Wednesday, December 3, 2008

NFF: Chalktalk

2008 NFF Draddy Trophy Finalists Garner National Accolades

Four 2008 NFF National Scholar-Athlete were named to the ESPN the Magazine /CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team (University Division), including Harvard's Andrew Berry, Illinois' Ryan McDonald, Ohio State's Brian Robiskie and Utah's Louie Sakoda. Carnegie Mellon's (Pa.) Brian Freeman and Mount Union's (Ohio) Greg Micheli were named to the First Team in the College Division, with Micheli honored as the College Division Academic All-American of the Year.

Graham Harrell (Texas Tech) was named a finalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award as well as the Maxwell Award.

Louie Sakoda (Utah) is the only player in the nation to be a finalist for both the Lou Groza National Place-Kicker and the Ray Guy Awards. He is only the second player in college football history to hold this distinction (Purdue's Travis Dorsch, 2001).

Chase Daniel (Missouri), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Quin Harris (Louisiana Tech) and Louie Sakoda (Utah) were named finalists for the Wuerffel Trophy.

Casey Gerald of Yale has captured the New England Football Writers Association's Jerry Nason Award for senior achievement, leadership and character. Nominees come from a five- state region and all NCAA and NAIA divisions.

Greg Micheli of Mount Union (Ohio) was named a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy awarded to Division III's national player of the year. Micheli has also led the Purple Raiders to the Division III quarterfinals.

Missouri's Chase Daniel and Texas Tech's Graham Harrell were named finalists for the Unitas Golden Arm Award.

BCS Notes

For the first time in BCS history, the BCS standings broke a tiebreaker to determine the Big 12's South Division representative in the Dr Pepper Big 12 Football Championship in Kansas City. Oklahoma is No. 2 in this week's BCS standings ahead of No. 3 Texas and No. 7 Texas Tech. All closed with identical 7-1 conference marks and 11-1 overall records. Texas Tech nabbed its first share of a Big 12 football divisional crown in the process.

This week's conference championship games: Friday, Dec. 5 - Mid-American Conference, Ball State vs. Buffalo, 8 p.m. (EST), Detroit, Mich.; Saturday, Dec. 6 - Dr Pepper ACC Championship, Boston College vs. Virginia Tech, 1 p.m. (EST), Tampa, Fla.; Dec. 6 - Conference USA Championship, East Carolina vs. Tulsa, noon (CST), ESPN2; Dec. 6 - Southeastern Conference Championship, 4 p.m. (EST), Atlanta, Ga., Alabama vs. Florida; Dec. 6 - Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship, Missouri vs. Oklahoma, 7 p.m. (CST), Kansas City.

Florida and Alabama are meeting for the sixth time in 17 years in the Southeastern Conference Championship game. The Gators have a 3-2 edge, and this is the first time in history that two SEC teams have met as No. 1 (Alabama) and No. 2 (UF) in the Associated Press national poll... Cincinnati has clinched its first Big East Conference football crown. The Bearcats are the eighth different school to win the Big East since 1991... Ohio State's four-year run of outright or shared Big Ten Conference titles is tied for third in league history. The Buckeyes 1972-77 squads won or tied for a record six consecutive conference crowns.

There are four remaining FBS schools (Alabama, Ball State, Boise State and Utah) with undefeated records on the week after the seventh Bowl Championship Series standings. Alabama has appeared at No. 1 in BCS standings for five consecutive weeks - the most since Ohio State closed 2007 with five consecutive No. 1 positions. The record is 15 straight No. 1 placements by Southern California in 2004 and '05. The Crimson Tide is the first team since Oklahoma (six consecutive standings in 2000) to appear five weeks in a row in its debut year atop the BCS.

Seven additional teams became bowl eligible last week to bring the total to 71 for the 68 contracted positions in 34 FBS postseason games: Bowling Green, Florida Atlantic, Memphis, Southern Miss, NC State, Hawaii and Arkansas State. There are four additional schools (Arizona State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisville and Middle Tennessee) with five overall victories and at least one game remaining.

The 34 postseason games in the FBS are being played in 28 different cities/metro areas and will attract more than 6,800 student-athletes, over 1,100 coaches and administrative personnel, and in excess of 1.7 million fans by projected ticket sales.

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, 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

The NFF's Greater Atlanta Chapter will be awarding 37 scholar-athlete scholarships and 12 scholar-manager scholarships on Dec. 30 at the Texaco Scholarship Luncheon and Chalk Talk, presented by The Atlanta Journal Constitution.

To become a member of the 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 Worldwide membership now is at 12,000-plus in 119 chapters.

