Monday, November 17, 2008

NFF: Monday's Chalktalk

News and Notes From Around College Football for Nov. 17, 2008

Archie Manning Highlights NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter Event

NFF chairman Archie Manning attracted more than 100 guests to Dallas' Renaissance Hotel last week for the second event sponsored by the NFF's Gridiron Club of Dallas Chapter.

The event, emceed by Dallas broadcasting personality Scott Murray and sponsored by The Big Game, was attended by the likes of College Football Hall of Fame inductees Lee Roy Jordan (Alabama), Dave Parks (Texas Tech) and Jim Ray Smith (Baylor).'s Gil Brandt, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Executive Director Steve Richardson, Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award Executive Director Danielle Moorman, and the Dallas Morning News' Bobbi Roquemore were also in attendance as well as representatives from the Big 12, Conference USA, the Southland Conference, the AT&T Cotton Bowl, TCU, and an array of area high school coaches and administrators.

Mark Ball, athletics director for the Wylie Independent School District, was named the NFF Gridiron Club of Dallas' president and announced plans to hold the chapter's first-ever scholar-athlete banquet in April 2009.

On-Campus Salute for LSU's Billy Cannon Set for This Saturday

2008 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Billy Cannon will be honored this weekend at LSU with an On-Campus Salute, as the Tigers take on Ole Miss this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.

The only player in LSU's storied football history to have his number retired, Cannon clinched the 1959 Heisman Trophy with a punt return against Ole Miss on Halloween night that has simply become known as "The Run". The leader of the Tigers' 1958 National Championship team, Cannon rushed for 1,867 yards and 19 touchdowns and amassed 965 yards in punt/kick returns during his career. He received unanimous First Team All-America honors and placed third in Heisman voting in 1958 en route to earning consensus First Team All-America laurels and winning both the Heisman and the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award the following season. He resides in Baton Rouge, La.

NFF Initiates First-Ever Online Auction

The National Football Foundation 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

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 silent auction held every December at the NFF Annual Awards Dinner at New York's Waldorf=Astoria. This year's Awards Dinner, scheduled for Tuesday, December 9, is sold out.

"Spread the Word" and Help Your Coach Win Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year

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, 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.

BCS Notes

Ohio State jumps ahead of Georgia to claim the No. 10 spot, as the rest of the BCS top ten remains the same for the second week. There are five remaining FBS schools with undefeated records: Alabama, Texas Tech, Utah, Boise State and Ball State.

Key games in the BCS picture for the weekend of Nov. 22 are No. 2 Texas Tech at No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 16 Brigham Young at No. 7 Utah, and Central Michigan at No. 14 Ball State.

Six additional teams became bowl eligible last week, bringing the total to 60 for the 68 contracted positions in 34 FBS postseason games, including the FedEx BCS National Championship in Miami Gardens, Fla. They were Buffalo, Fresno State, Houston, Mississippi, Nevada, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin. There are 18 additional schools with five overall victories and at least one game remaining facing 12-game regular- season schedules. Schools playing at Hawaii with a 13th regular-season clash have to win seven games to become eligible for postseason FBS action.

NFF News

1979 College Football Hall of Famer and emeritus NFF board member Tom Scott had his jersey retired at the University of Virginia... Chris Plonsky, NFF board member and senior associate AD at Texas, has been selected for the board of directors of USA Basketball... 2007 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Chris Zorich has joined the coaching staff of the Fighting Irish Legends who will play in the Notre Dame Japan Bowl in Tokyo, Japan, next summer... Members of a Nebraska's Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity will run a football from Lincoln, Neb., to Manhattan, Kan., as a fundraiser for College Football Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne's TeamMates program... 2002 College Football Hall of Fame coach Earle Bruce will serve as the guest speaker at Tiffin (Ohio) University's first "Good Morning World" breakfast on Nov. 20.

The NFF's Play It Smart is partnering with the National Association of Athletic Academic Advisors to benefit the group's academic coaches across the country. Play It Smart also is working with NCAA officials on a series of Proposition 48 educational seminars and the NCAA Eligibility Committee (formerly the NCAA Clearinghouse)... Larry Pickard of Ballou High School in Washington D.C. was named the Play It Smart October Student-Athlete of the Month among a solid field of 80-plus nominees.

Newest member of the NFF National Scholar- Athlete Alumni Association: Jerry Spatny, Jr. (Ashland, Ohio). 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

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

Two-Minute Drill

Northwestern, SMU and Western Kentucky were among a number of universities holding special U.S. Veteran's Day (Nov. 11) observances at games on Nov. 8-15. Northwestern also defeated Michigan for the first time since 2000 and won eight games for the first time since '00... Wake Forest student-athletes helped raise $4,100 for Operation Wounded Soldier... Clemson football student-athletes participated in the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry last week and opened competition between football teams and fans at Clemson and South Carolina to see which school could register the most possible bone marrow donors... Kentucky head coach Rich Brooks made the first blood donation for the Big Blue Crush in UK-Tennessee (Team Big Orange Crush) last week in the 21st annual blood drive between the SEC rivals and their fans. Tennessee won in 2007 with a record 6,000-plus pints donated to medical facilities in critical need in both states... Southern California coach Pete Carroll coached his 100th encounter with the Trojans last week vs. Stanford and extended his record in November games at USC to 26-0... Connecticut and Western Kentucky student-athletes have inaugurated programs to encourage reading programs at elementary and middle schools in their local areas... Florida State wore special commemorative "Unconquered" lettering on the side of its uniforms last weekend as a tribute to the Seminole Tribe of Florida... The Dare to Care's Thanksgiving food drive included donation tables at last Friday's Cincinnati at Louisville contest, assisting families in need in Northern Kentucky. Denison (Ohio) also held a special holiday food drive for the underserved... New Mexico State held a $2 extravaganza last week vs. Louisiana Tech with all concession items going for $2 or less... Charlotte's Board of Trustees officially voted 8-0 to move ahead with plans to begin varsity football by the 2013 season... TCU and Virginia have scheduled a series for the 2009 and '12 seasons... Baylor and Texas A&M played for the 105th time last weekend and kept their series streak continuous since 1945 (the teams have met every season since 1931 except 1943 and '44 due to World War II). A&M scheduled Stephen F. Austin in 2010... A Season To Remember: 1958 Southern Miss Football, a new book that chronicles the historic national championship football season by the university and written by John Cox, was released last weekend. Members of the 1958 National Championship team held a book signing as part of "Reunion Weekend" activities, and the squad members were also recognized during the Southern Miss-East Carolina game... Famed Olympian high jump recordholder (1968 New Mexico games) and Oregon State alumnus Dick Fosbury of "The Fosbury Flop" technique delivered the ceremonial coin toss at last week's OSU- California contest.

