American Heart Association’s 2021 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year finalists announced

Have a look below at this year's finalists. Courtesy photo.

Nine of the country's best college football coaches have been announced as finalists for the American Heart Association’s 2021 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award. The illustrious award recognizes coaches for their commitment to the sports on and off the field through winning on game day and every day.

The award ceremony takes place annually in Houston and next year on January 12, 2022 the winning coach will be revealed and awarded the final award of the college football season. The American Heart Association’s 2021 Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award is the only award given after all bowls and the national championship. The Coach of the Year award is voted on by the National Sports Media Association, current NCAA College football coaches, former Coach of the Year Award winners, the Bryant Awards’ Executive Leadership Team, and the Bryant family.

Second-year coaches Dave Aranda (Baylor), Lane Kiffin (Ole Miss), and Mel Tucker (Michigan State) join a bevy of coaching excellence as finalists. Among the finalists, Luke Fickell (Cincinnati) and Jim Harbaugh (Michigan) will each coach their teams in the upcoming college football playoff.

The 2021 Coach of the Year finalists are (in alphabetical order by finalist last name):

Big XII – Dave Aranda – Baylor University

ACC – Dave Clawson – Wake Forest University

Group of 5 – Luke Fickell – University of Cincinnati, American Athletic Conference

Big Ten – Jim Harbaugh – University of Michigan

SEC – Lane Kiffin – University of Mississippi

ACC – Pat Narduzzi – University of Pittsburgh

SEC – Nick Saban – University of Alabama

Big Ten – Mel Tucker – Michigan State University

Pac 12 – Kyle Whittingham – University of Utah

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Critical takeaways from Rockets' 105-103 loss to Warriors

Rockets fall short against Warriors. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

This wasn't the typical Houston Rockets-Golden St. Warriors game when Mike D' Antoni and Steve Kerr were having an offensive battle of wits. James Harden, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, was nowhere in sight for the Rockets Friday night. Although the Rockets are in rebuild mode, it was still an interesting game. The intensity was high throughout the entire game. Emotions between Stephen Silas and Kerr were heavy, as they were yelling and jumping up-and-down along the sidelines.

A series of runs and back-and-forth scoring gave a slight reminder of the old rivalry between the Warriors and Rockets. Steph Curry was having a tough game, but with 5.1 seconds left, he was able to create great separation from a step back and drained an incredible midrange shot over Kevin Porter Jr. It was heartbreaking because Porter played great defense on Curry throughout the entire game, with Curry only making 6 out of 22 shots. Porter had a tremendous first-half defensively on Curry and recorded an 88.9 defensive rating. Porter had a good feel for guarding Curry, he didn't allow himself to switch away from him. He anticipated passing lanes and ripped Curry a couple of times.

Besides Porter playing great defense, the Rockets played good as a whole. They finished with 10 steals. Their main technique was to switch everything on defense, and Kenyon Martin Jr. and Christian Wood did a good job. It's never easy staying in front of Curry and Jordan Poole, but if they could hold their ground for five seconds, it became possible. Porter did a great job at times by communicating on defense, so he could tell Jalen Green and Eric Gordon when to switch.

And speaking of Green--- he had a strange night offensively. He went 0-11 from the field but made two great plays in the fourth quarter. Instead of Silas keeping Green on the bench because of his cold hand, he kept him in the game for learning purposes. Green made an outstanding play on Curry at the 2:52 mark in the 4th quarter. Before that, he missed a shot from three but fought hard for the rebound, then found a cutting Wood towards the rim. Green might of struggled, but the effort was there.

This was a tough loss for the Rockets, but they are steadily improving. The Rockets are 3-5 in their last five games.

Up next: The Rockets face the Spurs on Tuesday night.

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