Monday, October 20, 2008

NFF Chalktalk

News and Notes From Around College Football for Oct. 20, 2008

Cooper On-Campus Salutes Set for This Weekend

Coach John Cooper will be honored at both Ohio State and Tulsa this weekend for his 2008 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Ranking second only to the legendary Woody Hayes in all-time wins at Ohio State, the Buckeyes will honor Cooper this Saturday, as undefeated Penn State enters Columbus. The game will be aired on ABC at 8:00 pm ET and NFF Board Member Archie Griffin will represent the Foundation.

Cooper will also be honored at Tulsa on Sunday, as the Golden Hurricane takes on UCF at 8:00 pm ET on ESPN. NFF Chief Operating Officer Matthew Sign will be on hand to celebrate Cooper, who led Tulsa to five conference championships.

Rice Donates Memorabilia to the Hall of Fame

The football used by Rice's Chase Clement and Jarett Dillard to set the NCAA record for career touchdown passes by a duo was presented to NFF Chief Operating Officer Matthew Sign during the Owls' game last Saturday vs. Southern Miss. The ball will be sent to the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. for display.

BCS News

There are nine remaining undefeated teams among FBS squads through games of Oct. 19, the highest number ever in the initial week of the BCS standings. Texas is No. 1 in the standings for the second time in school history, and Ball State has become the 78th school to make the BCS standings at No. 20 this week. Previous undefeated teams in the first week of rankings include: Five in 2000 (Nebraska No. 1); seven in 2001 (Oklahoma No. 1); eight in 2002 (Oklahoma No. 1); five in 2003 (Oklahoma No. 1); seven in 2004 (Southern California No. 1); seven in 2005 (Southern California No. 1); seven in 2006 (Ohio State No. 1); and six in 2007 (Ohio State No. 1).

Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year

If you are a college football fan or sports athletic director who owns a blog, website, or Facebook/MySpace page, you can use your online home to help your favorite NCAA football coach win $50,000 for charities of his choice and $20,000 for his school's alumni association, through the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. At, you can download and post an interactive widget on your page that lets website and social media page owners vote once a day for coaches and "sound off" with original commentary on who should win. To encourage more voting, share the widget with friends and family, who can grab and add it to their pages, and cast votes for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year. This unique honor - which lets fans help decide the winners - recognizes coaches who succeed on and off the field, through victories, community service, charitable endeavors and academic support.

NFF's Play It Smart

The NFF and Under Armour, Inc. , the Baltimore-based innovator of athletic performance apparel, are moving forward with a planned expansion of in-kind support for the public schools participating in the NFF's highly successful Play It Smart program for at-risk student-athletes.

Under the agreement, Under Armour provided its line of HeatGear performance apparel for players and coaches at 50 Play It Smart high schools last season, the first year of the relationship. Schools that received support the first year will continue to receive apparel each year, as Under Armour annually adds an additional 50 high schools over a three-year period, eventually covering all of the high schools currently in the Play It Smart program. 2008 marks the second year of plan with 100 schools participating.

Participants in the NFF's Play It Smart program at Irvington (N.J.) High School raised $5,000 from The Heisman Trophy Trust for the American Cancer Society as part of a charity walk for cancer research.

The NFF & College Hall of Fame have designated Brandon Walker, a two-way standout at York (Pa.) William HS, as NFF Play It Smart Program September National Student-Athlete of the Month for September.

NFF News

The NFF Vermont Chapter's eighth annual North-South Senior Bowl will be played Nov. 15 at noon (EST) at Middlebury College's Youngman Field with top seniors from all 34 high schools playing varsity football in Vermont represented.

The NFF Cincinnati Chapter will host its annual Reverse Raffle fundraiser this Thursday. The grand prize is a trip for two to the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 8 in Miami.

Newest member of the NFF National Scholar- Athlete Alumni Association: Chris Meskan (Augustana, Ill.). To become a member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, please contact NFF Director of Special Projects Hillary Jeffries at 800-486-1865 or via email at

To become an NFF member, please contact NFF Director of Membership Ron Dilatush at 800.486.1865 or via email at

