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 (1:01 PM)
Welcome to the chat. Give me a second to get situated.
There is going to be a football revolution after this year, if undefeated teams get the can. Agree? It's going to get ugly...
Graham Watson (1:03 PM)
I think it's possible because I think it's going to be more that non-AQ undefeated teams that get the shaft. I guarantee that it will spark more talk on Capitol Hill.
Graham, loved your column on Keenum for heisman. I absolutely agree, but in reality, do you think he will get the votes he needs to get to NY?
Graham Watson (1:04 PM)
I think he can get to NY if Houston wins out. Unfortunately, I don't think he'll win.
Who will be Utah's starting QB on Saturday and do you think they will remain the starter for the remainder of the year? If it's Cain, did Utah just waist what could have been a redshirt season?
Graham Watson (1:05 PM)
I've heard from several sources that it will be Wynn, which is the smart move. I don't think Whittingham could have justified pulling Wynn's redshirt got a half against Wyoming. However, Wynn is put in a tough situation. He'll have a lot of pressure to beat some pretty good teams down the stretch here.
Micky (Portland, OR)
We all know its a long shot for Kellen Moore to win the Heisman. Do you think he has a better chance of winning the Davey O'brien Award, or maybe even the Maxwell?
Graham Watson (1:07 PM)
I think he should be a finalist for the Davey. Not sure he'll get the credit for the the Maxwell since that's not just quarterbacks. Honestly, and I know everyone's tired of hearing me say this, but he's hampered by his schedule. And honestly, I thought he was a better quarterback a year ago and probably should have gotten more credit than he did a year ago.
Thoughts on Fresno State-Idaho? Is Matthews just going to run all over the Vandals?
Graham Watson (1:08 PM)
Yeah, I think Idaho is going to have some big problems with Mathews. However, I think the Vandals can score on any team in their league. I predict a shootout and a really fun game. My gut says Fresno State, but you can't count the Vandals out this year.
Student (Boulder, CO)
Thank you for coming to my class! I learned a lot!! ;)
Graham Watson (1:09 PM)
Ha! You're welcome. I enjoyed it.
What has to happen in order for Boise St. and TCU to both get BCS bids?
Graham Watson (1:11 PM)
A couple things. Notre Dame has to stay out of the mix. The ACC has to have a team finish out of the top 16, I think. It's going to be tough to get both in, though I really believe tat both deserve a shot if they both go undefeated. Boise State has proven year in and year out that it's one of the most consistent and formidable teams in the country.
Terry (Distant Memories)
If Temple makes a bowl game, will the earth stop spinning? Hats off to Coach Golden and the Owls! Can they sustain this good start?
Graham Watson (1:12 PM)
Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!
Graham Watson (1:13 PM)
My pop culture reference for the day... I think Temple showed a lot coming back against a good Navy team. That makes me believe that not only can the Owls win the East, they might be able to take down CMU for the MAC title. The only thing they have to do is not get caught up in all the praise they're getting.
Toby (oswego ks [via mobile]
Would it benefit boise st, utah, byu, and tcu to leave their confrences to get the respect nationally they deserve?
Graham Watson (1:14 PM)
Boise State, perhaps... The other three likely will be in an automatic qualifying conference within the next few years.
Graham, I think in a head to head match this year, Boise St. would beat TCU, UTah, and BYU. I think Oregon would also beat all three of these teams this year as well!!
Graham Watson (1:15 PM)
I don't. I think Boise would beat Utah and BYU and lose to TCU. they have not faced a defense that even comes close to TCU and when they did, they lost. I think that would be a tough game for the Broncos. As for Oregon... If the Oregon team that's been playing the last few weeks played all four of those teams, I think they'd probably beat all four. That's how well Oregon is playing right now.
kevin (Salt Lake)
What happens if both Oregon and Utah win out? Does Utah get into the BCS at 11-1 with its only loss at Oregon?
Graham Watson (1:16 PM)
I don't think Utah would get a bid over an undefeated Boise State. However, if both Boise State and TCU lost, then yeah, Utah would get into the BCS.
Graham ............ Are you going to make the Uath vs TCU game on the 14th?
Graham Watson (1:17 PM)
Pretty sure we'll have a couple people there. Looking forward to going back to my old stomping grounds in Dallas.
Andrew (Orlando, Fl)
Graham, I asked about UCF last week so after the Marshall game what do you think about our team? I was at the game but watched a tape of the broadcast on ESPN. The final two minutes the announcers were saying O'leary looked upset with the play calling of running on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th down down a TD with under 2 minutes left, and with the spiking the football after converting the 4th and short with a qb sneak. Isn't that why he is the HEAD COACH, if he doesn't like the play calling take charge. I'm glad we won, but boy it is excruciating to watch us play sometimes.
Graham Watson (1:19 PM)
Yeah, that was a crazy game. Marshall dominated and just abused UCF QB Brett Hodges. But credit UCF - and O'Leary - they never gave up. Marshall made a major error both at the 30 and at the goal line and UCF capitalized. While that game was exciting, I think it was window dressing. UCF might go to a bowl, but I don't think ECU is giving up the title.
