FWAA-NFF Super 16 Rankings, Week 5

Alabama, Clemson swap spots in rankings

The Super 16 pollsters selected a new No. 1 this week for the first time during the regular season: Alabama. By virtue of Clemson’s close victory over unranked North Carolina, the Crimson Tide jumped the Tigers after easily dispatching Ole Miss. Alabama received 22 first-place votes to Clemson’s 12.

Ohio State, picking up five first-place votes, moved into the No. 3 slot after overwhelming Nebraska in Lincoln. Unbeatens Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Auburn, Wisconsin  and Florida followed, with one-loss Notre Dame at No. 10. Washington re-entered the poll at No. 15 after California lost to Arizona State.

The SEC led all conferences with five teams, followed by the Big Ten with four. The Big 12 and Pac-12 had two each. The ACC, Independents and Mountain West had one each.

GAMES THIS WEEK:
No. 1 Alabama is idle
No. 2 Clemson is idle
Michigan State at No. 3 Ohio State
No. 4 Georgia at Tennessee
Utah State at No. 5 LSU
No. 6 Oklahoma at Kansas
No. 7 Auburn at No.9 Florida
Kent State at No. 8 Wisconsin
Bowling Green at No. 10 Notre Dame
No. 11 Texas at West Virginia
Purdue at No. 12 Penn State
California at No. 13 Oregon
No. 14 Iowa at Michigan
No. 15 Washington at Stanford
No. 16 Boise State at UNLV

FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll, Week 5: games played through September 28

TEAM POINTS FIRST-PLACE VOTES LAST WEEK’S RANK
1. Alabama (5-0) 696 22 2
2. Clemson (5-0) 630 12 1
3. Ohio State (5-0) 608 5 5
4. Georgia (4-0) 606 1 3
5. LSU (4-0) 604 4 4
6. Oklahoma (4-0) 544 1 6
7. Auburn (5-0) 485 1 7
8. Wisconsin (4-0) 398 8
9. Florida (5-0) 319 9
10. Notre Dame (3-1) 308 11
11. Texas (3-1) 276 10
12. Penn State (4-0) 254 13
13. Oregon (3-1) 206 12
14. Iowa (4-0) 113 14
15. Washington (4-1) 70 N/A
16. Boise State (4-0) 59 16

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Utah (32), Michigan (10), Texas A&M (7), UCF (5), Arizona State (5), Oklahoma State (3), Iowa State (3), Memphis (3), Baylor (3), Michigan State (2), California (2), Wake Forest (2), SMU (2), Minnesota (1).

ABOUT THE FWAA-NFF SUPER 16 POLL: The FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll was established at the conclusion of the 2013 season by long-time partners, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF). Voters rank the top 16 teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, and the results will be released every Monday of the 2019 season; the individual votes of all members will also be made public. The first regular season poll will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 3 (to account for Labor Day games), and the final poll will be released Sunday, Dec. 8. The pollsters consist of FWAA writers and College Football Hall of Famers who were selected to create a balanced-geographical perspective. The poll utilizes a program designed by Sports Systems to compile the rankings.

ABOUT THE FWAA: The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information visit www.footballwriters.com.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork.

 

Digital Postcard No. 4: The FWAA’s 1969 All-America Team

(Ed. Note: This is the fourth in the series of digital postcards commemorating 75 years of the FWAA All-America Team.  The first FWAA All-America Team was published in 1944 during World War II and is the second longest continuously published team in major-college football.)  

In 1969, the Chicago Cubs blew a nine-game lead in the final two months of the season and lost the National League pennant to the New York Mets … Neil Armstrong (the astronaut, not the former Chicago Bears coach) had a better year than Cubs manager Leo Durocher when he became the first person to step on the moon on July 21 … Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held on Max Yasgur’s Dairy Farm in New York State … John Wayne won his only Academy Award for his portrayal of U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit.”

