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Chat wrap: It's tough to bet against Nebraska
By Tim Brant
Special to

The 2000 college football season has sparked all sorts of questions. With the first BCS poll to be released Monday night, and the postseason bowl picture beginning to take shape, ABC college football analyst Tim Brant stopped by the chat room to entertain user questions on the national championship, the Heisman Trophy and his broadcasting career.

Tammy Lu
I live in the Washington DC area and listen to you each weekday morning on WMAL radio. (Love your show babe!)

My question is, how do you juggle the schedule between radio and television? How does your family feel about your travel?

Tim Brant
The travel helps me out to see my son Kevin, who's out at UCLA. My family is very supportive in that effort. Also, the radio and television gigs are the same company (ABC, owned by Disney), so they've been very flexible in allowing me to do both.

Once I'm in television it's easy, because I work with Keith Jackson, and with the radio show I've got a great partner and an excellent producer, so I'm very lucky with both.

Which is the best stadium to watch a college football game in? Who in your opinion has the best tailgate party and fan participation?

Sanford Stadium
Georgia's Sanford Stadium is a tough place for opponents, but a gem for Bulldog fans.
Tim Brant
Legion Field is hard to beat. The fans in Alabama treat football like a religion, and there's a lot of celebrating going on. Top to bottom, the SEC is the best, with Legion Field, Neyland Stadium (Tennessee), between the hedges at Sanford Stadium (Georgia), and Tiger Stadium at LSU.

In the ACC I'd have to say Clemson, which is a small community that loves its football.

Other great stadiums are the Big House in Ann Arbor, Autzen Stadium in the Pac-10, and I have to add Happy Valley.

It doesn't get any better than these places.

How can the media talk about Miami, FSU, Florida and K-State still in contention for the national championship without mentioning Oregon? Based on strength of schedule and victories (Oregon beat Washington who beat Miami who beat FSU), Oregon has to be included in that group; would you not agree?

Tim Brant
I definitely agree, and I think that the Pac-10 in general, gets dissed. I was just talking to Keith Jackson about that.

UCLA beats Michigan and a week later, Michigan is ranked ahead of them. Oregon goes through and gets everybody's attention, and still isn't in the Top 5. Washington beats Miami and they get no respect.

Keith and I figure there are several reasons: Most of the writers are in the East. Keith believes it's a time difference issue, and the Pac-10, with its reputation last year of being a soft conference, has carried over into this year.

Oregon should be in the national title hunt.

Reed Stafford
Do you think Nebraska and Texas A&M can beat Oklahoma, and do you think Texas can still make it to the Big XII Championship?

Tim Brant
First question: It's hard to bet against Nebraska, because of their great success, tradition, and certainly their talent. But with that said, Oklahoma has a swagger and a confidence right now that will be very tough to beat. When you've got a quarterback who comes out of junior college and does what Josh Heupel has done for the Sooners, look out. And with this game in Norman, I think it's possible, even probable, that the Sooners win that game.

Second question: I don't think so, and I base that on how inconsistent they have been.

What do you think about the Gamecocks' chances in the post season? Where do you think they have the best chance of going? Will they beat the Tigers and jump into the Top 10 or the Top 5 with a win over Tenessee, Florida and Clemson?

Tim Brant
First of all, it's one of the great stories in college football this year. What Lou Holtz has done is incredible. He has not only taught them the game of football, but he's also changed their entire mental approach to the game.

As far as this week against Tennessee, the Vols are reeling a bit. Even with the Alabama win, there are some guys questioning themselves. But to be brutally honest, Tennessee has more talent than South Carolina.

They're definitely going to a bowl game, but right now I'm not sure which one. The next couple of weeks will determine which bowl they go to. It will be a good one, because of their story this season, and they have one of the best salesmen in Lou Holtz.

Jon Vorpe
As a former college quarterback on a Division III National Champion (Dayton, 1980), I have a longtime admiration for any program that dedicates itself to outstanding offensive line play, and the success that this brings. It seems that in the broadcast media, we're consumed with "quick flash" that makes all of the highlight reels. Michael Vick, Peter Warrick, Chris Weinke, will be, and would have been rendered much less useful against a ground-munching power like the Huskers. The total dedication to playing the game the way it should be played -- execution of blocking, tackling and the kicking game are paramount to the long term success of any program. Our coaching staff at Dayton preached that getting progressively better each week is more important to a true champion than flashes of brilliance. Your game of the season will take place Saturday at Noon. Go Huskers!

Tim Brant
I agree! Nobody looks at the finer points of the game and teaches it better than Nebraska has for decades. They do it at Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, and if you can see the pattern, that year after year, with the exception of one or two, they have had extraordinary success.

When I talk to Keith Jackson about the most important thing in football, he always says to me, "It starts with the big uglies in the trenches." I agree. The bigger, stronger, more talented guys always win.

Which team do you think will be hurt the most by losing a lot of players to the NFL draft?

Tim Brant
It's too early to have a good handle on who's leaving early, and that certainly will be the telltale sign. There's a lot of talk right now, and we saw it last week with Michael Vick, even at UCLA there's talk of Marques Anderson and Freddie Mitchell coming out early. While that can be devastating to a program, it's too early to tell which school will be hurt the most.

