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 everyone. Welcome to the chat. Let's get started.
Brad Edwards has mentioned on numerous occasions that TCU?s remaining two games will adversely affect their computer rankings (because of WY?s and NM?s records); and that seems plausible to me. However, It doesn?t appear ?rational? to me that TCU was 4th in computers last week but they dropped to 5th after soundly beating Utah (16th in the BCS Standings) and Air Force, BYU and Clemson all won. Do you have an explanation for that?
Graham Watson (1:01 PM)
I think you have to look at the strength of schedules for Cincy and Texas as well and the SOSs of the teams they've played. While Uta was ranked, it hadn't really played anyone outside of Oregon.
Do you think Navy will get ranked before the end of the season?
Graham Watson (1:02 PM)
I thought they should have squeaked in at the bottom of the rankings after beating Notre Dame. With Hawaii and Army remaining on the schedule, I think it's going to be difficult for them to get into the Top 25.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham, any chance Boise State gets caught looking ahead to Nevada and the Broncos struggle at Utah State on Friday?
Graham Watson (1:03 PM)
I think it's possible, but that's not really Boise State's style. If Boise struggles it's going to be because Utah State is a much better team than it was even at the beginning of the season.
Do you think we would ever see a Sun Belt team stepping up to be like a TCU, Boise type team, and make it to a BCS Bowl?
Graham Watson (1:05 PM)
I don't think so because most SBC teams play ridiculously tough nonconference schedules. Also, the Sun Belt itself isn't strong enough to carry a team in the BCS standings even if it beat Florida and LSU in the nonconference season.
Orrin Hatch (DC)
Any truth to the latest rumors regarding Boise State, Fresno and Nevada to the MWC? Would like to know if I need to schedule any further anti-trust committee meetings...
Graham Watson (1:06 PM)
No truth to it as of right now.
Kenny (Huntington, WV)
Who do you see in the C-USA title game? Will Houston get the help they need in order to play in the title game, and can ECU hold off So. Miss?
Graham Watson (1:07 PM)
That's a tough question. SMU has played well, but I think Marshall could be inspired with bowl eligibility and a couple other things on the line. It's really too close to tell.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Sorry Graham, but in relation to Navy pushing into the top 25 Auburn got in there the week after they beat Furman, so shouldn't Navy be able to do it by beating FBS schools? This system is awful
Graham Watson (1:08 PM)
I think having a bye right now hurts. They have a lot of momentum and that goes away with a bye week and two subpar games.
Graham, do you think that all this hype for the mid-majors could end up hurting them in the long run? I guess what I'm going for is, Boise and TCU will hardly be cinderellas if they make BCS games, so do you think they'll maybe lose more in the public eye with losses than they'd gain with wins?
Graham Watson (1:10 PM)
I'm not totally sure I follow what you're saying here. I think both are getting the proper credit they deserve right now.
Melvin (Monroe, LA)
If TCU goes undefeated and wins their bowl game what are the chances that the Horned Frogs play in the NC game next year?
Graham Watson (1:11 PM)
You mean if they go undefeated? Probably about the same as this year since I don't think their nonconference schedule is much better with Texas Tech and Baylor.
Daniel Kittrell (Greenville NC)
I noticed in the bowl predictions that you had SMU in the Liberty Bowl.. What would be your reasoning behind that? If it ends up being SMU and ECU in the CUSA championship(which it looks like it will be) there is no way SMU is going to beat ECU again. ECU dominated that game.. There was a pick 6 int and a field goal block ran back for a td. That will not save them again..
Graham Watson (1:13 PM)
That's a good opinion coming from an ECU fan. I just feel like SMU has some momentum on its side right now and it's playing a lot better than it was the first time these teams met.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear GrahamNow that the season is going down the wire. Could you see Gary Barnett returing to coaching after this season?
