Johnson finalist for coach of the year

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson has been named one of seven finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award. The six other finalists are Texas' Mack Brown, Cincinnati's Brian Kelly, Oregon's Chip Kelly, TCU's Gary Patterson, Boise State's Chris Petersen and Alabama's Nick Saban.

Members of the Football Writers Association of America will vote by electronic ballot to determine the winner. Literally, as I was typing this post, my ballot came in. I think Johnson has a good shot at it, but to me the front-runners should be Chip Kelly and Gary Patterson. Kelly is in his first year as a head coach, and has the Ducks (10-2) in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1995. He regrouped the team from its season-opening loss to Boise State and the suspension of star LeGarrette Blount to win the Pac-10 title.

Patterson led TCU to its first unbeaten regular season (12-0) since the 1938 Horned Frogs won the national championship. TCU, the Mountain West Conference champion, will be going to a BCS bowl for the first time and is currently riding a 14-game winning streak.

The winner will be announced and honored at a reception on Jan. 5 in Newport Beach, Calif., in conjunction with the Citi BCS National Championship Game.