Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and Alabama running back Mark Ingram were among the five finalists announced Monday for the 2009 Heisman Trophy. McCoy and Ingram are joined by Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Last year's runner up to Oklahoma signal-caller Sam Bradford, McCoy is looking to become the third Heisman winner from Texas, as he would join Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams. Having set an FBS record for most career collegiate wins with 45 this season, the senior threw for 3,521 yards and 27 touchdowns, leading the Longhorns to a 13-0 record, a Big 12 championship and a berth into the BCS title game against Alabama. Ingram would become the second sophomore to capture the award, joining Tebow. Surprisingly, he would also become the first Alabama player to win the Heisman Trophy after amassing 1,542 yards and 15 touchdowns, helping the Crimson Tide go 13-0.Tebow is looking to become the second two-time Heisman winner after capturing the award as a sophomore in 2007. In 2009, Tebow threw for 2,413 yards and 18 scores while running for 859 yards and 13 touchdowns to top Herschel Walker's SEC record for most career rushing scores with 56. Gerhart helped Stanford advance to its first bowl game since 2001 by rushing for 1,736 yards and an incredible 26 touchdowns -- both tops in the Pac-10. Suh is attempting to be the second true defensive player to win the award, joining former Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson. The first defensive tackle to be invited to New York since Warren Sapp in 1994, Suh recorded 12 sacks, one interception and 82 tackles for the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was awarded the 2009 Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is given annually to the best defensive player in college football. Suh, also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, heads into the bowl season leading the Cornhuskers in tackles for the second straight season. He has recorded 82 tackles this year, including 50 solo stops. Suh has recorded 12 sacks and 23 tackles for loss, both marks that rank among the top three in Nebraska single-season history. He also has an interception, a forced fumble and three blocked kicks.
Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen and wide receiver Golden Tate announced their intentions to declare for the NFL Draft. The juniors made the announcement at a press conference Monday, at which they were joined by former Irish head coach Charlie Weis, who was fired last week. Weis was there at the request of the players, and did not answer questions. Clausen had his most impressive season this year, statistically, as the junior had 3,722 passing yards and 28 touchdowns on 289-of-425 completions, with just four interceptions. Clausen joined Notre Dame as a much-heralded recruit and in 35 games (34 starts) in three seasons, he threw for 8,148 yards and 60 touchdowns against 27 interceptions, while completing just under 63 percent of his passes. Tate, also a member of the Irish's baseball team, had a punt return for a score as well as two rushing TDs this season. He started sparingly his freshman year and ended his career with 157 catches for 2,707 yards and 26 scores in 37 games.
Virginia has named Mike London its new football coach and signed him to a five-year contract. The 49-year-old London joins Virginia after spending the last two years as head coach at Richmond, and previously had two stints as an assistant coach with the Cavaliers. London compiled a 24-5 record in two years at Richmond, winning the Football Championship Subdivision title in his first season. He will be charged with turning around a Cavaliers team that went 3-9 this year under Al Groh, who was fired a week ago and compiled a 59-53 record in nine years.
Aaron Rodgers threw for 263 yards and three scores, and Green Bay overcame an abundance of penalties to beat Baltimore, 27-14, at Lambeau Field. Rodgers connected on 26-of-40 passes and was picked off twice for the Packers (8-4), who are two games behind Minnesota for the lead in the NFC North. Green Bay is also tied with Philadelphia for the lead in the conference's wild card standings, a game ahead of the New York Giants. Jermichael Finley had seven receptions for 79 yards and a pair of scores for the Packers, who posted their fourth straight win. The teams combined for 310 penalty yards, tied for second-most in NFL history with 175 coming from the Packers on 11 infractions. Baltimore was given 12 penalties. Joe Flacco connected on 15-of-36 passes for 137 yards with a touchdown, but was intercepted three times for the Ravens (6-6), who fell into a tie with the Steelers for second place in the AFC North, three games behind Cincinnati. Jacksonville is on top of the wild card standings with a 7-5 mark, while the Ravens are in the playoff mix with a record identical to Miami, the New York Jets and Pittsburgh.
Indianapolis is the site for baseball's winter meetings and Monday it was announced that former manager Whitey Herzog and former umpire Doug Harvey have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. Herzog guided the St. Louis Cardinals to the 1982 World Series title and also led the team to the National League pennant in 1985 and 1987. Before joining the Cardinals, he skippered the Kansas City Royals to three straight American League West titles from 1976-78. Harvey was a National League umpire for 31 seasons and was selected to work the World Series five times. He was also chosen to umpire the All-Star Game on six occasions. The two will be enshrined in Cooperstown on July 25, 2010 as part of the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, along with any electees as voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Those results will be revealed on January 6.
While no major dealings have officially come out of the meetings as of yet, the St. Louis Cardinals appear to be on the verge of signing right-hander Brad Penny to a one-year deal. Multiple media outlets are reporting that the contract, which is believed to be worth $7.5 million with incentives that could push it to $9 million, will be finalized once Penny passes a physical. Penny signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Boston Red Sox last offseason but was dreadful, going 7-8 with a 5.61 earned-run average in 24 starts with just one win in his final 11 outings. The 31-year-old Penny was eventually released by the Red Sox in late August but quickly signed with the San Francisco Giants for the final month of the season. Penny was 4-1 with the Giants with a 2.59 ERA in six starts.
Monday's midnight deadline for free agents to accept salary arbitration offers has come and gone with only three of the original list of 23 eligible players agreeing to remain with their respective clubs through at least next season. Among those players that rejected arbitration include some of the league's most sought-after free agents; pitchers John Lackey, Jason Marquis and Jose Valverde, outfielders Jason Bay and Matt Holliday and third basemen Chone Figgins, Mark DeRosa and Adrian Beltre. Other players declining arbitration included pitchers Joel Pineiro, Justin Duchscherer, Brandon Lyon, Fernando Rodney, Mike Gonzalez and Brian Shouse, outfielder Marlon Byrd and catchers Ivan Rodriguez and Rod Barajas. The declining players' former clubs can continue to negotiate with the player, and there is no longer a deadline in which both parties have to reach an agreement. A trio of pitchers chose to accept arbitration - Minnesota's Carl Pavano, Atlanta's Rafael Soriano and Colorado's Rafael Betancourt. The three players can now either negotiate a new contract or allow an arbitration panel to determine their 2010 salary.
IndyCar driver Danica Patrick is expected to announce Tuesday that she will drive part-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, according to multiple reports. GoDaddy.com, a sponsor of Patrick, announced on its Web site that a press conference will be held at 1 p.m. (et), but didn't disclose details except to say it was to announce her NASCAR future. On November 30, Patrick signed a three-year contract extension to remain with Andretti Autosport. She became the first woman ever to win an IndyCar race last year in Japan and finished a career-best fifth in IndyCar points this season. The 27- year-old also finished third in this year's Indianapolis 500. She spent her first two seasons with Rahal Letterman Racing before moving over to Andretti Green Racing in 2007. JR Motorsports is a team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick.