Digital Postcard No. 13: The FWAA’s 1994 All-America Team Reply

(Ed. Note: This is the 13th 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 1994, O.J. Simpson made headlines by fleeing police in a slow-speed chase in a white Bronco … The Major League Baseball season was suspended on Aug. 12, cancelling the World Series for the first time since 1904 … Lisa Marie Presley married Michael Jackson … Ice skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by Tonya Harding’s bodyguard … Lawrence Taylor retired from the NFL … “Schindler’s List” wins best picture at Academy Awards … Richard Nixon died.

Tom Osborne’s top-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers knocked off No. 3 Miami in the Orange Bowl to wrap up the national title … No. 2 Penn State beat Oregon in the Rose Bowl, but couldn’t reach a split decision for the national championship … Nebraska’s strength was the offensive line with All-Americans Brendan Stai and Outland Trophy recipient  Zach Weigert, along with linebacker Ed Stewart … Penn State was represented on the All-America team by quarterback Kerry Collins and running back Ki-Jana Carter … Colorado running back Rashaan Salaam was an overwhelming choice for the Heisman Trophy … Big names on that All-America team were offensive lineman Tony Boselli of USC, defensive lineman Derrick Alexander and linebacker Derrick Brooks of Florida State and Miami defensive lineman Warren Sapp.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bW1AB5IKeI

COTTON BOWL NUGGET

What a mismatch! In a 55-14 thumping of Texas Tech, USC set Cotton Bowl records for points (55), total offense (578), passing yards (435), points in a quarter (28) and points in a half (34). Trojan receiver Keyshawn Johnson caught eight passes for 222 yards and five touchdowns.

1994 FWAA Selectors

  • Andy Bagnato, Chicago Tribune
  • Lee Barfknecht, Omaha World-Herald
  • Jimmy Burch, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Bob Hammond, Laramie Daily Bommerang
  • Charles Hollis, Birmingham News
  • Ivan Maisel, Newsday
  • Alan Schmadtke, Orlando Sentinel
  • Corky Simpson, Tucson Citizen
  • Dick Weiss, New York Daily News

 

 

Wally Hall will receive 2020 Bert McGrane Award Reply

By Bob Holt
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Wally Hall is in his 40th consecutive year writing about sports as a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat and Democrat-Gazette.

“Whenever anything big happens in sports in Arkansas, everybody waits to see what Wally says. I can’t say that for any other state in the nation,” said Ron Higgins, who has covered the SEC for several newspapers and is now editor of Tiger Rag, a magazine and website that focuses on LSU sports. “In Arkansas, when you say, ‘Wally,’ people don’t ask, ‘Wally who?’ They know it’s Wally Hall.”

Hall, who was born in Searcy and grew up in Little Rock, has covered all sports since becoming a columnist in 1979, but college football has been a focal point.

Wally Hall, winner of the 2020 Bert McGrane Award, the FWAA’s highest honor. (Photo by Melissa Macatee.)

A member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) for 33 years, including serving as president in 2003, Hall is being recognized by the organization with its highest honor.

Hall will receive the Bert McGrane Award at the FWAA Awards Breakfast on Jan. 13, 2020, in New Orleans before the College Football Playoff Championship Game is played in the Superdome.

“This is our lifetime achievement award,” said Steve Richardson, the FWAA Executive Director. “It’s the Football Writers’ Hall of Fame.”

The McGrane Award is presented in recognition of contributions to the FWAA and college football with the recipients being displayed in the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

McGrane was a sports writer and editor at the Des Moines Register for 45 years and served as the FWAA’s Executive Director from the early 1940s until 1973.

“Wally is an iconic figure in college football writers’ circles for his longevity and the fact he’s been so passionate about all college sports for so many years,” said Richardson, also a McGrane recipient. “Recognizing him with the McGrane Award is really a no-brainer. He has been very supportive of the FWAA. He’s fought for his newspaper and for writers everywhere as far as coverage and access.”

The McGrane Award has been presented annually since 1974 and is a Who’s Who of sports writers, with past winners including Paul Zimmerman, Furman Bisher, Blackie Sherrod, Edwin Pope, Tony Barnhart and Ivan Maisel.

“Looking at the list of past winners of this award puts me in awe,” Hall said. “I do share one thing in common with everyone who has won this award — a passion for college football.”

Hall is the third Arkansan to win the McGrane Award along with Orville Henry and Charlie Fiss.

Henry, who wrote for the Arkansas Gazette and later the Democrat and Democrat-Gazette and Donrey Media Group, won in 2002.

Fiss, a Springdale native and longtime vice president of communications for the Cotton Bowl, was the award’s recipient in 2017.

“Wally has done it all in his career as a reporter, columnist and editor,” Fiss said. “He has developed an extraordinary following in Arkansas by earning the trust and loyalty of his readers.

“People want to know what Wally is thinking when it comes to the world of sports, and particularly the news of the day about the Razorbacks. I’m one of those readers. His column is like a magnet for me because it’s the first thing I turn to when picking up the newspaper or going online.

