UCF's Josh Heupel, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly and Alabama's Nick Saban are the finalists for The Associated Press national college football Coach of the Year award after leading their teams to unbeaten regular seasons.
The winner will be announced Monday.
Heupel guided No. 7 Central Florida (12-0) to a second consecutive unbeaten season. The American Athletic Conference champions will play No. 11 LSU in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. Kelly led the third-ranked Fighting Irish (12-0) to their first College Football Playoff appearance. The Irish play No. 2 Clemson in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Dec. 29. Saban has No. 1 Alabama (13-0) in the playoff for the fifth consecutive season. The Crimson Tide won the Southeastern Conference and face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 29.
The AP Coach of the Year award was established in 1998. Saban is one of two coaches to win twice, along with Gary Patterson of TCU. Saban was Coach of the Year with LSU in 2003 and with Alabama in 2008.
Kelly won the Coach of the Year award in 2012, the last time he led Notre Dame to a 12-0 season.
Last year's winner was Scott Frost of UCF. No school has ever had different coaches win the award in consecutive seasons.