Graham Watson (1:14 PM)
Not really... Honestly, I hadn't thought about it. Now, I'm trying to figure out where he might fit in. And hes still getting paid millions by Colorado. If he takes a job, that money is gone, I believe.
gotta say, graham, that for all i hear about how great boise state is, i'm not buying it. they posted an early win over oregon, but what exactly does the first game of the year tell us? they continue to win, but they don't look like tcu or even utah. something tells me that this has hawaii '09 written all over it and that at the end of the season, we're going to wish we hadn't given too much consideration to what really amounted to a one-game season. isn't this the problem with the BCS? that it rewards one-game seasons and no competition? What kind of message is that?
Graham Watson (1:16 PM)
All that's asked of Boise State is to win all of its games. It's done that. Now, I get what you're saying, but Boise State has been going undefeated for awhile now. I am, like you, eager to see them against an AQ team in a BCS bowl this year.
I know we need to have a playoff in college football but its not happening any time soon if ever but shouldn't Cincy try and focus on trying to keep their coach from going to a more prominant school instead of worrying about the Nat. Champ.?
Graham Watson (1:18 PM)
If he wants to go, he'll go. Notre Dame is a better job. I know, I know. But it is. It's a great job. It's one of the most coveted jobs in college football. So, if Kelly has an opportunity to go to Notre Dame, he's going to go. And he'll be adored nationally if he turns the program around. Can't really say any of those things at Cincinnati.
Think the worse thing that could happen is TCU playing Boise in a BCS bowl - everyone and I mean everyone will be saying they played nobody!
Graham Watson (1:19 PM)
I agree and I don't think that would happen. It seems a little too anticlimactic. I could see TCU-Oklahoma State in the Fiesta.
Joe (Stamford, CT)
Robert in Seattle doesn't have to worry, because we'll know if Boise Stae's a fraud (it's not, in my opinion) before it ever gets to the BCS. No fraud team is beating Nevada right now. How good have they been lately? And how do you rate their chances against the Broncos?
Graham Watson (1:21 PM)
Nevada has been very good lately. I was as surprised as anyone by how lopsided the Fresno State game was. They've given Boise State a game each of the past two years and, if they can play just a little bit of pass defense, they can push the Broncos. Still, I don't think it's as tough of a test as a ranked or an AQ team especially since it's in Boise.
they beauty of Boise st. is that they just keep winning. Outsiders and so called experts have their opinions about sos but BSU just keeps winning. Like Coach Pete says we're not going to worry about that stuff right now. Excellent example of a strong program at BSU.
Graham Watson (1:23 PM)
Trust me, he's concerned because they could go undefeated again and be left out -- again. That would be shame. And he'll have something to say about the system then.
Graham Watson (1:25 PM)
Once again, stop sending me questions multiple times. I'm just deleting them to get to other questions and that hurts everyone else in the chat.
Graham do you think UAB can make abowl game this year. Their last two games are their toughtest in conference (ECU and UCF). Can Joe Webb pull it off and which bowl would they be in? Thanks
Graham Watson (1:26 PM)
It's going to be tough because like you said, the games are tough. Joe Webb is a fantastic athlete, but in these final games he needs some help. If he can get the help, they might be able to pull it off.
Heath Hinton (Hattiesburg, Ms)
Why are ECU fans already putting themselves in the CUSA Champ Game? To go they will have to beat Southern Miss. I actually like USM's chances to make it. Undefeated at home this season with UTEP coming in for Senior Day(The Rock, not the easiest place to play). USM has owned ECU up there at their place.
Graham Watson (1:29 PM)
I agree. This is going to be a great game and obviously the one that decides the division title. These teams are so evenly matched that its tough to pick one. I would say watch out for UTEP. It's been a giant killer so far this season.
graham do you think freddie barnes is the best reciever in college football?
Graham Watson (1:31 PM)
I think he's one of the best receivers in football. He numbers are huge because he's Tyler Sheehan's favorite target and Tyler throws the ball 60 times a game. Regardless, I think he runs great routes, has fantastic hands and will make some NFL team very lucky.
