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 (1:00 PM)
Hey guys, we'll start in just a sec.
Graham Watson (1:02 PM)
OK. Back. Hey everyone. Hope you're all having a good week. Let's chat!
Graham Watson (1:03 PM)
Oh, and don't bother to ask for my prediction for this weekend's BYU-TCU game. You know I never real that stuff until Thursday...
Pedro (Twin Falls Idaho)
Graham, why do you keep saying that BSU will get passed by TCU because the computers will punish them for their "weak" schedule. After looking at the computer rankings and SOS, I think you may be mistaken. The Sagarin shows BSU SOS as #38 and TCU's #53. The Anderson/Hester computer model shows BSu at 44 and TCU at 101. Now this could change as TCU plays BYU and Utah, but the computers seem to think highly of Idaho which will help BSU. It seems it is all up to the human pollsters as I don't think there is any advantages for TCU in the computers. Do you agree or what do you think?
Graham Watson (1:06 PM)
You hit the nail on the head when you said that things could change by playing BYU and Utah. Both of those teams are ranked, which will help TCU's strength of schedule. Boise State doesn't have the luxury of a playing any more ranked teams. Heck, Idaho's the only other team in the conference currently with a winning record. There have been a ton of articles about this very subject that quote some of the computer gurus. I liked one yesterday from the NY Times.
Three of the six BCS computers don't have BYU ranked. And people wonder why we hate the BCS so much out here.
Graham Watson (1:07 PM)
Does that really matter considering BYU is No. 16 in standings? That's the beauty of the human part of the poll. The humans still respect BYU.
Joe (SLC, UT)
Graham I heard you criticizing BSU yesterday on 1280 the zone. You say that BSU struggled with Tulsa on the road, yet no mention of TCU's struggle with Air Force (3 point win) What gives?
Graham Watson (1:09 PM)
I didn't criticize Boise State. Quite the contrary, actually. Boise State didn't play well against Tulsa or U.C. Davis. No one can deny that. TCU's game was two weeks ago and I did give point out their struggles with AFA last week. That game does get some leeway since it was played in an ice storm and AFA has one of the best defenses in the country.
Mike (Twin Falls ID)
What are the Chances of a one loss BYU team jumping Bois state in the Rankings?
Graham Watson (1:11 PM)
If Boise State stays undefeated I'm not sure that's going to happen mostly because I don't think the human polls will rank BYU above Boise especially now that Oklahoma is likely out of the rankings for the rest of the season.
Does Case Keenum have a chance to be invited to the Heisman if the Cougs win out?
Graham Watson (1:14 PM)
I actually think he will especially since none of the favorites seem to want to snatch this thing. Keenum has been mentioned in the Heisman poll since his win against Oklahoma State and if the Cougars win out and he continues to put up strong numbers, he's just as deserving as anyone to be there. And let's not forget, he did throw for more than 500 yards in the UTEP loss. Unfortunately, he doesn't play defense.
Graham, let's start the chat with the question that EVERYONE is asking.....Will the Ohio Bobcats win the MAC East and maybe more?
Graham Watson (1:16 PM)
Ha! I know many are dying for this answer... I think it's yes. Ohio has been playing well and it has a very favorable schedule from here on out. Bowling Green could get hot, but since the Bobcats own the head-to-head, I don't see any team tracking Ohio down.
If BYU wins out what needs to happen in order for them to go to a BCS bowl?
Graham Watson (1:18 PM)
Eh... BYU would have to go undefeated from here on out and Boise State would have to lose. I don't think both will happen. And even if it did, as someone else pointed out, the computer rankings might not allow the Cougars to get high enough in the polls.
In what scenario do you see both Boise and TCU playing in a BCS game? (Obviously they both have to go undefeated).
Graham Watson (1:21 PM)
If you had asked me this question last week (and some of you did) I would have said it was unlikely. However, several of the nation's top teams struggled this past week and perhaps gave a preview of a loss down the road. Obviously, it's going to depend on where the top ACC and Big East teams lie and who goes to the national championship. If both Boise and TCU end up in the top 12 one will go for sure, but the other will have to have compelling case to be picked up as an at-large.
