed feelings about this. I really don't think he connects with his players and that's part of the problem. If ND goes 6-6, don't be shocked to see them forgo a bowl depending on which bowls are left. Would ND really play in the Indy bowl against Northern Illinois? I mean, seriously. I'll have a post on this later, but if ND decides not to go to a bowl - and that's admin, not CW's decision - the bottom might fall out on Weis' tenure at Notre Dame.
John (Grinnell, IA)
Hey Graham, Who do you have winning the Doak Walker award?
Graham Watson (2:23 PM)
Honestly, I like Shonn Greene. I think he's great. I was disappointed Brown from UConn didn't get a nod, but who would want the nation's leading rusher to win the award anyway...?
Pete (Apex, NC)
With the bad economy and bowls struggling it seems they looks to teams that travel well and also more regional matchups to make that happen. Besides BYU, which Non-BCS teams travels the best in the post season?
Graham Watson (2:25 PM)
Utah and Boise State both travel well. The military academies usually travel well because they pay for everyone to go. After that, there's a clump of schools that moderately travel well like Fresno State (at least in the past), and then you have a bunch of teams like TCU that don't bring anyone.
Casey (Tupelo, MS)
What are your thoughts on the Ball State/Western Michigan game tonight?
Graham Watson (2:27 PM)
I've been avoiding this question... Personally, I like Western because it's had two weeks to prepare for BSU and BSU has had a six-day turnaround. Western and Central are very similar (sans running QB), but Western has a much better secondary and a more accurate quarterback. I think Western ruins the perfect season.
Kellen Moore (Boise, ID)
Hi Graham! Love your work. Quick question: since it looks like my team won't be heading to the BCS this year, what do you think the odds are I lead the Broncos to the BCS next year? Do you think we'll get a decent preseason ranking next year?
Graham Watson (2:30 PM)
I think there's a very good chance as long as you get ranked ahead of BYU to start the season, which should be the case if you stay undefeated. Utah is losing a ton of guys, but BYU isn't. Most of its key guys are coming back and if Collie stays, BYU's going to be hard to pick against and the Cougars will play a tougher conference schedule. But, I like the core of Boise State. I think you are a fantastic QB, Kellen Moore, and I believe a year will only make BSU better.
Chris (Fairfax, VA)
Hello Graham. Do you think Rich Rodriguez was the wrong hire at Michigan? I know Ohio State fans are loving it (as are the Mountaineers). He just doesn't seem to "get" Michigan.
Graham Watson (2:32 PM)
I think he got Michigan too much, actually. He admitted that he thought he could waltz into Michigan and talent would get it done. Well, that's old Michigan with a traditional scheme. It's going to take some time for RR to get players in place to fit his system. I think he's going to have to modify it for the Big Ten, but I think with the right players he can be successful there.
Kendon (Mesa, AZ)
Graham, in your article leading up to the BYU-Utah game, you mentioned you weren't really impressed by either team. So who from the non-bcs have you been impressed with?
Graham Watson (2:34 PM)
Honestly, and I have no qualms saying this, TCU might be the best built team to play a BCS team. Now, I know they blew it against Utah, but I think, across the board, the Horned Frogs have the best team in the non-BCS. Their defense rivals any defense in the country and that alone makes them one of the scariest teams out there. That's why I'd love to see a TCU-Boise State matchup because I think Kellen Moor is the best QB I've seen this year (non-BCS-wise).
Graham: As always, thanks for your time. I have to completely disagree with you regarding your "Utah is losing a ton of guys" comment. Yes, Utah does lose BJ, BC, FB, and Mac. But they have a ton of young players in these positions that have shown promise. Plus Asiata is coming back for his senior year. And Utah only loses two (2) starters on the Defensive side of things. Let's face it, the D is Utah's strength.
Graham Watson (2:36 PM)
I should have said key guys. Time and time again, everyone on Utah has said Brian Johnson is the heart and soul of this team. He is a huge loss as is Louie Sakoda. Those are, theoretically, the best players on the team. I'm not sure Louks brings the same things that Brian Johnson did.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham, Boise State accepted an at-large invite to the Fort Worth Bowl in 03 to play TCU. How would that be different from Ball State coming to the H-Bowl?
Graham Watson (2:38 PM)
The MAC doesn't want to do it. Bottom line and I don't blame them. And playing in Fort Worth versus playing at a place where the home team almost never loses is a little different. Besides, we all know Boise State had more fans there than TCU :)
What bowl do you see Texas Tech going to, assuming they, Texas, and Oklahoma all win out?
Graham Watson (2:40 PM)
The Cotton, which might be a good matchup against Ole Miss.
Eric (Clovis, CA)
Is there no chance of Boise making the BCS, even if Oregon St. loses and sends SC to the Rose Bowl?
Graham Watson (2:41 PM)
I think it's slim. Ohio State makes things complicated. A lot of it is going to be based on the pairings, so it's hard to say with so much still up in the air.
Hey Graham. Love your coverage and commitment to cover the non-BCS. I've heard rumors in the Boise paper that Boise St wants to join the MWC. Do you see any truth in this? If so, should MWC then get a qutomatic bid to the BCS?
Graham Watson (2:42 PM)
That's a rumor that I've been told by the MWC is untrue. This is not just about football, it's about all sports, academics, etc. So, while it might happen, it might not happen until after the BCS is restructured.