Do you think Cincy's schedule was really any stronger than BSU's if so why? Do you think they deserve to be ranked higher than than BSU? I look at how they talk about the narrow margin between LA Tech and BSU... Look at the margin between LSU and LA Tech.
Graham Watson (1:33 PM)
I think when it's all said and done, Cincy will be ranked higher than TCU. Cincy will play three ranked teams this year, including Pitt, which could be at No.7 by the time these teams play. Yes, Cincy has a much better schedule that Boise... and TCU.
Do have to admit that I think it is great that you do this. How often are you on here. Cant believe I have missed this.
Graham Watson (1:33 PM)
Every Tuesday at 1 ET.
The dramatic win over Utah has opened a lot of eyes and lot of people around Austin are saying that TCU is currently playing on the same level as Texas. What do you think?
Graham Watson (1:35 PM)
That's hard to say because Texas stumbled against good teams and has crushed bad ones. I think that Jordan Shipley might have a field day against the TCU secondary. But, I think the TCU running game and special teams would have an advantage.
Dave (Reno, NV)
Graham, any love for Nevada currently having the three top rushers in the country in yards per carry? That's an impressive statistic, by any measure, and a credit to the Nevada offensive line.
Graham Watson (1:36 PM)
I gave a helmet sticker to the O-line this week. But having the top three rushers is relative when you don't really throw the ball. Still, Nevada has been pretty darn dominant the last few weeks.
If Charlie Weis loses his job at ND, would that be fair or unfair?
Graham Watson (1:36 PM)
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Graham, if you had to guess, what percentage of your questions on these chats come from Boise or Boise State fans? Just curious as it seems that many of your questions are about the Broncos. Thanks.
Graham Watson (1:36 PM)
1280 THE ZONE HAS A DISCUSSION YESTERDAY THAT I WANT TO GET YOUR THOUGHTS ON. RIGHT NOW, WHO IS THE BETTER TEAM. BYU OR UTAH? WHO DO YOU HAVE IN THAT GAME NEXT WEEK?
Graham Watson (1:37 PM)
I said on the air that I thought BYU was the better team mostly because it has more experience and more playmakers. Utah is the faster squad, though.
heath hinton (hattiesburg, ms)
Pardon me mam, USM plays Tulsa, still like their chances.
Graham Watson (1:39 PM)
You're right. It is Tulsa. And yes, USM is hitting the Golden Hurricane at just the right time. They are going through a rough skid down there.
How good is Jordan Wynn? Could he be the best QB to come through Utah by the time he is a Senior?
Graham Watson (1:41 PM)
He's very good. Kinda wish they'd gone with him from the beginning. It might have made some difference last week. Alex Smith was very good, but he didn't stay through his senior yer, right? So yeah. if Wynn stays...
Riley (Salt Lake City)
Amazing... you still pick BYU... pre-season, during season, post season, it is always BYU. Have you seen Max Hall play in big games, as I know that he can light up Wyoming and such?
Graham Watson (1:43 PM)
Picking that game is tough because I saw both teams get waxed by TCU. It's really hard to judge which one if better off of that because both are inferior to TCU. I think Utah is good. I think Wynn will be better by the time that game rolls around. I'm just giving the edge to experience and location. I really don't know who's going to win. Neither has really separated itself like in years past.
Afternoon, how do you feel about NCAA all-purpose record holder Brandon West out of Western Michigan's potential after his college career? Thanks.
Graham Watson (1:44 PM)
That's a good question. I think he'll have a shot in the league. He's a good runner; doesn't seem afraid. Like I said, I think he'll get his chance, but I'm not sure if he'll start anywhere right away.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
ms watson, is there a chance at all, even slim, that USU wins on friday?
Graham Watson (1:44 PM)
There's always a chance...
Graham Watson (1:44 PM)
I think Robert Turbin could have a really good game on Friday.