If you could create a conference that would rival the AQs from exisiting non-AQ teams, which teams would you want and what would you name the conference?
Graham Watson (1:23 PM)
Boise, TCU, Utah, BYU, Houston, Fresno, Tulsa, East Carolina, Southern Miss... Obviously, this is unlikely because they're spread out all across the country.
John (South Bend In)
Graham, Is ND back or are they years from being back?
Graham Watson (1:25 PM)
I think Notre Dame is getting a lot of undeserved criticism and maybe that's because I didn't have very high hopes this year. I thought they were going to get killed by USC's running game, and the Irish held their own. They've been in every game this year and have played better than many expected. Are they back to what Notre Dame used to be? Of course not, but there's definitely been progress from the past couple years.
Is Dennis Pitta a lock for the John Mackey award barring an injury?
Graham Watson (1:27 PM)
I wouldn't say a lock. There are a couple really good tight ends out there and Pitta's numbers are down from a year ago. I think he has a fantastic chance to be a finalist, but I hesitate to call him a lock just seven games into the season.
Lawrence (La Crescenta, CA)
Is Tebow a SOLID LOCK for the Heisman if the Gators go undefeated? Is it the year of the intangibles rather than statistics?
Graham Watson (1:28 PM)
The Heisman is supposed to go to the nation's best player. And I guess that's subjective. Do I think Tim Tebow's the nation's best player? No, and I really don't think anyone has consistently stood out enough to claim that title. I think he'll be in the conversation, but I'm not sure being an inspiration leader will be enough.
Graham Watson (1:29 PM)
Let me add, that Tebow does have good stats this season and his team has a great record, but I think people were expecting more in his senior season.
Kellen Moore looks better then Tebow and McCoy what do you think about him being the heismen?
Graham Watson (1:30 PM)
Unfortunately, Moore is hurt by putting up strong numbers against weak opponents. I think Moore is a fantastic QB, but next year might be his first time to really gain some Heisman traction.
do you think jerry hughes will end up as an all american this year? and where do you think he'll be taken in the draft (obviously behind gerald mccoy)
Graham Watson (1:31 PM)
He'll be an AA this year. No doubt. He was projected to be a late first or early second rounder last year. I think he'll go in the first because his can be a good asset in a 3-4 defense.
Ben (Fort Worth, TX)
Why does it seem that everyone has forgotten that TCU BEAT Boise State last year in the Poinsetta Bowl?
Graham Watson (1:33 PM)
No one is forgetting... But it was last year. Utah went undefeated last year, which has absolutely no bearing on their ability to play in a BCS bowl game again this year. It's all about what have you done for me lately.
Mike (Shelley, ID)
As a fan of BYU, I do like to see them win (just not against Boise). However, their toughest opponents thus far is a drowning OU and dead FSU team. And BYU's performance against San Diego State was rather lacking in the defensive category. Is BYU too hyped? I know your not doing predictions, but is this weeks game against TCU really big enough to warrant College Gameday?
Graham Watson (1:35 PM)
It's big enough from a TCU standpoint because many believe this could be a turning point in the Horned Frogs season. Win this game and the BCS bowl talk gets fired up big time. Also, Jerry Hughes and Daryl Washington are two of the premier defenders in the country and Hall is one of the top QBs. There's a lot of draw in this game. As for BYU being too hyped? Eh, maybe a little, but I think this game will tell a lot.
Saam (Los Angeles, CA)
Is it possible to see a Houston vs. Boise State bowl match-up? Who would win in that game in your opinion?
Graham Watson (1:39 PM)
Bell Helicopter and Hawaii are the only bowls that allow for C-USA-WAC matchups. The only way that happens is if Boise State loses and both conferences work out a way to make that happen and the bowls (not just those two, but the other guarantee bowls) agree. The C-USA champion goes to the Liberty Bowl.
Jake (Mt. Pleasant, MI)
Should Central Michigan win out, what bowl would they end up playing in? Thier record would be 12-1, with wins over Michigan State and Boston College, and thier only loss to a solid Arizona team in week one.
Graham Watson (1:40 PM)
What's the top MAC bowl? The GMAC? Yeah, that's probably where they'd go. Doesn't seem like a great prize to go 12-1, but since the Chippewas aren't in a position to be BCS bowl bound, that's the best the MAC contracts have.
