Chat with Graham Watson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com's non-BCS reporter and contributor to the College Football Nation blog Graham Watson will stop by to talk about the 2009 season.
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 Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Graham Watson (12:59 PM)
Welcome to the chat. Let's begin.
Chris (Lawrence, KS)
What else does the Mountain West have to do to get an automatic bid? Does the BCS risk total irrelevance by continuing to exclude them?
Graham Watson (1:03 PM)
It's not like the BCS is just giving out bids for upsets. Doesn't work that way. If it did, the conference could have gotten one when TCU defeated Oklahoma a few years ago. The MWC and every other conference is in the middle of an evaluation process that last four years. This is year two. It's all about consistency - top to bottom - and while BYU and Colorado State had great wins, New Mexico's 41-6 loss to A
Dan (Buffalo, NY)
Graham, will you be getting in line with everyone else and say that USC will bury the Buckeyes this weekend? By the way: Bucks 24 - Trojans 20
Graham Watson (1:04 PM)
Yeah... It was hard to be impressed by Ohio State last week. I will say that I think Barkley might struggle early in the hostile environment, but overall USC just has too many weapons for the Buckeyes.
Ben (Tremonton, UT)
BYU has the rest of their tough games at home, ( FSU, TCU, Utah) they haven't lost in Provo since 2005. Other then Florida they've got to be the other favorite to reach the NC Game! What do you think.
Graham Watson (1:05 PM)
I think it's a little early to be talking national championship. Plus, now you have to watch what OU and Florida do since both lost their first games. If they tanks that's not good for BYU in the long run. Remember, a lot of the pollster give more weight to what's happened later in the season.
Not many projected a CSU win over CU. What are your thoughts on CSU's chances for a Mountain West title this year?
Graham Watson (1:07 PM)
I was at that game and I can honestly say that I was surprised by CSU. They were pretty darn good on both sides of the ball. I really like their defensive and offensive lines. I think that's where they are dominant. I think they're probably one of the more underrated teams in the conference and could shock some people this year.
Jim Crozier (Boise, Idaho)
Graham, I was a little disappointed with your post-game recap for Boise/Oregon. Your emphasis seemed to be that Oregon was obviously overrated based on how bad they looked against Boise. Why not give credit to Boise for MAKING Oregon look bad instead of assuming that Oregon looked bad because they weren't as good as everyone though?
Graham Watson (1:09 PM)
I don't think that was the case at all. While I wasn't impressed by Oregon, I thought Boise State played a good game. I was impressed by the defense. I wasn't as impressed by the offense. It made quite a few mistakes and didn't really get its running game going until the second half. Still, I gave Boise State a bunch of credit for winning that game. At the time they were the team to beat for a BCS bid.
JD (New Orleans)
One loss BYU vs undefeated BSU... who goes to BCS?
Graham Watson (1:11 PM)
It depends who BYU loses to. If it's a good ranked team then I'd lean toward BYU. Also, I think you need to watch Oregon. If they get blasted by Utah next week, Boise State is in some trouble.
Poppa P (Sandy, Utah)
Graham: Are you surprised that BYU jumped to #9 in the AP poll (released today)? And should Florida State have dropped out of the AP poll?
Graham Watson (1:12 PM)
Not really. I think that's where I had them. A lot of teams at the top lost and BYU defeated the No. 3 team in the poll and looked really good doing it. I knew they'd make a pretty big jump.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Grahm, was Missouri over-rated last year do to the deserved hype of Chase Daniel? It sure seems that this less talked about missouri team this year looks a lot better.
Graham Watson (1:13 PM)
I agree they look a lot better than expected. Blaine Gabbert was pretty fantastic and Illinois was downright terrible. MU could start the season 4-0 and then everyone's talking about them again. I don't think last year's team was overrated with all the talent they had returning. I just don't think they lived up to expectations.
Ben (Lincoln, NE)
Arkansas St. won week 1 vs. a FCS school 61-0. What should I expect out of them Saturday in Lincoln?
Graham Watson (1:15 PM)
This is a tough question because I have a lot of guarded optimism toward Arkansas State. I think they are a lot better than people think and could be the top team in the Sun Belt with both Troy and FAU struggling. It's a veteran team with good leadership in QB Corey Leonard. it's tough to give any opponent the edge in Lincoln, but I truly believe it will be a better game than FAU.
How long do you think the Idaho Vandals will stay atop the WAC?
Graham Watson (1:17 PM)
I don't think it will be long, but I do think that Idaho got a huge burst if confidence this weekend. The Vandals are thinking a bowl berth and they have the schedule to make that happen. I really like what Robb Akey has down with that program.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
After the Nevada disappointment, could Bowling Green actually be the tougher foe for Mizzou to be 4-0 leading into Big 12 play?
Graham Watson (1:19 PM)
I agree with this 100 percent. Bowling Green came to play last week against a really talented Troy team and I think they'll give Mizzou a game. However, they don't really have the depth to keep up with Mizzou, especially on defense, so that will be something that's easy to exploit from Mizzou's end. As for Nevada, I'm not sure what to think about that trip. I still think it's a good team, just a total train wreck last week.