With President Richard Nixon in attendance, top-ranked Texas came from behind to beat No. 2 Arkansas, 15-14, in a battle of unbeatens in the regular season … Notre Dame made its first bowl appearance in 45 years, losing to the Longhorns, 21-17, in the Cotton Bowl, giving Texas the national title … Oklahoma halfback Steve Owens won the Heisman Trophy … Michigan finished 8-3, lost 10-3 to USC in the Rose Bowl, and Bo Schembechler in his first season with the Wolverines  was chosen as the FWAA’s Coach of the Year … Purdue’s Mike Phipps was the All-America quarterback … Other notables were Jim Otis (Ohio State), John Tatum (Ohio State) and Mike McCoy (Notre Dame).

Go to http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/awards/allamerica/alltime.pdf to see the entire list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FszLa0AhBxI

COTTON BOWL NUGGET

Steve Worster, an All-American in Texas’ Wishbone offense, rushed for 155 yards on 20 carries and Texas came back from deficits of 10-0 and 17-14 to capture the national title with a 21-17 victory over Notre Dame. FWAA All-American offensive lineman Bob McKay helped that Longhorn attack function. Joe Theismann threw for 231 yards (17 of 27, 2 interceptions, 2 touchdowns) for the Irish.

1969 FWAA Selectors

  • Joe Concannon, Boston Globe
  • Bob Hurt, Daily Oklahoman
  • Edgar Allen, Nashville Banner
  • Bob Pille, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Dave Campbell, Waco News-Tribune
  • Paul Zimmerman, Los Angeles Times
  • Dick Herbert, Raleigh News & Observer

 

FWAA-NFF Super 16 Rankings, Week 4

Top four teams remain same for third week in a row

The top four teams in the poll remained the same for the third straight week during the regular season. No. 1 Clemson led the way with 33 first-place votes, No. 2 Alabama had nine, No. 3 Georgia had one and No. 4 LSU three. No. 5 Ohio State exchanged places with No. 6 Oklahoma, which was idle, and dropped one spot.

After beating Michigan decisively in Madison,  Wisconsin jumped from No. 13 to No. 8.

Georgia’s home victory over Notre Dame dropped the Irish from seventh to No. 11. But three teams after losses dropped entirely out of the poll: Utah, Michigan and Central Florida. They were replaced by unbeatens Iowa, California and Boise State, all in the poll for the first time this year.

The SEC led all conferences with five teams, followed by the Big Ten with four and the Big 12 and Pac-12 two each. The ACC, Mountain West and Independents had one each.

GAMES THIS WEEK:
No. 1 Clemson at North Carolina
Ole Miss at No. 2 Alabama
No. 3 Georgia is idle
No. 4 LSU is idle
No. 5 Ohio State at Nebraska
Texas Tech at  No. 6 Oklahoma
Mississippi State at No. 7 Auburn
Northwestern at No. 8 Wisconsin
Towson at No. 9 Florida
No. 10 Texas is idle
Virginia at No. 11 Notre Dame
No. 12 Oregon is idle
No. 13 Penn State at Maryland (Friday)
Middle Tennessee at No. 14 Iowa
Arizona State at No. 15 California (Friday)
No. 16 Boise State is idle.

FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll, Week 4: games played through September 21

TEAM POINTS FIRST-PLACE VOTES LAST WEEK’S RANK
1. Clemson (4-0) 718 33 1
2. Alabama (4-0) 687 9 2
3. Georgia (4-0) 617 1 3
4. LSU (4-0) 610 3 4
5. Ohio State (4-0) 549   6
6. Oklahoma (3-0) 531   5
7. Auburn (4-0) 444   8
8. Wisconsin (3-0) 396   13
9. Florida (4-0) 325   11
10. Texas (3-1) 305   9
11. Notre Dame (2-1) 289   7
12. Oregon (3-1) 224   16
13. Penn State (3-0) 215   14
14. Iowa (3-0) 85   N/A
15. California (4-0) 72   N/A
16. Boise State (4-0) 55   N/A

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Washington (48), Utah (21), Washington State (17), Texas A&M (15), USC (10), Michigan (9), Virginia (5), UCF (3), Kansas State (3), Wake Forest (1), Army West Point (1) and UAB (1).

ABOUT THE FWAA-NFF SUPER 16 POLL: The FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll was established at the conclusion of the 2013 season by long-time partners, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF). Voters rank the top 16 teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, and the results will be released every Monday of the 2019 season; the individual votes of all members will also be made public. The first regular season poll will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 3 (to account for Labor Day games), and the final poll will be released Sunday, Dec. 8. The pollsters consist of FWAA writers and College Football Hall of Famers who were selected to create a balanced-geographical perspective. The poll utilizes a program designed by Sports Systems to compile the rankings.

