You can hold me to this prediction… Saturday night Auburn’s all world quarterback Cameron Newton will be at the podium thanking his teammates, coaches, family and friends for him being named the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner.
Here is a breakdown of the four players invited and their résumé’s from 2010.
1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn: Newton became only the second player in NCAA history to run and throw for 20 touchdowns in a season with Tim Tebow being the first. Newton finished the season with a quarterback rating of 188.2. He tallied 2,589 yards in the air and tossed 28 touchdowns. Newton managed only 6 interceptions and finished with a staggering completion percentage of 67.1. Newton finished the season with 1,409 yards rushing on 5.8 yards per carry and 20 rushing TD’s.
2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon: James is the best running back in the country. James scurried for 1,682 yards on the ground while adding 21 touchdowns. His 6.0 yards per carry average is just plain awesome. James also added 13 catches for 169 yards and 1 TD.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Moore will have on his shoulders the fact that he couldn’t hold the lead and eventually lost to Nevada in that classic game a few weeks back. The loss is really the only blemish on his otherwise magnificent season. Moore’s quarterback rating was a staggering 185.0. He threw for 3,506 total yards while adding 33 touchdown and only 5 interceptions. His completion percentage on the season was a head turning 71.0%.
4. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: Luck also played on a team with just one loss on the season. Luck now holds the Cardinal single-season record for touchdowns with 28 against 7 interceptions. Luck’s passer rating was an impressive 166.1. He threw for 3,051 yards and ran for an additional 438 yards and 3 touchdowns. Luck’s completion percentage was a remarkable 70.2%.
It was announced on Sunday that Notre Dame has accepted the invitation to the Sun Bowl on December 31st in El Paso, Texas against a soon to be renewed rival in the Miami Hurricanes. It will be the 24th meeting between the Irish and Hurricanes and the first between the two high profile schools since 1990. The Irish hold a 15-7-1 series lead, winning two of the last three- both being in South Bend in 1988 and 1990.
"This is absolutely unbelievable," said Sun Bowl Association president Amen Ayoub Sunday in a teleconference announcing the pairing. "This is the greatest game that we've ever put together here in the 77-year history of the Sun Bowl and we're excited to have both universities come to El Paso later this month."
To Sun Bowl organizers, brand value alone, more than both teams' 7-5 records, made dollars and sense.
This is the second bowl appearance in the past three years for Notre Dame. The Irish didn’t accept any bids last year after finishing 6-6 and were dealing with the aftermath of the firing of then head coach Charlie Weis. Weis last led the Irish to a bowl victory in 2008 at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl against Hawaii in which they trounced the Warrior’s 49-21.
"The nice part of this, the University of Miami has got a tradition in the past and the present," Kelly said. "Certainly, when you talk about some of the great programs, Miami's going to be involved in that. ... Just walking around [ND's campus], there's a great buzz; our kids are excited about the matchup."
The Irish received some promising news Sunday regarding nose guard Ian Williams. Williams missed the final four games with an MCL injury is tapped to suit up and play New Year’s Eve in the Sun Bowl. During a news conference, Irish coach Brian Kelly confirmed that Williams returned to practice Saturday and “moved around quite well.”
"He's been cleared," Kelly said of the senior from Altamonte Springs, Fla. "We'll be careful with him and make sure we have the right, you know, amount of practice leading up to the game for him. We'll practice three times next week with weight training and conditioning. ... We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves."
Williams, a stout run-stopper who watched his teammates improve in his absence, made it clear he's more than ready to get back on the field. "I think it's going to be fun," Williams said. "I'll be glad to be back and the team is very excited. I'm thinking [I'm] about 100 percent right now. I feel great."