You write: "All that's asked of Boise is to win all its games. It's done that." Why then was a team like Iowa blasted while going 9-0? All it did was win its games, and arguably against better competition overall then BSU, TCU, etc.? Think how much grief the Hawks would be getting now had Stanzi not been injured and they got to 11-0 (a not implausable outcome with him at QB). Looks like big double standard to me.
Graham Watson (1:46 PM)
Blasted by whom? The fans? That doesn't matter. The polls rewarded Iowa. The computers loved them. That's all that really counts.
Kolby (St. George)
BYU vs USC for the Las Vegas Bowl? think its a good matchup? and do you think its gonna happen?
Graham Watson (1:47 PM)
There's been a lot of talk about it and I think it could happen. Honestly, I'd rather see Boise State and USC, but I don't think that's possible. I think Boise State-BYU is another possibility.
Ryan (Richmond, VA)
Would you consider Pat Hill on the hot seat in Fresno?
Graham Watson (1:49 PM)
I don't know. The school doesn't exactly have a lot of cash to go out shopping for a new coach. And really, the Bulldogs haven't been bad this year. They need to back off the nonconference schedule. Then, I think, Fresno State would see more results.
Ian (Fresno, Ca)
Graham..What do you think about the rumors with regards to Pat Hill taking the UNLV job?
Graham Watson (1:50 PM)
I think he'd like being in the Mountain West, sure. Is it a better job than the one he has? Not really.
Hi Graham, in your mind have you noticed or researched if Utah has actually seen a bump in the quality of recruits they are getting? I have not seen it on the field yet, except maybe Wynn. If not, I see TCU running away with the MWC for the next few years.
Graham Watson (1:51 PM)
Both Utah and BYU are getting better recruits. However, so is TCU. And what TCU does is recruit athletes and then put them in positions that suit them best. So it's not just recruiting, it's also identifying weaknesses on your teams and strengths a player can give regardless of position. Does that make sense?
Clay (Oakland, CA)
What's your take on the discontent brewing in Lawrence? Is there something going on behind the curtains that we don't know about? Seems a bit curious too that Reesing, a known vocal leader, has been virtually silent during the 5 game losing streak.
Graham Watson (1:53 PM)
I agree that there's something going on. Maybe a growing rift between Mangino and his players? It really seems like there's a rift between Mangino and Perkins. I would be shocked if they fired him, especially after how well they've played the last couple years. If they do fire him, then you know it was probably personal.
Do you think Navy's kids have more character and thats why they win games? Obviously they aren't getting the most talented because they are kids going into the service, but they still end up beating teams who recruit the best of the best. Why do you think this is?
Graham Watson (1:55 PM)
I think Navy players have a unique drive that some other players don't have. I also think Navy's style of offense helps them win. It's hard to prepare for that style in a week.
Did you see that Texas Tech backed out of the TCU game next September? They did that to accomodate ABC by moving the Texas game up in the schedule. Texas Tech then added Weber St to the end of their schedule. Who could TCU schedule for next September to gain some more national respect?
Graham Watson (1:56 PM)
Oh yeah, that just happened. No word on a replacement, but TCU was in this same situation this past spring and found Clemson. I think the Horned Frogs will find a similar opponent. Maybe a better one. I haven't looked at some of the other AQ schedules out there.
Pistol Pete (Heart of Big 12 Country)
Graham, If OkState wins out against CU & OU, will I be firing my six shooters in a BCS bowl? What's your prediction?
Graham Watson (1:57 PM)
That's what a lot of people seem to think. Like I said earlier, I wouldn't mind seeing TCU and Okie State in the Fiesta.
Dave (Denver, CO)
Gary Patterson - Staying at TCU for next season or hired away to a bigger program?
Graham Watson (1:59 PM)
I think he stays especially if somehow they play in the national title game.
Graham Watson (1:59 PM)
All right. Back to work. Thanks guys and see you next week.