Two-Minute Drill

Temple has declared a "Pink Out" in support of the fight against breast cancer for its game against Ohio tomorrow night at 8 p.m. on ESPN2... Central Michigan's and Western Michigan's combined ROTC programs held a 140-mile Relay Rivalry Run to bring the game ball to campus for last Saturday's kickoff in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. WMU also is holding a special news conference at Ford Field in Detroit Tuesday with head coach Bill Cubit and key players and administrators to discuss the Nov. 8 WMU- Illinois contest at Ford Field. Western Michigan football student-athletes just completed 20- plus hours of offseason community service with such groups as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Fellowship of Christian Athletes... Wisconsin will play Northern Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago in 2011... Iowa State and Navy have scheduled a two-game series in 2018 and '19... West Virginia will meet Maryland again in 2010 and '11... Jackson State and Mississippi State will open the 2009 season in the first-ever football meeting between the Magnolia State universities... Connecticut football support staff and other student-athletes will host the annual "Huskies Winter Wear" collection drive before and during the UConn-West Virginia football clash on Nov. 1. Coats and clothing will be donated to several charitable groups in the Storrs-Hartford areas... 1993 Colorado State grad and historian John Hirn has a website - - to highlight the history of CSU football from 1893-1957 and is writing a book on the subject... Tulsa started at 6-0 for the first time since 1942... Georgia Tech's "Sting" website and The Path2College 529 Plan are offering fans a chance to win the Ultimate VIP College Football Experience at Tech-Georgia game on Nov. 29... Florida head coach Urban Meyer and basketball mentor Billy Donovan have been selected as key leaders in fundraising efforts for the $50 million drive for UF's Florida Opportunity Scholars program... The Southeastern Conference will allot a portion of the $55 million annual payout from new CBS and ESPN television contracts to academics... Nationally renowned football commentator Charles Davis will serve as emcee for the John McLendon Minority Athletics Administrators Hall of Fame Induction Reception on June 19 in Orlando, Fla.... The Roady's Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, will feature a Mountain West-Western Athletic Conference matchup in 2009... NACDA and corporate partner Collegiate Financial Services will offer a weekly webinar/teleconference starting Monday to assist administrators and coaches on recent money matters affecting athletics and families. NACDA also is accepting online nominations for the 2008 NCAA FCS Academic All-Star Team.

The Steinbrenner Foundation, which made major donations to construct Steinbrenner Stadium at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., is making another $1 million grant to enhance the facility and celebrate the legacy of Henry G. Steinbrenner ('27), father of NFF Board Member George H. Steinbrenner. The 2008 gift will upgrade seating, outside access areas and the press box. Also in 2009, the new George Steinbrenner High School will open in Tampa, Fla.... NFF Board Member and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been honored along with new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with a "green" citation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The new facility is utilizing less electricity, more natural light, natural heating and cooling measures, and water control measures that could result in savings of one million gallons per year in usage in comparison to stadiums of similar size.

Dabo Swinney was named interim head coach at Clemson. 2007 College Football Hall of Famer Jeff Davis (Clemson) will join the football staff as an assistant athletics director for player relations... Ohio State extended the contract of director of athletics Gene Smith, the NFF's 2008 John Toner Award winner, through 2016.

College Football Hall of Fame members Mike Ditka (Pittsburgh) and Gale Sayers (Kansas) joined former Notre Dame All-America end Dan Shannon, Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, and former Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy as inductees into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame last week... Returning finalist LB James Laurinaitis of Ohio State highlights the 12 semifinalists announced last week for the 39th Rotary Lombardi Award presented by Wachovia... 2007 Rutgers' standouts All- America RB Ray Rice and 2007 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Brandon Renkart were honored last Saturday during the RU- Connecticut clash... Football legend Larry Gergley was inducted into the University at Buffalo Athletics Hall of Fame.

CBS College Sports will air the NAIA Football Championship live from Rome, Ga., on Dec. 20 at noon (EST). CBS College Sports, Comcast Cable and Navy are partnering for new high definition broadcasts of Navy football games... Fox Sports Net is televising a 30-minute special about Texas A&M's 12th Man kickoff coverage unit introduced by then-head coach Jackie Sherrill in spring 1983. The group celebrates 25 years in 2008.

Former Tennessee DL Chris Mims passed away at 38... Former Northeast Missouri State RB Lenvil Elliott, 57, passed away on Oct. 12... Memphis' tiger Tom II (stands for Tigers Of Memphis) died last week after serving as official mascot for UM since 1992.

Key NFF Dates

Dec. 9: NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria - New York, N.Y.
Jan. 5, 2009: National Hall of Fame Salute at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Glendale, Ariz.
Jan. 9, 2009: Presentation of MacArthur Trophy to BCS champion - Miami, Fla.

2009 BCS Schedule

Jan. 1: Rose Bowl presented by Citi - Pasadena, Calif., ABC
Jan. 1: FedEx Orange Bowl - Miami, Fla., Fox
Jan. 2: Allstate Sugar Bowl - New Orleans, La., Fox
Jan. 5: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl - Glendale, Ariz., Fox
Jan. 8: FedEx BCS National Championship Game - Miami, Fla., Fox