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 Thursday!
Graham Watson (2:01 PM)
Wow, it's been a long time since I've done a chat, but I'm happy to be back. Let's get started!
Nick (Boise, ID)
Hi Graham, Looking at their respective schedules, would a 1 loss TCU or Utah go to a BCS game over an undefeated Boise State team?
Graham Watson (2:03 PM)
That's tough to answer, but I think it would certainly depend on who the loss is to. BYU has the best (toughest) schedule in the MWC this year in terms of teams that could go undefeated in the league. So like, yeah, if they lost to OU and won every other game, I think there would be a case. But each year is different. Maybe the WAC will rise up this year and give the Broncos some competition.
Matt (Los Angeles CA)
Do you see the USC Trojans Playing for the National Title in Pasadena?
Graham Watson (2:05 PM)
I think every year you can say that USC has a chance to play for a national title just based on sheer talent, but no one has any idea how Barkley (if he is the starting QB) will handle a big time situation against a tough school. I do think the potential is there, but they're going to have a fight with OU and FLA teams that return a ton of key players.
Scott (MIami, FL)
When can we expect to hear Austin Collie's name next weekend? And why are we not seeing his stock rise and hearing a buzz about him similar to Kevin Curtis (Utah State/Philadelphia Eagles) in 2003?
Graham Watson (2:08 PM)
I got your question in my mailbag and I'll post the answer a little later this afternoon. But... I think initially, he was considered a third rounder, but I think his size hurts him. I think he's still a third or fourth round guy, but there are a lot of other talented receivers ahead of him.
Saagar (San Jose, CA)
Whose the better Trojan pro prospect: Brian Cushing or Matt Sanchez?
Graham Watson (2:10 PM)
Honestly, I like Cushing. I must be one of the few people in the world that though Sanchez was a little too inconsistent to be considered a top draft prospect. Now don't get me wrong, he looks the part, but he struggled at some key moments for the Trojans. I don't think you could go wrong with either if you're drafting on potential.
Daniel Kittrell (Greenville, NC)
In your opinion; Is this the year of the Pirate? Seeing as we are returning some really good players on offense and defense.
Graham Watson (2:11 PM)
Yes, they do return almost every major player from a year ago, but their schedule is still pretty brutal. I do like their chances in C-USA, though. I think them and Houston have the most talent returning, but they're going to have to fight with Southern Miss, who I think is going to be the surprise team of that league.
What's the deal with this Paulus stuff at Michigan? I gotta assume that the kids they have coming in are better than a guy that hasn't played football for 4 years, right?
Graham Watson (2:14 PM)
Not necessarily because a lot of schools are looking at him - Syracuse, Michigan, Duke. Honestly, I've never seen him play football, so I have no idea, but it does reek of desperation to offer a scholarship to a guy that's played pick up games the past four years. But hey, Jeremy Bloom was an Olympic skier and he was in the NFL. Anything is possible, I guess.
Zach Lubbock, TX
So who wins the MWC this year. I'm a Cougar fan, but I think TCU will be the best non-BCS team this.
Graham Watson (2:16 PM)
I definitely think it's TCU's title to lose. The Frogs have the best talent across the board and really the easiest of the non-con schedules among the big three (though Utah's isn't great). I think you'll see a three-horse race again, but TCU should take it this year.
What round do you think Ball State's Nate Davis will be selected in and any idea on teams?
Graham Watson (2:19 PM)
If you had asked me this question about a month or two ago, I would have said fourth or fifth QB taken. But after he was just OK at the Combine and one scout showed up to his pro day, I'm not sure where he'll go. I think he had a lot of upside, but he's not a guy that can start in the next two or three years, His learning disability kind of hampers him with grasping the playbook and an NFL playbook is far more extensive that the college one he took almost two years to fully grasp. That might be part of the issue.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
I keep reading that Notre Dame will win 9 games this year. Since they get special treatment, this will get them into a BCS bowl game, right? So is it safe to say that they will start a new bowl losing streak this year?
Graham Watson (2:20 PM)
No way Notre Dame gets into the BCS with nine wins this year. Not with that schedule. While I do think they should win a bunch of games this year, they'll have to do it in impressive fashion to get high enough in the rankings for an automatic BCS bid.
Nathan (Santa Cruz CA)
About the Paulus thing: Remember Chris Weinke won a Heisman after coming back from a stint in minor-league baseball. Paulus is an athlete at one of the most elite programs in the nation. I wouldn't write him off.
Graham Watson (2:22 PM)
Yeah, but the baseball thing is more common and honestly it kind of has the same principles as being a quarterback. Basketball, not so much...
Pete (Lansing, MI)
I'm heading to the Central Michigan spring game this weekend... Are they the favorite to win the MAC? If not who else is there?
Graham Watson (2:25 PM)
I think Central has to be the favorite in the West, though Western and NIU will be pretty decent this year, too. And in the East, I'm intrigued to see what Bowling Green does with a senior-laden team. I do think Central can win it all if it can get its defense together. That secondary was just awful last year.
Pete (Lansing, MI)
Anything of note happening in spring ball at SDSU? Brady Hoke seems to have a good core of recievers to work with... to you think they make a bowl game this year?
Graham Watson (2:27 PM)
I think it's going to be tough for San Diego State to make a bowl game this year as they learn a new offense and a really complicated defense. Still, I think they'll move in the right direction. I've heard some mixed opinions about quarterback Ryan Lindley, but I thought he was pretty darn good in that Notre Dame game last year. I do think they'll have to take some of the pressure off of him with a relevant running game.
JL (Warrenton, VA)
Graham: What's the latest on Hatch's Congressional investigation of the BCS?
