Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday's Chalktalk

On-Campus Salute to Thurman Thomas Set for This Saturday

Oklahoma State will honor Thurman Thomas this Saturday, Nov. 29, for his 2008 induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, as the Cowboys host intrastate rival Oklahoma at 7:00 p.m. on ABC.

Thomas, a two-time First Team All-America pick, led the Big Eight in rushing and scoring in 1985 and '87 and was voted the conference's Offensive Player of the Year both seasons. His 4,595 career rushing yardage is second best all-time in the conference, trailing only 2006 College Football Hall of Famer Mike Rozier of Nebraska. The Missouri City, Texas, native earned MVP honors in the 1984 Gator Bowl and the 1987 Sun Bowl and ran for 100-plus yards 21 times at OSU.

At last weekend's On-Campus Salute to Billy Cannon at LSU, the university permanently affixed Cannon's name and jersey number in the southeast corner of the stadium near the area he fielded the punt of his famous Halloween- night run. Several of his 1958 National Championship teammates were also in attendance, and all were honored during halftime ceremonies. The current LSU team wore commemorative patches in honor of the '58 team. Tiger great Y.A. Tittle and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy were also in attendance. A new rivalry trophy, the Magnolia Bow, was unveiled and will be given to the winner of the LSU-Ole Miss game.

BCS Notes

Alabama remains at No. 1, while Texas moves up to the No. 2 spot in this week's standings. Oklahoma, Florida and USC finish out the top five. A record 39 different schools have appeared in the 2008 BCS standings with two standings remaining. Numbers of teams gracing BCS standings annually from 1998- 2008 (Top 15 from 1998-Oct. 18, 2003 - Top 25 starting on Oct. 25, 2003) include: 1998 - 26; 1999 - 19; 2000 - 23; 2001 - 23; 2002 - 21; 2003 - 32; 2004 - 34; 2005 - 32; 2006 - 35; 2007 - 34; and 2008 - 39.

FBS conference champions determined as of Nov. 24: ACC - Atlantic Division: TBD; Coastal: TBD; Big East - TBD; Big Ten - (co) Penn State, Ohio State; Big 12 - North: Missouri; South: TBD; Conference USA - East: East Carolina; West: TBD; Mid-American - East: Buffalo; West: TBD; Mountain West - Utah; Pacific-10: TBD; SEC - East: Florida; West: Alabama; Sun Belt - TBD; WAC - Boise State.

Four additional teams became bowl eligible last week, bringing the total to 64 for the 68 contracted positions in 34 FBS postseason games. They were Clemson, Colorado State, Northern Illinois, and Rutgers. There are 14 additional schools with five overall victories and with at least one game remaining. Hawai'i (6- 5) has two games remaining and is one of four teams having to reach seven victories to qualify due to a 13- game regular-season schedule.

ESPN has signed a new contract with the Bowl Championship Series for the 2010-2013 postseason contests. ABC already has the Rose Bowl, presented by CITI, under a long- term agreement.

Inaugural NFF Online Auction Continues

The NFF has partnered with Steiner Sports to produce its first-ever online auction initiative to benefit the scholarship fund for the NFF's National Scholar- Athlete program. The online auction will take place until the end of November and may be accessed through the NFF's web site at www.footballfoundation.com.

Auction items include autographed helmets from various members of the College Football Hall of Fame, including Troy Aikman (UCLA), Billy Cannon (LSU), Coach Lou Holtz, NFF Chairman Archie Manning (Ole Miss), Jay Novacek (Wyoming), and Richard Wood (USC). The online auction complements the 51st annual silent auction at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner, another sellout on Dec. 9 at New York's Waldorf=Astoria.

Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Voting

Whether building houses for the homeless or starting charities to help neighbors in need, today's college football coaches are making a meaningful impact in their communities. If your favorite coach is a community leader, you can help him win $50,000 for his favorite charities through the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. Just Visit www.coachoftheyear.com, cast your vote, and encourage members of your community to do the same by clicking on "Spread the Word," located on the upper right hand corner of the website's front page. A brief e-mail form will appear, allowing you to tell family, friends and fellow alumni to cast their votes.

