Monday, February 18, 2008

College Football weekly news and notes

-Courtesy of the National Football Foundation

College Football Hall of Fame to Host Gridiron Bash TV Shows

MSL Sports and Entertainment and the National Football Foundation announced that the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana will serve as one of the host sites for two one- hour television shows as part of the 2008 Gridiron Bash.

At the core of the Gridiron Bash is a fan contest - The USA Today Bash for Cash Series - that will establish which of the participating schools has the most passionate and supportive fans. In serving as the home base for Gridiron Bash, the College Hall of Fame will display a flagpole for each of the participating Gridiron Bash universities and three flagpoles for the winners of the contest. Winning schools will be determined by adding the total attendance at their Gridiron Bash events and the number of fans who text/call in to vote for their school. The winning university will receive a $1 million contribution to its general scholarship fund, with second and third place schools receiving $500,000 and $250,000 respectively. A USA Today representative will present the winning checks on Fox during a live broadcast from the College Hall of Fame on Sun., Apr. 20. The Sunday show also will include a look forward to the 2008 college football season. The Fox show airing the day on Apr. 19 will feature highlights of Gridiron Bash and regional spring football games from ten of the participating schools.

FSN and Big Ten Network affiliates also will air several activities in and around the spring football Gridiron Bash - The Ultimate Fan Competition on Apr. 18-20. Approximately 20 FBS schools already are under contract for the specials, and some of the leading acts on the pre-game concert dockets are the Goo Goo Dolls, Maroon 5, Dwight Yoakam and Counting Crows.

NFF News

Covering more than 4,800 high schools and 400,000 student- athletes, the NFF & College Hall of Fame will distribute nearly $1 million in scholarships through its chapter network during its 2007-08 banquets season while selecting 3,300 student- athletes for recognition as the best and the brightest for their combined excellence on the gridiron, in the classroom and as leaders in the community.

The NFF network, spread across 121 outposts in 47 states, serves as the heart line of a nationwide effort to encourage leadership, sportsmanship and academic excellence among young football players. Annually drawing more than 33,000 people, the NFF banquets will serve as an important milestone for the honorees. The all-time amount raised and disbursed by the chapters will approach $12 million this year. Coupled with the all-time amount of $8.6 million disbursed from the national headquarters through the NFF National Scholar-Athlete program, the all-time amount distributed by the NFF will eclipse $20 million in 2008.

College head coaches addressing chapter banquets this year include Oregon coach Mike Bellotti (Portland Chapter - Ore. ); Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio (The Mid-Michigan Touchdown Club Chapter); Muhlenberg coach Mike Donnelly (Lehigh Valley Chapter - Northampton, Pa.); Colorado coach Dan Hawkins (Colorado Chapter); Alcorn State coach Ernest Jones (Miss/Lou Chapter - Natchez, Miss.); Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly (Toledo Chapter - Ohio); Retired Colorado State head coach Sonny Lubick, (Montana and Colorado chapters); Indiana head coach Bill Lynch (Central Indiana Chapter - Indianapolis); Missouri coach Gary Pinkel (Tom Lombardo Chapter - St. Louis, Mo.); Oregon State coach Mike Riley (Portland Chapter - Ore.); Syracuse coach Greg Robinson (Central New York Chapter - Syracuse); Purdue coach Joe Tiller (The Joe Tiller Chapter of Northwest Indiana); Ohio State coach Jim Tressel (Northeast Ohio and Columbus chapters); Washington coach Tyrone Willingham (King County Chapter - Seattle, Wash.); Illinois coach Ron Zook (Chicago Metro Chapter); retired Michigan coach Lloyd Carr (NFF East Tennessee Chapter where he also will received the coveted Gen. Robert Neyland Award); College of New Jersey head coach Eric Hamilton (South Jersey - Galloway, N.J.).

