New York—I was here Tuesday on business and had a chance to attend some functions around the annual College Football Hall of Fame dinner. Just about everybody in the college football world is here to celebrate the end of the season. Here are some tidbits and buzz that might interest you:
**–Last night during ceremonies in Little Rock, Ark., Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart won the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation’s top assistant coach. Smart, the former Georgia defensive back, has tutored under Mickey Andrews at Florida State and now Nick Saban at Alabama. Everybody in the college football community agrees that he is ready to move on. He’s got a big-time job at Alabama but he’s not making big-time money (about $400,000) in a marketplace that is paying the top coordinators closer to $1 million a year. He will have to listen to those who come calling for his services.
**–Speaking of defensive coordinators, there was a lot of buzz last about the possibility that Charlie Strong, the defensive coordinator at Florida, will be named the head coach at Louisville today. The universal response was: “It’s about damn time.” I spoke to some people last night who said the deal should get done today. Strong should have been a head coach a long time ago. So it looks like Georgia and Florida will be looking for a new defensive coordinator at the same time.
**–The end of the Big 12 championship game last Saturday has now been talked about and written to death. Just about everybody outside of the state of Nebraska understands there was one second left on the clock when Colt McCoy threw the ball out of bounds. I wanted head coach Mack Brown to talk about Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who almost single-handedly shut down the Texas offense, which came into the game on a pretty good roll. “He was incredible. We could not block him,” Brown said. “That guy is going to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. No doubt about it.” Off of that performance Suh earned a trip to the Heisman Trophy ceremonies here on Saturday.
**–Maybe the issue will get resolved but there is a problem with travel for the two teams, Alabama and Texas, who are going to play in the BCS national championship game on Jan. 7. Both teams are going to let their players go home for Christmas. Then the coaches want to bring the players back to campus for a few days and then fly them to the West Coast on Jan. 2 to get ready for the game. Here is the problem: The NCAA will let the schools pay the players’ way back to campus or directly to the bowl game site from home, but not both. That’s fine if you’re playing on New Year’s Day or earlier. Your players can just assemble at the site of the bowl. But you don’t want to go out to Los Angeles 10 days before the game. The bowl calendar has been stretched by the BCS and the rules need to be more flexible. There is plenty of money to allow the school’s to pay these expenses.
**–I sat down with Tim Tebow for what will probably be the last time in his college career. He was polite, as always. But you could see the pain in his eyes. He was still hurting from Saturday night’s loss. He still had a lot of praise for Alabama. “That is a great football team,” he said. “I want them to go on and win the national championship for the SEC.” A tough week for Tebow got a little easier last night at the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The highest honor that the National Football Foundation bestows on a current player is the William V. Campbell Trophy. The NFF picks top scholar-athletes from every region of the country and from that group selects one who has distinguished himself above all others as a player, in the classroom, in public service, and as an ambassador for college football. Last night the Campbell Trophy, known as the Academic Heisman, went to Tim Tebow of Florida.
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