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 (1:08 PM)
Welcome to the chat. Sorry, I'm late. Let's begin.
Wayne (Vancouver, B.C.)
Hey Graham,Do you think (if they go undefeated) that BYU needs to beat FSU convincingly this Saturday, or that even a close win is good enough against a BCS team? FSU was lucky to win last week, and to me it just doesn't seem like a close win will improve BYU's resume a whole lot.
Graham Watson (1:10 PM)
I think Florida State is going to be a lot better than people expect. I think it struggling against Jacksonville State was a product of the hangover of the Miami game. I really do. This week's game is an opportunity for FSU to get back on the BCS map big time. I think BYU needs a really strong showing to continue what has started out to be a pretty special season.
Dan (Cleveland, OH)
Graham, made a wager with a co-worker: Buckeyes win more games than Florida State and Syracuse combined this season. What do you think?
Graham Watson (1:12 PM)
That's interesting. As I just said, I think FSU is better than people think. Syracuse, not so much. I'd say 11 wins between the two teams. Think OSU runs the table?
Danny (Dallas, TX)
Is Charles Weis done @ Notre Dame? Or will they keep him with a victory over USC?
Graham Watson (1:14 PM)
I think, and a lot of people have said this, Notre Dame needs to win 10 games and make it into the BCS. With the schedule they have and the massive amounts of talent on that team (Michael Floyd is freakin' awesome) that shouldn't be a problem. If they can't get that done, that comes down to coaching because that team is as talented as any in the country.
RAY GORDON REID ( DENVER COLRADO 80205)
QUESTIONS TO GRAHAM WATSON AT1.20 PM HI GRAHAM COUGARS OR SEMINOLES QUESTION 2 UTES OR DUCKS
Graham Watson (1:15 PM)
You know my rule... I don't pick games until Thursday, though I'm leaning toward the Mountain West. However, I was not impressed with Utah the other night. Just played a sloppy lackadaisical game against San Jose State. They won't be able to play the fourth quarter and still get a win in Autzen.
Jeremy K (Boise, ID)
IF both Boise St. and BYU run the table, is this the first year we will see TWO BCS busters? Or will one get snubbed?
Graham Watson (1:16 PM)
Obviously, that depends on who else is at the top, who goes to the national championship and all that, but I think if that scenario happens, Boise State will once again be snubbed. BSU didn't have a strong schedule to begin with and if Oregon loses to Utah this week, it gets even weaker.
Thoughts on Friday night in Fresno? Are the Bulldogs spent from Madison or can they make this a battle?
Graham Watson (1:19 PM)
Pat Hill seemed to think this was the first time in awhile that he had the athletes to play with Boise State and I agree. They didn't have the offense to play with BSU last season and part of that was injuries. The Bulldogs do have a couple significant injuries heading into Friday's game, but I still they have a better chance. Not sure they'll win, but it will be a ton better than last year's result.
Chad (Las Vegas)
More parody in CFB today than ever? Is this attributed to national coverage of most conferences or what?
Graham Watson (1:22 PM)
I think it attributed to high school athletes having more resources available and therefore more high-level, athletic kids available to recruit. Like 10 years ago, there was no way a non-AQ team would have the resources to keep up with an AQ team. Just wouldn't happen. But now, the athletes are starting to look similar. The weight programs and dedication in the summer are starting to be similar. That was something that wasn't happening before and that's why there's more parity. And yes, I think TV exposure helps because a kid watching Houston beat Oklahoma State on TV might lean more toward Houston to be a part of an upset like that.
What do you think about the Cincinnati/Oregon St game? Should be a great offensive showcase; who wins?
Graham Watson (1:24 PM)
I like Cincy in this game. I wasn't impressed with Oregon State at all last week and honestly, had it not been for some ill-times mistakes by UNLV, Oregon State should have lost that game. I think Cincy wins by double digits.
because it can be seen that you hate ND from all your posts over the past years how bad do you have them getting beat this weekend? They will at least put up 30.
Graham Watson (1:25 PM)
Past years? I've worked with ESPN a year and I don't even cover them this year. I think they'll be fine this weekend.
Utes sloppy showing against SJSU: A product of a bad Utes team or maybe overlooking them towards the Oregon game?
Graham Watson (1:28 PM)
I think perhaps looking ahead. That wasn't the Utah team we're used to seeing.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Do you think Todd Reesing has pro potential?
Graham Watson (1:30 PM)
That's hard to see. He's a playmaker, no doubt. But size does matter in the NFL and he'll have to prove himself big time to stick with a team.
