Paterno in Mix for FWAA Award

The FWAA All-America Committee has arrived at a list of six finalists for the association's Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. Penn State's Joe Paterno is in position to take home the honor for a record fourth time.

The six coaches — Texas' Mack Brown, USC's Pete Carroll, UCLA's Karl Dorrell, Central Florida's George O'Leary, Penn State's Joe Paterno and Notre Dame's Charlie Weis – will be on the online ballot, which goes out to all FWAA members this week.

The FWAA membership's final vote will be revealed at halftime of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2 on ABC Television.

The FWAA has honored a major college coach with its Coach of the Year Award since 1957. Among the six finalists, there is one previous winner — Paterno.

The FWAA coaching award is named after Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 years. He has more Division I victories (408) than any other coach.

The winner of the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award also will be honored at his campus before a football game next fall.

Here's a capsule look at the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:

• Mack Brown has Texas poised to win its first national title in more than three decades. The Longhorns have the second longest winning streak (19 games) in college football behind USC and won Brown's first conference title this year. The Longhorns (12-0) will be going for their second straight Rose Bowl victory after beating Michigan last season in Pasadena

• Pete Carroll has led USC to another Pac-10 championship and has a shot at a third straight national title. The unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Trojans will meet No. 2 Texas in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 4 for the national championship. Carroll is an Eddie finalist for the third straight season and his USC team (12-0) has won 34 straight games. This is the third straight season Carroll has been a finalist for the award.

• Karl Dorrell's UCLA team is 9-2 and has lost only to Arizona and USC this season. The explosive Bruins had a penchant for falling behi! nd and making great comebacks to win. A year ago UCLA finished 6-6.

•; George O'Leary has posted the biggest turnaround in major college football this season in Orlando. A year ago, Central Florida was winless (0-11), but this season the Knights have an 8-4 record and nearly won Conference USA, but lost to Tulsa in the league's title game.

• Joe Paterno rallied the Nittany Lions from the depths of 4-7 (2004) to a 2005 Big Ten title tie with Ohio State. It was Penn State's first league title in 11 years. Paterno has won three previous FWAA Coach of the Year Awards (1978, '82, '86). Only Paterno and Woody Hayes (1957, '68, '75) have won as many as three FWAA Coach of the Year Awards.

• Charlie Weis turned around Notre Dame in astonishing fashion after leaving the coaching staff of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. He took basically the talent of a ye! ar ago (6-6), installed his offensive system, and fashioned a 9-2 record which landed the Fighting Irish in the Fiesta Bowl.

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