Other keynote speakers and VIP attendees include Detroit Free Press columnist and best-selling author Mitch Albom at the Michigan Chapter event; Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and former NFL coach Dan Reeves at the University of Georgia (Athens) Chapter event; Jane Hoeppner, the widow of the late IU head coach Terry Hoeppner at the Central Indiana event; Pro Hall of Fame Coach Marv Levy, Former University of Miami tailback Jarrett Payton, College Hall of Famer Jimbo Covert at the Chicago Metro Chapter event; Former NFL Pro Bowler and NFF National Scholar-Athlete from Ohio State Dave Foley at the Greater Cincinnati banquet; College Football Hall of Famer Roger Wehrli at the Tom Lombardo Chapter; New Orleans Saints QB and NFF National Scholar-Athlete Drew Brees at the Central Indiana Chapter event; and longtime athletics director and NFF Board Member Jack Lengyel at the Southern Arizona Chapter in Tucson.

Play It Smart January Student-Athletes of the Month and candidates for Co-Captains of the Year for community service and academic prowess are Josue Amaya, Tampa (Fla.) Robinson HS; Clayton Armstrong, Washington (D.C.) Ballou; Tyree Bishop, Denver (Colo.) George Washington; Kyle Brockerd, Indianapolis (Ind.) Riley; Adrian Capric, Staten Island (N.Y.) New Dorp; Denzel Collins, Savannah (Ga.) Bethesada Day School; Richard Denardo, Queens (N.Y.) Bayside; Manny Dennis, Lincoln, Neb.; Akeem Duffy, Indianapolis Arlington; DeMarcus Ferrell, Atlanta (Ga.) Southside; Sherrif Floyd, Philadelphia Washington; Nolan Garcia, Mescalero (N.M.) Apache; Jaerrod Halstead, Brooklyn Park (Minn.) Park Center; Marquis Hamm, New Brunswick, N.J.; David Harris, Charlotte (N.C.) West Mecklenburg; Joe Hernandez, Staten Island (N.Y.) Port Richmond; Kion Hinson, Birmingham (Ala.) Wenonah; Kevin Isom, Indianapolis Ben Davis; Krista Lambdin, Knoxville (Tenn.) Fulton; Otis Lee, South Atlanta, Ga.; Edward McMillian, Richmond (Va.) Huguenot; Rotchill Medor, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln; Darren Myles, Jr. ; Atlanta Carver; Mariah Salazar, South Bend (Ind.) Clay; Jason Simmer, Cheyenne (Wyo.) East; Naquan Smith, Atlanta Mays; Roderick Sommerville, Birmingham (Ala.) Woodlawn; Brandon Southwick, Syracuse (N.Y.) Fowler; Ryan Stevens, Indianapolis Lawrence North; Jules Szanton, Portland, Maine; Justin Walker, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Wayne; Latoya Williams, Indianapolis Broad Ripple.

Bluffton (Ohio) injured football and baseball student- athlete Tim Berta will receive the Don King Courage Award at the NFF Springfield Chapter scholar-awards banquet on Mar. 10. Seven of his baseball teammates were killed and several were injured in a Mar. 2, 2007, bus crash in the Atlanta area. Berta's recovery and self-determination after the accident have been nothing short of remarkable, according to medical personnel.

The Columbus (Ohio) NFF Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame held its 2008 Scholar-Athlete Banquet at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Café and honored 2007 Buckeyes' gridder Tyler Whaley, the Bo Rein Award winner as Ohio State's most inspirational player. Dwight "Ike" Kelley (1963- 65), a two-time Ohio State All-America linebacker, received the 2008 Ohio Gold Award and was introduced by '65 OSU co-captain and longtime friend, Greg Lashutka (1963-65) of NFL fame. The Buckeyes' former walk-on DB Antonio Smith (2002-06), was a featured speaker after an All-Big Ten Conference career and coming off his rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts. Eight scholar- athletes received academic awards.

Mark Whipple, a 1974 NFF Valley of the Sun (Ariz.) Chapter High School School- Athlete and former head coach at the University of New Haven, Brown and Massachusetts and most recently quarterback coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has been named offensive assistant coach by the Philadelphia Eagles. Arizona State freshman DT Michael Marquardt is the recipient of the chapter's 2008 postgraduate scholarship.

