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Chat wrap: Hokies have their work cut out
By Brad Nessler
Special to

Oklahoma's defeat of Nebraska, coupled with all the fantastic finishes threw the polls and projections into even more of a frenzy. In preparation for this weekend's games, ABC play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler stopped by ABC's moderated chat room Tuesday to address user questions about the Virginia Tech-Miami showdown at the Orange Bowl, Oklahoma's resurgence, and working with Dick Vitale.

Jon Paul
I was wondering your thoughts on the BCS? I am a big Virginia Tech fan and was wondering if they win out is there any way somebody can leapfrog them?

Brad Nessler
Virginia Tech's positioning in the BCS will be squared away this weekend in Miami. A win there will boost the Hokies' rank considerably. At this point, it would take FSU to beat Clemson and Florida convincingly to overtake the Hokies, who have to beat Miami first.

Lee Suggs
Virginia Tech will call on Lee Suggs more in the absence of Michael Vick.

You did the '95 Virginia upset over FSU. What does UVA have to do to be get back to that level and be a consistent eight or nine win program year in and year out?

Brad Nessler
They have to return to the recruiting level they had. They had more star players on both sides of the ball. They had the Barbers (Ronde and Tiki) on either side, big-play wide receivers like Germane Crowell, and a host of others who went on to the NFL.

That's not necessarily a reflection on where they are now, it's just that the talent level at UVA isn't what it used to be, and it starts with recruiting.

I was wondering which BCS bowl the Irish will go to if the get in?

Brad Nessler
If they can continue to win, a lot of bowls will want them. The draw of Notre Dame is incredible. If they end up 9-2, they'll definitely end up someplace warm and sunny -- realistically either the Fiesta Bowl or the Sugar Bowl.

I'm a Miami fan and can't believe what happened with the BCS. What do you think the chances of Miami beating VT and still not jumping ahead of Florida State are?

Brad Nessler
The biggest problem Miami has is the McNeese State game. That doesn't help them as far as Division I competition. If they beat Va. Tech, they'll move up in the polls, but Florida State still has Clemson and Florida left, so they run a risk with those two ballgames.

Miami has to first beat Virginia Tech, and then beat Pitt, Syracuse and Boston College, and get some help from other teams.

Is there any way for the Oregon Ducks to end up in the Orange Bowl to play for the national title?

Brad Nessler
Oregon has to win the Pac-10 and everyone else has to lose one or two games. They would have to go 10-1 for sure, and then get help. Basically, everyone in front of them has to lose at least one game, and the Ducks must win out.

John Sannini
How do you see Penn State's final three games shaking out?

Brad Nessler
They have a great chance to win this week, which would set up Joe Paterno for a chance to tie Bear Bryant at Michigan. They have a shot at Michigan, not a great one, but they have a shot. The Nittany Lions have a shot against Michigan State.

The way things went at the beginning of the season, if Penn State can come out of 2000 with six wins, they should be in good shape to put it together next season.

How do you feel about OU's sudden re-emergence to the national scene? Should we expect this at every program, or is Bob Stoops a one of a kind?

Brad Nessler
In Oklahoma's case, they're one of the four or five teams around the country that have experienced this kind of a turnaround. Without a doubt, Bob Stoops was the right man for this job. Other coaches are doing well: Lou Holtz, Randy Walker, Dennis Erickson to name a few, but neither of the other guys have the caliber of players or coaching staff that Stoops does in Norman.

It's not easy to do what Stoops has done, and to have done it as quickly as he has is pretty remarkable. But since it is Oklahoma, with the tradition the Sooners have and the backing they have, recruiting and interest in the school will pick up, and they will only get better.

I am a huge Buckeye fan and I was wondering with everything that's going on in the Big Ten right now, where do you think Ohio State might end up in the bowl picture providing they don't self-destruct?

Brad Nessler
You answered part of your question. Ohio State can't lose again if it wants to go to a big bowl game. The loss to Purdue hurt. It depends on which Steve Bellisari shows up. The Buckeyes are solid at most every position, but Bellisari is the guy that makes it go for them. Their bowl picture is predicated on them winning out and beating Michigan.

Why does it seem impossible to go undefeated in the Big Ten year in and year out?

Brad Nessler
That's not the only conference where that question pops up. Just ask Nebraska, Kansas State, and the SEC schools. The quality of football in the Big Ten, the Big XII, and the SEC is better than everywhere else. The Pac-10 is on its way up.

But overall, the talent level is evening out and it's getting tougher to roll through a conference schedule undefeated.

Matt Sisley
You have my dream job, doing college sports. How great is it working with guys like Bob Griese and Dick Vitale? Which do you prefer doing college basketball or football? I know that's a tough question.

Dick Vitale
Dick Vitale has been with ESPN since its 1979 launch.

Brad Nessler
It's a dream job if you don't mind the travel, and the travel gets old. I have great partners, always have. Bob (Griese) and Swannie (Lynn Swann) enjoy spending time with each other, and I think that comes through.

Dick is his own breed, and we start working together next week. People see the "Awesome, baby!" but he's more than that. He's one of the warmest people I've ever met, a devoted father and family. He really is a rush to be around.

Once the game gets going, it's a dream job. The preparation is harder than most people think, but it sure beats a real job. Plus, it's the only thing I know how to do.

Talk about the biggest game of the weekend, Miami vs. VT.

Brad Nessler
It'll be a great game. I did Miami's only loss this year at Washington, but Ken Dorsey is a much different quarterback now. He's been as effective as any QB in the country.

Their running game is as strong as ever, Santana Moss is back, and their defense is as good as anyone's right now.

Virginia Tech's hopes hinge on the health of Michael Vick. Miami's defense will crowd the line, similar to what Syracuse did, to get up on the Hokies.

The atmosphere at the Orange Bowl will also be a big factor, different than what they've faced before. Miami has a great shot at beating Va. Tech, but the Hokies are good at hanging on for dear life.

How do you think the Huskies are gonna do this weekend after an emotional week with the Curtis Williams injury?

Brad Nessler
What Washington has going for them is Rick Neuheisel. He will find a way to get the guys up. They will be OK. They're at home, which will help bring them closer together. I like their chances.

What is your top five?

Who do you think will win the Heisman? Certainly Drew Brees has the best numbers and is winning, but do you think he is the front runner?

Brad Nessler
My top five: Oklahoma No. 1, Florida State 2, Miami 3, Florida 4, and Virginia Tech at 5. That leaves a good Nebraska team out of my top five, and guess where I'm going this weekend?

Obviously, some of those positions will change.

As for the Heisman, if Drew Brees takes Purdue to the Rose Bowl, he's the man. He makes all the talent around him better than the other candidates. I'm just glad I don't have to vote until the first week in December.

Brad Nessler
The next three weeks are critical, and we'll have our playoff right now. Don't be so worried about the BCS. That will change in the coming weeks as well.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in. Good questions. I enjoyed it.

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