Tyler (Iowa City)
What kind of grade do you give Wyoming's coach Dave Christensen at the mid-way point this season and why?
Graham Watson (1:42 PM)
Uh, so far a B-minus. The Cowboys have a winning record and while all of those wins have come against mediocre teams, the face that they defeated those teams should be noted. His offense is playing well and the defense is doing it's part. However, I think Wyoming is headed for a bad streak that started with last week's loss to AFA. Will this be a repeat of 2007 when they started 4-2 and finished 5-7? It's totally possible.
Do either Ryan Mathews and Kellen Moore get a trip to NYC if they play at the same level the rest of the season?
Graham Watson (1:44 PM)
I think Ryan Mathews should get a nod simply because he's been one of the most consistent players in the country and his numbers have come against some pretty good teams. I would argue that he's been "the" most consistent player in the nation.
Mike (Shelley, ID)
What is your opinion on the Playoff PAC? Think it will gain any ground?
Graham Watson (1:47 PM)
I doubt it. The powers that be are already trying to strike it down. I think the fact that good ideas like this are getting thrown around is a good start.
Is BSU better off moving to the MWC (if invited) or staying in the WAC (with the ESPN TV contract) and scheduling more non-conference games with teams like Virginia Tech and Oregon State (next year)?
Graham Watson (1:48 PM)
Better off hoping for the invite because if the MWC gets an automatic bid, the chances of a non-AQ making a BCS bowl are going to be pretty slim.
Gator AL (va)
Geez Graham, a little hard on Tebow no? new OC this year, new QB coach, he did great up till getting a concussion (31 point lead over KY) then comes back and wins two more games. His stats may not show it but I don't think there is a team in the country that wouldn't want a Tebow or would like to face him on the other side of a field. Tebow represents alot of what is good about college sports.
Graham Watson (1:51 PM)
Why shouldn't I be hard on him? he won two national championships, a Heisman and is a Heisman finalist. The bar is pretty high for him and rightfully so. I'm not knocking Tebow' leadership. There's no one in the country who could match it. However, does that make him the automatic Heisman winner? I'm not sure he deserves it over some others.
I know the game is still a few weeks away, but who ya got, Illinois or Fresno? Ill take Fresno...Thanks Juice.
Graham Watson (1:52 PM)
Yeah, I think Fresno, especially the way its playing lately, might run for 300 yards on the Illini.
ramon moses (panama)
What are the chances of Coach Patterson to be a candidate for coach of the year and also how do you compare TCU to the rest of the top 10 teams in the nation..
Graham Watson (1:53 PM)
If TCU goes undefeated, he'll be a candidate, but I'll tell you right now... If Idaho goes 11-1 or 11-2, Robb Akey has to have the award locked up.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Graham, do you know the date Heisman ballots have to be in by? Is it before or after the SEC Champ game? I would assume Ingram vs Tebow in that game could decide the Heisman.
Graham Watson (1:56 PM)
I believe, though don't quote me because we don't vote for the Heisman, it's Dec. 7. Again, don't quote me.
Leo (Cedar City UT)
What are the odds that the MWC becomes an AQ conference at the end of the evaluation periodA. as they are right nowB. if they invite Boise St. and Boise St. accepts?
Graham Watson (1:57 PM)
I think the chances of the MWC becomes an AQ conference are higher than them inviting Boise State.
What do you think of the Tulsa vs. Houston game? How much does it help BSU if Tulsa wins, or does it get written-off as another Houston conference flop?
Graham Watson (1:58 PM)
No, I think it helps Boise State if Tulsa wins but only if Houston continues to play as well as it has.
Dylan (Columbia ,SC)
Hey Graham , what are your thoughts on the prospect of a possible Boise State/Oregon Rose Bow? Do you think that could happen if Iowa goes down at some point in the season?
Graham Watson (2:00 PM)
Usually, bowls like to stay away from repeat matchups, but I think this would be one that a lot of people would like to see especially after all the drama this last game.
Graham Watson (2:00 PM)
All right folks. I'm out. Have a good week.