Shaw among candidates for coach of the year


Stanford head football coach David Shaw is one of 20 coaches on the "watch list" for the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year award, given annually following the conclusion of the bowl season.

The first-year head coach will lead the No. 4-ranked Cardinal into USC for a prime time showdown with the Trojans on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Shaw has led the Cardinal to a perfect 7-0 record and the nation's longest win streak at 15 games. Stanford is coming off a school-record 446 rushing yards in a 65-21 win over Washington.

In December, a finalists' list will be announced and be comprised of five to ten coaches. Finalists will attend an awards dinner on Jan. 19, 2012 in Houston, Texas at the HYATT Regency Hotel Downtown, where the winner will be announced live.

Cross country

Chris Derrick has accomplished just about everything at Stanford and now begins the championship run in his final season of cross country.

The senior from Naperville, Ill., will look to win the Pac-12 title and lead No. 4 Stanford to its third consecutive conference crown on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz. Derrick won the 2009 Pac-10 individual title and finished runner-up to Elliott Heath last season.

While Stanford is the two-time defending champion and the favorites for the first Pac-12 Championship, conference newcomer No. 6 Colorado should provide stiff competition. The other ranked teams are No. 20 UCLA and No. 23 Oregon, which is always a threat.

Individually, both Derrick and Jake Riley will see stiff competition from Lawi Lelang of Arizona, who is the current favorite for the NCAA title. Luke Puskedra of Oregon should also be a factor up front.

The Cardinal men are allowed to run 10, which will be an advantage as its depth is among the best in the country. Benjamin Johnson, Erik Olson and Brendan Gregg have been the 3-4-5 runners so far, but a number of other could figure into the Cardinal scoring. Picking a top seven would be even more difficult, making the chance to run 10 ideal for Stanford this week.

The No. 8 Cardinal women team is also the defending champion and has won 15 of the past 18 conference titles. It will look to win the first Pac-12 title in the deepest field the conference has ever seen. Last year, four teams finished within six points of each other and the addition of Colorado and the emergence of California make the conference a six-team race this season. No. 2 Washington, No. 5 Arizona, No. 8 Stanford, No. 10 California, No. 11 Oregon and No. 16 Colorado all have legitimate conference title aspirations and could be NCAA podium teams.

Kathy Kroeger is Stanford's top hope for an individual title, although don't rule out veteran Stephanie Marcy or freshman sensation Aisling Cuffe. Jordan Hasay of Oregon is the defending champion and should be the pre-meet favorite.

Joining the three contenders for the Cardinal is Jessica Tonn who was eighth last year and gives Stanford a very solid four. The Cardinal will need someone to step up into the fifth spot to win the title, however. Freshmen Molly McNamara and Alli Billmeyer have shown signs that they might be capable.

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