Notre Dame's defense under Diaco has allowed the fewest touchdowns in the country this season and is sixth overall in total defense. The top-ranked Fighting Irish take on Nov. 2 Alabama for BCS championship on Jan. 7.
The Broyles Award, announced Tuesday, is named for former Arkansas coach Frank Broyles, whose assistant coaches included Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Joe Gibbs and Jackie Sherrill.
Other finalists this season were Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason.
Last year's Broyles Award went to LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis