Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NFF: Chalk Talk

News and Notes From Around College Football for Dec. 15, 2008

Cal Center Alex Mack Named 2008 Draddy Trophy Recipient

Center Alex Mack of California captured the 19th annual Draddy Award at the 51st annual NFF Awards Dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York. He earned the 24-inch, 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 postgraduate scholarship. $277,000 was awarded to Mack and the other 14 Draddy Trophy finalists, who each claimed $18,000 scholarships for postgraduate educations.

Mack already has graduated magna cum laude from Cal with a 3.61 GPA and a bachelor's degree in legal studies. The projected first-round NFL Draft pick was a two-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection, two-time Rimington Trophy finalist, and a four-time Academic All-Pac-10 selection. He will lead the Golden Bears against Miami (Fla.) in the 2008 Emerald Bowl on Dec. 27.

NFF Appoints New Board Members

The NFF & College Hall of Fame has added four exceptional individuals, who all played college football before going onto stellar business careers, as members of its national board of directors. Joining 43 other active members of the prestigious board are James A. Haslam II, founder and chairman of the Pilot Corporation; Ronnie Lott, founder HRJ Capital and a College Football Hall of Famer from Southern California; John J. Mack, chairman and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley; and George Pyne, president IMG Sports & Entertainment.

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl to Honor 2008 College Football Hall of Fame Class

The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl will celebrate the 2008 College Football Hall of Fame Class during pregame ceremonies on Jan. 5, when No. 10 Ohio State faces No. 3 Texas in Glendale, Ariz. Highlights include the traditional on-field recognition prior to kickoff and participation in the 38th annual Fort McDowell Yavapai National Fiesta Bowl Parade on Jan. 3, 2009. The 2008 class members include: Coaches John Cooper and Lou Holtz, who captured a national championship at the Fiesta Bowl with Notre Dame in 1988; Troy Aikman, UCLA; Billy Cannon, LSU; Jim Dombrowski, Virginia; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern; Wilber Marshall, Florida; Rueben Mayes, Washington State; Randall McDaniel, Arizona State; Don McPherson, Syracuse; Jay Novacek, Wyoming; Dave Parks, Texas Tech; Ron Simmons, Florida State; Thurman Thomas, Oklahoma State; and Arnold Tucker, Army.

Voting Has Reopened for Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award

College football fans can visit www.CoachoftheYear.com from now until December 22 to cast their vote for the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. On the site fans can review bios and testimonials supporting each of the 25 finalists before they make their selection.

The finalists - 10 from the Football Bowl Subdivision and five each from the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III - are now in the running for an award that includes $50,000 towards civic and charitable activities, $20,000 in scholarship donations for their schools' alumni associations, and permanent recognition in the College Football Hall of Fame.

They were determined by a combination of hundreds of thousands of fan votes at www.CoachoftheYear.com and an objective scoring model endorsed by the College Football Hall of Fame. The scoring model considers such criteria as wins, team penalties, academic achievement by student-athletes, and civic and philanthropic commitments.

After this season, the total Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year charitable and scholarship contributions since 2006 will reach $680,000.

Bowl Notes

A record 68 teams are lined up for 34 FBS postseasons contests, starting Dec. 20 with the inaugural EagleBank Bowl in Washington, D.C. There were 72 bowl-eligible squads for the 68 contracted FBS postseason positions.

Cincinnati is the 43rd different school to play in a BCS contest... Southern California has played in a record seven-consecutive BCS contests... The 2009 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl between Clemson and Nebraska is the first meeting of the two schools since the Tigers edged the Huskers 22-15 in the 1982 Orange Bowl for CU's only national championship.

NCAA/NAIA Championships

FCS (formerly Division I-AA) - Friday, Dec. 19: Montana vs. Richmond in Chattanooga, Tenn. (ESPN2)

Division II - Saturday, Dec. 13: Minnesota- Duluth def. Northwest Missouri State in Florence, Ala.

Division III - Saturday, Dec. 20: Mount Union (Ohio), led by NFF Draddy Trophy finalist Greg Micheli vs. Wisconsin- Whitewater in Salem, Va. (ESPN2)

Russell Athletic NAIA Championship - Saturday, Dec. 20: Carroll (Mont.) vs. Sioux Falls (S.D.) in Rome, Ga. (CBS College Sports Network)

NFF News

The NFF Northern Ohio Chapter has been renamed the Mike Cleary Chapter, in honor of the longtime executive director of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and lifetime NFF member. The surprise announcement was made at last Tuesday's NFF Chapter Luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria.

Worldwide membership now is at 12,000-plus in 119 chapters.

For the weekly College Football Insiders newsletter, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) announcements and more information on the NFF and college football, please visit www.footballfoundation.com.

Two-Minute Drill

Coach Lou Holtz appeared on "Regis and Kelly" last Tuesday prior to his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame that evening... Oklahoma has set a modern FBS record (and counting) with 702 points in 13 games this season... Southern California has won or tied a record seven consecutive Pacific-10 Conference football crowns... Harvard won or shared its first back-to-back Ivy League titles since 1982-83... Grambling downed Jackson State 41- 9 for the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship last week in Birmingham, Ala.... Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, 2008 NFF Draddy Trophy finalist, joined head coach Mike Leach in a private White House tour last Saturday and meeting with President George W. Bush... Rutgers' football program was mentioned prominently in Sports Illustrated's year-end issue as one of the leaders and key volunteer groups for Special Olympics... Tulsa football student-athletes visited Tulsa's Sequoyah Elementary School to emphasize staying in school and general academics on the day before the Conference USA championship... Wake Forest athletics' team members participated in a Santa's Helpers toy and gift drive for underserved youngsters... USF student-athletes and administrators gathered over 1,200 pounds of food for local pantries and holiday disbursement... Michigan State hosted a special Team for Toys event to help fill the stockings of area children... The Southern Conference raised over $18,500 for the Komen Foundation Dig for the Cure cancer research fund... The Ball State-Buffalo Marathon MAC Championship contest at Ford Field in Detroit drew a Mid-American Conference all- time-high national rating of 1.7 on the Nielsen scale.

The Rutgers Board of Governors formally approved $102 million to expand the school's stadium to 54,000 and add other amenities... TCU began work on another phase of Amon Carter Stadium expansion and renovation.

Auburn named Gene Chizik as its new head coach... Gary Andersen has taken over as head coach at Utah State... Dave Clawson accepted the top spot at Bowling Green... Dan Mullen has been named head coach at Mississippi State... Doug Marrone has received the new nod at Syracuse... David Yost has become Missouri's new offensive coordinator... Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin has been given a contract extension... Former Tennessee head coach Phillip Fulmer will remain on campus as assistant to the university's president.

National individual award recipients: Heisman - Sam Bradford, Oklahoma; Davey O'Brien - Bradford; Maxwell - Tim Tebow, Florida; Walter Camp National Player of the Year - Colt McCoy, Texas; Bednarik - Rey Maualuga, Southern California; Biletnikoff - Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech; Lou Groza - Graham Gano; Ray Guy - Matt Fodge, Oklahoma State; Outland - Andre Smith, Alabama; Jim Thorpe - Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State; Doak Walker - Shonn Greene, Iowa; Home Depot Coach - Nick Saban, Alabama; NCFAA Contributions to College Football - Bobby Bowden (2006 NFF co-Gold Medal recipient, 2006 Hall of Fame inductee); Lott - James Laurinaitis, Ohio State; Rimington - A.Q. Shipley, Penn State; Bronko Nagurski and Rotary Lombardi - Brian Orakpo, Texas; Butkus - Aaron Curry, Wake Forest; Johnny Unitas Golden Arm - Graham Harrell, Texas Tech; John Mackey - Chase Coffman, Missouri... The Harlon Hill NCAA Division II Player of the Year Award went to Abilene Christian's Bernard Scott.

2008 Hall of Fame inductee Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern was named 2008 Coach of the Year by the Columbus (Ohio) Touchdown Club... 2008 NFF Draddy finalist Georgia Tech DT Darryl Richard earned the ACC's 2008 James E. Tatum Award, as top senior student-athlete in football... For the first time in football history, the SEC selected tri-Coaches of the Year - Alabama's Nick Saban, Mississippi's Houston Nutt and Vanderbilt's Bobby Johnson... Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo has been selected as NCAA FBS Independent Teams 2008 Coach of the Year... Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson captured the Frank Broyles Award as top FBS assistant coach in '08... Former New York mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani has been denoted as the American Football Coaches Association's (AFCA) 2009 Tuss McLaughry Award recipient... The Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame inducted five football standouts: Tony Hill (Stanford), Arthur James (East Texas State), Aaron Wallace (Texas A&M), Richmond Webb (Texas A&M) and Kevin Williams (Miami, Fla.).

Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster and AD Joel Maturi joined Kansas head coach Mark Mangino and AD Lew Perkins in presiding over the opening bell of the NASDAQ Monday in New York. It was part of a special promotion for Insight Enterprises and the Insight Bowl... Georgia Tech is providing free, three-day shipping for athletics' gear and football bowl apparel for holiday gifts and special pricing for Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl souvenirs with the custom Yellow Jackets' logos... Utah's fan demand for online ticket purchases for the Allstate Sugar Bowl was so heavy last week that the server had to be closed down for part of last Friday. Orders were taken by phone and in person... The 2008 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl has sold out its ticket allotment. College Football Hall of Famer Joe Theismann will be the headline speaker at the bowl's Kickoff Luncheon... Ole Miss is playing in its first AT&T Cotton Bowl since 1956, as the Rebels and Texas Tech meet in the 73rd and final Classic at Dallas' Cotton Bowl Stadium. Pat Summerall and Brian Baldinger will call the game from the booth... Analyst Tim Ryan will call the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl with Matt Vasgerian.

Tom Dillon, 65, voice of Arizona State athletics from 1973-97 and a lead announcer for Sports USA Radio football contests in recent years, died in Phoenix, Ariz.