The Fifth Down

President's column: BCS Championship 101

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Tommy Hicks
For it or against it, The Rematch is set. The BCS national championship game will feature unbeaten LSU against once-beaten Alabama (LSU responsible for the lone Alabama loss). It is a rerun surrounded by great anticipation. It's also a scalpers' dream – a title game featuring teams with two of the most fiercely loyal (and ticket-buying) fan bases. It will be crazy in New Orleans.

Hopefully, though, not for FWAA members and others who will be covering the game. John Sudsbury, media relations director for the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and his staff have put together a plan for coverage of the game, both on game day Jan. 9 and the days leading up to the rematch. In a recent visit to New Orleans, Sudsbury provided a quick run-through of the media plans for the event.

In an effort to prepare everyone for the game, here's a brief list of some important things to remember:

• Dress warmly. The press box is located on the top level of the Superdome, which is in the path of the air conditioning vents. Jackets are suggested.

In this issue of The Fifth Down:
• Hicks: BCS Championship 101
• SEC's 10 picks dominate FWAA All-America team
• Oklahoma State's Gundy named Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year
• Alabama's Jones wins Outland Trophy
• Bronko Nagurski Trophy awarded to Boston College’s Luke Kuechly

• For best Internet access, please bring your own Ethernet cables. Some cables will be available, but media members are encouraged to bring their own, if possible.

• Media can reach the press box by using Elevators 7 and 8. Both will be designated for media use for the game.

• Media may use the designated seat in the press box or work in the northwest warehouse area on field level that will be supplied with tables, chairs, power outlets and Internet access.

• Postgame interviews will take place in the warehouse area interview room. The losing team (head coach, two players) will appear in the room first, with the winning team (head coach, two players) to follow. On-field interviews with members of the winning team will be allowed as long as they do not interfere with the trophy presentation.

• Considering deadline issues, the postgame interviews will be available via a live video feed in the main press box. The ASAP quote service will also provide complete quotes from both teams. Quotes will also be available at www.allstatesugarbowl.org/quotes.

• The pregame meal will be served in the West Bunker Suite from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Meals will not be served in the press box and only small snacks will be made available in the main press box.

• Media with proper credentials will be allowed in designated areas on the field during the game's final five minutes of play.

Other media information:

• Credential pick-up will be in the Fleur De Lis Room of the designated media hotel, which is the New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center. Credential pick-up will be Jan. 4 from noon until 6 p.m., Jan. 5-8 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and game day from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Credentials may be picked up at the Superdome's media will call at the Gate A entrance from 4 p.m. until halftime.

• Those planning on covering both the Sugar Bowl and the BCS national title game must apply for credentials separately. Because there are two games, credentials for the BCS game will not be available until Jan. 4.

• Press conferences will take place at the Blaine Kern ballrooms at the media hotel. A media workroom will be available in the same rooms used for the press conferences. Complimentary wireless access will be available. The workroom will be open from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. each day.

• The designated media hospitality room is located in the Riverbend Room of the media hotel. Media meals will also be available. Check the schedule upon arrival. Those who have further questions should contact John Sudsbury at johns@sugarbowl.org. His cell phone number is (504) 427-7076.

FWAA events: Several FWAA events are scheduled during BCS national title game week. Members are encouraged to attend the FWAA breakfast in the media hotel from 9 to 11 a.m. on Jan. 9, the morning of the game. This year's breakfast will feature a new twist – a roundtable discussion featuring several media topics of interest. As usual, the FWAA writing awards will be presented and Lenn Robbins of the New York Post will take over as the organization's president for the following year.

On Sun., Jan. 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., a reception is scheduled at Cochon, near the media hotel, for Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, this year's winner of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. Gundy will be attend the event and be honored by the FWAA, the Fiesta Bowl and the Robinson family.

Awards: The FWAA has headlined many awards in recent weeks. Most notably is the organization's All-America team, as well as the Outland Trophy (won by Alabama's Barrett Jones), Nagurski Trophy (won by Boston College's Luke Kuechly) and Courage Award (won by Michigan State's Arthur Ray Jr.). The Charlotte Touchdown Club once again put on an impressive banquet to announce the Nagurski winner and the same is expected once again in Omaha for the Outland Trophy.

Thanks: I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their help and hard work during the past year. Special thanks go to FWAA executive director Steve Richardson, past president Ron Higgins and Ted Gangi for all his work on behalf of the FWAA. It has been a learning experience serving as your president, but more importantly it has been an honor and privilege. Thanks to all for the opportunity, for your patience and your help.

KEY FWAA CONTACTS

• Bert McGrane Award nominees: Mark Blaudshun (blauds@aol.com)
• Volney Meece Scholarship nominees: Dave Sittler (davesitt@aol.com)
• Website, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week: Ted Gangi (webmaster@sportswriters.net)
• Membership Directory: Charlie Fiss, AT&T Cotton Bowl (charlie@attcottonbowl.com)
• Ethics/Press Relations Committee: Kirk Bohls (kbohls@statesman.com)
• College Football Playoff Liaison: Gina Lehe, College Football Playoff (glehe@collegefootballplayoff.com)
• Eddie Robinson Award: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
• Fifth Down Blog/FWAA Best Writing Contest: Ken Stephens (ken.stephens@sbcglobal.net)
• Bronko Nagurski Award: John Rocco, Charlotte Touchdown Club (jrocco@touchdownclub.com)
• Outland Trophy, All-America Team: Steve Richardson (tiger@fwaa.com)
• Grantland Rice Super 16 Poll: Phil Marwill, National Football Foundation (pmarwill@footballfoundation.org)
• Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award: George Schroeder, USA TODAY (gschroeder@aol.com), Ron Higgins, Nola.com (rhigg@aol.com)
• Freshman All-America Team: Mike Griffith, MLive Media Group (mgrif32@aol.com)

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