- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Vanderbilt's James Franklin and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin have been named finalists for the 2012 Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award.
It really shouldn't surprise anyone that both made the cut. In Sumlin's first year as Texas A&M's head coach, he helped guide the Aggies to their first 10-win season since 1998. What made that feat more impressive was that the Aggies did it in their first season in the SEC.
Sumlin also coached Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who became the first freshman to win the prestigious award after he set a new SEC record for total offense with 4,600 yards in 2012.
The Aggies owned the SEC's top offense and upset No. 1 Alabama 29-24 in Tuscaloosa. A&M ended the season ranked ninth in the BCS standings and will play No. 11 Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4.
In Franklin's second year Vandy, he helped guide the Commodores to back-to-back bowl berths for the first time in school history and watched as Vandy owned first eight-win season since 1982. The Commodores ended the season on a six-game winning streak, which was the longest winning streak for Vandy since 1955. Vandy also won five conference games for the first time since 1935.
Vandy won three road wins in SEC play, which was the most ever in a single season. The Commodores also scored 372 total points, the highest Vanderbilt single-season total since 1915. Vandy topped 40 points in five games for the first time since 1915.
The Dores also eliminated rival Tennessee from bowl contention with a 41-18 win on Nov. 17.
Joining Franklin and Sumlin are Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Penn State's Bill O'Brien, Stanford's David Shaw and Kansas State's Bill Snyder.
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21hSam Khan Jr.