On November 22, the first carbon-neutral game will be played at Notre Dame Stadium. All of the carbon emissions produced by stadium energy use as well as fan travel, hotel stays, and visiting team travel will be offset by energy conservation projects coordinated by the Office of Sustainability during its first semester on campus... Former Southern Miss athletics director and coach, Roland Dale, and his wife, Teenie, had a parlor in the university's athletic center dedicated in their name last Friday... Alabama is proposing an expansion plan to take Bryant-Denney Stadium to 101,000 capacity... Daktronics will install one of the largest LED video display boards (approx. 27 feet high by 80 feet wide) in college football at LSU's Tiger Stadium... Birmingham-Southern (Ala.) celebrated its first on-campus homecoming game since 1939 (the school dropped football from '39 to 2006) with the dedication of the new Panther Stadium.

John Marinatto, who has served as senior associate commissioner/COO of the Big East Conference since 2002, will replace Mike Tranghese as commissioner of the league on July 1, 2009... MIT head coach Dwight Smith will remain as a full-time professor of physical education after retiring as MIT's grid boss for the last 30 seasons.

The Sun Belt Conference and the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl have signed a one- year contract extension for a Sun Belt institution to play in the bowl through the 2009 campaign... The Chick-Fil-A Bowl selection blog allows for fan comments and speculation about the matchups for the Atlanta skirmish... Houston was named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week... North Carolina DL Robert Quinn is the most recent nominee for the 2008 FedEx Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award. He overcame a spinal tumor and has rebounded to be a candidate for ACC Freshman Defensive Player of the Year.

The Big 12 Conference is reviving its Kickoff Luncheon with Kansas City-style barbecue before the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship at Arrowhead Stadium as well as adding a pregame Fan Festival at KC's Arrowhead Pavilion on game day prior to the 7 p.m. (CST) broadcast. Missouri has clinched the North Division berth in the outing. The inaugural Big 12 Conference Legends will be honored at the championship and include College Football Hall of Famers Grant Teaff (Baylor), John Hadl (Kansas), Lee Roy Selmon (Oklahoma), John David Crow (Texas A&M), and E.J. Holub (Texas Tech) as well as Joel Klatt (Colorado), Matt Blair (Iowa State), coach Bill Snyder (Kansas State), John Kadlec (Missouri), Will Shields (Nebraska), Derrel Gofourth (Oklahoma State), and Priest Holmes (Texas).

Other upcoming conference title games are Dec. 5 - Mid-American Conference, 8 p.m. (EST), Detroit, Mich.; Dec. 6 - Dr Pepper ACC Championship, 1 p.m. (EST), Tampa, Fla.; Dec. 6 - Conference USA Championship, site and time TBD; Dec. 6 - Southeastern Conference Championship, 4 p.m. (EST), Atlanta, Ga., Alabama vs. Florida.

The 2008 Danny Wuerffel Trophy has selected its 13 finalists, which include four are 2008 NFF National Scholar-Athletes: Missouri's Chase Daniel, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, Louisiana Tech's Quin Harris, and Utah's Louie Sakoda. Florida's Tim Tebow is also a semifinalist after capturing the '07 Wuerffel Trophy... The 2008 Ronnie Lott Trophy named its semifinalists: Tennessee's Eric Berry, Wake Forest's Aaron Curry, Ohio State's James Laurinaitis, Pittsburgh's Scott McKillop, Illinois' Brit Miller, Texas' Brian Orakpo, NFF Draddy Trophy semifinalist Oregon's Nick Reed, and Florida State's Myron Rolle in that fold... The Doak Walker Award denoted its 10 semifinalists last week... The Biletnikoff Award named its 10 semifinalists for '08... Oregon added football standouts Emery Barnes and Alex Molden to it Athletics Hall of Fame... The University of Houston Athletic Hall of Fame introduced football inductees David Klingler, Riley Odoms and current Dallas Cowboys' head coach Wade Phillips last week... Retired college and NFL coaches Bobby Ross (East) and Gene Stallings (West) will guide squads in the 84th Annual East-West Shrine Game, Jan. 17, 2009, at the University of Houston's Robertson Stadium.

Texas Tech has signed an exclusive outfitting agreement with Under Armour... Memphis and Nike have come to terms for a multi-year uniforms and apparel agreement.

Joe Wendryhoski, 68, All-Big Ten lineman at Illinois in 1961, died recently in Twin Lakes, Wis.... Clark Miller, 70, a standout at Utah State in the 1950s and nine-year NFL veteran, died in Paso Robles, Calif.... Auburn associate athletics director Virgil Starks, 46, passed away.