Since its 2006 debut, Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award winners have donated a total of $400,000 in prize money to 12 charities and their schools' alumni associations, for scholarships. This year, four more coaches - one from each NCAA football division - will win a collective total of $280,000 in charitable donations. By spreading the word in your community, you can help decide who should win this valuable support.

NFF News

NFF Board Member and Dallas Cowboys' owner and president Jerry Jones is bringing the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four to the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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 hjeffries@footballfoundation.com.

To become an NFF member, please contact NFF Director of Membership Ron Dilatush at 800.486.1865 or via email at rdilatush@footballfoundation.com.

For the weekly College Football Insiders newsletter, the NFF's College Football Viewer Guide complete with broadcast teams, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announcements and more information on the NFF and college football, please visit www.footballfoundation.com.

Two-Minute Drill

Oklahoma set an attendance record with 85,646, marking the largest crowd ever to witness a sporting event in state history. The Sooners are 60-2 in Norman under head coach Bob Stoops (1999-present) and has won 24 consecutive home contests since 2005... Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel is one of just three all-time Big Ten Conference mentors to lead five teams to outright or shared conference crowns in five (four consecutive) of his first eight seasons as head coach. The Buckeyes won their fifth straight over archrival Michigan for the first time in the series... Missouri is the first Big 12 Conference North Division team to claim back-to- back crowns since Colorado in 2004-05... Penn State won its 800th game last Saturday again Michigan State... Boise State has clinched its sixth Western Athletic Conference title in the last seven seasons... Ball State is 11-0 for the first time in school history and advances to the Marathon Mid- American Football Championship tilt in Detroit on Dec. 5... Utah has clinched its fourth Mountain West Conference trophy and the first since the 2004 season... For the first time in history, Houston and Rice (both 6-1 along with Tulsa in a three-way deadlock) will be playing for the outright or shared Conference USA West Division title Saturday... West Virginia's Pat White broke the NCAA career record for rush yards by a quarterback with 4,293 yards in the Mountaineers win over Louisville last Saturday... TCU has scored a school-record 420 points this season... Harvard defeated Yale before a sell-out crowd at Harvard Stadium in the 125th meeting of the schools, clinching an Ivy League co-championship with Brown.

President George W. Bush is scheduled tentatively to attend his third Army-Navy game in Philadelphia on Dec. 6. He previously came to 2001 and '04 bouts between the two service academies... Rutgers is offering a one-hour condensed version of its games via tape delay on "Rutgers Rush Hour" over several area outlets at 11 p.m. (EST) on Saturdays... South Dakota continued to honor area veterans with 50 percent discounts on football tickets for active military and those who served previously... Syracuse student-athletes are participating in the popular "Book It" reading and literacy programs for regional elementary and middle schools... Cleveland State has appointed a 10-person committee to continue its feasibility study to add football in the near future... Florida, Wisconsin, Texas A&M-Kingsville, and St. Cloud State assisted with recent food drives and in serving holiday Thanksgiving dinners for underserved families in their areas... Chattanooga hosted a "Take a Kid to the Game" promotion last weekend... Duke director of athletics Dr. Kevin White and wife Jane will move into the university's Few Quadrangle as Faculty-in-Residence in 2009... 2008 NFF Distinguished American T. Boone Pickens recently pitched his energy plan on The Daily Show with John Stewart.

NCAAFootball.com is offering free text message alerts to the first 5,000 fans to register via NCAAFootball.com. NCAA Football Insider airs on radio Saturdays (please check local listings) and through the NCAA Football web site... HBO has unveiled a new Web site link for "Breaking the Huddle" - www.hbo.com/events/breakingthehuddle... Coldwell Banker has rated its most affordable home cities by NCAA FBS schools and conferences. The top five most affordable areas by average cost of residence: Akron, Ohio (Akron), Muncie, Ind. (Ball State), Ft. Worth Texas (TCU), Tulsa, Okla. (Tulsa), and Toledo, Ohio (Toledo). The five most affordable regions by conference: Mid-American, Conference USA, Big 12, SEC, and the Big East.

