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Chat wrap: It should be a great bowl season
By Tim Brant
Special to

Slap master
Please give us your thoughts on Chris Weinke and whether you think he is too old to win the Heisman Trophy.

Tim Brant
Chris Weinke, with his numbers and consistency, certainly deserved the Heisman Trophy. Being at Florida State, he had a ton of exposure. His performance at the Sugar Bowl last year helped. And this season, the Miami game playing on the sprained foot, and the Florida game with the flu put him over the top.

That isn't to say the other candidates, Josh Heupel, Drew Brees, Michael Vick, LaDainian Tomlinson didn't have great seasons. Overall, Weinke had the best season. I was surprised, though, that Michael Vick wasn't in New York, with all the exposure he had and the way he started the season. The injury knocked him out, but everyone knows the quality of athlete he is.

Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith and Oregon State plan to enjoy their Fiesta on Jan. 1.

What are your thoughts on the Rose Bowl? And why do you think Purdue is favored to win, even though Huskies have a better record and a better strength of schedule?

Tim Brant
First of all, I think the Pac-10 has been underrated all year, and hasn't gotten the respect it deserves. UCLA got out of the blocks fast and was ranked sixth, and then lost to Oregon and Oregon State. Washington beat Miami, and people found that these teams were as good as any team in the country.

With that said, when you look at Purdue you immediately think of Drew Brees, and his name is synonymous with success. We take that one step further, and we see how the Boilermakers spread the field and use a lot of different formations, going against an average secondary in a bowl game that's critical.

DJ Albany, NY
What are your thoughts on Notre Dame "leaping" into the BCS? Shouldn't teams such as Virginia Tech or Nebraska should be playing in Tempe?

Tim Brant
When the BCS came into existence, they established what I call "The Notre Dame Rule", being in their own league, with their own TV contract, the BCS said if they get nine wins, they qualify.

I'm not surprised to see them in the Fiesta Bowl, but I'm real interested to see how Oregon State does against the Irish. Oh by the way, the Beavers are favored by three. This will be the fastest team Bob Davie's guys will see all year.

Were there other teams more deserving? Probably, but Notre Dame's a good club.

Who was the biggest surprise in the Pac-10 this year?

Tim Brant
The Pac-10 as a conference was a surprise. Of all the teams, I thought Oregon was the biggest surprise. Although, when Oregon State beat Oregon, I was shocked. I thought Oregon was the fastest team, and then OSU ran all over the Ducks.

When you think about what they did outside the league, with Washington beating Miami, UCLA's wins against Alabama and Michigan, both of whom were ranked third at the time, Stanford pounding Texas, Oregon should have beaten Wisconsin. And they beat themselves up within the conference, too.

The Pac-10 was a great conference to cover. And next year, those teams will be phenomenal, because most of them were a year away.

Why is it that a guy like Pete Carroll, who failed in two NFL head coaching jobs, is being pursued by USC? How is it that Mike Garrett, a guy who should be most aware of the lack of diversity in college head coaching assignments, hasn't at least pursued minority candidates to interview for the position? And what's the allure of hiring NFL washouts? I've read that Norv Turner and Mike Riley are high on schools' wish lists, too.

Tim Brant
Pete Carroll is being looked at hard here, and it looks like he's the guy. I don't believe Norv Turner would take the USC job, and if Mike Riley decides to leave San Diego and take the job, then Norv would take the Chargers job.

The allure with the NFL guys is that many of them came up through the college ranks, and also have coaching experience in the elite league. Colleges like that. Their experience, though, as we've seen, doesn't guarantee success.

Kip, McLean Va
Who do you think the University of Virginia should hire as their football coach. Reading rumors, Boston College's Tom O'Brien is high on their list. I personally think it would be a mistake to hire him. What do you think?

Tim Brant
I know Terry Holland is looking at O'Brien. O'B was a coordinator down there, and George Welsh and Holland are high on him. There's great intrigue there, and that's why he's so high on the list.

I do believe, though, since George took so long to make a decision, that the other top candidates are gone.

Yippy skippy
What are one or two things most people don't know about doing the play-by-play for a college football game?

Tim Brant
It's more complicated than people think. Someone is talking in your ear the whole time, so sometimes it's real tough to come up with something to say, because you're trying to listen to the producer in your ear.

Also, there's a spotter on one side, who points to names and numbers on the charts we have, and the statistician sitting on the other side. It's busy in the press box, but it's good having extra sets of eyes helping you out.

Jim Whalen
I thought that your call of the Notre Dame-USC game was pretty fair, but your partner Jackson was a little biased against ND. Would you care to comment on that?

Tim Brant
If there was a bias, it wasn't intended on either part. But, remember, that was the fifth time we had USC and only the first time we had Notre Dame, so we were much more familiar with USC, and it came through. Notre Dame is a special club, always has been.

If I'm ever too hard on Notre Dame, my old friend Coley O'Brien will certainly let me know about it.

If Miami beats Florida in the Sugar Bowl, would you consider Ken Dorsey the front runner for the 2001 Heisman?

Tim Brant
You would certainly have to put him up there, given how much the last game of the season is emphasized and how much exposure it can lead to.

Michael Vick will most likely be the preseason favorite again. But guys like Chris Simms, Drew Henson, and Ken Simonton will contend. Simonton has vowed to win it, and he has every right to say that, given the numbers he's put up the first three years of his career.

It should be a terrific race, from the beginning of the season on.

Tim Brant
I look forward to a great bowl season. Thanks for the questions, and happy holidays to everyone.

 Purdue's Drew Brees throws 30 yards to A.T. Simpson for the touchdown.
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 Purdue's Drew Brees runs 6 yards for the TD against Wisconsin.
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 Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick's 55-yard touchdown dashes Syracuse's hopes for an upset.
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 Marvin Minnis scores his second TD of the day, this one for 58 yards.
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