Final Kellner computer rankings

The Cody Kellner Points Index gives each team a rating that is reflective of their strength of schedule and the success they had within it.  Margin of victory is also considered in the ratings.

RANK SCHOOL RATING
1 ALABAMA 151.965
2 GEORGIA 142.077
3 WISCONSIN 140.368
4 OHIO STATE 135.268
5 CLEMSON 133.045
6 PENN STATE 128.492
7 UCF 123.214
8 NOTRE DAME 104.334
9 OKLAHOMA 97.838
10 MICHIGAN STATE 90.828
11 MIAMI FL 90.216
12 TCU 83.567
13 AUBURN 82.879
14 WASHINGTON 80.176
15 USC 78.927
16 NORTHWESTERN 77.507
17 VIRGINIA TECH 71.317
18 OKLAHOMA STATE 67.862
19 MISSISSIPPI STATE 67.326
20 LSU 64.065
21 IOWA 59.418
22 BOISE STATE 59.065
23 NC STATE 57.932
24 SOUTH CAROLINA 57.826
25 MICHIGAN 55.899
26 SOUTH FLORIDA 54.823
27 STANFORD 49.476
28 FLORIDA ATLANTIC 48.614
29 WASHINGTON STATE 45.782
30 MEMPHIS 45.153
31 FRESNO STATE 45.086
32 WAKE FOREST 42.102
33 ARMY 41.002
34 TROY 40.566
35 LOUISVILLE 36.884
36 SAN DIEGO STATE 33.716
37 BOSTON COLLEGE 31.897
38 TOLEDO 31.704
39 IOWA STATE 31.342
40 PURDUE 26.978
41 FLORIDA STATE 23.771
42 APPALACHIAN STATE 18.450
43 TEXAS 17.626
44 ARIZONA STATE 15.633
45 DUKE 13.709
46 TEXAS A&M 13.525
47 UTAH 10.777
48 KANSAS STATE 10.743
49 GEORGIA TECH 9.155
50 KENTUCKY 8.316
51 NAVY 6.310
52 MISSOURI 5.851
53 OREGON 4.827
54 HOUSTON 3.581
55 OHIO 2.741
56 MARSHALL 0.019
57 WEST VIRGINIA -0.107
58 MISSISSIPPI -1.968
59 ARIZONA -3.344
60 NORTHERN ILLINOIS -4.538
61 UCLA -6.210
62 WYOMING -6.793
63 INDIANA -9.011
64 NORTH TEXAS -9.322
65 TEMPLE -9.402
66 VANDERBILT -13.069
67 SMU -14.024
68 TEXAS TECH -14.252
69 CALIFORNIA -16.495
70 MINNESOTA -18.038
71 PITTSBURGH -18.285
72 FLORIDA INTL -20.175
73 ARKANSAS STATE -20.686
74 CENTRAL MICHIGAN -20.784
75 FLORIDA -21.817
76 VIRGINIA -22.203
77 COLORADO STATE -22.378
78 LOUISIANA TECH -25.662
79 SOUTHERN MISS -26.730
80 MARYLAND -27.652
81 SYRACUSE -28.726
82 NEBRASKA -29.519
83 WESTERN MICHIGAN -31.547
84 TULANE -32.398
85 UAB -32.432
86 NEW MEXICO STATE -33.799
87 UTAH STATE -33.889
88 GEORGIA STATE -34.631
89 COLORADO -36.195
90 BUFFALO -37.698
91 AKRON -39.497
92 MIDDLE TENN STATE -39.884
93 ARKANSAS -42.249
94 TENNESSEE -42.419
95 RUTGERS -46.373
96 AIR FORCE -48.183
97 EASTERN MICHIGAN -48.820
98 UTSA -50.161
99 UNLV -51.909
100 MIAMI OH -59.725
101 NORTH CAROLINA -62.836
102 WESTERN KENTUCKY -65.705
103 CINCINNATI -69.347
104 ULM -71.550
105 MASSACHUSETTS -71.559
106 ULL -75.479
107 OLD DOMINION -77.299
108 BYU -80.889
109 ILLINOIS -81.926
110 NEVADA -81.946
111 CONNECTICUT -83.227
112 SOUTH ALABAMA -84.410
113 EAST CAROLINA -86.325
114 IDAHO -87.710
115 TULSA -89.412
116 NEW MEXICO -102.650
117 BAYLOR -111.304
118 OREGON STATE -114.388
119 HAWAII -116.460
120 BOWLING GREEN -117.281
121 COASTAL CAROLINA -120.273
122 GEORGIA SOUTHERN -126.354
123 KANSAS -129.613
124 TEXAS STATE -137.825
125 SAN JOSE STATE -143.227
126 KENT -143.664
127 RICE -151.502
128 BALL STATE -153.770
129 CHARLOTTE -174.692
130 UTEP -190.899
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FWAA Awards Breakfast: Passing the baton 2

The FWAA held its Annual Awards Breakfast on Monday morning in Atlanta prior to the CFP National Championship Game. David Jones, the 2017 FWAA President from the PA Media Group, handed off to Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times, the 2018 FWAA President.

