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Heisman finalists are announced

Quarterbacks Troy Smith of Ohio State and Brady Quinn of Notre Dame joined Arkansas running back Darren McFadden as Heisman Trophy finalists Wednesday.

Smith, a senior is the heavy favorite to win the award Saturday night in New York. He is fourth in the nation in passer rating (167.9) and has thrown for 2,507 yards and 30 touchdowns with five interceptions.

Quinn, a senior, has thrown for 3,278 yards and 35 touchdowns. McFadden, a sophomore who is Arkansas' first finalist, rushed for 1,558 yards. No sophomore has ever won.

Smith would be the sixth Buckeye to win the Heisman and first since running back Eddie George in 1995. More important than his statistics has been his ability to play his best games against Ohio State's strongest competition. In a bookend pair of No. 1-vs.-No. 2 victories over Texas and Michigan, Smith threw for a combined 585 yards and six touchdowns with one interception.

MIAMI JOB INTERESTS KOSAR: Former Hurricane and NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar would like to be UM's next coach.

The Miami Herald quoted Kosar as saying "I'm interested. UM people knew that I had been offered the president of the Cleveland Browns job. They knew I wanted to get back into football and asked if I'd be interested in the UM job. At first it was just flattering, but then I thought, 'Yeah, I'd really like to look into it.' "

He said he has had preliminary talks with officials. Kosar has no coaching experience, but he often serves as a mentor to quarterbacks at Miami, where he is a university trustee.

HARVIN HONORED: Coaches named Florida freshman receiver Percy Harvin the SEC freshman of the year, the sixth Gator to earn the honor, a league best. Harvin has 25 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns; he also has 406 rushing yards on 36 carries (an 11.3 average). His 773 yards of total offense on 61 touches is an average of 12.7 yards per touch, No. 1 in the nation among freshmen.

McFadden was named offensive player of the year, and the Razorbacks' Houston Nutt was named coach of the year. Tennessee offensive tackle Arron Sears was named the best blocker.

BIG EAST: Rutgers' Greg Schiano was named coach of the year.

SUN BELT: Middle Tennessee's Rick Stockstill, a former FSU quarterback, was named coach of the year. His previous experience includes Bethune-Cookman and Central Florida.

N.C. STATE: Boston College's Tom O'Brien will be the new Wolfpack coach, according to various reports, with an announcement expected today. Former N.C. State quarterback Philip Rivers, now with the Chargers, said: "I got a call this morning and they said it was a done deal." O'Brien, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, reportedly was chosen over Navy coach Paul Johnson to replace the fired Chuck Amato.

VIRGINIA TECH: Coach Frank Beamer said the team will be fully recovered from injuries for the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

WEST VIRGINIA: The school plans to spend millions to upgrade its facilities to encourage coach Rich Rodriguez to stay in Morgantown. He met informally with Alabama athletic director Mal Moore on Tuesday to discuss the Tide's opening and said no offer had been made. "We really didn't go into any particulars, and we really didn't discuss my candidacy or Alabama's interest," Rodriguez said. "We learned a lot about each other."

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.