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.


  • 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

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


(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).


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.


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


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



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


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


FWAA Launches New ‘Access/Press Relations Committee’

DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America is establishing a new Access/Press Relations Committee to oversee press relations with FBS Conferences moving into the 2019 football season.

This is a broad-based effort by the FWAA to improve press relations and accessibility with schools in terms of coach, assistant coach and player availability during the regular season and the off-season.

“We are excited to bring together a talented, experienced, and diverse group of reporters and SIDs to work together to ensure a healthier dialogue between the media and the schools that they cover,” said Matt Fortuna, 2019 FWAA President. “Our hope is that this collaborative effort will lead to better opportunities to tell the stories of the subjects that we cover, while giving our members a better platform to highlight good and bad practices when it comes to access.”

The FWAA will have two representatives for each of the Power Five Conferences, in which many of the issues arise in terms of accessibility. The Group of Five Conferences/Independents will have three representatives. In addition, there will be nine at-large committee members from different groups affiliated with college football.

The process would be for individual FWAA members to report to the representatives of their conference any issues in their league as brought up by Sports Information Directors or FWAA members. This process will also occur with bowl games. The Committee would attempt to keep a running record of incidents reported to them and try to improve conditions as well as commend outstanding access and conditions.

“In many ways this can also be a learning experience on both sides,” said Steve Richardson, FWAA Executive Director. “We can document thoroughly why a school would or wouldn’t be a Super 11 winner simply by comparing a school’s list of press availability or polices to the FWAA’s list of standards. If there are complaints about media members, these also will be considered by the Committee. It can be a two-way street here.”

The discussions will also extend to game-day: press box conditions, interview area conditions, press parking issues and safety concerns around and in the stadium. The committee could have running dialogues with schools where problems in access occur and coverage conditions are questionable.

This committee will help in the decision making for the FWAA’s annual Super 11 Awards, which honor outstanding Sports Information Departments each year. Committee members will be encouraged to interact with Sports Information Directors in their respective conferences during the course of the year.



  • Ron Higgins, Rivals
  • Anthony Dasher, UGASports.com


  • Gene Wang, Washington Post
  • Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com

Big 12

  • Randy Peterson, Des Moines Register
  • John Hoover, TheFranchiseOK.com


  • Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News
  • Chris Dufresne, TMG

Big Ten

  • Adam Rittenberg, ESPN.com
  • Shannon Ryan, Chicago Tribune

Group of Five/Independents

  • Chris Vannini, The Athletic
  • Dick Weiss, Blue Star Media
  • Mark Anderson, Las Vegas Review-Journal


  • Edward Aschoff, ESPN.com, FWAA
  • Matt Fortuna, The Athletic, FWAA
  • George Schroeder, USA Today, FWAA
  • Doug Vance, CoSIDA
  • Shelly Poe, Auburn
  • Dave Plati, Colorado
  • Vince Thompson, AFCA
  • Gine Lehe, CFP
  • Doug Kelly, FBA

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,000 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 game day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com or call 214-870-6516.


National Football Foundation asks FWAA members to vote on 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class

The National Football Foundation has decided this year to provide each FWAA member a complimentary ballot for the 2020 College Football Hall of Fame Class, encouraging you to vote and then write about your selections. Please vote and share your perspective with your readers. Ballots must be submitted by June 21.

  • Click here to access your electronic ballot to vote.
  • Click here to read a pdf version of the NFF Footballetter with bios of the candidates.


Super 11 Recipients Announced for 2018 season

DALLAS — Four first-time winners and seven previous ones comprise the 10th Annual Super 11 Awards, which the Football Writers Association of America gives out annually to the best performing sports information departments in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The awards announced this week are for the 2018 season.

In addition, for the first time the FWAA will present a Super 11 Coach of the Year Award. Arizona State Coach Herm Edwards granted outstanding access to his program during the 2018 season.

“These 11 sports information departments have done an outstanding job of not just fulfilling the needs of media members, but of understanding the importance of strong working relationships between programs and the reporters who cover them,” 2019 FWAA President Matt Fortuna said. “Additionally, Coach Edwards went above and beyond the norm in his first season at Arizona State, a refreshing approach that we feel deserves special recognition.”

As for the 2018 SID department awards, Clemson, Colorado and Nebraska each won for a sixth time. It was Clemson’s fourth straight award and Colorado’s fifth award in six seasons.

Pittsburgh claimed a Super 11 Award for the fourth time and Navy a third time. Iowa State and Mississippi State each won for the second time.