ACC’s Mike Finn receives FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award

ATLANTA — Mike Finn will retire from the Atlantic Coast Conference next spring following a stellar 40-year media relations career at the league office and two of its member schools, North Carolina State and Georgia Tech.

Mike Finn

The FWAA recognizes Finn for a job well done in bestowing its Lifetime Achievement Award on a person who has worked with many of the top coaches and administrators in ACC history, as well as serviced the media in the region with a professionalism that has been very impressive.

“Mike Finn has devoted his career to serving the media,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “He has truly been the consummate professional. Whenever you needed information Mike delivered. And you knew you were getting the accurate story. You always have great confidence in Mike’s word.”

This award goes annually to a person who has been a distinguished FWAA member. Previous winners are Buddy Davis, Ruston (La.) Daily Leader; Irv Moss, Denver Post; Bill Little, University of Texas; and Art Spander, San Francisco Examiner.

“I would say without a doubt this award is the most significant I’ve received in my professional career,” Finn said. “It means everything. While you get into this business because you want to be involved in sports, you quickly find out that what’s most important are the personal relationships you make along the way.

“I’ve been fortunate to know a great many outstanding media members for a long time, especially in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeast regions, and there is a special bond with that. To be recognized by the Football Writers, an organization I have always admired, is very special.”

Finn graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a B.A. in Psychology, but was not preparing for a career in media relations.

“I worked some in the Florida SID department (under Norm Carlson) on game days, typing play-by-play and being the official scorer in basketball,” Finn said, “but I didn’t think I could break into the business because of the competition for jobs. I had a desire to become a therapist or do community psychology.”

Finn actually did break into sports media relations at Virginia Tech, an independent in 1977-78, as a graduate assistant. He lasted there one year, before heading to ACC’s North Carolina State, still unsure where his career path would eventually go.

“My year at Virginia Tech taught me a great deal about job security,” Finn explained. “Our long-time AD retired, our head coach got fired and our (SID) Wendy Weisend, one of the most respected men in the business, was ‘reassigned’ to a different position on campus.”

The timing was perfect to move to the ACC’s North Carolina State. If Finn didn’t like the job, he planned on going to graduate school. He liked the job. Forty years later he is still in the business.

At North Carolina State, he worked for both football coach Bo Rein and basketball coach Jim Valvano, who led the Wolfpack to the NCAA basketball title in 1983. After Finn was there two years, Rein took the job at LSU and would die in a plane accident before he ever coached a game for the Tigers.

“Had he lived, Bo would have gone on to become one of the great coaches of his generation,” Finn said. “He was also terrific to work with.”

Once when Finn was interviewing Rein for the daily practice report, both were walking down the sideline when a tight end caught a pass and turned up field for more yardage instead of going out of bounds.

“Bo always loved a player doing that,” Finn recalled. “So in mid-interview, he’s left me and is sprinting down the sidelines with the player yelling encouragement. … Our safety comes over and roll blocks the tight end out of bounds, right in Bo’s path. Bo didn’t hesitate. He hurdled both players and kept on going. We never did finish that interview.”

Over the years, Finn, at the school level worked for such football coaches as Virginia Tech’s Bill Dooley, Rein and his successor at North Carolina State, Monte Kiffin, and Georgia Tech’s quadruple of Bill Curry, Bobby Ross, Bill Lewis and George O’Leary. Finn moved to Georgia Tech in 1983, right after the Wolfpack’s national basketball title, and was there 17 years before he went to the ACC office in 2000 as assistant commissioner for external relations.

His experiences in Atlanta at Georgia Tech were many. But he recalls quite vividly one of his exchanges with Georgia Tech’s Curry at the 1985 Hall of Fame Bowl versus Michigan State. Several Georgia Tech players missed curfew and Curry had sent them home, including the team’s starting quarterback and big-play wide receiver-returner. Curry summoned Finn for a meeting to do a news release about the situation.

“After he said that,” Finn explained, “I probably asked the dumbest question in my 40 years: ‘Coach, does that mean they won’t play in the game?’ Curry gave me one of those fatherly looks and said gently, ‘Yes, Mike, they won’t be playing in the game.’ No telling how Norm Sloan would have reacted, or George O’Leary for that matter.’’’