Matt (Provo, UT)
If Max Hall plays well against FSU, TCU and the U, what are his chances of being invited to New York come Heisman time?
Graham Watson (1:33 PM)
I think it's possible. He's a longshot, but I think he's a more polished quarterback than Colt Brennan was his senior season. Obviously, it's about the big wins and how Hall performs in them. He's off to a good start, but he was off to a good start last year before he hit TCU and Utah. So, I think it's about consistency and limiting turnovers.
Graham Watson (1:34 PM)
Sorry about the little break in the action. G.J. Kinne called. Another Oklahoma upset this weekend? It's possible.
Ben (Tremonton, Utah)
Two questions, Are you going to make it to Provo this weekend?Do you see the game in Provo, being a high scoring back and forth game like Miam-FSU, or do you like the defense in this game.
Graham Watson (1:36 PM)
I will be in Provo this weekend -- my first game in Provo. It's hard to say about the game. I really though BYU's defense was fantastic against OU that first weekend. FSU will have a little better passing game with Ponder (instead of Landry Jones) so that will make a difference. I think it's going to be a medium-scoring game. Somewhere in the 20s or 30s. No doubt that both teams can put points on the board, but I like BYU's defense so far. If they hold FSU to under 20 points, I think they win.
Do you think Wyoming represnted the MWC well vs. Texas? I don't think so but what are your thoughts?
Graham Watson (1:39 PM)
Eh... I think the first half was surprising, but I think a lot of that had to do with Texas sleepwalking a bit. We saw toward the end of the half, Texas dominate and march down the field pretty quickly. And then the second half, well, that was pretty ugly. I though Wyoming did the best it could with what it had. It's not nearly as talented or as deep as Texas. Now this weekend, against Colorado, will be interesting. Do I think Wyoming is better than Colorado? No. Do I think it's playing better than Colorado? Yes. And I think Robert Benjamin can exploit the Buffs weak defense with Christensen's passing game.
Eric (Venice, CA)
Hi Graham, How in the world is 2-0 Houston ranked below Ok St in both the AP
Graham Watson (1:41 PM)
Because Houston beat Northwestern State in its first game... Not Georgia. And it was a close game against Houston. OK State will end up being one of the top teams in the country when it's all said and done and ultimately, it will play a tougher schedule.
Mike (Portland, Or)
What is the key for a CSU victory against Nevada on Saturday?
Graham Watson (1:42 PM)
Exploiting the Nevada secondary. I think the gameplan needs to be similar to the way the Rams attacked Colorado. Air the ball out and see what you can get. Nevada's pass defense doesn't look any better than it was a year ago and Stucker, Morton, etc., can exploit that.
Everyone is talking BYU, and rightfully so after the Ok game.But it looks to me like TCU is actually the better. If TCU loses at Clemson, but wins the rest, is that enough to get to the BCS in your opinion?
Graham Watson (1:44 PM)
I don't know how you can gauge that after seeing TCU play a really bad Virginia team. I think we'll know more after Clemson and a lot more when the team's meet. There's no doubt that both teams are good, but their opponents have been so different that it's hard to say TCU is the better team right now.
Chris (Niles, Michigan)
Hi Graham,After seeing the way Michigan has played this year, SO FAR, where do you think this team will end up record wise? Before the season everyone was thinking 6-6, MAYBE 7-5...are they looking any better right now?
Graham Watson (1:45 PM)
They're looking way better right now. I don't think anyone expected what Tate Forcier brings to the table. The young quarterback is pretty fantastic. It's clear that Michigan has better athletes than anyone thought. I wouldn't be surprised if they made the race for the Big Ten title interesting this year.
Eric (Venice, CA)
But Graham, Houston BEAT Ok St on the field and is therefore the BETTER team. I saw it with my own eyes. How does that make any sense to rank them lower this week?
Graham Watson (1:48 PM)
I can't explain it, since I'm not a national voter. I don;t think voters could discount the Georgia game, which was pretty impressive and teams that were ranked usually get a pass against teams that aren't ranked. Fair? No, but historically that's the way it's always gone. I know, not a great answer, but I can't tell you what each voter is thinking when they do their weekly polls.
JAMMER (OGDEN, UTAH)
whats your thoughts about the DirecTV/Versus dispute. I am a BYU fan and a DirecTV subscriber and can't watch my team play this week.
Graham Watson (1:48 PM)
Yeah, I was a little disappointed that I couldn't get the Wyoming game either. Ironically, I got DirecTV so I could get the MTN.