Brett (Scranton PA)
So is Temple going to fall off the map again after the inaugural mayors cup loss to Nova or will Al Golden be able to continue the progress he seemed to be making the last two years?
Graham Watson (1:22 PM)
I think Temple will progress. That was the case of a team getting a little too high with its effort and not finishing the game. You hate to see that, but sometimes it's the kick in the rear a team needs to realize they;re not as good as they think they are. I still think Temple will be a player in the MAC East.
Zach (Lehi, UT)
Have you been to a game in Provo yet? 65000 seats and sold out nearly every game.
Graham Watson (1:23 PM)
Not yet. Hoping to get there next week.
Jeff (Los Angeles, CA)
Graham, what did you think of the new USC defense? I don't expect it to be as good as last year, but that unit looks every bit as strong as the 2007 version. Chris Galippo, Everson Griffen and Malcolm Smith all looked great and the secondary should be very good if Josh Pinkard remains healthy.
Graham Watson (1:24 PM)
I was impressed, but you have to remember that San Jose State was one of the worst offenses in the country last year. Still, I think SJSU coach Dick Tomey said it was one of the best lines he's seen in some time and that's saying something. They'll have a big test chasing down Prior, but I wasn't that impressed with his offensive line.
Riley (Salt Lake City)
Graham, when will you start to defend non-BCS (specifically MWC) teams against BCS foes? It seems like everytime there is a high profile matchup, you pick the BCS foe while saying that the non-BCS team will compete.... Pick BYU, TCU, Utah, BSU to win with some pizazz....come to think about it, I want a strong TCU and Utah prediction for the Clemson and Oregon games respectively.
Graham Watson (1:26 PM)
Hey, I picked ECU over Virginia Tech last year and I picked Boise over Oregon. I think you'd be hard pressed to find any national writer who took BYU over OU. But, I will say that I like Utah over Oregon especially if it's the Oregon team I saw the other night.
Liam (Pleasanton, California)
What is your take on Cal? They will give USC all they can handle? I was not impressed with Rogers vs. Maryland. Couldn't complete his short to medium passes. He had some long throws, but those were great plays by his wideouts.
Graham Watson (1:28 PM)
Jahvid Best might be the most dynamic player college football this year. I was so impressed with him this weekend. As long as they have that, Rogers doesn't have to be spectacular. I'm not saying he won't be, but the running game is such a huge threat that some of those receivers will start to get open at lot more.
Patrick (Newport Beach, CA)
Care to comment on how that crow tastes after that ridiculous 41-38 pick of Nevada over Notre Dame?
Graham Watson (1:31 PM)
I just want to know where all the Notre Dame fans were when I made the pick ON WEDNESDAY. It's easy to talk after the game, but there's wasn't a lot of faith before Jimmy Clausen started campaigning for the Heisman. So, I don't mind admitting that I'm wrong. Heck, I was wrong on Western Michigan, too. I make those upset picks because someone has to and those are the teams I cover. I just find it funny that I didn't get a single email in the three days leading up to the game.
Poppa P (Utah)
So which non-AQ teams have the toughest matchup this weekend?
Graham Watson (1:33 PM)
Obviously, ECU-WVU will be a good game, but I'm really excited to see Houston-Oklahoma State. Houston's getting a lot of national love, I want to see what they can do on a big stage. Are they BYU or are they Nevada? I'm curious to find out.
Give me your prediction for BYU's final record and what bowl game you think they end up in.
Graham Watson (1:33 PM)
Wow, waaaaaaay to early for that. I haven't even seen TCU play yet.
Will Fresno State win in Madison this weekend?
Graham Watson (1:35 PM)
I want Fresno State to win in Madison. I want Pat Hill to keep his job. Will either of those things happen? Not sure. Madison is a tough place to play. I do like that this team seems to be pretty good and pretty motivated. I love Fresno State's running game and the addition of Feathers is a nice touch. I think Coburn might have some early jitters, but he was steady the other night. They have the personnel to win that game, it's just been a while since they've won a big game on the road like this.
Graham Watson (1:36 PM)
Sorry, Ryan Colburn. Forgot the "l"
Graham.Was it BSU's Defense being that much better or do you think UO left their offense home last thursday? What about the crowd were you more impressed than last time?
Graham Watson (1:39 PM)
I think it was a little of both. I think Boise's defense was good. Holding Oregon to so few yards is impressive. But, I also thought the Oregon offense was totally out of sorts. Masoli had no patience and when he broke the pocket, Boise State pounced. One of the BSU lineman said there was a hesitancy that he didn't see last year.I love the Boise crowd because they sound louder than 30,000. I thought that was pretty great because I know it disrupted Oregon's offense.
Who is the bigger BCS buster, BYU or Boise St?
Graham Watson (1:39 PM)
Bigger in what way? More likely to do it or more impressive?