Finn’s years at the ACC office have been marked with expansion of the league in 2004 and 2013. He dealt in all things ACC Football (media days, championship games, weekly releases and communications) and at times the Bowl Championship Series Standings. He served as the BCS liaison with the FWAA in 2008 and 2009.

“I was fortunate in getting into the business to have so many great mentors from Dave Smith at Virginia Tech, who today is still my best friend, to Norm Carlson (Florida), Wendy Weisend (Virginia Tech), Jack Williams (Virginia Tech), Ed Seaman (North Carolina State), Norman Arey (Georgia Tech),” Finn said.

“All of them were or could have been excellent newsmen in addition to working in public relations and taught me a great deal about sports writing and the importance of deadlines. I’ve also had great bosses in athletics directors Willis Casey (North Carolina State), Homer Rice (Georgia Tech) and Dave Braine (Georgia Tech) and (ACC) Commissioner (John) Swofford, Mike Kelly and Amy Yakola of the ACC Staff.”

Swofford praised Finn. “Mike is well-deserving of this highly prestigious award,” he said. “He has built the best kind of career, one based on strong relationships and service. I’m so pleased the FWAA has selected Mike as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.”

Mike Griffith named FWAA Beat Writer of the Year

ATLANTA-Mike Griffith of SEC County was named the Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year during the association’s annual Awards Breakfast on Monday morning at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.

Griffith, FWAA President in 2007 and a frequent award winner in the association’s Best Writing Contest, becomes the eighth recipient of the Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award, which annually honors one of the best beat writers in college football. The award is named after the late Steve Ellis, a standout beat writer who covered Florida State football for the Tallahassee Democrat for a number of years.

Mike Griffith

Griffith follows previous winners Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland Plain Dealer; Steve Wieberg, USA Today, and Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe (co-recipients); Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News; Tim May, Columbus Dispatch; Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times;  and  Jason Kersey, Daily Oklahoman.

“Mike has been a relentless reporter on whatever beat he has covered over the years,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “Now that we are in an era of a myriad of reporting platforms, Mike has mastered the switch technique of adapting to the many different mediums.

“He’s also forever a guard of his and others’ job space in the press box. One time a couple of years ago, he was on the prowl when he was told a road SID was going to limit the time reporters could stay in the press box after a night game. The media and the FWAA are better off with a watch dog like Griff.”

Griffith fits in very well at SEC Country as its main Tennessee Vols reporter.

“On the Tennessee beat the past year, Mike has been a one-man wrecking crew,” wrote Ken Bradley, the SEC Country Deputy Sports Editor, in Griffith’s support letter. “Going up against competitors with multiple writers, he never backed down. In fact, he embraced the challenge. He stayed up late producing content to roll out the first thing the next morning. He thought of different ways to provide video content that others weren’t doing. He attacks every day the same way with the same goal — to inform, entertain and attract readers to SEC Country’s Tennessee coverage.

“A new job, with a new company mixed with modern-day digital journalism enabled me to cover college football a variety of ways this past year,” Griffith wrote.

Griffith’s duties on the Tennessee football beat include a daily podcast, attending and writing from football-related functions, Tuesday morning radio appearances on Huntsville and Nashville radio stations and Sunday morning appearances on Knoxville’s highest-rated local television sports show.

Special assignments involved travel to the homes of several signees as part of the “Next Generation” series, with Facebook Live presentation videos a part of the extensive interviews performed with recruits and their families.

In-season responsibilities also included taking pictures and setting up video to live-stream press conferences, team arrival at stadium and Facebook Live “stand-up” reports from after the head coach’s weekly press conference, as well as stand-ups from the pregame and post-game stadium field level and a co-host role on a Thursday night television show.

Griffith, a Michigan State graduate, was hired by Cox Media Group SEC Country in May 2016 after covering high-profile Michigan State football and basketball teams for MLive for four years. During his first stint in Knoxville, Griffith covered Tennessee football and basketball for the News-Sentinel for 14 years while also doing television and radio weekly.

Prior to Knoxville, Griffith covered Alabama for the Mobile Register for four years and Auburn for the Anniston Star, including Auburn’s unbeaten team in 1993. His first job out of college was covering Idaho State for the Idaho Falls Post Register. He worked all four years in college at the Lansing State Journal for Steve Klein, who went on to develop the blueprint for USA Today’s online product.

“When I think of Mike Griffith, eight words come to mind: talented, versatile, creative, hard-working, collaborative, professional and meticulous,” Bradley wrote. “If you were searching for a beat writer and could get half of those, you’d be happy. Mike brings all of that to the table every day.”