ABOUT THE FWAA: The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information visit www.footballwriters.com.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork.

 

Digital Postcard No. 3: The FWAA’s 1965 All-America Team

In 1965, “My Fair Lady” starring Rex Harrison won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture … Julie Andrews won Best Actress honors for her performance in “Mary Poppins” … The Astrodome, the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, opened … The World’s Fair was held in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. It closed in the fall after having financial problems … Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game against the Cubs … Gas went up to 31 cents a gallon, but bread was steady at 21 cents a loaf.

For the first time, all the final college football polls were released after the bowl games were played. Good thing. Michigan State, Arkansas and Nebraska all finished the regular season 10-0. All three lost bowl games, with Alabama beating the Cornhuskers. Alabama was the Associated Press (writers) No. 1 team. Michigan State won the United Press International (coaches) vote. The two shared the FWAA vote. USC halfback Mike Garrett was the Heisman Trophy winner, and Tommy Nobis from Texas claimed the Outland Trophy. Plenty of big names dotted the 1965 FWAA All-America team: Steve Spurrier (Florida), Johnny Roland (Missouri), Floyd Little (Syracuse), Clinton Jones (Michigan State), Jim Grabowski (Illinois) and Donny Anderson (Texas Tech).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjhTQx9C_SI

COTTON BOWL NUGGET

With an opportunity to win the national championship, unbeaten Arkansas was a heavy favorite over a 7- 3 LSU team. Joe Labruzzo, who rushed for 69 yards on 21 carries, scored both Tiger touchdowns in the second quarter. LSU’s defense buckled down and shut out the Razorbacks in the second half to complete the stunning 14-7 upset. Arkansas’ 22-game winning streak came to an end on the first day of 1966 in the Cotton Bowl.

1965 FWAA Selectors

Bob Hoobing, Associated Press (Boston)

Smith Barrier, Greensboro Daily News

Jesse Outlar, Atlanta Constitution

Bob Broeg, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Si Burrick, Dayton News

Jim Scott, Berkeley Gazette

Mickey Herskowitz, Houston Post

 

 

FWAA-NFF Super 16 Rankings, Week 3

Clemson holds at No. 1, with Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma completing the Top 5.

Pretty calm week in the poll. The top eight teams were the same with only Georgia jumping LSU into the third slot as a difference in the order. Clemson remained No. 1 after cruising past Syracuse. The Tigers received 34 first-place votes, followed by Alabama (eight), LSU (three) and Georgia (one).

The Southeastern Conference held slots 2-4 for a second straight week. Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Auburn followed in the same order as last week in spots 5-8.

In fact, 15 of the 16 teams returned to the rankings with only UCF, after a big victory over Stanford, moving into the poll for the first time this season at No. 15. Texas A&M fell out of the poll.

The SEC led all conferences with five teams. The Big Ten followed with four. The Big 12 and Pac-12 had two each. The Atlantic Coast, American and Independents had one each.

GAMES THIS WEEK:

  • Charlotte at No. 1 Clemson
  • Southern  Mississippi at No. 2 Alabama
  • No. 7 Notre Dame at No.3 Georgia
  • No.4 LSU at Vanderbilt
  • No.5 Oklahoma is idle
  • Miami (Ohio) at No.6 Ohio State
  • No. 8 Auburn at Texas A&M
  • Oklahoma State at No. 9 Texas
  • No. 10 Utah at USC (Friday)
  • Tennessee at No.11 Florida
  • No. 12 Michigan at No. 13 Wisconsin
  • No.14 Penn State is idle
  • No.15 UCF at Pittsburgh
  • No. 16 Oregon at Stanford

FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll, Week 3: games played through September 14

