Welcome to the Christmas leftovers edition of "Three Downs and Punt," where we spent Sunday night reheating casseroles, making turkey sandwiches and cramming down a late-night serving of Little Caesars delivered by FIU and Toledo.
Speaking of which, do yourself a favor and commit FIU's head coach, former Miami Hurricanes offensive tackle Mario Cristobal, to memory. When the coaching carousel gets cranked back up one year from now, you'll be hearing his name. A lot.
To the plays!
Speak softly but carry a big box of stationery
Monday marks one month since another former Hurricane, Randy Shannon (he wasn't a teammate of Cristobal's, missing it by a year, but he was an assistant coach), was fired by his alma mater. The four-year head coach has kept a decidedly low profile in the past four weeks, even as his name surfaced as a potential candidate for the defensive coordinator position at Texas.
Shannon's silence hasn't surprised the people who know him best. Or, for that matter, even some people who barely know him at all. As a player, the Hurricanes and Dallas Cowboys linebacker was respected as a fearless ball hawk. As a defensive coordinator, he was viewed as an aggressive innovator, winning the 2001 Frank Broyles Award for the nation's top assistant coach.
But off the field, Shannon is known as a quietly strong personality -- and believe or not, a relentless author of handwritten thank-you notes.
To read how Shannon's simple gesture has had a big impact on his reputation in the college football world, plus Ryan McGee's conversation with Fiesta Bowl president John Junker and a few notes on the prospects of a bowl game in Los Angeles, you must be an ESPN Insider.