Graham, no one contradicted your upset picks over nd and michigan at the time bc youre right, it is your job. but picking a team that got whooped 35-0? i mean, unlike us, you actually get paid to put some thought into these predictions.
Graham Watson (1:42 PM)
Sure. but I don't think anyone thought that game, or the Michigan game, was going to be that uncompetitive. Not even the teams that won. It's a crap shoot and to be honest, I don't get paid to predict games per se. That's just a facet of what I do. My job is to report on teams. And you know, I'm going to get a lot more picks wrong as the season rolls on. I'm just going to put that out there right now. If I was perfect at it, I'd be in Vegas.
What's your thoughts of Joe Webb and the Blazers? Assuming they handle SMU this week, do you think they can take down aTm next week, which is probably one of the worst teams in the Big 12?
Graham Watson (1:45 PM)
Yet another team I was really impressed with this year. Joe Webb is fantastic, but we all already knew that. He was fantastic last year. But man, he needs some help. There is no reason he should account for 77 percent of the Blazers yards, scoring, whatever. That's insane. In a much tougher C-USA, he won't be able to keep it up. I think they beat SMU easily, but A
Ryan (Las Cruces)
What do you think the NMSU fans were more interested in: the game or the fight that took place in the stands after Idaho made it 14-0?
Graham Watson (1:46 PM)
I didn't know there was a fight. That was probably more interesting. That a long, uphill battle for DeWayne Walker...
Clint (Fort Polk, La)
post your quesGraham, Even if Jimmy Clausen was able to consistently play the rest of the season like he did against Nevada will that be good enough to have him in with the big boys i.e. Colt and Tim for the Heisman Race?tion or comment
Graham Watson (1:47 PM)
I'm not sure the Notre Dame's schedule is strong enough. I think it might be enough to get him to New York, but if Colt rolls through the Big 12, I think the award is his for the taking.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Have you herd anything about what happened to Virginia? Are they that bad? Is James Maddison that good? Whats the report?
Graham Watson (1:49 PM)
I don't think anyone thought Virginia was that bad and I guarantee that no one is more upset about the outcome of that game than Gary Patterson. That's no longer a possible quality win for the Frogs. A friend told me, and I could see the game, that the score should have been a lot worse than it was. Al Groh is in some big trouble especially if TCU goes in there and railroads them.
Steve (South Bend, IN)
Don't you think Denard Robinson should tie his shoes against ND?
Graham Watson (1:53 PM)
Earlier, I said Jahvid Best was the most dynamic player in college football. This guy is a close second. I mean, he shook Western players out of their shoes. It was unbelievable. I think he'll have some success against Notre Dame run defense, which wasn't all that impressive last week. Besides, I think Rece Davis said Robinson doesn't tie his shoes to make it fair.
Jim (Salt Lake City)
Honestly...how do you feel about Utah after game 1? I know they had their spots where improvement is warranted. But my mind recalls how they struggled early last year as well. How do you see this team overall?
Graham Watson (1:54 PM)
I didn't think the defense would give up as many points as it did and the 96-yard TD run was a bit of a shock. Overall, I thought they played fine. I just want to see them against a quality opponent before I give a fair assessment. I still think they'll win 10 games especially after watching Oregon.
I love looking at the ratings and it gives us something to talk about until saturdays, but I feel no ratings should be put out until 1st weekend in October, let the games speak for themselves, what do you think?
Graham Watson (1:56 PM)
I agree with that as well because then teams such as BYU, Boise, whoever have an actual chance to be a legit national championship contender. BYU is at No. 9, but I still think they have to go 12-0 or 11-1 to make the title game or even a BCS bowl. Two losses would keep them out of a BCS bowl.
Dan (San Jose)
I don't care if BYU goes undefeated this season. There's NO WAY that the cartel will let them play for their "championship", crash their party and cash cow. Even if everyone else in the country has two losses, it will not be allowed.
Graham Watson (1:58 PM)
Yeah, but now you're asking for trouble because BYU earned a ton of new fans this week. Fans with pens and television cameras. If BYU deserved a spot and didn't get it, there would be anarchy even by the BCS conferences because that would just be wrong.
Ryan (Las Cruces)
Please tell me that DeWayne Walker is going to right the ship eventually. I know this season is lost for my Aggies, but he'll have more time than last summer to recruit more players. Please tell me there is hope!
Graham Watson (1:58 PM)
Eventually, like two years from now when he gets his players that fit his system in Las Cruces...
Who was the biggest disappointment in week 1?
Graham Watson (2:00 PM)
Rutgers, probably. Virginia. I can't say Oklahoma because of the injury. You know, Oregon. yeah, Oregon is by far the biggest disappointment of Week 1.
mike mccoy (oklahoma)
Why didn't anyone notice that FSU ran a play in last nights game with 23 sec. on the clock and the clock didn't start until after the play was over?
Graham Watson (2:01 PM)
It started just not on the TV. It was going in the stadium. I noticed it, too.
Graham Watson (2:02 PM)
All right guys, I gotta go back to work. I'll be here every Tuesday at 1 ET.Thanks for stopping by.