From Notre Dame’s unbeaten regular season to college football’s biggest awards, Manti Te’o just keeps winning.
Now the linebacker needs two more victories to cap an unforgettable senior season.
Te’o was honored three times at the 22nd Home Depot College Football Awards show Thursday night at Walt Disney World, including the Maxwell Award for the nation’s most outstanding player.
Te’o has received six major awards since the end of the regular season, also taking home the Bednarik Award for top defensive player and the Walter Camp Foundation player of the year award. He was the first defensive player to win the Maxwell Award since 1980.
Next up is the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Saturday night, with Te’o and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel considered the favorites. Then Te’o will try to help the Fighting Irish dethrone defending champion Alabama in the BCS national title game.
“I’m at a loss for words,” said Te’o, who has 103 tackles and seven interceptions this season.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly received the Coach of the Year award after leading the Irish to their first 12-0 regular season since 1988.
• Biletnikoff Award (best receiver): Southern California’s Marqise Lee.
• Lou Groza Award (top placekicker): Tulane’s Cairo Santos.
• Ray Guy Award (top punter): Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Allen.
• Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back): Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks.
• Doak Walker Award (best running back): Wisconsin’s Montee Ball.
Yes, Wisconsin is going retro for the Rose Bowl.
Left without a coach when Bret Bielema bolted for Arkansas, the Badgers are bringing back former coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez to lead them against No. 8 Stanford.
“We wouldn’t want anyone else but coach Alvarez to coach us in this game,” linebacker Mike Taylor said.
It will be for one game only, said Alvarez, who is searching for a new coach.
Meanwhile, Alvarez said former Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst is not a candidate and is “going to stay at Pitt.”
Cal formally introduced Sonny Dykes as its new coach, replacing the fired Jeff Tedford, after three years at Louisiana Tech. Before going to Louisiana Tech, Dykes was a key assistant to Mike Leach at Texas Tech (2000-06) and offensive coordinator at Arizona (2007-09). …
The losses keep piling up for Colorado. Though he hasn’t revealed it publicly, sources say Cincinnati coach Butch Jones will reject the Buffaloes, just as he did Purdue earlier. So it’s back to Square One for Colorado (1-11), which just completed the worst season in its 123-year history.
University of Texas president Bill Powers gave coach Mack Brown his “full support,” writing on a school blog that he wanted to address an “increase in media speculation” about Brown’s 15-year tenure with the Longhorns, who had an 8-4 record this season. … Charlie Strong is staying at Louisville. The coach said he turned down an offer from Tennessee and will stay with the Cardinals. … Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he’s staying at his alma mater amid reports he was offered the Tennessee job. … Arkansas State defensive coordinator John Thompson will be interim coach for the Red Wolves in the GoDaddy.com bowl next month against Kent State. … Ex-Southern Miss coach Ellis Johnson will join Auburn as its defensive coordinator.