Barry Keiffer (Idaho)
Gouging opponents eyes in institutes of higher learning is sending the wrong message. That would be a felony in life. He should not be suspended, but made to play blindfolded.
Graham Watson (1:21 PM)
While I agree that what Spikes did was awful, I have to point out that there's some gnarly stuff that happens on the bottom of some of those piles. I am not in anyway condoning what happened. I'm just saying that this is a big deal because Spikes was caught. That kind of thing and probably worse happens at the bottom of some of those piles on running plays and especially fumbles.
wil (silverton, oregon)
How do you tell....is what Akey has done in Idaho a one year fluke or the foundation to at least make Idaho a respectable WAC member? I don't expect them to become Boise State North, but winning more seasons than not, competing for a WAC title every so often, that would satisfy this Idaho alumni for now. Is that where Idaho is, or not yet?
Graham Watson (1:23 PM)
I think Akey is laying a solid foundation for this program. I don't think we'll see Idaho go back to what it was prior to Akey or even in his first couple seasons. He's getting the right players and they have the right attitude. And remember, this is still a fairly young team. There's no reason to think they can;t have a similar season next year.
Diego (Las Cruces)
Graham why do you say that TCU would beat BSU this year? Why does last year matter? It was a ONE point loss for heaven sakes. BSU led the game for 52 of 60 minutes. BSU's D-line and LB's are playing way better and Kellen is way more efficient this year. If last year matters shouldn't we just give Florida the national title as they won it last year?
Graham Watson (1:25 PM)
I was using that as a reference point in terms of the last time Boise State lost. I think both teams are better than they were a year ago and I still think TCU would win. Again, Boise State hasn't played a team anywhere close to TCU so it's hard to tell what would happen.
RAY GORDONREID ( YUMA ARIZONA 85634)
QUESTION TO GRAHAM WATSON AT 1.40PM HI WHICH TEAM WILLBE IN BCS CJHAMPIONSHIP BOISE STATE OR TCU OR CINCINNATI
Graham Watson (1:25 PM)
None of the above.
Darell (Nome, AK)
Come on Graham!!! I don't think TCU would beat Boise this year.... Boise returns everybody from last year, they were up 13-0 in last year's game, and Kellen Moore's turnovers were what killed Boise in a three point loss (he's turned the ball over, what, twice this year?) I think Boise would win the rematch!
Graham Watson (1:27 PM)
Have you seen TCU play this year? I ask that because TCU isn't on TV as much as Boise, so it's easy to look at Boise State and see how they've dominated teams on television. But TCU has done the exact same thing. I think both teams are really good. They won't play each other this year, so this is a moot point. But having watched both teams, in person, I think each has strengths, but I have to go with defense. TCU's defense is absolutely the real deal.
Have any of these people seen TCU play this year? Regardless it is a moot point they won't play each other this year so we won't know.
Graham Watson (1:28 PM)
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham, if Boise State gets snubbed by the BCS (again), I am considering giving up on college football all together. Why does it have to be about money/tv instead of who is most deserving? Thanks.
Graham Watson (1:32 PM)
You also have to factor in schedule. Boise State has 13 games this season. It added a couple games late. It had the opportunity to go on the road and play some better opponents and it didn't. UC Davis was a late addition. That Bowling Green game was up in the air until late. TCU added Clemson late because Gary Patterson wanted his team to play in that type of environment. That's helping his team, not only in big games, but also the BCS standings. Next year, Boise State will play VT and Oregon State. Fresno State, Nevada and maybe even Idaho will be much better. You have to think Louisiana Tech and Hawaii will be better. No one can complain about their schedule after that.
Graham, how did Cinci jump TCU and Boise in the BCS poll with a win over Syracuse?? Scratching my head over that one..
Graham Watson (1:33 PM)
Yeah, me too. I've got no idea how that worked out.
Is it true that the Pac-10 might expand in the coming years? If thats true, who gets in?
Graham Watson (1:35 PM)
There have been rumors, especially around here in Colorado. Thoughts about Colorado and Utah getting in and separating the conference into divisions. Again, rumor and probably wishful thinking.
I know that teams are judged by wins and losses. Fresno State gets no respect. They can play with any team in the country. They do it year in and year out. So you don't think Boise would get to a BSC conference before Fresno?
Graham Watson (1:37 PM)
It's consistency. Boise State has consistently played well against tough competition and has consistently between teams they're supposed to beat. Fresno State hasn't shown those same traits.
why do you not add Utah St. to the list of teams bound to be better in the WAC? Have you not seen them be competitive against good tems?
Graham Watson (1:39 PM)
I totally agree. I didn't mean to leave them out. I think they have been far more competitive this season and I think we saw flashes of that this time a year ago. I think Andersen has this team in the right direction. Once he gets the right players in there to fit his system, I think it will have a turnaround similar to Idaho.
Graham, did you just say 'Boise State hasn't played a team anywhere close to TCU'??? Yep, Oregon stinks, or I guess we played them before they realized the season started, then again Boise State plays everybody when they're 'not ready' or 'can't get up for the game'... please, Boise State isn't this lucky.
