Three-point stance: Hornung Award fills niche

1. What I like about the Paul Hornung Award, a new award announced Wednesday by the Louisville Sports Commission, is that it fills a niche. The Hornung, named for the 1956 Heisman winner, will go to the most versatile player in the nation. Guys like C.J. Spiller last season, or Jeremy Maclin of Missouri in 2007, have become more important in the age of the spread. They have a better chance to win this award than they do the Heisman or the position-specific awards.

2. Oregon State football under head coach Mike Riley has become known for slow starts and fast finishes. The Beavers can't afford a slow start next fall. Oregon State probably will open with TCU at Cowboys Stadium and also will play at Boise State. Keep in mind that Pac-10 teams play only three nonconference games. The Beavers get two of those games against BCS bowl teams on the road. That should keep them focused on their offseason workouts.

3. Joe and Sue Paterno are big supporters of public television. In the past, WPSU in State College has auctioned off the Penn State head coach's autographed khakis, his white socks, sneakers and game-worn neckties. What's left? His glasses, of course. Paterno is putting up an autographed pair of dark-framed, thick specs to the highest bidder. Online bids begin Feb. 1. After that, what's left? Joe's VHS machine? Last I heard, he still watches football video on tape.