“The impact he has made as a journalist and his contributions to the profession are immense The Bert McGrane Award is one of the highest honors a journalist could ever receive and it’s gratifying to see the FWAA recognize Wally in such a special and meaningful way.”

Herb Vincent, the SEC’s associate commissioner of communications, is a North Little Rock native and graduate of Little Rock Catholic High School.

“I grew up reading Wally,” Vincent said. “Even after I left Little Rock, my dad knew that I liked to read him so much that he’d clip out his columns and send them to me in the days before the Internet.

“Then even after the Internet, he kept mailing them to me. It became a tradition where I’d get a package in the mail every week with Wally’s columns.

“My dad would write comments with the columns — and sometimes he didn’t agree with Wally. But he always read Wally, just like I have and so many other people have all these years. Reading Wally always helped me keep up with what was going on back home.”

Along with being a columnist, Hall added the sports editor’s duties in 1981.

“Wally’s a throwback to the old days when the sports editor was the columnist as well as running the department,” Richardson said. “He’s maintained a unique standing in the industry.

“Think of all the coaches Wally has covered at Arkansas. In this day and age someone who has the history and knowledge of the Arkansas program and sports in his state in general like Wally does is very hard to find.

“He’s a wealth of knowledge and has strong opinions. I don’t think anyone has to wonder how Wally feels about a topic he’s writing about. You know how he feels after you read his column.”

Vincent said Hall’s reputation and influence have extended well beyond Arkansas.

“Wally is really a legend in the sports writing industry,” Vincent said. “People across the country know Wally. He’s obviously got a great perspective on the world of sports.

“Wally writes with passion and he writes with an educated point of view. He writes with humor.

“Wally’s always had a great perspective on Arkansas sports through the good and the bad, through the winning and losing. He’s consistently been a sportswriter’s sportswriter.

“Wally knows his audience. He knows who he’s writing for. He’s been around sports for so long now that he knows what people want to know and he addresses that.”

Hall often has had to file his column within minutes — sometimes seconds — of a game ending to make deadline.

“Wally has so much impact with what he writes — and he writes faster than any human being I’ve ever seen,” Higgins said. “He’s given so much not just to the business of journalism in general, but to the Football Writers Association in particular. He’s always been a great advocate for our organization.

“He’s always concerned about how press boxes are run and the media operations part of our business.”

Higgins, then with the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, was covering the Arkansas-Michigan game at the 1998 Citrus Bowl.

“Somebody announced they’d be closing the press box an hour after the game,” Higgins said. “Wally went ballistic, and they said we could stay as long as we needed.

“That’s Wally. He’s never afraid to stand up for what he believes, never afraid to take a stand.

“Wally embodies what a good columnist should be about — ‘I don’t care if you like me or not, but you can respect me.’ That’s probably the essence of Wally right there.”

Hall, who was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, has said he has no plans to retire.

“Through all the changes newspapers and journalism have gone through, Wally has stood the test of time,” Richardson said. “I think that’s one of his greatest attributes. He probably has a better feel for what’s going on in Arkansas than anyone else through all these years.”

FWAA-NFF Super 16 Rankings, Week 14 Reply

Top four hold positions; Alabama falls to No. 8

Heading into the conference championship games, LSU remained the No. 1 team followed by Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia in the same order as last week. All four teams easily won their games during Rivalry Week. LSU claimed 29 first-place votes, Ohio State 16 and Clemson one.

Alabama’s close loss at Auburn cost the Crimson Tide three spots, dropping them to No. 8. The other losers among poll members were Minnesota (to Wisconsin) and Michigan (to Ohio State). Minnesota dropped to No. 14 after absorbing its second loss of the season, and Michigan dropped completely out of the poll after getting blitzed by Ohio State. Memphis entered the poll at No. 16.

Utah, Oklahoma and Baylor, in that order, moved into slots 5-7 after all posting impressive victories.

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

  • GAMES THIS WEEK
  • No. 1 LSU vs No. 4 Georgia in Atlanta;
  • No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Wisconsin in Indianapolis;
  • No. 3 Clemson vs. Virginia in Charlotte;
  • No. 5 Utah vs. No. 13 Oregon in Santa Clara (Friday);
  • No. 6 Oklahoma vs. No. 7 Baylor in Arlington, TX;
  • Cincinnati at No. 16 Memphis.

Week 14: games played through Nov. 30, 2019 

TEAM POINTS FIRST-PLACE VOTES LAST WEEK’S RANK
1. LSU (12-0) 717 29 1
2. Ohio State (12-0) 705 16 2
3. Clemson (12-0) 645 1 3
4. Georgia (11-1) 578 4
5. Utah (11-1) 543 6
6. Oklahoma (11-1) 513 7
7. Baylor (11-1) 399 10
8. Alabama (10-2) 374 5
9. Florida (10-2) 359 9
10. Wisconsin (10-2) 296 14
11. Auburn (9-3) 284 16
12. Penn State (10-2) 252 11
13. Oregon (10-2) 200 13
14. Minnesota (10-2) 142 8
15. Notre Dame (10-2) 127 15
16. Memphis (11-1) 54 N/A

OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Michigan (33), Boise State (15), Iowa (13), Cincinnati (4), Texas (3).

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.