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.

 

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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.”

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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…

2019 Best Column: Ivan Maisel

Comment by the judge: Suicide: Amazing story weaving the writer’s personal emotions and experience with that of the parents of the Washington State quarterback who committed suicide. “A club no parent ever wants to join” is an insightful empathy that only someone with intimate knowledge of the pain and heartache could put into words. Phenomenal.

By Ivan Maisel

ESPN.com

IRVINE, Calif. — I came of age in the wake of Woodward and Bernstein, when young journalists were taught to be as neutral as the painted highway stripe. After nearly four decades as a sportswriter, I have learned to negotiate a middle ground between my training and my life experience. Some stories demand more of the latter.

I understood that the moment I read last January that Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski ended his life. He was a college junior, 21 years old, the second of three children, hundreds of miles away from home.

Almost three years earlier, my son Max ended his life. He was a college junior, the second of three children, 21 years old, hundreds of miles away from home.

Like a winemaker trying to create a structured red, how much of the skin you leave in the juice changes the color and character of the final product. I’ve got a lot of skin in this one.

There’s often an immediate intimacy among parents whose children have ended their lives. We get it. The loss of a child is an awful subject, so awful that it makes people uncomfortable. They don’t know what to say. One of the many secrets of The Club No One Wants to Join is that we love to talk about the children we’ve lost. Talking about them keeps them present.

But people hesitate, sometimes under the guise of protecting the feelings of the bereaved. I would say, always with a smile to smooth the delivery of the sarcasm, “You know, if you hadn’t brought Max up, I wouldn’t have been thinking of him.”

When you live with the awful every moment of every day, the awful becomes everyday. It is no longer so daunting. When someone told me I was living “a parent’s worst nightmare,” I responded, “No, you wake up from nightmares.”

The first time I called Mark Hilinski, Tyler’s father, we spoke for 1 hour, 10 minutes. “I had never talked to anybody — in my spot,” Mark said later, with a mirthless laugh. “Got emails, got letters, got cards, read a ton. … But that was the first time I had talked to anybody that kinda sat over here, and I appreciated it.”

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2019 Best Feature: Bob Hammel

Comment by the judge: Usually don’t care for first person stories, but this one was exceptional. The writer subtlely worked his way in as merely an observer of one of the most significant, yet often unknown, players in college football history.  Good writing and presentation.      

By Bob Hammel

Bloomington Herald-Times retired

For years, for a full generation after them, they looked out from an honored spot on the northeast wall of The Gables restaurant, a humming place then with its own hallowed role in IU history. It was a picture as iconic in Indiana University football history as the one of the Four Horsemen is at Notre Dame. A black-and-white picture given color, of the starters on the 1945 team that had given Indiana – still – its best season in history. Four feet-by-twelve feet, posted for the first time the week of the Purdue game in 1945. You can still see that picture today, on the third floor of Henke Hall in Memorial Stadium’s north end zone, and they still look heroic.

And today, the 75th anniversary of their season just a couple of horizons away, they are almost all gone. Quarterback Ben Raimondi is the last one standing after the death Monday of George Taliaferro – maybe not the best of them, but if not, close; maybe not the reason they went unbeaten, but a reason; definitely, no maybe about it, the legendmaker of them all.

IU lost a whole lot more than a former football player Monday. George ruffled his share of feathers along the way but made a great university greater. Football was his starting point, but not his limit. He was a champion of integration and racial equality, but that didn’t fully define him, either. He was the first to admit he married “up,” and he and wife Viola gave Bloomington a community conscience regarding responsibility and genuine care for kids, kids coming along without Rockwellian families, kids who are our future. Black kids, white kids, kids. The Taliaferros, long after the last football stadium cheer died out, influenced that future in ways that will live long after both.

But today my own mind sees George on a football field, George in No. 44, George in the flame of youth playing a game but changing a world.

As events as recently as last week remind us, Bloomington, IU, the Big Ten, college athletics have not always been equal-opportunity symbols. George came to IU from Gary Roosevelt High, one of those all-black schools intended in metropolitan areas to do just that: take in all of a community’s black kids so the rest of the city could stay all-white. Those schools – Crispus Attucks in Indianapolis, Lincoln in Evansville two of them – were public but denied full entry into the Indiana High School Athletic Association until 1943, when George was already in high school. At Roosevelt, his teams rarely played hometown opponents, commonly routed out of state – sometimes long distances – to find teams that would play them.

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Members: Nominate your daughter or son for the Volney Meece Scholarship

The FWAA is now accepting applications for the 23nd annual Volney Meece Scholarship.

For an application please contact Dave Sittler, 8314 S. Jamestown Ave, Tulsa, OK 74137. His email is davesitt@aol.com and his cell phone is 918-629-3851 (text).

Applications must be received by Dec. 15, 2019.

The scholarship is awarded annually by the FWAA and named for the late Volney Meece, who served 22 years as the FWAA’s Executive Director and was the organization’s President in 1971.

The $1,000 annual grant for four years is awarded to a deserving son or daughter of an FWAA member. Since the program started in 1997, the FWAA has distributed more than $90,000 in scholarship money to deserving children of FWAA members.

The winner will be announced at the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast at the media hotel in conjunction with the College Football Playoff  National Championship Game.

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
2017 Elizabeth Schroeder Norman, Okla.
2018 Mallory Rosetta Baton Rouge, La.

President’s column: Monitoring safety and access as the season begins

By Matt Fortuna

Greetings from game day, which in my case meant Death Valley for a primetime Thursday debut of the defending national champs, and in your case can mean anywhere from Minneapolis to College Station, with plenty of places in between.

2019 FWAA President Matt Fortuna

With talkin’ season over and the actual football season finally here, I wanted to check in with our membership and share some of the themes we have been gathering from across the country during both the media days circuit and the fall camp circuit.

We have heard plenty of good, such as the school that reached out to FWAA board member Nicole Auerbach to ask what the program could do to ensure the safety of women who cover night games there this season.

We have also heard some not so-good, such as the assistant coaches at one school who have reached out to multiple reporters on their beat to complain about protocols put in place by their media relations folks.

Conference media days are always tough events to measure when it comes to convenience, given the differing needs of so many different outlets in a short time span. I do want to single out the Pac-12’s operation, however, for running a first-class event. I went out to Los Angeles on behalf of the FWAA in July, and I have to say, whether your outlet was in print, on television or on radio, you were able to get every single thing you needed in a relaxed environment — all in a day’s span. Bravo.

Additionally, members of our access committee have kept their eyes and ears to the ground in reporting back to us about matters both good and bad that they have come across. It is important to remember that this is a two-way street between media and SIDs, and that we must be able to police ourselves if we see someone on one of our beats abusing the privileges that we receive as part of our jobs. As always, I am available for any questions or advice at mfortuna@theathletic.com.

With all of that being said, now the real fun (and pressure) begins. Games will be won and lost, which means that questions will become a little more specific, which in turn means that coaches and players will become a little more guarded in their answers. Let’s all remember how mutually beneficial all of our relationships can be. As ESPN’s CFB150 special, “Football Is Us,” reminded us last week, Knute Rockne — arguably the most famous coach of them all — was the absolute best when it came to PR.

I’d say that philosophy worked out pretty well for all parties he came across.

Happy football season, everyone! Look forward to hearing from you all.