 

Wieberg named winner of Bert McGrane Award

ATLANTA — On the day of the fourth College Football Playoff National Championship Game, Steve Wieberg receives the FWAA’s prestigious Bert McGrane Award, tantamount to the organization’s Hall of Fame.

Wieberg will accept the McGrane Award at the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. It was an honor well-deserved not only for his ground-breaking role on the CFP Selection Committee, which helped determine the four playoff teams the last four years, but for his long career at USA Today from 1982 to 2012.

Steve Wieberg

“Stunned, incredibly grateful and humbled by the greats who have won it and just as much by those who haven’t,” Wieberg said upon learning he was the recipient of the award that goes to a person who has performed great service to the FWAA and/or the writing profession.

In 2014, Steve Wieberg became a past media member on the first CFP Selection Committee. After completing a four-year stint on the committee, he undoubtedly has paved the way for future past media members to be a part of one of college sports’ most influential bodies.

“Steve’s position on the committee was, well, sort of a breakthrough in college sports,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “But it goes to show you there are those in the media who generate great respect from those they have covered over the years.

“He is certainly a person someone entering or now in the journalism field should try and emulate. He wrote stories and covered subjects with tenacity. His ability to explain complex issues in clear terms was classical. And, at the end of the day, the readers of USA Today and our profession were the big winners.”

The McGrane Award was established in 1974 as a memorial to Bert McGrane, long-time Des Moines Register-Tribune sports writer who was one of the founding members of the FWAA. He was the FWAA’s executive director from the early 1940’s until 1973.

“When we decided it would be great to have a former reporter on the selection committee, Steve came to mind immediately,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said. “And he exceeded our high expectations. He contributed with his wisdom, analytical mindset and thorough research.

“Steve wasn’t labeled as a reporter by his colleagues on the committee — he was simply a respected peer,” Hancock added. “And besides all that, his self-effacing humor made working with him a real pleasure. You all know this — Steve is a great guy.”

Wieberg, editor in the public affairs department of the Kansas City Public Library since 2013, recalls what one of his fellow CFP Selection Committee members noted. “Condoleezza Rice has said repeatedly — and I think sincerely — that this is the best committee she has ever been a part of,” Wieberg said. “If it was the best for her, you can be certain it is for me.”

Wieberg said he went on the committee with two priorities. Getting the selections right would reinforce the new playoff system. “I also have been keenly aware that I would represent the writers and other media on this committee, and it has been important to me to do a good enough job to validate the CFP’s decision to give us that seat at the table,” he said.

Wieberg forged an award-winning career in journalism at USA Today. He was a frequent winner in FWAA, USBWA and Associated Press Sports Editors contests as well as a recipient of several other awards. A University of Missouri graduate, Wieberg was able to build an extensive network of relationships across the country that had few equals. He could break stories on the national stage as well provide the reader with insight as to why they were happening.

“As an original staff writer, I also took great pride and satisfaction in seeing USA Today grow form a startup in 1982 to a publication with a circulation of more than 2 million and influence on the way newspapers nationwide came to look,” he said. “I knew we’d made it when I saw a USA Today box in a street scene in Ghostbusters in 1984.”

Elizabeth Schroeder to receive Volley Meece Scholarship

Elizabeth Schroeder of Norman, OK., has been named the 21tst winner of the Volney Meece Scholarship.

The scholarship is awarded annually by the Football Writers Association of America and named for the late Volney Meece. Meece served 22 years as the FWAA’s executive director and was the organization’s president in 1971.

The scholarship is a $1,000 annual grant for four years. It is awarded to a deserving son or daughter of an FWAA member.

The 17-year-old Schroeder is the daughter of long-time FWAA member George Schroeder.

Elizabeth has compiled an impressive list of academic and extracurricular achievements in her four years at Community Christian School and in her church. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and ranks first academically in her class.

A member of the National Honor Society, student council and class treasurer, she has made the Principal’s Honor Roll her entire high school career. Elizabeth has also spent three summers working with children while on missions to Guatemala, which inspired her to pursue a degree in elementary education at the University of Oklahoma.

CCS faculty member Lee Ann Wimer wrote in her letter of recommendation: “Elizabeth is one of those extremely gifted students who cross a teacher’s classroom only a few times in their career. She is working towards top honors at graduation as Valedictorian.”