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

Texas passed Notre Dame on the all- time FBS wins' chart and trails only Michigan in total victories... Penn State (800th all-time football victory) and Wake Forest (400th triumph in history) each notched milestone team wins in 2008... Texas coach Mack Brown netted his 200th career win last Thursday vs. Texas A&M... Missouri and Kansas have extended their season series at Arrowhead Stadium through 2012... Rice's Bayou Bucket win over Houston drew the largest home crowd in eight years to Rice Stadium. The Owls' nine wins this seasons are the most since 1949... Boston College has scored a non- offensive touchdown in seven consecutive contests... Ohio State student-athletes and fans have sent 5,700-plus personal care packages to U.S. military personnel stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan through Operation Buckeye... New Mexico State's "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" fundraising through athletics has helped raise $284,000 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation... Tennessee has pledged athletics department funding for turfgrass and grass growth research on campus... Returning Kansas State coach Bill Snyder is making a six-city tour of Kansas Tuesday... The Reno-Tahoe Airport has added a "Wolf Pack Den" display to promote Nevada athletics... magicJack Inc. has signed a one- year agreement as title sponsor of the St. Petersburg Bowl. Former Purdue standout Mike Alstott will serve as honorary bowl chairman.

Lamar's (Texas) football stadium for its 2010 return to the gridiron will be named Provost Umphrey Stadium to recognize a $3 million contribution from a law firm and $1 million from Walter and Sheila Umphrey... Charlotte has received 5,000-plus pledges for FSLs (49er Seat Licenses) for the university's upcoming football program... Retired Mississippi State director of athletics Larry Templeton has been honored with the naming of the Templeton Athletics Academics Center on campus.

Lane Kiffin was named head coach at Tennessee... Wyoming named Dave Christensen head coach... Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel had his contract extended through the 2015 season... Yale's Jack Siedlecki is retiring as head coach to become an assistant director of athletics for the Bulldogs... Tim Davis has been tabbed as Minnesota's new running game coordinator/offensive line coach.

The National College Football Awards Association's Contributions to College Football Award will be presented in Orlando on Dec. 12 to 2006 College Football Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden... 2004 NFF High School National Scholar-Athlete QB Chris Pizzotti of Harvard was named the 2008 Ivy League Asa Bushnell Cup Player of the Year... The Big Ten Conference led all FBS circuits with eight first or second team choices on the ESPN the Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America entries... The Walter Camp Foundation has denoted its three legends' awards for 2008: Alumnus of the Year Tim Brown (Notre Dame); Man of the Year Morten Andersen (Michigan State); and Distinguished American Len Dawson (Purdue).

Finalists have been announced for the following postseason awards to be presented live at the ESPNU Home Depot Awards Show on Dec. 12 in Orlando: Chuck Bednarik Award - James Laurinaitis (Ohio State), Ray Maualuga (Southern California) and Aaron Maybin (Penn State); Biletnikoff Award - Dez Bryant (Oklahoma State), Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech), and Jeremy Maclin (Missouri); Lou Groza National Place- Kicker Award - Josh Arauco (Arkansas State), Graham Gano (Florida State), and NFF Draddy Trophy finalist Louie Sakoda (Utah); Ray Guy Award - Matt Fodge (Oklahoma State), Pat McAfee (West Virginia) and Sakoda (Utah). Maxwell Award - NFF Draddy Trophy finalist Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), Colt McCoy (Texas) and Tim Tebow (Florida); Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award - Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Harrell (Texas Tech) and McCoy (Texas); Outland Trophy - Michael Oher (Mississippi), Duke Robinson (Oklahoma) and Andre Smith (Alabama); Jim Thorpe Award - Eric Berry (Tennessee), Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State) and Taylor Mays (Southern California); Doak Walker Award - Shonn Greene (Iowa), Knowshon Moreno (Georgia) and Javon Ringer (Michigan State).

Rhodes Scholarship recipient Myron Rolle (Florida State), Aaron Curry (Wake Forest), James Laurinaitis (Ohio State) and Brian Orakpo (Texas) were named as finalists for the fifth annual Lott Trophy... The John Mackey Award has selected Chase Coffman (Missouri), Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma), and Brandon Pettigrew (Oklahoma State) as its 2008 tight end of the year finalists... Two Ole Miss standouts - Michael Oher and Peria Jerry - join Millsaps QB Juan Joseph as finalists for the Cellular South Conerly Trophy for the top collegiate standout in Mississippi. The trophy memorializes Ole Miss QB and late College Football Hall of Famer Charlie Conerly... The Sports Network has designated 20 finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in the Football Championship Subdivision... The 10 finalists have been designated for the Division III Gagliardi Trophy to honor excellence in athletics, academics and community service, including NFF Draddy Trophy finalist Greg Micheli from Mount Union (Ohio).

The Nov. 12 Ball State-Central Michigan game on ESPN was the highest-rated telecast in Mid-American Conference history with a 1.6 or a viewing audience of 1,605,001 homes... The third annual Gridiron Classic between Jacksonville of the Pioneer League and Albany of the Northeast Conference was aired nationally last Saturday on the YES Network, DirecTV and AT&T cable.

Murray Armstong, 71, assistant coach and administrator for Memphis football from 1962- 2008, died last Saturday in Somerville, Tenn. He starred as an end at Tennessee... Leo Seal, former Mississippi State football student-athlete and benefactor for the Leo Seal End Zone facility at MSU, died in Gulfport, Miss.... Goble Bryant, former Army offensive and defensive tackle from 1945-47, passed away on Nov. 23.

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