TEAM POINTS FIRST-PLACE VOTES LAST WEEK’S RANK
1. Clemson (3-0) 720 34 1
2. Alabama (3-0) 685 8 2
3. Georgia (3-0) 611 1 4
4. LSU (3-0) 602 3 3
5. Oklahoma (3-0) 564 5
6. Ohio State (3-0) 540 6
7. Notre Dame (2-0) 415 7
8. Auburn (3-0) 369 8
9. Texas (2-1) 266 12
10. Utah (3-0) 260 11
11. Florida (3-0) 251 9
12. Michigan (2-0) 231 10
13. Wisconsin (2-0) 202 13
14. Penn State (3-0) 152 14
15. UCF (3-0) 120 N/A
16. Oregon (2-1) 96 15

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Texas A&M (86), Washington State (33), Washington (15), Iowa (13), Eastern Michigan (8), TCU (7), Virginia (4), Oklahoma State (3), Boise State (1), Army West Point (1), BYU (1).

ABOUT THE FWAA-NFF SUPER 16 POLL: The FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll was established at the conclusion of the 2013 season by long-time partners, the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the National Football Foundation (NFF). Voters rank the top 16 teams in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, and the results will be released every Monday of the 2019 season; the individual votes of all members will also be made public. The first regular season poll will be released on Tuesday, Sept. 3 (to account for Labor Day games), and the final poll will be released Sunday, Dec. 8. The pollsters consist of FWAA writers and College Football Hall of Famers who were selected to create a balanced-geographical perspective. The poll utilizes a program designed by Sports Systems to compile the rankings.

ABOUT THE FWAA: The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information visit www.footballwriters.com.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL FOUNDATION & COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: Founded in 1947 with early leadership from General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @NFFNetwork.

 

Digital Postcard No. 2: The FWAA’s 1956 All-America Team

1956

(Ed. Note: This is the second in the series of digital postcards commemorating 75 years of the FWAA All-America Team.  The first FWAA All-America Team was published in 1944 during World War II and is the second longest continuously published team in major-college football.)  

In 1956, milk was selling for 97 cents a gallon…The stock market rose to 499…The minimum wage topped out at $1 an hour…With Charlton Heston cast as Moses, the movie Ten Commandments premiered on Oct. 5…. RCA sold 90,000 color television sets…Elvis Presley recorded his first pop single, Heartbreak Hotel…. And smash hit My Fair Lady opened on Broadway.

The FWAA All-America Committee also released a team packed with stars, including Iowa tackle Alex Karras, who later would star on television and in the movies after a professional football career. Ohio State lineman Jim Parker won the Outland Trophy in 1956, but Karras would take it a year later. The 1956 FWAA team included eight backs and six of them would go on to careers worthy of being elected into the College Football Hall of Fame: John Brodie (Stanford), Jim Brown (Syracuse), Paul Hornung (Notre Dame), Johnny Majors (Tennessee), Tommy McDonald (Oklahoma) and Jack Pardee (Texas A&M).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8Z78Osxp_Q

Hornung claimed the Heisman Trophy that season (1,066 votes) in a close vote over second-place Majors (994 votes) and third-place McDonald (973) despite the fact Notre Dame finished with a losing record (2-8). Hornung is still the only Heisman Trophy winner to play on a losing team the year he won the award.

The national team of the year, however, was McDonald’s Sooners, who were on the way to a 47-game winning streak under Coach Bud Wilkinson that wouldn’t end until 1957. FWAA All-America center Jerry Tubbs was a stalwart on that powerhouse Oklahoma team that claimed the FWAA’s Grantland Rice Trophy, symbolic of the national title, for a second straight season.

Go to http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/awards/allamerica/alltime.pdf to see the entire list.

The Cotton Bowl Tie:  Syracuse’s Jim Brown would be the featured back in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1957. He nearly put the Orangemen in the win column. He rushed for 132 yards and scored three touchdowns, but TCU prevailed, 28-27. Brown was named one of the two Most Outstanding Players in the game along with TCU tackle Norman Hamilton, another FWAA All-America that season.