Georgia will dedicate the Vince Dooley Athletic Complex, in honor of the 1994 College Football Hall of Fame coach, this Saturday before the Bulldogs' tilt with Georgia Tech... Minnesota played its final game in Minneapolis' HHH Metrodome last weekend after 27 seasons in the facility. The Golden Gophers will meet Air Force to dedicate TCF Stadium on Sept. 12, 2009, for the first on-campus outing since 1981... Washington State dedicated a 15-foot monument, "Cougar Pride," commissioned by Gary Schneidmiller (WSU '71) last week prior to the Apple Cup game with Washington.

Kansas State is bringing back its most successful head football coach in history, as Bill Snyder (135 wins in 17 seasons) returns after initially retiring in 2005... Defensive coordinator Will Muschamp of Texas has been designated as head coach in waiting to succeed Mack Brown when the Longhorns' current mentor retires at an unspecified date... Danny Gonzales was named New Mexico's interim head coach.

2007 NFF Draddy Trophy semifinalist Chris Joseph of UCLA joined Florida State standout Myron Rolle as two of the 2009 Rhodes Scholars from the U.S. announced last Saturday. Joseph and Rolle were chosen among 769 applicants, including Yale's Casey Gerald, a Rhodes Scholar semifinalist and 2008 NFF Draddy Trophy finalist, from 207 universities... 2008 Draddy Trophy finalist Louie Sakoda of Utah was named a finalist for both the Lou Groza and the Ray Guy awards. He is only the second player ever to be a finalist for both awards... The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award denoted its finalists: Oklahoma's Sam Bradford; Texas Tech's Graham Harrell; and Texas' Colt McCoy... The five finalists for the 2008 Bronko Nagurski Trophy: TCU's Jerry Hughes; Southern California's Rey Maualuga; Texas' Brian Orakpo; Wake Forest's Alphonso Smith; and Florida's Brandon Spikes... Ole Miss' Michael Oher, Oklahoma's Duke Robinson and Alabama's Andre Smith have been named finalists for the 63rd Outland Trophy... The John Mackey Award announced its three finalists, which include Missouri's Chase Coffman, Oklahoma's Jermaine Gresham and Oklahoma State's Brandon Pettigrew... The Biletnikoff Award announced its ten finalists... Florida QB Tim Tebow has received the Disney Spirit Award as college football's most inspirational figure to 2008.

The Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl and local businesses are assisting with the "Cell Phones for Soldiers" campaign to provide cellular service and free calling cards for Nevada-area military personnel currently serving overseas... Florida's Brandon Antwine is the final nominee for the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award after overcoming kidney failure and muscular breakdowns in 2007 to return to the field in 2008.

ESPN's Saturday telecasts of college football carried on ABC showed that total viewership increased 15% when out-of-home viewing was added to the traditional ratings... Tuesday's Western Michigan at undefeated Ball State game has been moved to 7 p.m. (EST) and now will be aired live nationally on ESPN2. Navy-Northern Illinois that evening will move to ESPN Classic... CBS College Sports announced new cooperative air agreements with Verizon FiOS Television, Comcast Cable and Bright House Networks... The Mtn. delivered its season finale in high definition... College Fanz Sports Network, the world's largest online college sports community, has acquired the Victory Sports Network (VSN).

Washington has signed a 10-year athletics apparel deal with Nike. Memphis inked a five-year contract with Nike to provide shoes, apparel and equipment... Dr Pepper will be the official soft drink for the 2008 NAIA Russell Athletic Football Championship in Rome, Ga.

Former Baylor and Austin College (Texas) player Joe Joiner, 82, passed away on Nov. 16... Huston Patton, 75, quarterback at Ole Miss from 1953-55 died last week in Sheffield, Ala.

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 Gardens, 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 - Miami Gardens, Fla., Fox