Also named as finalists for the Heisman Trophy are Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.
Manziel is the favorite to win college football's most famous player of the year award when it is presented Saturday night in New York. He would be the first freshman to win the Heisman and the first Texas A&M player since halfback John David Crow won the school's only Heisman in 1957.
Te'o is trying to become the first defense-only player to win a Heisman and the eighth player from Notre Dame.
Klein wins Unitas award
Kansas State's Collin Klein won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, given to the nation's top upperclassman quarterback.
An anonymous alumnus has donated enough money to cut the price of BCS championship game tickets to Notre Dame students for the game between the top-ranked Fighting Irish and No. 2 Alabama in half, dropping the price from $300 to $150. The donation is believed to be about $375,000.
Coaching hires, extensions
Joker Phillips, the former Kentucky head coach, landed at No. 4 Florida, joining the Gators as receivers coach and recruiting coordinator.
Idaho announced that Paul Petrino will be its new head coach, replacing interim coach Jason Gesser.
Steve Spurrier received a two-year contract extension that will keep him at South Carolina through 2017.