Graham Watson (1:42 PM)
Honestly, Both Boise State and Oregon were not even close to the teams they were in that game. Kudos to Boise State for winning the game. It was awesome and the reason they're ranked so highly, but you have to admit that neither one of these teams was at their peak in that season opener. Both quarterbacks had OK games. I'd love to see them play now. I think it would be an awesome contest. So, yes, I stand by my comment that Boise State hasn't played team like TCU.
Graham....interesting question here. Who do you think is "America's Team" of College Football? My friends and I argue about it all the time.
Graham Watson (1:45 PM)
I don't know that there is one. And when there is, it's usually because something happened to the school. Like a couple years ago when everyone jumped on VT's bandwagon because of the shooting. Or this year, everyone supporting UConn. I think in college, there's a lot of camaraderie in times of tragedy. However, year in and year out I would lean toward one of the Academies because no other teams get the same type of respect that those schools do.
Casey (Santa Clarita, CA)
Graham College Football can only be played on the field and what happens on the field happens. Why would you want a playoff if you keep on making up excuses for the Oregon loss?
Graham Watson (1:47 PM)
Who's making excuses for the Oregon loss? I credit Boise State for being the better team in an ugly game. Good teams win ugly games. A win is a win and that's the reason we're even having this conversation. But I am saying that BOTH teams are far different in every facet than the ones that played that night.
Does Coach Sanford lose his job if UNLV does not finish at 6-6?
Graham Watson (1:48 PM)
I think there's a good chance that he'll lose their job if UNLV doesn't go bowling. This was supposed to be a really good UNLV team and something happened along the way to change that. Usually, that falls on the coach.
Graham, I think it's safe to say TCU has not faced a team as tough as Boise State this year! Clemson was beat the week before by Maryland and Virginia (please) and BYU is overrated. Yes, Boise State always lucks out and gets Oregon, OU, etc... when they are 'down'.
Graham Watson (1:50 PM)
Yep. I would agree with this statement as well. The Frogs haven't faced a quarterback that is as sound as Kellen Moore nor a defense as tough as the Broncos and probably won't for the rest of the regular season. I totally agree with that. I think Clemson's running game is probably better than Boise State's, but that's about it.
How come Fresno State isn't getting any love in the polls, 3 loses to top 20 teams, the closest game Cincy had all year and went punch for punch with BSU, when they demolish Idaho will they start to get some votes?
Graham Watson (1:52 PM)
They won;t get any credit because they lost to all the best teams on their schedule. Beating the likes of Tech, Hawaii and USU aren't going to be enough. Trust me, I think Fresno State is a much better team than what they're getting credit for, but man, pull out those wins at Wisconsin and Cincy and this is a whole 'nother conversation.
Graham...Floyd is going to return for N.D. this weekend,if he's completely healthy does that give the irish the boost they need to win out?
Graham Watson (1:54 PM)
I think it definitely takes some pressure off Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen. We'll see how he looks coming back. The Irish don't have an excruciating schedule remaining, but I think games against Navy and Pitt will be tough.
Graham, in the unlikely event that Utah somehow upsets TCU, will you use the same line again this year about how Utah was lucky and that TCU's offense just played a bad game? Giving no credit to the consistently good defenses Wittingham produces.
Graham Watson (1:56 PM)
Ha! If this Utah team wins, with a QB in his second start, a hit-and-miss defense and on the road, I'll give Utah all the credit in the world. Because TCU is a better team and that would be an upset.
Graham, I don't envy you your task of covering all non-AQ teams... that's quite a burden. However, regarding your criticism of Boise's scheduling, you mentioned that Boise had the opportunity to schedule tougher opponents but didn't. Is that your assumption, or did they have an AQ team lined up before adding UC Davis? Perhaps you could contact the Boise AD and do a feature column on the difficulties of a non-AQ team like Boise putting together a decent schedule when so many AQ teams would prefer to avoid them. It might shed some light on how warped the entire FBS system is.
Graham Watson (2:01 PM)
I understand that no one wants to play AT Boise. Can't blame them. That's a trap game with no benefit for an AQ team. But Boise State hasn't really gotten out of its comfort zone. It doesn't like to play guarantees (next year with VT is an exception). There were a couple AQ teams that were looking for guarantees when BSU was shopping. TCU picked up one of them. So, there's got be a compromise. I'm not saying take every guarantee, but they've got to branch out of the Pac-10 and accept some guarantee games with other conferences. Do that, win those games, and Boise State will start getting treated like USC and be in the top 5 every year. They'll be untouchable in the non-AQ world. And I really honestly and truly believe that while they might not always go undefeated with that kind of schedule, they'll win more games than they'll lose and they'll earn a ton of national respect and clout doing it.
If you take away the AQ label of Virginia and Clemson, you have Tulsa and Bowling Green. :)
Graham Watson (2:02 PM)
I understand the hate for Virginia. They're pretty terrible. But why Clemson? Didn't it beat Miami?
Graham Watson (2:03 PM)
All right. I'm already over my time. Talk to you guys next week. Thanks for chatting.