Graham Watson (2:29 PM)
We probably won't hear any more about this until June when the antitrust lawsuit is scheduled to be filed. Although, the BCS meetings are coming up, so we might hear some grumblings about the Mountain West's proposal sooner than later.
stephen (kc mo)
whats the word on Mizzous Spring football? Blaine Gabbart set to take the reigns? and is he ready to run that high powered offense?
Graham Watson (2:30 PM)
I've been checking in on Mizzou from time to time and everything I've been hearing is that Gabbert is just head and shoulders better than the other quarterbacks on the roster. Also, Chase Daniel has been helping coach the QBs during spring practice, so that's only going to make a young guy like Gabbert better. I'm not sure this will be a Cotton Bowl team again, but it should challenge for the North again.
Otto (Denver, CO)
What are the expectations for Buffalo this year? Will Turner Gill be able to maintain his previous better than expected results? Thanks.
Graham Watson (2:33 PM)
With the exception of Drew Willy, I think a lot of the key cogs return for this team and I think it will be good. Now, will it be as good as it was a year ago? Hard to say because a lot of that had to do with the leadership of guys like Willy and some key players on the offensive line. So, that's where I think Buffalo is going to have the most trouble. But you can't count them out especially in a wide open MAC East.
Graham Watson (2:35 PM)
Sorry, having some Internet troubles... One sec...
Graham Watson (2:37 PM)
Ryan Pitt Pa
does wvu have any shot to play in the title game?
Graham Watson (2:40 PM)
Obviously, that's going to hinge on the quarterback situation. Jarrett Brown and Coley White are both guys that haven't shown much patience in terms of finding receivers. Could either one of them be the next Pat White? I think we need to pump the brakes on that one. I think it would be a surprise to see WVU in the title game.
How will South Carolina do this year?
Graham Watson (2:43 PM)
Kinda the same thing as West Virginia. I think there's a lot of hope that Stephen Garcia can really take the reigns of the team and if he does I think South Carolina has the potential to be wildly successful. But Garcia will only be as good as his offensive line, which was suspect at times last year. I think new o-line coach Eric Wolford will help that.
Nate Kennedy (Phoenix, Az)
Will the MWC again be the best of the non BCS conferences?
Graham Watson (2:44 PM)
I think it's hard to match the talent and competition TCU, BYU and Utah all bring to the table. I mean there are a lot of good teams throughout the other conferences, but those teams are the best of the non-AQ schools.
Will Tim Tebow get a 3rd national title and cement himself among the top college football players of all time?
Graham Watson (2:45 PM)
I definitely think he'll have a chance to. I think we've all learned that you don't count Tebow out no matter what happens in the offseason with his receivers or early in the year. Some guys are just winners.
Kevin Chaple Hill NC
How long will I have to wait to see a UNC football team in the title game?
Graham Watson (2:46 PM)
The national title game? Probably longer than you'll have to wait to see your basketball team and women's soccer team get back there.
Chad (Las Vegas)
What coaches are on the hottest seat headed into the season? I say Charlie Weis and Steve Spurrier for two.
Graham Watson (2:47 PM)
I think both those guys definitely are on the hot seat. I think Lane Kiffin has to be on there too, just because...
What about Joe Paterno? Not really the hot seat, but people are saying he is too old.
Graham Watson (2:48 PM)
Shoot, they've been saying that for years and he keeps on coaching... and winning!
Butch Davis took Miami to a national title. Why not UNC? isnt UNC's football team gotten better since Davis took over? How long will it be before I can say: UNC BCS National Champs!??
Graham Watson (2:50 PM)
I think that's apples to oranges, though. Different time, different teams, different types of players. I'm not saying he can't do it. Butch Jones is a fantastic coach, but the ACC doesn't have the clout it used to and UNC isn't USC where it can just live off its reputation in a mediocre conference. It's going to take several really good seasons (or one great undefeated one) to be considered for a national championship.
should have nebraska coach bo pelini been given a raise after only one year
Graham Watson (2:52 PM)
What did he do, according to Nebraska standards (which are ridiculously high) that would have warranted a raise? A 9-4 season and a brutal loss to Missouri in Lincoln doesn't warrant much these days...
Nothing against Joe Paterno, but has recurited nothing short of criminals to play football. Havent we got enough trouble in sports?
Graham Watson (2:53 PM)
Very talented criminals... And they aren't all criminals. I don't think that's exactly fair. Yeah, there have been a plethora of bad seeds, but a lot of really good ones, too.
Pete (Lansing, MI)
If Charlie Weis flubbs it up this year who do they get to replace him? I hear a lot about ND being the dream job for Urban Meyer, but what about Brian Kelly?
Graham Watson (2:56 PM)
I like Brian Kelly, but Notre Dame isn't Cincy. That's no disrespect toward Kelly, I just think if you're going to replace a $4 million coach, you have to replace him with a stud. A guy who can deal with the pressures of being Notre Dame's coach. In the public eye and every move scrutinized by everyone with a TV or Internet. And then, oh yeah, winning 10-12 games a year. That really takes a special person.
I am not saying all his players are criminals. But some. And are you saying we should overlook there bad behavior just because they have talent?
Graham Watson (2:57 PM)
No. I was joking.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Nick Saban would take the ND job!
Graham Watson (2:58 PM)
As long as they don't schedule Utah. Hey Oh!
Can you tell me what to expect from Rutgers this year?
Graham Watson (3:02 PM)
I was really down on Rutgers last year, and rightfully so with their start, but I came around toward the end of the season. This year, I'm not sure what to expect because their spring practices have been littered with injuries. I mean, they've got one truly healthy running back, the quarterbacks have been hit and miss and the receivers have been downright awful. But we're five months away from the season starting, which is a lot of time to get things shored up. There's just a lot to shore up in Piscataway.
Graham Watson (3:02 PM)
OK. That's all I got. Have a great weekend everyone.