Monday, October 27, 2008

NFF Chalktalk

News and Notes From Around College Football for Oct. 27, 2008

NFF to Announce Draddy Finalists on Oct. 29

With $275,000 in scholarships and 15 all-expense paid trips to New York City at stake, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) will announce Oct. 29 the 15 finalists for college football's most prestigious academic honor: The Draddy Trophy presented, by HealthSouth.

Coming from a pool of 164 semifinalists from all divisions of play, the 15 finalists will each win a coveted $18,000 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Award for their post graduate educations, and they will each travel all expenses paid to New York City to attend the NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 9 at the Waldorf- Astoria.

McPherson On-Campus Salute Set for Saturday

Syracuse's most highly decorated quarterback Don McPherson will be honored for his 2008 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame this Saturday, as the Orange take on Louisville at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

McPherson won over 18 national Player of the Year honors during his collegiate career, including the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, the Maxwell Player of the Year and the inaugural Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. The West Hempstead, N.Y., native holds or shares 11 Syracuse football records and claimed MVP honors in the Sugar Bowl, capping an undefeated 1987 regular season and a No. 4 final ranking for the Orange.

McPherson has become one of the nation's leading educators and advocates for the prevention of men's violence against women and has been featured on Nightline and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

BCS News

Florida and Texas have appeared in at least one BCS Standings every year since 1998. Texas was the first school to be included in 70 different surveys and has appeared in 71 of the first 78 standings (91 percent). Florida is next with 70 appearances through the second set of '08 standings.

Top 12 Schools By Appearance (through Oct. 26, 2008): Texas - 71; Florida - 70; Oklahoma - 62; Michigan - 62; Virginia Tech - 60; Ohio State - 54; Florida State - 52; Tennessee - 52; Southern California - 51; Miami (Fla.) - 50; Georgia - 48; and LSU - 46.

Most Seasons in BCS Standings (1998-Oct. 26, 2008): Texas - 11; Florida - 11; Michigan - 10; Virginia Tech - 10; Florida State - 9; Georgia - 9; Ohio State - 9; Oklahoma - 9; LSU - 8; Oregon - 8; Southern California - 8; Tennessee - 8; Miami (Fla.) - 7; Nebraska - 7; and Penn State - 7.

Most Appearances at No. 1 (through Oct. 26, 2008): Oklahoma - 17; Ohio State - 15; Southern California - 15; Florida State - 7; Miami (Fla.) - 7; Nebraska - 5; Tennessee - 5; Texas - 3; LSU - 2; Missouri - 1; and UCLA - 1.

Hawaii, Rutgers, Tulsa and Wake Forest all made their first appearances in the standings in 2006 to bring the then-total representation to 72 schools. Cincinnati, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky and South Florida joined the field in 2007, and appearances by Ball State and North Carolina in 2008 raised the tally to 79 of 119 current total FBS members to have ever been featured in the standings.

Oklahoma has been one of most active "latecomers" to the standings. After not being among the Top 15 in either 1998 or '99, the Sooners have been in 62 polls since Oct. 2000 and have been No. 1 on a record 17 occasions. They are tied for third with Michigan all-time in BCS standings' appearances.

National College Football Day

National College Football Day is this Saturday, Nov. 1, honoring college football's first game in 1869. The American Football Coaches Association, the National Association of Division IA Football Officials and Football Writers Association of America are teaming with the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic and The V Foundation for Cancer Research to raise funds and increase awareness in the fight against cancer. For more information, please visit w

NFF News

Liberty Mutual has proudly partnered with the College Football Hall of Fame to honor one coach from each division who demonstrates excellence on and off the field through victories, community service, charitable endeavors and academic support. Visit now to find out how to vote for your favorite coach.

Southern Connecticut State head coach Rich Cavanaugh spoke to the Gene J. Casey/New Haven (Conn.) Chapter last Thursday. He is in his 24th season as coach of the Owls, has a career mark of 142-103-1, has led the school to three consecutive NCAA playoffs and a school-record 15 consecutive seasons of .500-plus winning percentages.

Newest member of the NFF National Scholar- Athlete Alumni Association: David Wonderlick (Susquehanna, Pa.). 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

Two-Minute Drill

Head coaches including 2008 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, North Carolina's Butch Davis, and all 12 mentors from Conference USA, along with hundreds of other programs on all NCAA and NAIA levels joined in wearing "Coach for the Cure" armbands last weekend to raise awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a special charitable cause in 2008 for the American Football Coaches Association. MDA and the AFCA are also joining in the fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and other neuromuscular disorders.