Past winners of the Volney Meece Scholarship
1997  Brett Goering  Topeka, Kan.
1998  Kelly Brooks  Denver, Colo.
1999  James Butz  Schaumberg, Ill.
2000  Sara Barnhart  Atlanta, Ga.
2001  Patrick Davis  Coventry, Conn.
2002  Jacqueline O’Toole  Gaithersburg, Md.
2003  Garrett Holtz  Denver, Colo.
2004  Katie Hersom  Oklahoma City, Okla.
2005  Katie Wieberg  Lawson, Mo.
2006  Kaylynn Monroe  Winter Park, Fla.
2007  Nate Kerkhoff  Overland Park, Kan.
2008  Jack Caywood  Lawrence, Kan.
2009  Haley Dodd  Overland Park, Kan.
2010  Donald Hunt  Philadelphia, Pa.
2011  Alaina Martens  Papillion, Neb.
2012  Emily Alford  Tupelo, Miss.
2013  Sarah Helsley  Edmond, Okla.
2014 Robert Abramson Palos Verde, Calif.
2015 Danielle Hoover Tulsa, Okla.
2016 Dolen Helwagen Pataskala, Ohio

 

Past Presidents gather for dinner hosted by NFF

The FWAA Past Presidents’ Dinner, hosted by the National Football Foundation, was at the Capital City Club in Atlanta on Jan. 5. Past presidents in attendance were, back row, left to right, Kirk Bohls, Dennis Dodd, Mark Blaudchun, Chris Dufresne, Dick Weiss, Tony Barnhart, Tim Griffin.  Front Row, left to right, Dave Jones. Bill Lumpkin, Ivan Maisel.

 

 

 

National Football Foundation to host FWAA Past Presidents’ Dinner in Atlanta

i6 and diDNA join the NFF as presenting sponsors of the event.

The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today it will host the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) Past Presidents’ Dinner for a seventh consecutive year, which will take place Jan. 5 in Atlanta, the site of the Jan. 8 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship between No. 3 Georgia (13-1) and No. 4 Alabama (12-1).

“There is no organization more committed to college football than the FWAA, and we are proud to show our support by hosting this special tradition again,” said NFF President and CEO Steve Hatchell. “The members of the FWAA, and especially the past presidents, represent the top writers in the country, providing fans all around the country a front row seat to the action as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the game. It’s a privilege to support this annual celebration as a show of our support and appreciation for their passion and hard work.”

The FWAA Past Presidents’ Dinner serves as the kickoff event for the writers covering the CFP National Championship, and the event includes a visit from CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock and the display of the iconic gold CFP trophy. i6, a leading ticketing design and packaging manufacturer, and diDNA, a technology company that helps publishers optimize their digital content, have partnered with the NFF as presenting sponsors of the event.

“College football fans rank among the most passionate of all the sports around the world, which completely aligns with our vision,” said Rodney Moore, Director of Sales for West Virginia-based company i6. “Showing our support for those who cover college football provides us a poignant way to acknowledge the role that the writers play in expanding interest in the game… because after all, Memories Matter.”

“Media outlets represent an important market for us, so it’s natural for us to support the men and women providing the content,” said diDNA Chief Financial Officer Bill Lutzen. “The FWAA Past Presidents’ Dinner brings together many of the best writers in the country, so it’s a real honor for us to be in the room with them, and not just from a business perspective but as fans too.”

Founded in 1941, the FWAA consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists and key executives who cover college football. The FWAA’s efforts include advocating for appropriate game-day access and operations, bestowing several major awards and selecting an All-America team.

“We are extremely appreciative of the support from the NFF, CFP, i6 and diDNA,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “The Past Presidents’ Dinner provides a special opportunity for the FWAA to bring together the leaders of our organization. It is a cherished tradition, which is truly appreciated by our membership.”

The relationship between the NFF and the FWAA stretches back to the 1940s when both organizations where founded. Currently, the organizations partner on the FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll, a weekly ranking of the teams playing the Football Bowl Subdivision. The FWAA also announces the finalists for the FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award as part of the NFF Annual Awards Press Conference each December in New York City.

About the Football Writers Association of America

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, 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 or 214-870-6516 or visit www.sportswriters.net/fwaa.

ABOUT The National Football Foundation & College 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. With 120 chapters and 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include Football Matters®, the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, The William V. Campbell Trophy® presented by Fidelity Investments, annual scholarships of more than $1.3 million and a series of initiatives to honor the legends of the past and inspire the leaders of the future. NFF corporate partners include Delta Air Lines, Fidelity Investments, Herff Jones, New York Athletic Club, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, PrimeSport, the Sports Business Journal, Under Armour and VICIS. Learn more at www.footballfoundation.org.

President’s column: Enjoy the parties in Atlanta, but don’t miss the FWAA Awards Breakfast on Monday

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.

David Jones, 2017 FWAA President

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.