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)
Lots of stuff going on today, so there's lots to talk about. Let's get started.
Travis (Provo, UT)
What is your take on the BYU QB situation for 2010. Can BYU compete in the conference with a new QB?
Graham Watson (1:02 PM)
I think it will be Riley Nelson's job to lose. I am interested to see what Heaps can do. I think BYU will be able to compete, but I don't see them being conference champs.
Burn the Horse (Alabama)
With Tommy Tubberville stealing yet another offensive cooridinator away from the REAL Men of Troy, who do you think Larry Blakeney should bring in to replace him? There has been some talk of promoting from within, but I'm interested to hear who YOU think would be a good fit for the Trojans.
Graham Watson (1:05 PM)
You know, that's a good question. Blakeney has a close group and I'd imagine he'd promote since that worked last time. However, it would be awesome (it's not going to happen, but just putting it out there) if he could get Franklin back. Am I the only one who's surprised Brown took this job? Not just because of what happened with Tuberville and Franklin, but also the style of offense at Tech and how that contrasts with Tuberville's offensive style. I just wonder how much freedom Brown is going to have there. Maybe that's just me...
Sean (Fort Worth)
I don't want to take anything away from Boise St. They played a great game. That being said, do you think that if Boise played the same TCU team we saw in November that the outcome would be the same?
Graham Watson (1:06 PM)
It doesn't matter. TCU did not play well on the big stage and Boise State did. It's kinda the same argument with the Oregon game. It's not about which team is better, it's about which team is better on that day and Boise State was better across the board, including coaching.
Keith (Lake Forest, CA)
With San Diego State set to return both Ryan Lindley and Vincent Brown in 2010, plus putting together the best recruiting class I can remember in Brady Hoke's first full year - what are your thoughts on the Aztecs finally moving the program in the right direction to join the Big 3 at the top of the Mountain West?
Graham Watson (1:08 PM)
SDSU is my sleeper for 2010 kinda like SMU was this year. I think Brady Hoke is an exceptional coach and the fact that he had SDSU within striking distance of a bowl game this season speaks volumes about what he can do there.
RAY GORDONREID ( LUBBOCK TEXAS 794O1)
QUESTIONTO GRAHAM WATSON AT 1,20 THE 2010 MOUNTAIN WASTON FOOTBALL CHAMP WILLBE BYU OR UTAH OR TCU
Graham Watson (1:10 PM)
I think you have to like TCU with just six starters leaving, but I think Utah - if Whittingham remains the coach - will be a team to watch next year.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
will BSU ever get a NC shot? Why is this fair? Where is the media calling outrage? Are you all on the BCS's payroll?
Graham Watson (1:12 PM)
If Utah didn't get a shot after 2008 with the schedule it played, I think it's going to be tough for Boise State to get a shot as long as it plays in the WAC.
UB Bull Run (Mid-West)
So how do you score Buffalo's acquisition of Quinn and Quinn's staffing of the program.
Graham Watson (1:13 PM)
I think it's a good hire for Buffalo. He can recruit the area and he has a great offensive mind, which really plays to the MAC's style. He also has a nice core of players coming back. I think he'll be able to keep Buffalo at a high level.
John (Charlotte, NC)
I know it is really too early to do, but please rank your top 5 non AQ teams for 2010.
Graham Watson (1:14 PM)
It really is too early... Uh... Boise, TCU, Utah... Then I really have to look at the teams, what they return, what they bring in, etc... Get with me after signing day and spring football.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
that is crap graham, lets get the ball rolling on this debacle, where do I start?
Graham Watson (1:16 PM)
Unfortunately, I don't make the rules. However, the non-AQs seem to get closer each year. You know what's interesting... Everyone has been talking about Boise State's non-con helping the Broncos next year, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were passed in the rankings by an undefeated MWC team based on conference schedule. Plus, both TCU and Utah have good non-con skeds, too. The WAC is weighing BSU down.
Collin (Ontario, OR)
Graham, do you think Chris Petersen is a legitimate candidate for the USC job?
Graham Watson (1:18 PM)
I do, but I don't think he leaves. That's a high pressure job and if there are NCAA sanctions levied... It could be a tough place to win for a couple years. Plus, I truly believe Pete loves coaching at Boise State. Now, if 2012 passes and Boise State is still in the WAC and the Mountain West has an automatic bid, this will be a totally different conversation.
Paul (Austin, TX)
Boise St. wasn't any more deserving than Alabama or Texas. Or TCU or Cincinnati, so enough with the outrage Hayden. Graham, if they are top 5 preseason, which they should be, and they run the table on a schedule that has Va Tech & Oregon St, will that be enough?
Graham Watson (1:22 PM)
Again, that will be determined by how many undefeated teams are out there, what conferences those teams are from, and the nonconference schedules of some one-loss teams. We've seen how the computers don't like Boise State the last few years because of schedule and we've seen how VT has a tendency to start hot and tank, which would be bad for Boise State. It won't help that TCU might also play Oregon State. If both win, TCU will get more cred because of the tough conference schedule. Boise State is going to continue to fight this uphill battle until the WAC makes some sort of statement with another team, and right now I don't know which team is capable of doing that.
does the mountain west need to add boise state in order to secure an automatic bid to the bcs?
Graham Watson (1:25 PM)
I don't think so, but the BCS doesn't reveal how it computes automatic qualification, which means it's subject to change at any time. Yeah, I know what you're all thinking. If the BCS says the MWC has to add Boise State or anyone else to be an automatic qualifier than it will. But I think the MWC thinks it's strong enough right now across the board to proceed without the Broncos. I tend to agree. I think for Boise to really make a different, the MWC would have to dump someone on the back end and that won't happen.
Hi, Graham! Happy New Year! How gratifying was it to see so many non-AQ schools not only have great regular seasons, but also big bowl wins against AQ schools?
Graham Watson (1:27 PM)
It was great. I think it really shows that a lot of the non-AQs are better than their label. I honestly believe that the this year's top four non-AQ teams could play with anyone in the country. I really do. Those teams might not have the same talent, but they're well coached and they play well together.
Ben (Columbus, OH)
Notre Dame vs. Utah in November 2010. Who gets the nod in this match-up: ND with Brian Kelly in his first year as head coach, or Utah with super soph signal-caller Jordan Wynn at the helm?
Graham Watson (1:29 PM)
I like Utah in this game because of all the uncertainty and newness at Notre Dame. I really think Utah is going to be good next year and ND will be a quality win just because it's in South Bend... Just like Michigan was a quality win in 2008.
Jeff (OC, CA)
Fisher is my 1st choice for SC... NOT going to happen.... Forget Del Rio.. Go across town and grab NORM CHOW!
Graham Watson (1:31 PM)
Chow won't happen. I really believe it will be hard to fill with potential NCAA sanctions on the way. I'd like to see the NCAA place those sanction on Carroll, wins from that year and the championship. It's not really fair to punish a bunch of kids (and a coach) that had nothing to do with that stuff.
David (Mount Pleasant)
What is the national view on CMU? We clearly saw during the GMAC Bowl people were uninterested (as the announcers made clear with their talk of the next night's game), but with Dan LeFevour leaving, where does that leave the Chippewas next season nationally?
Graham Watson (1:34 PM)
I actually found that game highly entertaining, but that's me... I'm not sold on CMU's hire. I thought the OC would get the job. CMU loses a lot of key players. I think it's going to be a rebuilding process. Again, I don't know what to expect from this hire especially with it being so late in the recruiting game.
Geoff G. (Lewisville, TX)
What is the latest on TCU OOC for 2010? Is Oregon State a done deal? What about the Baylor and Texas Tech games?
Graham Watson (1:35 PM)
Oregon State is done in principle, but the details are still being worked out. That game would replace Texas Tech.
zack g. (ga)
who is usc really after for a coach right now
Graham Watson (1:35 PM)
With Del Rio out of the mix, I think they'll look at Chris Petersen... I think he'll turn it down, too.
Dan (Dallas, TX)
Graham, with the way that Utah and TCU have been recruiting over the last couple of years, do you see the gap in MWC getting bigger from top to bottom?
Graham Watson (1:38 PM)
This is a good question... I think those two teams, and you can throw BYU's class in there too, have set the bar pretty high. I think SDSU and Wyoming will start to catch up because both of those coaches are great recruiters. Air Force will never get the same types of kids just because of the school... I do think we'll start to see a few more MWC teams start to get some of those high-level recruits to campus, which will make the MWC stronger.
Ben (Columbus, OH)
USC needs a new coach? I hear Mike Leach is looking (and suing) for a job. He'd fit well with the litigious L.A. culture...? HA!
Graham Watson (1:39 PM)
Now that would be an interesting hire... Leach's teams don't play any defense.
trojanbrutha (Greenville, AL)
Graham, TROY has a pretty good recruiting class set up and minus our OC, I see another strong season by the Trojans. Will you get a chance to talk to some of you connections to get us back on the field with Mizzou?
Graham Watson (1:41 PM)
That will never happen again... That Troy game was unreal. I was actually there covering it for the St. Louis paper. I predicted a Troy win (which wasn't very popular in Mizzou circles). I do think Troy will be good again next year. There's a lot of talent coming back, especially on offense. I think the Trojans and Middle will fight for the title again.
Andrew (Richmond, VA)
What is the word around Skip Holtz talking to USF about their vacancy? I know his wife is from Port Charlotte and the grandparents are in Orlando. Does this position qualify as "a special situation" if the family didn't live there?
