Dantonio One Of Eight Finalists

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio named one of eight finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, along with Wisconsin's Bret Bieleman, Auburn's Gene Chizik, Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy, Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, Oregon's Chip Kelly, TCU's Gary Patterson and Boise State's Chris Petersen have been named finalists for the Eddie Robinson Award.

The award is part of the Football Writers Association of America's annual awards given out each year and is named in honor of coaching legend Eddie Robinson of Grambling State University.

Here is a look at the eight finalists as released by the FWAA:

• Wisconsin's Bret Bielema has the Badgers at 10-1 heading into the season finale against Northwestern on Saturday. Wisconsin has lost only to Michigan State this season and is still in contention for a berth to the Rose Bowl. The Badgers have won six straight conference games. Bielema is in his fifth season at Wisconsin.

• Auburn's Gene Chizik has a berth in the Southeastern Conference title game wrapped up no matter what the Tigers (11-0) do against Alabama on Friday. After spending two seasons as head coach at Iowa State, Chizik took over Auburn last season and posted an 8-5 record and a victory over Northwestern in the Outback Bowl.

• Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has overcome a heart attack this season to direct the Spartans to a 10-1 record with only a game remaining against Penn State on Saturday. The Spartans, locked in a three-way tie with Ohio State and Wisconsin for the Big Ten Conference lead, have lost only at Iowa this season.

• Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy has directed the Cowboys to the cusp of their first outright Big 12 South Division title and first 10-victory season. With a victory over Oklahoma this Saturday, the once-beaten Cowboys will win the South title outright and gain their first berth in a Big 12 title game in the final season it will be played.

• Jim Harbaugh, in his fourth season at Stanford, has led the Cardinal to a 10-1 record with a game remaining against Oregon State on Saturday. This is Stanford's first 10-victory season since Bill Walsh went 10-3 in 1992 during his second stint as Stanford's head coach. A 48-14 Stanford victory over Cal on Saturday was the most lopsided in the series in 80 years.

• Oregon's second-year head coach Chip Kelly in a finalist for the second straight season as he has gotten his unbeaten Ducks to the No. 1 ranking in college football, just two victories away from a probable berth in the BCS title game. The Ducks (10-0) lead the country in scoring with 50.7 points per game. The Ducks have games remaining against Arizona and Oregon State.

• Gary Patterson has led TCU (11-0) to within one game of its second straight unbeaten regular season, with only New Mexico left this Saturday. The Mountain West Conference champions have a great chance to appear in a BCS Bowl for the second straight season and an outside chance of making the BCS 1-2 game.

• Chris Petersen keeps doing it at Boise State with another Western Athletic Conference title in sight. This season the Broncos are 10-0 and likely headed to another BCS game if they can win their remaining two games against Nevada and Utah State. Boise State has the longest winning streak in college football (24 straight victories). This is the fourth time Petersen has been a finalist for the award.

Of the eight finalists, only Patterson has previously won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. He collected it last season when the Horned Frogs put together their first unbeaten regular season since 1938. Patterson was also a finalist for the award in 2003.

Presentation of the award will happen on December 6 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.


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