Your 1956 FWAA All-America Team Selectors:
Joe Sheehan, New York Times
Furman Bisher, Atlanta Journal
Jack Horner, Durham Herald
Jack Clowser, Cleveland Press
Volney Meece, Oklahoma City Oklahoman
Flem Hall, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Bill Leiser, San Francisco Chronicle

Digital Postcard: 1944, The First FWAA All-America Team

This is the first in a series of digital postcards celebrating 75 years of the FWAA All-America Team presented by the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. The first FWAA All-America Team was published in 1944 during World War II and is the second-longest continuously published team in major-college football. The Cotton Bowl Classic announced a new partnership with the FWAA this year to sponsor the FWAA All-America Team and help promote and profile the annual team, including the weekly distribution of these digital postcards. For a full list of each of the FWAA All-America Teams, go to http://www.sportswriters.net/fwaa/awards/allamerica/alltime.pdf

In 1944… Gas sold for 21 cents a gallon. Bread cost nine cents a loaf. The Stock Market was at 152…Future singing star Diana Ross was born…Going My Way was named Best Picture…D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy, proved to be the turning point in World War II. The Missus Goes Shopping aired as an early TV series…Navy bomber pilot Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., oldest brother of future U.S. President John F. Kennedy, was killed in action during a mission in the European Theater.

The 1944 FWAA All-America Team had a strong military influence, including Army’s Mr. Inside (Doc Blanchard) and Mr. Outside (Glenn Davis), offensive backfield stars on Coach Red Blaik’s powerhouse West Point team that would finish No. 1 in the major polls. Also, in that backfield was Les Horvath, a graduate student in the Ohio State dental school program who was asked back on the Buckeye roster. Horvath claimed the Heisman Trophy that season as the Buckeyes finished unbeaten. A fourth notable player on the first-team was Oklahoma A&M back Bob Fenimore.

All told, Ohio State, Army and Navy each had three players on either the first or second teams. Georgia Tech’s Frank Broyles was on the second team. He would later go on to a College Football Hall of Fame career as a coach at Arkansas. Currently, there are nine people on the inaugural FWAA All-America Team who are members of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Catch a Glimpse of the Army duo

The Cotton Bowl Tie: Frank Broyles later coached four Arkansas teams in the Cotton Bowl– in 1961, 1965, 1966 and 1976– and finished with a 2-2 record. His 1964 team (1965 Cotton Bowl) defeated Nebraska, 10-7, and won its only national championship (FWAA) Grantland Rice Trophy) to date.

Your 1944 FWAA All-America Team Selectors:

Wilfrid Smith, Chicago Tribune

C.E. McBride, Kansas City Star

Bert McGrane, Des Moines Register

Bill Leiser, San Francisco Chronicle

Charles Johnson, Minneapolis Star Journal

Francis J. Powers, Chicago Daily News

Raymond Johnson, Nashville Tennessean

R.C. Woodworth, Purdue University

27th Annual FWAA Best Writing Contest Results

The four winners of the FWAA’s 27th Annual Best Writing Contest announced today range in age from 29 to 82.

One first-place recipient is a seven-time winner (Ivan Maisel, 59, ESPN.com). Another winner (retired Bob Hammel, 82, Bloomington Herald-Times) hadn’t entered the contest in 23 years. A third winner (Jake Trotter, 38, ESPN.com) wrote about a star running back who made his mark in 1988 when the writer was seven years old. And the final winner (Mike DeFabo, 29, Anderson Herald-Bulletin) captured first place writing about Purdue football, but now is covering an NHL team.

DeFabo, who now works for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette covering the Penguins, collected a first in Game Story and also a second in Columns. Other writers who claimed double awards were Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports (two honorable mentions) and David Barron of the Houston Chronicle (two honorable mentions).

At the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast on Jan. 13 in New Orleans at the CFP National Championship Game, first-place winners will receive footballs, certificates and cash prizes. Second and third-place finishers will receive certificates and cash prizes. Honorable mentions will receive certificates.

Click on the links below to read the first-place winning entries.

GAME

First Place — Mike DeFabo, Anderson Herald-Bulletin

Second Place — Michael Lev, Arizona Daily Star/Tucson.com

Third Place — David Teel, Daily Press

Honorable Mention — Alex Scarborough, ESPN.com; Bill Bender, Sporting News; Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com

FEATURE

First Place Bob Hammel, Bloomington Herald-Times (retired)

Second Place Ron Higgins, Times-Picayune/NOLA.com

Third Place— Paul Payne, The Montgomery Advertiser

Honorable Mention Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports; Dave Wilson, ESPN.com; Glenn Guilbeau, USA Today Network; David Barron, Houston Chronicle

 

COLUMNS

First Place Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com

Second Place Mike DeFabo, Anderson Herald-Bulletin

Third Place Harry Minium, odusports.com

Honorable Mention Dick Gabriel, WKYT/Big Blue Insider; Pete Thamel, Yahoo Sports; Mark Rea, Buckeye Sports Bulletin

ENTERPRISE

First Place — Jake Trotter, ESPN.com

Second Place — Christopher Walsh, SEC Country

Third Place – Adam Rittenberg, Heather Dinich, Tom VanHaaren, ESPN.com

Honorable Mention — Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Matt Fortuna, The Athletic; David Barron, Houston Chronicle

 

2019 Best Enterprise: Jake Trotter

Comment by the judge: Informative, anecdote-filled story on Barry Sanders’ magical 1988 season at Oklahoma State. Thirty years later, with a view from the insiders at Oklahoma State and Sanders himself, we get a lot of the reasons why that may be the greatest single season by a running back in college football history. From a Heisman Trophy nobody to a Heisman Trophy winner.

By Jake Trotter

ESPN.com

The first time Barry Sanders touched the football in 1988, he scored a touchdown. Fittingly, the final time he carried it for Oklahoma State that season, he scored as well.

Both plays were equally spectacular and bookended the greatest individual season the college football world has ever seen, and 30 years later, Sanders’ ’88 season remains — like so many of his runs — untouchable.

“You can argue about a lot of different people, who’s the best ever in whatever sport,” said Mike Gundy, who before becoming OSU’s head coach was Sanders’ college quarterback. “LeBron James and Michael Jordan in the NBA. Jim Brown and whoever else in pro football. But college football? There’s nobody that can touch the guy. Just can’t.

“There’s nobody that compares to him.”

In ’88, Sanders didn’t rewrite the records books, he incinerated them. He rushed for 2,850 yards, scored 44 touchdowns and broke 34 NCAA records.

In the years since, offense has exploded in the college game, while the pace has quickened.

And yet, most of Sanders’ FBS records remain intact.

“If he were playing in today’s offenses, he very well could’ve rushed for 4,000 yards, easy,” Gundy said. “Look at the number of plays that we have on offense today compared to back then. We huddled up, we were slow. And the majority of the games very seldom was he ever touching the field in the fourth quarter because we were blowing teams out.”

More…

2019 Best Game Story: Mike DeFabo

Comment by the judge: Heart touching story that was superbly written. Reading the story made you feel as if you were there, watching the game. Excellent quotes from Jeff Brohm and the Purdue players. Good background to remind everyone what a mammoth upset this was, mentioning that Purdue had lost its first three games. Also good info on three players who almost weren’t on this Purdue team, but played a big part in the victory.

By Mike DeFabo

Anderson Herald-Bulletin

WEST LAFAYETTE — Just getting to the game would have been a win in itself for Tyler Trent.

The Carmel native, fighting for every day he has left, went to sleep Friday night thinking he wouldn’t make it to Purdue’s game against No. 2 Ohio State at Ross-Ade Stadium. His terminal bone cancer sapped his energy. He vomited all day. Already the growing tumor on his spine metastasized to his kidneys, forcing him to leave the university and enter hospice care. If the game had been on Friday, his mother said he wouldn’t have been there.

But Saturday was a different day, and Tyler is a different breed.

We’re talking about the guy who earned super fan status last year by camping outside of Ross-Ade Stadium just hours after undergoing chemotherapy. He made it then. He was going to find a way to make it to this one, knowing it’s likely the last game he’ll see in person.

A family friend shaved a Purdue “P” into what’s left of his thinning hair and outlined it with paint, and Tyler slipped on his gold-and-black blazer. At kickoff, Tyler was there to hear the Boilermaker fans chant “Cancer Sucks,”altering their traditional chant by replacing their biggest rival, IU, with an even more hated one.

That was a win. Tyler won.

“Someone who is a Boilermaker through and through,” quarterback David Blough said. “We needed to show the courage and the toughness and the fight that he displays every single day. We love him. We’ve been playing for him. We’ve been praying for him.”

Then, what was supposed to be a special moment turned into something more.

More…