The four first-time recipients in the award series, which dates back to the 2009 season, are Arizona State, Miami, Fla., UAB and Wisconsin.

This year’s winners were deemed by FWAA observers to have had good accessibility during the week of the game and after the game — with a program’s players, coaches and assistant coaches — along with the other listed criteria.

“That was a special point of emphasis in 2018 and will be again in 2019,” FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson said. “Our membership wants access to players after games, of course, but also for human interest and analytical stories during the week. Over the years, for a variety of reasons this access has been restricted. We believe there are many good stories out there that can be told if they are allowed to be told.”

FWAA members who covered college football during the 2018 season provided input in the awards survey.

In January 2009, the FWAA formed the first Super 11 Committee. The concept has been supported and endorsed by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), many of whom are members of the FWAA. The FWAA has awarded Super 11 to 60 different schools in this program over the years.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,300 men and women across North America who cover college football for a living. 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 game-day operations, major awards, a national poll and its annual All-America teams.

Related link:
Super 11 Awards (including complete selection criteria)

Mississippi State’s Sweat is Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week

Senior end leads Bulldogs to upset of Auburn

DALLAS – Defensive end Montez Sweat dominated his side of the line for Mississippi State against No. 8 Auburn, racking up a career-high three sacks and forcing a fumble in the Bulldogs’ 23-9 win. Sweat is the first MSU player since 2005 to post three or more sacks in a game and has earned the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week honor for games of the weekend of Oct. 6, as selected by the Football Writers Association on America.

The 6-6, 245-pound senior from Stone Mountain, Ga., was nearly unstoppable against Auburn. Sweat’s three sacks came with 27 yards in losses for Auburn, and he is only the third MSU player in the last 20 years to have three sacks in a game, and the first to do it in a conference game since 1998. Each of Sweat’s sacks came in the second half as MSU’s defense continued to contain Auburn’s offense, which only had the ball for 18:07 in the game. He also had two quarterback hurries.

Sweat is second nationally and the SEC leader in sacks with 7.5, and his 10.0 tackles for loss are tied for 12th-nationally and second in the SEC. His 18 sacks in 19 career games are already the seventh-highest total in school history. Sweat has at least two tackles for loss in four of six games this season, and he has earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week honors five times in his career.

Each Tuesday during the regular season, the FWAA has selected a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week since 2001. Sweat is a member of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Wed., Nov. 14. The winner will be chosen from those five finalists who are part of the 2018 FWAA All-America Team.

The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects a 26-man All-America Team and eventually the Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalists. The committee members then select the winner as the best defensive player in college football.

The annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Banquet, presented by ACN, will be held on Mon., Dec. 3 at the Charlotte Convention Center. In addition to the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner’s announcement, the banquet will also celebrate the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, sponsored by the Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA) which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

About the Football Writers Association of America:
Founded in 1941, the FWAA consists of 1,400 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1991 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1991, the club has raised more than $2,000,000 to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

ACN, Inc.
Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and essential services for residential and business customers. ACN provides the services people need and use every day including phone service, high-speed internet, wireless, television, security and automation, computer support, payment processing and natural gas and electricity. ACN operates in 25 countries with offices located throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. For more information, visit myacn.com. For information on ACN’s home-based business opportunity, visit acninc.com.

About Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery
Dr. Richard R. Rolle Jr. is a leading oral & maxillofacial surgeon, with strong ties to athletics and delivering excellence www.rolleoralfacialsurgery.com. Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery offers expertise in: dental implants, wisdom tooth extraction, youth-capturing, cosmetic injectables, oral surgery and cleft lip reconstruction in his Lake Norman, North Carolina practice. Dr. Rolle holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame where he played varsity football under legendary Coach Lou Holtz. He completed his oral surgery internship at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital and holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Meharry Medical College. Rolle Oral & Facial Surgery is the official surgeon for the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Checkers and Charlotte 49ers.

2018 Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Players of the Week
• Weekend of Sept. 1: Tyler Horton, Boise State
• Weekend of Sept. 8: Nate Landman, Colorado
• Weekend of Sept. 15: Alvin Davis Jr., Akron
• Weekend of Sept. 22: Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington
• Weekend of Sept. 29: Jerry Tillery, Notre Dame
• Weekend of Oct. 6: Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

Related link:
Bronko Nagurski Trophy (All-Time Winners, Finalists and Players of the Week)