When was the last time you saw Penn State and USC not make a bowl game in the same year?

Tim Brant
Wow. I can't remember. Penn State year in and year out is in a bowl. USC has struggled a bit, but this year was the preseason favorite in the Pac-10. SC has the talent, especially in the skill positions, to make it to a bowl, but they're in a total funk and lack confidence.

The Penn State answer is a little bit easier, because Joe knew he didn't have as much talent this year as in past years.

My opinion is that Penn State has been very competitive in their recruiting, taking chances on juniors and early recruits, and some of them haven't developed and matured as they had hoped.

However, both are great programs and will be back.

What do you think about a "Fan Choice" Bowl, where we pick the most exciting matchup based on the non-BCS teams left? If it had to be a matchup that hasn't happened this year, and was free of conference requirements, what teams would you like to see face off?

Tim Brant
at 4:22pm ET This is a great question, and though it will never happen, we see ESPN's GameDay guys using fan polls to decide where they take their show.

As for the Fan Bowl this year, how about two sleepers that have surprised everybody like Oklahoma vs. Oregon or Nebraska vs. Virginia Tech? Better yet, have those four teams play it off for the national championship.

Do you have any idea what has happened to K-State? I'm not sure they can rebound back and beat A&M in Aggieland.

Tim Brant
Kansas State was rocked by a pretty good football team. The Wildcats came up against a red hot Oklahoma team, and a lot of people think the soft schedule leading up to that game didn't prepare them. The speed of the game changed. The talent level was raised. Make no mistake, though, Kansas State is for real, and even though they struggled against Texas Tech, Bill Snyder is a good coach, and he'll have them back and ready.

Todd Weatherwax
Why do you think that Drew Brees is still fourth in the Heisman race when he consistently posts bigger numbers against better teams?

Michael Vick
Michael Vick will be missed, but Virginia Tech is ready to move on.
Tim Brant
Michael Vick, for one, got the nation's attention in the Nokia Sugar Bowl last January, and hasn't done anything to make the so-called "experts" back off. After that, it's pretty much a you pick 'em by the writers and sportscasters, but the numbers being posted by running backs are shocking.

Drew Brees is not out of the hunt by any stretch of the imagination. He will be in New York, but the rest of the season will determine whether or not he walks away with the trophy.

The Heisman Trophy doesn't always go to the best player in the country, but more often the guy who gets the most exposure, the biggest push, or even a popularity contest.

Michael Vick will probably win it. If there were an MVP, I'd say Tomlinson, but the best player in the country right now is Drew Brees.

I understand that your son Kevin is a strong safety at UCLA this year who has seen some playing time and as Keith Jackson's partner you do many of their games. Has this experience impeded your ability to call games objectively?

Tim Brant
No, not at all. Kevin is only a redshirt freshman and hasn't played that much, but even if he played every down, I watch the game and the players, and as a professional, personalities don't get involved.

A great example of this was watching Bob Griese stay as objective as possible watching his son Brian. If anything, he was harder on his son than he was on the other players.

In the UCLA games against Alabama and Michigan, to be honest, I totally forgot Kevin was in the game.

The day I lose my objectivity is the day I'm gone.

You are unquestionably the worst announcer in all of sports. Your phony Southern accent and incessant "I mean" and "I tell ya" make watching a game you announce almost unbearable. It is a shame that Keith Jackson is forced to spend the twilight of his career with such a pitful announcer that feels the need to talk at all times.

You have always stunk, have never been sure whether you are the color man or broadcaster and have no knowledge of college football. I normally do not write hate mail but this provides a great forum to vent my years of frustration of being subjected to your dreadful announcing.

Tim Brant
Thanks for venting. The Southern accent is actually a Washington D.C accent. I may not always be right, but I'm never in doubt. I love you, too.

What do you think about Nebraska's chances of winning a national championship?

Tim Brant
Nebraska's chances are always good, because it's one of the most solid programs in the history of college football. This weekend will give you your answer, and all the way through the Top 10, the next several weeks are critical, and will thin out the field.

Starting with Nebraska-Oklahoma, Virginia Tech has to play Miami, Florida State still has to play Clemson and Florida, Oregon still has to play Oregon State, and on down the line.

The season for the Top 10 is just beginning. You'll have your answer soon.

Tim Brant
Thanks to everybody that wrote in. If we didn't get to your question, I apologize and we'll get to it at a later date.

This is my first experience on the chat line, and I loved it.

I'll be back in the future. Jamie, be sure to join us!

--Tim Brant

Weekend wrap-up

Oregon leads Pac-10 race after nipping Arizona

Three turnovers, blocked punt lead Huskies past Cal

Oregon State scores 23 4th quarter points to knock off UCLA

Defense sparks Hokies at 'Cuse to stay undefeated

South Carolina stays on top of SEC East with win at Vandy

Cornhuskers prep for Oklahoma with 59-0 rout of Baylor

True frosh shows true colors as Vols beat Alabama

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