Two-Minute Drill

The NCAA Football Rules Committee is working to penalize horse-collar tackles, already an offense in the NFL. Other possible rules changes from last week's committee meeting are making chop-block enforcements less complicated and ignoring incidental face-mask contact violations (eliminating the five-yard penalty). The group also proposed starting the game clock on a signal from the referee rather than on a ball snap after an out-of- bounds play - except in the final two minutes of each half. These proposals now go to the NCAA membership for comment and must be reviewed and approved by an oversight panel before they can go into effect in 2008.

Southern California and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission have tentatively agreed to a 25-year lease extension for USC games at the Coliseum. Illinois is rededicating Memorial Stadium... during the IU-Eastern Illinois contest on Sept. 6... Georgia has proposed naming its southwestern area facilities on campus after College Hall of Fame coach (and retired Georgia AD) Vince Dooley. A sculpture and memory garden will be included in new construction... Marshall and West Virginia have moved their Sept. 13 contest back to Sept. 27. The Mountaineers also have a Thursday, Sept. 18, probable national telecast at Colorado... The 2012 Baylor-Notre Dame match-up proposed for Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has been moved to the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans... Texas State students voted to raise activity fees to help finance a move from NCAA FCS to FBS. San Antonio developer Darren Casey also donated $1 million to TSU athletics to help the effort... Louisville athletics is donating $250,000 to the university's general fund to offset three percent cuts across the board to public colleges in Kentucky.

Sparky Woods has been selected as head coach at VMI... Ball State head coach Brady Hoke has received a $240,000 salary enhancement and incentives if he remains at the university through the 2010 season... Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy has received an extension with the Cowboys through the 2013 season for guiding OSU to back-to-back bowls... Former Birmingham- Southern head coach Joey Jones is the new head coach at South Alabama, which is opening football play in 2009 and segueing into NCAA FBS by 2013... Bob Connelly has been named co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at UTEP... Oklahoma State tabbed Gunter Brewer as co-offensive coordinator... Joe Kines has been chosen as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Texas A&M, and Kirk Doll is the Aggies' new special teams coordinator and tight ends coach... Former Marshall head coach Bob Pruett has taken over as Virginia's defensive coordinator... O'Neill Gilbert has become defensive coordinator at Tulane... Marshall tabbed Rick Minter as defensive coordinator while John Shannon has taken over as offensive coordinator... SMU head coach June Jones announced staff changes with new hires assistant head coach/offense Dan Morrison, Tim Hundley (assistant head coach/defense) and Tom Mason (defensive coordinator)... Derrick Jackson joins head coach Greg Robinson as Syracuse co-defensive coordinators... Former Florida State ad NFL star Terrell Buckley has been named as assistant strength coach for the Seminoles... The Syracuse Orange Club has added Davey O'Brien Award winner and College Football Hall of Fame nominee Don McPherson and All-America Chris Gedney to its fulltime staff.

NFF National Scholar-Athlete Michael Eubanks of Delta State has been named Don Hansen's Football Gazette Division II Linebacker of the Year... Highly decorated 1988 College Football Hall of Famer Bob Johnson of Tennessee is being inducted into the Bradley County (Tenn.) Old Timer's Hall of Fame. He was also a 1967 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

FSN's "Sport Science" program, dealing with the scientific and theoretical aspects of sports, continues into its second month. One of the segments was and interview and hand-to-eye coordination session with College Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice of Mississippi Valley State... CSTV has been renamed CBS College Sports Network as part of its amalgamation into the CBS-TV family of networks... Oregon and IMG have signed a 10-year agreement for $67.1 million with IMG and marketing and broadcast rights' provider for the Ducks.

The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame join millions of administrators, students, faculty, and staff in mourning after the tragic events on the campus of Northern Illinois last Thursday. All NIU athletics contests last weekend were postponed or cancelled in memory of the students who lost their lives on campus. Tributes and memorials to families and friends have been streaming into the campus since the catastrophe.

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