By David Jones
What’s ever bad about a long weekend? But, of all the Friday-Monday spans of the calendar, this is right up there with my favorite, because I get to see so many familiar and friendly faces.
The final weekend of the college football season extends through all the usual events. And this year, they happen in what’s certain to be a blitzo-crazy Atlanta, what with two SEC teams and the local favorites playing for the College Football Playoff championship trophy. Take cover, Yankees.
We’ll have the usual fun with the Past Presidents Dinner on Friday night, then handing out the Eddie Robinson Award (to former Central Florida and now Nebraska coach Scott Frost) on Saturday evening.
But, to paraphrase Austin Powers, I want everyone to behave themselves as much as possible at the media party on Sunday night. That way, you’ll be fresh as an April azalea for our Football Writers Association of America awards breakfast on Monday morning. I have selfish interest involved here because some of my favorite people in the business are going to be both honored and handing out the hardware.
Actually, I don’t know the first honoree, only her dad, former FWAA president George Schroeder. But if his daughter Elizabeth can write anything like the old man at whichever university she picks (I’m told Oklahoma and Arkansas are in the running), she’ll honor the name of Okie legend Volney Meece, whose scholarship she’s won.
Then, Malcolm Moran, who’s only been everywhere and covered every event with his distinctive prose, will present the Best Writing Contest awards. I don’t wanna overemphasize any over others, but two of the biggest winners are two of my oldest friends in this biz, Glenn Guilbeau and Dennis Dodd.
Same goes for a very deserving winner of the Steve Ellis Beat Writer of the Year winner. Mike Griffith has been a giant on his beat everywhere he’s gone, now in an extremely newsy venue covering the Tennessee Volunteers. Tough beat, tough competitor. No surprise Mike won.
Ivan Maisel will then hand Steve Wieberg the Bert McGrane Award, our version of the FWAA ring of honor. Steve is more knowledgeable than any of us about exactly how the College Football Playoff works, for good reason. He’s the only one of us who’s ever served on the CFP selection committee.
And finally, it will be my distinct pleasure to introduce your new 2018 FWAA president, Stefanie Loh of The Seattle Times. You probably know Stef from her shining work on the Washington State and San Diego State beats (at the San Diego Union-Tribune). I’ve known her since she was a wonderful feature writer for us at PennLive. I’ll tell you about one story she wrote that blew me away.
But I’m saving that for the breakfast. I’m looking forward to all of you joining us in Atlanta.