Why do you think Texas will get in over Oklahoma if there ends up being a 3-way tie in the Big 12 South? So many people seem to think OU will jump Texas. What is your case that Texas will remain ahead of OU? I like your prediction. Hook 'em!
Graham Watson (2:45 PM)
I think Texas needs to destroy A&M to get the human polls back in their favor and I think OSU needs to play close to OU to help the Longhorns out. There's a six-point margin in the computer polls, which is not insurmountable, but tough to get over if both teams win. However, the voters seem to have a huge crush on OU, so I wouldn't rule anything out.
Who do you have in the Maryland-BC game on Saturday?
Graham Watson (2:45 PM)
With Crane out, I have to give the nod to Maryland.
Is Dan Hawkins in trouble at Colorado?
Graham Watson (2:46 PM)
I don't think so. Maybe if this season happens again next year.
Graham, your killing me. Your constant bashing of TCU is unreal. This week you ranked TCU the 4th best non-bcs team, with Ball State ahead of them. Do you even watch football? Most people would say TCU is the best non-bcs team after dominating BYU and Utah(58 minutes at least). I have read your stuff all year, please give me one good reason for you lack of respect for TCU?
Graham Watson (2:49 PM)
Actually, I said earlier that TCU is probably the best-equipped team to face a good BCS team in a BCS both. Best defense in the non-BCS and perhaps the country. Not sure that's bashing, but OK. As for the rankings, TCU lost two games this season, and absolutely choked against Utah. I can't put them ahead of teams that haven't lost. That's not fair regardless of how good they are. Still gotta get it done on the field. I give them leeway with OU, but they blew that Utah game and Gary Patterson would tell you the same thing.
Jerry (Statesboro, GA)
Does the Huskers beat Colorado Friday?
Graham Watson (2:49 PM)
Why would anyone coach at Utah State? Can anyone make it competitive? Maybe John L. Smith...?
Graham Watson (2:51 PM)
Personally, I think Utah State needs a fiery young coach that can get people excited about Utah State football. There's a lot to sell there, new facilities, good talent, etc. I think they need to hire someone people can get excited about.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham, would Boise State be better off as an "independent" until we can get picked up by a larger conference? We have been dominating the WAC since we've been here!
Graham Watson (2:53 PM)
Not unless it could get Notre Dame's deal with the BCS and the Sun and Gator Bowls. A conference is the way to go. Boise State would just look bratty if it left the WAC to be an independent. I have to believe the WAC is not going to be that bad every year.
Graham, Bradford has been the most consistent QB in the nation even in his one loss.. he is even the top Heisman contender yet he is not a candidate for the maxwell award.. why this hatred?
Graham Watson (2:54 PM)
What hatred? I said earlier he was getting my Heisman vote. Is it opposite day or something?
Napoleon (Preston, ID)
Any chance of Boise State getting in the BIG 12? The BIG 12 should drop Iowa State because the Cyclones are really pathetic; Boise State would be a huge upgrade.
Graham Watson (2:55 PM)
Hahahaha... no. If any non-BCS is going to the Big 12, it's TCU because of location. And Iowa State won't always be that bad, thought the last couple years have made me wonder why they fired McCarney...
Graham, What do you think about Oklahoma States chances to upset OU in Stillwater?
Graham Watson (2:57 PM)
I think it's better than the last five seasons. I also like the fact that the game is in Stillwater, where game have been close the past couple times. Oklahoma State is just going to have to play solid defense. That's the key. I think the Cowboys will be amped for this game.
Hey Graham, The Trojan nation appreciates your great coverage of Troy this year. What are your thoughts on the Belt having multiple teams in bowl games this year?
Graham Watson (2:58 PM)
Not going to happen unless Arkansas State wins out. I'm fairly certain that the contract with the auxiliary bowls requires teams to have seven wins and Arkansas State is the only team that can do that now.
Larry (Glendale, CA)
Are you an AP voter? If not, would you like to become one?
Graham Watson (2:58 PM)
I'm not. And not sure if I can be. I wasn't allowed to vote in the Harris Poll this year. It's deemed a conflict of interest for my employer
Yes BYU returns a lot of their skill players and pretty much their whole defense next year. But loses everyone on their big and experiencd offensive line. How much do think that will effect cougars run next year? Will they be talented enough to make up for the big dropoff in the trenches?
Graham Watson (3:00 PM)
Can the line be much worse than it was against TCU or even Utah? I don't know that that's going to make a drastic difference, because I think younger guys have played. I think the big difference next year is whether Max Hall can find his sophomore self.
Who has the best numbers this weekend - Harrell, McCoy, Tebow or Bradford?
Graham Watson (3:01 PM)
This weekend? Harrell throws for over 400 against Baylor.
Graham Watson (3:01 PM)
OK. Last one.
With big donors at several schools (Nike at Oregon, BIG OIL for OK ST), do you feel like it gives those schools a competitive advantage just based on money alone? Oregon's facilities are top notch in the country.
Graham Watson (3:03 PM)
I think there's a recruiting advantage, sure. But you still have to produce on the field. Washington has a beautiful campus and nice facilities, but there aren't many blue-chippers knocking down the door. There are only a couple schools where the team could suck and still get good recruits. Notre Dame in one of them.
Graham Watson (3:04 PM)
OK. Peace out ya'll. Have a great Thanksgiving.
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