Chris (Bar Harbor, ME)
With all the injuries to BYU's offensive line...how long does one realistically expect them to keep giving Max Hall the kind of protection he's been getting.
Graham Watson (1:49 PM)
I think the first game was the time to worry. Since they passed that test, I think they get better. Nothing like experience to gel an offensive line. I don't think that's even a concern anymore.
Graham you saw them first hand; how good is BSU's defense?
Graham Watson (1:52 PM)
Boise State's defense - and I saw it against Oregon - was far better than what Petersen had portrayed to me. I don't think he was sandbagging, I truly think they played better than anyone thought. And then to follow it up with a shutout is pretty great. I do think they'll have their greatest test this weekend against a Fresno State team that showing some spread looks, which is a different than past years. I am happy this FSU-BSU game is early before Fresno State gets all beat up and makes it uncompetitive.
Hi Graham, would you please explain to Eric (before he sends another comment) that teams sometimes lose to other teams that aren't quite as good as them. If they didn't, there would never be any upsets...
Graham Watson (1:53 PM)
I think you just did.
Chad (Las Vegas)
UF lost to Ole Miss did that make them the better team for the year?
Graham Watson (1:53 PM)
Dweezy (Irving, TX)
Afternoon Graham! - Notre Dame vs. Sparty this weekend .. both coming off tough losses ... both trying to prove itself as a legite program ... who has the upper hand and who do you think wins?
Graham Watson (1:55 PM)
I think Notre Dame is more talented and has a better offense. The thing that killed Notre Dame last year was the rushing of Michigan State. That's not as big of a threat this year. Michigan State is playing some decent defense this year, but their schedule hasn't exactly been tough. I like Notre Dame in an anger win.
who suffered bigger setback in terms of national perception......ohio st or notre dame?
Graham Watson (1:57 PM)
Notre Dame. I don't think a lot of people expected Ohio State to win that game and they really showed better than people thought. Notre Dame came in riding the wave of the Nevada beatdown and couldn't stop Michigan when it mattered most. And Notre Dame's national perception was fragile and we saw that with them dropping out of the polls this week.
Zane (Kent, Ohio)
Graham, I may be biased, but I feel like the upper level MAC teams are on par with some of the better teams of the big east. Yet, when you bring up any mac team in an argument, people laugh you off. Will the national perception of the mac ever change?
Graham Watson (2:00 PM)
I think what hurts the MAC is the fact that they play these ridiculous nonconference schedules and that's when they lose credibility. Central's win over Michigan State was great, but I'm not a big believer in Sparty being that good this year. In fact, I think they get smacked by ND this week. It's rare that a MAC team beats a highly-ranked AQ team and goes on to a fantastic season. Miami-Ohio was the last nationally respected MAC team. Yeah, Ball State was ranked last season, but they also were undefeated a nowhere near getting a sniff at a BCS bowl berth. The MAC has to consistently start beating some of the AQ teams on their schedules for people to start noticing.
What do you think about Greg davis taking the Colorado job?
Graham Watson (2:02 PM)
I would be surprised if they fire Hawk. Colorado doesn't have the money to do it. It's already paying back a huge loan from a couple years ago with Barnett.
Justin (New Orleans)
Ok so I know all the talk is about BYU but I go to tulane and I witnessed that massacre first hand. Graham, will you please tell me if tulane will ever have the opportunity to go bowling again?
Graham Watson (2:03 PM)
You know, I think Tulane will be better. It will win a few games this year, it's just had a couple tough games to start, But they've gotten better in each game. No bowl this year, though I don't think it will be too long. This summer was the first summer players really started committing to the program. Joe Kemp will lead this team to a bowl before he leaves campus.
Cody (Eagle Idaho)
Graham if boise and tcu both go undefeated who finishes higher in the polls?
Graham Watson (2:04 PM)
TCU because it still has games against two ranked opponents remaining. At least, ranked right now...
Amy (West Texas)
I know it's a week away, but how do you see the Texas Tech at Houston game turning out? I guess this weekend's game could have an effect.
Graham Watson (2:06 PM)
Yeah, hard to say until after this Texas game. I do think it's an advantage that Houston has two weeks to prepare and the game is being played in Houston. I really like this Houston team. It's driven and if Tech gets smacked by Texas, I'd give the Cougars a pretty good chance for the win.
Graham Watson (2:06 PM)
OK. I'm back to work. Thanks for stopping by. See you guys this time next week.