NEW YORK Johnny Manziel and Manti Te'o are in position to make Heisman Trophy history.
Manziel, a redshirt freshman quarterback from Texas A&M, and Te'o, Notre Dame's star linebacker, along with Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, were invited Monday to attend the Heisman presentation ceremony.
Manziel is favored to win college football's most famous Player of the Year award Saturday night in Manhattan. He would be the first freshman to win the Heisman and the first Texas A&M player since halfback John David Crow won the school's only Heisman in 1957.
Manziel quickly became a national sensation this season, putting up huge numbers in first-year Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin's spread offense. He led the 10th-ranked Aggies to a 10-2 record in their first season in the Southeastern Conference.
Manziel and Texas A&M will play No. 12 Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4.
Te'o is trying to become the first defense-only player to win the Heisman. He became the face of the No. 1 team in the country and leader of a defense that has been the toughest to score upon in the nation. The senior intercepted seven passes, second-most in the country and tops for a linebacker. He also won this season's Butkus Award as the country's best linebacker.
Te'o and the Irish face No. 2 Alabama in the BCS Championship Game on Jan. 7 in Miami.
Klein would be the first player from Kansas State to win the Heisman. He won this season's Johnny Unitas Award given to the top upperclassman quarterback in the nation. He will finish his Kansas State career against No. 5 Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3.
Florida It didn't take Joker Phillips long to find another job. The former Kentucky head coach landed at No. 4 Florida, joining the Gators as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. Kentucky fired Phillips on Nov. 4. He went 13-24 in three seasons at Kentucky, including 0-8 in SEC play this year.
South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier has received a two-year contract extension that will keep him at South Carolina through 2017.
No. 11 South Carolina finished 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference for a second straight year. Spurrier became the school's all-time victories leader with his 65th win when the Gamecocks defeated Clemson on Nov. 24.
Idaho Arkansas assistant Paul Petrino, the brother of former Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino, has been hired as the Vandals' head coach. Petrino served as an assistant coach at Idaho from 1992 to 1994 and later coached at Utah State, Illinois and Louisville and with the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL.
Academics A study of the 70 schools selected for bowl games this season showed teams maintained high recent academic progress, but the gap between African American and white players persists.
The annual report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport showed overall Graduation Success Rate improvement from 68 percent to 69 percent for football players at the bowl-bound schools. But there is a 20 percentage point gap between the graduation rate of white and African American athletes, 82 percent to 62 percent. The numbers were 81 percent and 61 percent last year.