Graham Watson (1:43 PM)
I texted with Holtz this morning and he's definitely interested. I wouldn't say this was a dream job, but it's perfect timing. Holtz loses 28 seniors, he had ties in Florida, USF returns a pretty good team. I think he could be successful there.
Aaron (Brownsville, TX)
Do you think Levi Brown of Troy has a good chance to make an NFL lineup more than Colt McKoy would?
Graham Watson (1:44 PM)
I don't know about whether he has a better chance than McCoy, but I do think he has a chance to make an NFL roster. He has a good arm, good vision, good size. He'll get his opportunity.
Aaron (Brownsville, TX)
What does Troy have to do to get more oppenents to play in Troy? example? Boise? or Southern Cal? Oregon? do you see more 2 for 1 deals in the future?
Graham Watson (1:45 PM)
Troy is kind of like Boise State in that regard. The Trojans have a good home field advantage and there's not a lot of draw to playing down there. Seems like it would be a trap game nd none of the schools you mention really recruit in that area.
Ben (Columbus, OH)
In your opinion, what are the top 3 non-AQ vs AQ games scheduled for this season?
Graham Watson (1:46 PM)
I haven't looked at every schedule... But off the top of my head... Boise-VT, TCU-OSU, Utah-ND.
Graham,Does Harbough leave Stanford to replace a fired Rich Rod?
Graham Watson (1:47 PM)
Perhaps... Another option might be Brady Hoke...
I will try to be as polite as possible in stating this: Will you acknowledge that Boise's D was vastly underrated all year, and it was not just that they were playing weak competition?
Graham Watson (1:48 PM)
I'll acknowledge that I thought its defensive scheme against TCU was brilliant and that it's coaching was brilliant.
Robert (Gainesville, FL)
The previous question about Troy's schedule brings up a good point. What do non-AQ teams (that aren't named Boise, TCU, Troy, Central Michigan, etc...) need to do in general to get more games against AQ teams at home? 2 for 1 deals and money games only get you so far as a program...
Graham Watson (1:51 PM)
You have to remember that the Sun Belt is still a young league. I think that we're starting to see more teams come to Sun Belt venues, but that takes some time. And really, a lot of the programs in the Belt and the MAC need the money from the guarantee games to survive.
Why is it that people are writing off BYU? Last time we had a new QB, all we did was storm through the conference undefeated and win the championship! TCU has shown a few times they have holes (maybe just in their heads), and we will NOT lose to the Heathens on the Hill!
Graham Watson (1:52 PM)
It's not just losing Hall, it's losing Pitta, George, Jorgensen, etc. If it was just Hall, I think BYU could overcome that. But the Cougars lose a lot of leadership.
Obviously they have completely different styles, but in terms of becoming a household name, does 2010 Dwight Dasher=2009 Case Keenum?
Graham Watson (1:53 PM)
Hmmm... Maybe. Although, Joe Webb never really gained a lot of momentum at UAB, and he was similar to Dasher in terms of they type of quarterback he was. Dasher has and will win more games. It's all about Dasher making the most of his big nonconference opportunities.
John (Anytown, USA)
Now that TCU and Boise will start 2010 ranked pretty high, will playing with something to protect rather, than nothing to lose, have an impact on them? it is a different mentality...
Graham Watson (1:55 PM)
I think both teams were playing with something to protect this year. TCU was protect its BCS berth and Boise State was protecting a chance at a BCS berth. I don't think it will change. If anything, I think both teams will be driven to be the first to make the national championship game.
Earlier, you said that it will be tough for Boise to ever get a shot while playing in the WAC based on Utah's solid 2008 season. If Boise runs the table next year that would mean 2 and likely 3 (Fresno or Nevada may end up ranked) wins over ranked teams, to go along with a 38-1 record over a three year period. Plus, unlike Utah in 2008 (who started ranked in the twenties), Boise WILL start next year in the top 5. So, explain your logic?
Graham Watson (2:01 PM)
I don't know what suggests that Nevada or Fresno will be ranked. Both lose top running backs and Nevada choked during its opportunities to really push the program forward. It' be awhile since Fresno State defeated a team that would push it into the Top 25. I think Oregon State will cancel out it TCU also defeats the Beavers and goes undefeated. Both Boise State and TCU will start high, but the MWC is considered stronger. I'm not just saying that because, as you say, I don't like Boise State. It's fact. The computers don't like the WAC schedule and that hurts Boise State. If there are other undefeated teams from AQ conferences, that will hurt both teams. What Boise has done over a three-year span means absolutely nothing to the computers and really to voters, which didn't seem to give the Broncos a lot of respect for their undefeated season this year.
Graham Watson (2:02 PM)
OK, time for me to go. Any other questions, find me on Twitter @ESPN_Others.