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"Watch List" Watch: Pitt Panthers Edition

The college football season is getting closer and closer and today, the Maxwell Award and Bednarik Award have released their Watch Lists for the upcoming season. As ESPN's Big East blogger Andrea Adelson writes, four Big East players made each Watch List and among those, two Pitt Panthers. RB Ray Graham is listed for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the best all-around player in college football, and DE Brandon Lindsey is listed for the Bednarik Award, which goes to the nation's best defensive player.

I honestly was a little surprised that Ray Graham was on the watch list for the Maxwell award. He really did seem to emerge on the scene last season while Dion Lewis was struggling, so it'll be interesting to see how he'll handle being the main RB. But he spent last season splitting carries with Dion, so it remains to be seen how he'll handle being the No. 1 RB. I think one thing that Ray will have that Dion didn't have last season is that since Tino Sunseri is more experienced as a QB, the offense won't be so dependent on the running game. Add in more experience on the offensive line and Ray is already off to a better start. 

Lindsey on the other hand, was more expected. After having to fill in for Greg Romeus for pretty much all of last season, he proved to be a force on the defensive line. He led the team and was second in the Big East in sacks with 10.0 and was named to the All-Big East second team. He figures to once again be near the top of the Big East in sacks and a leader on defense for the Panthers.