East Carolina will host Appalachian State on Sept. 5, 2009, to renew a 77-year-old rivalry... La.-Lafayette is promoting "Sell Out the Swamp" for Saturday's homecoming contest with Florida Atlantic. It's the 1,000th football contest in ULL history, and RB Rajin Cajun Tyrell Fenroy also has become just the seventh back in FBS history to record four 1,000-yard seasons... Navy played its 1,200th all-time football contest against SMU last week in Annapolis, Md., and became the first team since Ohio in 1997 to win a game without attempting a pass on 77 plays from scrimmage... Texas Tech QB and NFF Draddy Trophy semifinalist Graham Harrell moved into fourth place in all-time FBS individual passing. Red Raider walk-on kicker Matt Williams, who won a halftime kicking contest and tryout for the team last month, was 9-for-9 in PATs during the Tech's win last week at Kansas... La.-Monroe brought back Major League Baseball and Olympic pitching star alumnus Ben Sheets as honorary captain for its recent contest with Florida Atlantic and hosted a "Blue Out Game" for ULM fans... Cleveland State is investigating the possibility of adding varsity football in coming years... Florida State honored Wounded Warriors Program members Mark McDuffie, Chris Lynch and Michael Taylor during last week's game against Virginia Tech in Tallahassee for their sacrifices... North Texas students voted to increase student athletics fees in hopes of breaking ground on a new stadium in Denton, Texas, as soon as 2009... Troy QB Levi Brown's 391 passing yards last weekend against North Texas are the most ever for a Troy quarterback in head coach Larry Blakeney's 18 seasons at the helm... The final EA Sports NCAA Football '09 Challenge presented by Coke Zero exhibit stopped at last Saturday's Cincinnati- Connecticut contest... Actors Ryan Merriman, Aidan Quinn and Andie MacDowell will star in "The 5th Quarter," following the life of Jon Abbate, then a junior linebacker for Wake Forest, after the death of his 15-year- old brother... Texas A&M-Commerce defeated East Central (Texas) in the inaugural Harvey Martin Classic in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson received a contract extension through the 2011 season... Lin Dawson has been selected as director of athletics at Grambling... Big Ten Conference commissioner Jim Delany had his contract extended through June 30, 2013.

Former U.S. House of Representatives member and Tulsa standout Steve Largent became the eighth student-athlete in the history of Golden Hurricane football to have his jersey retired... 1991 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Will Furrer will be honored for his football and off-field accomplishments on Nov. 6 when his alma mater Virginia Tech hosts Maryland on ESPN. He currently is president of IF Marketing and Advertising in Austin, Texas... Miami (Fla.) honored its 1983 national championship team last weekend during its game against Wake Forest... Ohio State's Tyson Gentry has been nominated for the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award... Northern Illinois' Keenan Blarark and 2006 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Oklahoma's Carl Pendleton have received NACDA McLendon Minority graduate school grants for 2008-09... Arkansas football standouts Martine Bercher, Jr. , R.C. Thielemann and Jarrell Williams join Arkansas grad, NFF member and NFL referee Walt Coleman of Little Rock, Ark., as the newest members of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in Little Rock... Maryland added M Club Foundation executive director David Diehl, football stalwart Darryl Hill and Maryland State Sen. Mike Miller (for meritorious service) to its athletics hall of fame last Friday... Current Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville and late Alabama assistant coach/ longtime associate AD Sam Bailey join football standouts Bobby Evans and Sammy Furo as inductees into the Southern Arkansas Hall of Fame...1983 Ohio State captain Kirk Lowdermilk was honorary Silver Anniversary captain for last week's OSU-Penn State clash in Columbus, Ohio... The NCAA Division II Football Hall of Fame has added Eric Davis of Jacksonville State and Rod Smith of Missouri Southern to its legendary group. Induction will be part of the Harlon Hill Trophy and Division II NCAA Championship banquet in Florence, Ala., on Dec. 12.

To commemorate its 75th anniversary, the Orange Bowl Committee (OBC) is leaving a legacy gift of $2.5 million to the South Florida community. The gift has been matched by the City of Miami, which is partnering with the OBC to construct a high school football stadium and other facilities at Moore Park, the site of the first Palm Festival, predecessor of the FedEx Orange Bowl... The Western Athletic Conference and San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl officials announced a contingency agreement that will affect the 2008 and '09 bowl games. The contract stipulates that if the bowl's agreement with the Pacific-10 Conference does not yield a bowl eligible team (six or more wins), then the bowl will get a team from the Western Athletic Conference in either or both years... The Big 12 Conference and Chick- fil-A have selected the Fall Community of Champions from each of the 12 schools with honors being based on community service, leadership, scholarship, and sportsmanship.

CBS has extended its coverage of the Army-Navy game through the 2018 season. The contest will be moved to the second Saturday in December starting in 2009 to signify the end of regular-season play for FBS annually... FSN Southwest captured five regional Emmy Awards from the Lone Star Chapter of the National Television Academy in judging by national peer panels... The New England Sports Network (NESN) and Atlantic Coast Conference have embarked on additional broadcast and regional coverage agreements... The Real Winning Edge sports reality show will debut on selected Fox network stations in the near future with inspiring stories about student-athletes overcoming major odds to succeed... Chattanooga has signed a marketing, promotional and broadcast agreement with Learfield Sports Properties.

Gene Hickerson, 73, All-SEC standout at Ole Miss, died last week in Cleveland, Ohio... Craig Fertig, 66, former standout USC quarterback and head coach at Oregon State, passed away... Robert T. Becker, 73, who oversaw tremendous athletics growth and success as athletics director at Saginaw Valley State (Mich.), died in Naples, Fla.

Key NFF Dates

Oct. 29: 2008 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class Announcement
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